Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

This Saudi Non-Profit Is Rescuing The Most Needy Animals

If there was anything positive to come from lockdowns, quarantining and the change in lifestyle for us all during the pandemic, it’s the fact that some of us decided to adopt a pet – and consider it one of the best things we ever did (myself, your resident writer, included).

Pets can bring joy into our lives like no other, can help eliminate feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and if it’s a dog you have, can make you a lot more social since it must be walked, and along the way your dog gets to socialize with its own kind while you meet other pet parents.

In Saudi Arabia, pet adoption is a rather new concept, the younger generation is embracing pet ownership and changing the narrative around age-old cultural misconceptions.

One such person is making leaps and bounds in inspiring change is 29 year old Shokran Aljihani who manages the the adoption and rescue committee at Rahmah Animal Welfare Association, a voluntary, nonprofit organization launched in Riyadh in May 2020, after her passion for the welfare of animals made her want to get involved.

Speaking to Arab News, she said, “It started with a group of people interested in animal welfare and the environment who gathered and decided to create Rahmah to raise awareness towards animals and the environment. My family and I love animals, so the passion started a long time ago for me.”

Wanting to “make a difference,” Aljihani adopted pets of her own before she met a board member of Rahmah, who introduced her to the group and their plans, and in 2020 she joined the organization as a founding member.

One of Shokran’s main jobs is to “make sure the process of rescuing, adoption and daily operations of the shelter go according to plan.”

Rahmah responds to people that call about stray cats or dogs, or if they are found injured and a rescue team is then sent to collect the animal. The animal is then checked for any health concerns, and are vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and are ultimately put up for adoption.

Those who wish to adopt a pet can visit the association’s website,, where they can see photos and information about the rescued animals, or alternatively see the group’s Instagram or Twitter accounts.

Shokran Aljihani rescued a rather interesting bunch of pets that she took into her own home – six cats and two baboons! Speaking of her unique pets, she add, “It’s not really common to adopt baboons but it’s a bit hard to keep them at the shelter 24/7 because they need extra care and more attention. One of them is 3 months old and the other is 10 months old but monkeys need motherly care.” Completely uncommon, baboons are native to the Sarawat mountains in Saudi Arabia’s western region. It was only recently that some were found in Riyadh.

Speaking more about the purpose of Rahmah, Aljihani added, “Rahmah’s purpose, and the main reason it was created, is to protect animals. We rescue and take care of the animals, we give them the medical attention they need. We try to find homes for them and we try to raise awareness, which is the most important thing.”

Since 2020, Rahmah has rescued more than 2,300 animals and has overseen the adoption of around 300. All of this has been made possible with the help of almost 2000 volunteers.

Sadly, there are only five animal shelters across Saudi Arabia and many more a required, and Rahmah is working hard in raising awareness by visiting schools, training and educating young people on how to take care of animals and suggesting ways for them to help. “It’s all about awareness; people haven’t been aware enough so we’re working on it,” Aljihani said. “In Saudi Arabia there are so many people who are passionate about animals but they are working, so making this work as a non-profit organization helps raise the awareness faster.”

Rahmah has plans to expand to a number of cities in the Kingdom and is soon to set up a mobile clinic that will provide medical services for animals in owners’ homes and on the streets, as well as rescue services. 

Share Article

Write a comment