Storm - our Middle East Saluki
Having received a call from one of STOLAÕs
Regional Coordinators asking us (my husband Steve and I) to foster a Saluki we
thought it over and agreed to do so. Much to our surprise we were told that he
would be arriving at Logan International Airport from Kuwait. Never did we
think that a Saluki from such a different part of the world would become a part
of our lives.
We have owned Salukis for many years and absolutely love the
breed although we know that they are not for everyone. Even though we know that
each Saluki has his/her own unique personality - we were curious and excited to
meet one from a place so different from ours.
Ayeshah of Animal Friends League
of Kuwait had done the fundraising and coordinating of the flight arrangements.
It would be a 16 hour flight and she made sure that it
all went smoothly.
We drove to Boston excited and wondering. What would he
think of a totally new environment? Could he understand our language? Would he
be suffering from jetlag? Would he like us? Would he get along with our dogs?
After we arrived we saw that the crates were headed our way
and then we saw his lovely face. He looked at us with beautiful eyes - a burnt sienna color that were stunning with his black coat.
He was amazingly fine after such a long flight, curious and
wanting to trust.
Ayeshah gave us his vet records
and paperwork. We loaded the crate in the van and headed home - he never
uttered a sound.
We took him to our Vet to make sure that all was well with
him. He was amazed at how cooperative and sweet he was after having endured all
that travel. Storm got health approval, Bordetella vaccine and we took him home.
He was quiet again on the ride home and who could blame him?
His life before now had been in a cage in 120 degrees with 2 other dogs, all
intact. Photos taken at the ÒfarmÓ showed scratches on the walls, most likely
from boredom and discontent. What Saluki or other animal deserves a life like
When we arrived home, he willingly accompanied Steve across
the driveway and into the backyard. He just stood and looked around. We
introduced him to our other Salukis one at a time -their names are Tahlah and Sky. Lots of sniffing took place and then
cautious wagging. We decided not to overwhelm him with the introduction of our
Italian Greyhounds at that time.
We walked around the property and just watched him as he
took in the smells and new sights -green grass, trees, and dirt rather than
sand. We tried to imagine what was going through his mind and although we could
not we did notice that he seemed happy already. And, then he ran a bit! We were
so delighted for him. Can you imagine being in a cage for 6 years and then to
experience freedom to move, run, enjoy?
We brought him into the house and introduced him to a dog
bed. He had no idea as to what it was and it took him 3 days to dare to lay on it.
IÕve been told that the training methods in the Middle East
can be harsh. WeÕre sure that that was true in his case as he is still
frightened by anything new. His potty habits are impeccable and his acceptance
of food by hand is extremely gentle. If a dog can be so, he is very polite.
WeÕve been asked if he had language problems and although we
really donÕt know, we would guess that he did not. He is a dog, after all and
we think that he sensed our gestures and voice inflections. He seemed to know
his name and in an amazingly short time seemed to understand cues.
WeÕve also been asked if there were problems. No problems
were encountered with the health check, vet paperwork, etc. No problems in
falling in love with him right away. No problems in integrating him into our
pack. He is gentle with all and the Italian Greyhounds as well as the Salukis
trust him. The problems were
actually with US as we wanted him to quickly put the
traumas of having lived in a cage for so long behind him and for him to realize
that he would never have to endure that situation again. We had to adjust to
letting him progress at his own pace. I keep reminding myself that he had so
many years of living the other way and not even a year yet of living this way.
He was much more guarded with Steve than me. We donÕt know
if that is because women were kinder to him than men and I donÕt think that we
will ever know.
He greets me with smiles each morning. I have never seen a
dog smile the way that he does.
His tail wags non-stop as I prepare his morning meal. He then happily
goes out the door and enjoys the backyard. He doesnÕt venture far as his many
insecurities still plague him but in time we hope that there will be less and
less of those.
Having acquired our other two Salukis from reputable
breeders we do notice the similarities. He loves to run and play with them. He
loves to chase squirrels and bunnies (thankfully, most escape). Tahlah and Sky are more independent - he does need
encouragement many times and is still leary of new
situations. But, the joy we have experienced as we watch this amazing boy
ÒbloomÓ is hard to put into words. Not a day goes by that we donÕt feel grateful for giving him
a chance. And, he shows us his gratitude with kisses and smiles.
I forgot to mention that he adjusted to the winter here
remarkably well – he loved the snow! We were enthralled watching him run and play in it.
STOLA and Animal Friends League of Kuwait have given Storm
and a few other Salukis the chance to experience happiness and love. We can not thank them enough and in our hearts, we know that
Storm feels the same way.