Love for animals is a passion that demands care, time, and labour.
There is however no dearth of people who passionately love and care for stray or abandoned animals in Qatar.
Italian expatriate Alessandra Picchio is one such person who passionately spares her time for the animals in need.
She has been associated with the 2nd Chance Rescue, a centre taking care of abandoned or abused dogs.
The animal lover during a recent conversation with Gulf Times shared her care for the dogs and why she does it.
The 39-year-old Italian has been in Qatar since 2010 and started rescuing abandoned or abused dogs soon after she came here.
She got associated with the 2nd Chance Rescue two years ago to volunteer herself on a bigger scale.“I am an animal lover. I have a wonderful husband who always supports me and an amazing two-and-a-half year-old baby girl. She is already a rescuer.
"I have a PhD in international and diplomatic science with interest in human rights.”
Responding to a question about her start as an animal rescuer, Alessandra said that she started rescuing dogs from the streets soon after she arrived in Qatar.“Since 2010, soon after I came to Qatar, I start rescuing dogs from the street.
"I care for them and find for them a loving family.
"I have to thank a special friend – Dianne Prior – who really encouraged me to do more and more.”
Speaking about her involvement with the centre that was founded by Qatari national Abdullah al-Naemi in 2009, the rescuer said that they take overall care of animals in need.“At 2nd Chance Rescue we do provide shelter for the abandoned animals, especially for very critical cases (victims of car accidents, paralysed animals or very badly abused one). During our process, we rescue an animal and get it checked by a vet.
"Thanks to Park View Pet Center for its continuous support. The centre offers us a very professional support. The centre is also owned by Abdulla al-Naemi.
"He is not only a very dear friend of mine but also an inspiration and a pioneer of the rescuing in this country.”
The rescuer further shared how they take care of the animals at the centre.“To keep the shelter alive, we organise dog walking on weekends. The shelter has become a wonderful spot for families, who want to spend a different weekend. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we were also doing some awareness projects with nursery and school children.
"We were also working with kids who have disabilities or autism.”
The volunteer along with her team has been rescuing and taking care of the animals selflessly.“We are volunteers and what we do is totally based on our love for the animals. The help of the community is vital for us. The 2nd Chance includes a group of amazing women namely; Patrizia, Giselle, Lisa, Ramona, Bea and Martinette who work tirelessly to find homes for the abandoned animals.
“Some hotels like Westin Hotel, MGallery or Marriot perform their corporate social responsibility by donating food for the animals, providing cleaning materials, leashes and collars, and building some cover areas to protect the animals during harsh weather.”
Alessandra finds her passion for the animals the most satisfying.“Rescuing and giving a second chance to the animals is one of the most satisfactory things you can do.
"It is like giving life back to a soul. I would suggest people to be more responsible in rescuing. Rescuing an animal is not just taking a picture and posting it on social media waiting for someone else to make the move.
"It is to take the animal and then the responsibility for it. Shelters are run by common people and they help as much as they can. We should also do what we can. It should come out of love with no obligations.”
The animal lover often finds it difficult to spare time for animals and desires to see more and more volunteers.“I am trying my best. Sometimes I struggle but I wish that more and more people will come forward and help so we do not have to struggle with time.
"My family and my friends know the passion I have and they all are very supportive.”