We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

The dogs of Cairo

Wild dogs and cats live all over this city. My understanding is that the cats are tolerated because they eat rats and other various vermin. And the Prophet Mohamed was nice to cats. Something like that. The feral cats are skittish around people, but not necessarily skinny. They scavenge in garbage, and some people and businesses leave food out for them. Some are even plump. It’s not a great situation–many are sick and I’m sure none of the wild cats have regular medical care–but they seem to survive.

The dogs… not loved so much. The feral dogs here are also very skittish and not at all aggressive. You can walk right next a dog lying in a dirt patch and not even realize it. Last fall I passed a dog sleeping on the hood of a car. When I walked back in the other direction, he had moved onto the roof.

Periodically, so I’ve heard, the police round up some dogs and shoot them. The dogs are not so welcome in Cairo.

A month or two ago, we started hearing puppy noises from behind our apartment, which overlooks a vacant lot. Mr. Four finally spotted the litter. From our seventh story window, we often watched them bounce around and play, and we noted that the mother and father dog often returned back with some food, likely garbage.

I took the boys for a walk to see the puppies a few weeks ago. The pups were really skittish, but quite happy to play with each other as long as we kept our distance. And when the adult dogs returned, we left them all alone. I thought about calling a rescue society, but I suspected that they wouldn’t have room for these pups. So I stopped thinking about it.

Earlier today, Bug pointed out one of the puppies. The pup was lying on its side, possibly asleep (and so Bug thought), but looking dead to me. I checked back later, and it was moving around on its side, still in the same place. Earlier this evening, I looked out again, and it seemed in distress, moving around but still stuck on its side. No other dogs were around.

So, I got a blanket, and Giggle and I went took a walk to the vacant lot. We passed one dead puppy (Giggle didn’t notice it) and didn’t see any others except the one in distress. It hardly moved when we approached and didn’t resist at all when I gathered it up in the blanket and we started walking home.

The puppy is thin, dirtier than you can even imagine, and covered in pests. It had a hard time drinking water (I finally got it to lick a few spoonfuls) and wouldn’t eat any of the offered cat food or tuna. So I suspect it’s either very sick or in a great deal of pain and distress. Probably both.

I’m wondering if it was hurt or poisoned. Or maybe it’s just really easy for puppies to die here, from eating garbage and bad water.

Mr. Four was not excited about me bringing the puppy here. (Thought ff course the boys aren’t allowed near it.) The plan is to bring the pup to the vet tomorrow and have it put down if necessary… and if not, we’ll try to find it shelter.

This is all very naive of me, I know, and possibly dangerous, to have brought a dirty, sick puppy into the house. I just couldn’t stand knowing it was in agony in the lot and not help it, even if that only means helping it die.


14 March 2008 - Posted by | our life in egypt, pets


  1. my heart goes out to the puppy. i would’ve done the same as you.

    Comment by Jen | 14 March 2008

  2. Poisoning is very likely. Here are a couple options to look into:

    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/654/li1.htm (SPARE is mentioned in this article…might have other groups, too)
    Egyptian Society of Animal Friends
    New Maadi, Maadi
    Tel: 702-1142
    Nile Vet Clinic
    Zahraa El Maadi, Cairo
    Tel: (010) 195-9388
    Maadi Vet Clinic
    New Maadi, Cairo
    Tel: 519-4934
    (this article is an interesting read on the topic)

    Comment by Cairogal | 14 March 2008

  3. Jen, I know you would!

    Thanks, Cairogal.

    The puppy survived the night just fine. He drank some water today though is still sleeping a lot and not really able to walk. He is also much cleaner following a quick bath, and much more alert. I’m about to head out to the vet now.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 15 March 2008

  4. I cringe when I hear stories such as these.

    My cats and dogs get the best of treatment (my husband always grumbles something about the pets being better treated than he is).

    Whilst I guess that we have to make allowances for cultural reasons my blood boils when I hear of the way animals are treated in some of the Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

    Great blog by the way.

    Comment by Suzanne Langley | 15 March 2008

  5. please update me on how this dog is doing and i for sure would have done the same x. i have 2 small maltese teriers in cairo and need to go back to england so looking for loving home must stay togeather, if any1 is intrested can you please contact me l.stothard@goooglemail.com. thanks Lynne

    Comment by lynne stothard | 22 August 2009

  6. Lynne, our poor pup didn’t make it, but we do have a new one. I hope you were able to find homes for your dogs.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 30 August 2009

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