The coronavirus pandemic has affected Afghanistan as it has many other countries, and the government has declared a general lockdown in the capital region to prevent the virus from spreading. At Tigger House, a number of temporary measures have been taken to protect the health of the Afghan staff while continuing to care for needy and homeless animals. No visitors are being allowed inside the shelter. All sick or injured animals are being treated in our isolation rooms or surgery. Staff schedules have been reduced to two people per shift, a cleaner/cook and a guard. Our two vets take turns visiting briefly each day. All the resident dogs and cats are safe and in good hands, but we are only accepting new ones in case of a medical emergency.
The full shelter staff has been briefed on the virus and necessary health precautions. All have been provided with masks and gloves and instructed to clean the facility more often and thoroughly than usual. Payments for all shelter expenses have been made through the end of June, and arrangements are being made to meet all expenses through September. The shelter will continue to operate on a limited basis as long as the virus restrictions require, and it will reopen fully as soon as conditions allow. In September we will begin a special funding drive for firewood, generator fuel, and cold-weather donkey care. Thanks for your support in this difficult time, and we will keep you updated on this site.
TIGGER HOUSE CORONA VIRUS UPDATE
The Cat Who Remembered...
It was a chilly autumn morning in Kabul. I came down the alley, dragging a heavy suitcase. It had been months since my last visit when the coronavirus had forced me to rush home. Now, I was not sure what to expect. Most Afghans, who often gather in crowded mosques and weddings, were fearful and hunkered down. The few foreigners I knew were locked into their compounds. It was going to be a lonely trip.
As I trudged along, passing guards with masked faces, I steeled myself to find no one waiting for me at my office entrance. For years, I had fed a variety of neighborhood cats each morning, then watched them play in the garden while I drank my coffee. It was a calming ritual in a place where violence could erupt at any minute.
One of them, a frail but scrappy ginger cat, I had taken home to the US with me, after a truck bomb blew out my office window where she often sat in the sun. Having miraculously survived, she would now be safe forever, and when I returned home, I knew I would find her napping next to the window in my office.
But I also knew that by now, the other cats of my Kabul alley would have probably given up on me and retreated into the shadows, nosing in garbage piles by day and hiding in culverts by night. I had always left supplies of cat food behind, but I was never sure if they would last long enough.
Some of them could have been injured or fallen sick in my absence, or perhaps even died. I would have no way to know. Each step felt heavier. I did not want to reach my door, find no one waiting, and hear the steel barricade shut behind me.
Then, with half a block to go, I glimpsed a familiar gray and white cat sitting on a wall. She was not one who had ventured into my garden, but I had often fed her outside the gate. As she heard my footsteps slowing, she crouched, ready to jump down and run, but briefly turned her head my way.
Her eyes widened, then lit up in what I can only describe as joyful astonishment. She uttered a long, plaintive cry, and I understood it as clearly as if she had been speaking English. It is you! You are back! Where have you been? Why were you gone so long?
Then she jumped down and ran over to me, swishing against my legs in that unmistakable ingratiating feline gesture. As I continued on my way, she trotted beside me. When we reached my entrance, it was indeed bereft of cats, but I suspected she would soon inform the neighborhood of the news.
Sure enough, early the next morning when I went out to the garden, there was a black kitten waiting on the wall and a shaggy tabby watching from under a rosebush. Twenty minutes later, the cat I was most anxious to see appeared on the roof and leaped down immediately. She was a slender gray creature with topaz eyes, keenly intuitive.
Two years before, after a close friend had been killed in another bombing, she and I had spent many hours together, sitting on a garden bench and contemplating the mysteries of life. When she curled up on the grass near my feet, I knew she would be back every day.
The gray and white cat, basking in the distinction of having spotted me first and announced my arrival to the waiting multitudes, regally ignored us all and groomed herself in a corner.
As I watched her, I thought about the concept of recognition. I had received a few formal honors in my career over the years, but the look of unabashed welcome on that cat’s face, when she spied me coming down the alley, was all the recognition — and appreciation –I could ever want.
Please Adopt Lily!!!
She is a sweet female hound mix dog, about four years old, who has been at Tigger House for the past two years. She was rescued from the street and has adapted very well to living in the shelter with other dogs. She also loves people and is easy to manage. She has been spayed and vaccinated and is in excellent health. She would make an excellent companion for any home and we can arrange to send her to you.
Please call 703-577-4460 if you would like to know more.
Help Our Dear Paikaj
This is Paikaj, one of many special needs dogs we have cared for over the years. Some have lost an eye, and others have had a leg amputated after being hit by traffic and developing gangrene. We are grateful to the wonderful adopters who have welcomed them into their homes. Paikaj is one of many who have deformed legs and feet due to malnutrition as a puppy. He cannot walk normally but he is a very gentle and friendly dog who has been with us for about five years. If we can get him to the USA, we are hopeful he can be treated by veterinaryschool students and teachers in Wisconsin and then adopted. Please give what you can to help him!!
Everyone Deserves a Home...
Winter in Kabul is cold and snowy, so housing is essential for the protection and rehabilitation of our residents. We are in the process of building additional dog houses and would appreciate your participation in this project. As you can see, Tigger House residents are thrilled to have their own home!
Click here to help provide a home for Tigger House residents.