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 that?
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.