BETA'S LATEST NEWS - November 2008

» The First In Lebanon K9 Care
» Abuse In Pet Shops

How a dog is influencing the life of kids with special needs

Dear Friends,

When children suffer from illnesses and disabilities life can be extremely difficult to cope with - just not being able to do many of the simple daily tasks that most of us do without thinking, and take for granted, can lead to isolation, depression, loss of confidence and feelings of low self-esteem. Children in this situation are in desperate need of so much additional love and affection.

We are pleased to tell you that Oumnia, a non-profit Association dealing with these type of children and Beta have now started their joint pioneering project in Lebanon to help these special children develop their own self-confidence and independence by introducing ' special ' dogs to them. International research has proven that dogs act as a great ice-breaker bringing many children out of the isolation they often experience through illness and disability.

On their first visit to Oumnia's centre, BETA members took one of their own special dogs called Pooch (a blue Tan Terrier,) to meet the children. At first the children were hesitant and slightly afraid to meet this newcomer, but, being children, they soon realized that this was a new, although unusual friend, who was not concentrating on their illnesses and disabilities but just on them as a person. Indeed their new friend also recently went through his own severe disability experience and was unable to walk for a long time due to an accident to his back spine. An instant bond was therefore formed between everyone involved. A zootherapy graduate from Canada, Christelle Shebabi who also practiced this specialized domain, is volunteering her time to BETA and the children of Oumnia.

The first and major contribution that this project will produce will be the ' unconditional ' love that a canine friend will give to the children. As the relationship develops it is expected that the dog will help with physiotherapy. As an example for those children who need regular practice at moving their upper body or improving their hand-eye coordination, their dog can be trained to ' mirror ' stretching exercises or just play a simple game of ball with the child. In addition, researches show that physically patting an animal diminishes cardiac frequency as well as hypertension, temperature of the body, muscular tension and most importantly reduces the pain.

As the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said "The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step". We, together with Oumnia have made that first and very important step on the way to helping ill and disabled children live their lives to the full. More steps are to follow so please follow our journey and progress.

If you would like more details of Oumnia's work, check out the rest of this website or you can email them at


You're all probably very familiar with this scene; a dingy, filthy, stinking pet shop overcrowded with kittens and puppies (amongst many other domestic and even wild animals) which are kept in tiny little cages where they barely fit and have no space to even move or turn around. Their food bowls topped in their own excrement and mixed with so called 'nourishing' pet food i.e. bread and urine. Their skin infected by mutations of common and often deadly diseases, as well as contagious viruses. Unfortunately Lebanon is rife with these types of pet shops, many of which are illegal, most of which don't consider the animals as living creatures with feelings and souls, but just as an unscrupulous means to make fast money.

Melvin (an 11 month old white male Caniche) close on the verge of death, was kept in a minute 100cm x 60cm cage in a pet shop in the town of Sid El Baouchrieh. A BETA member found barely 3 kilos of skin and bones on Melvin. He was obviously diseased and suffering miserably and she refused to leave the shop without taking him along with her. As it is strictly against BETA's policy to buy animals, a lot of pleading and begging took place till the shop owner finally relented. In fact there were two similar dogs in the shop - the other was a pregnant, diseased and starving female, just like Melvin, but in even worse condition than him. The owner of the store blatantly refused to give her away as he saw the potential lucrative profit he may be making from a litter of newborns disappearing out of the door with our Board member.

Sadly, Melvin and his female counterpart are merely two of literally thousands and thousands of pups around Lebanon, and millions around the world, in similar situations. This is such a serious issue that BETA, like many other Animal Rights Organisations, is taking positive action to end this ill-treatment. Please follow our future news in this respect.

You can help now by adopting from us, instead of buying from a pet shop, and encouraging any of your family or friends who are thinking of acquiring a pet of doing the same. Please also spread this message in your conversations and in this way you will be contributing to the betterment of our society and the saving of many lives. Whilst people continue to buy dogs and other Animals from these unregulated pet shops the suffering will continue.

Melvin needed special care and attention and received it at the home of one of BETA's volunteer; as a result he's now ready to be adopted. If you would like to adopt Melvin please
contact us.