Cookie’s Rescue, The Lebanese dog-rescue organisation with heartfelt motivation
Cookie’s Rescue is an exciting new dog rescue organisation committed to providing abused, abandoned Lebanese dogs with a new lease of life. Co-founder Roxana Ghiassee (a London-based lawyer by day) first got into rescue when she saved several litters of kittens. This was while on holiday in Lebanon. She re-homed them with the aid of animal rescue pages on Facebook – these pages leading Roxana to discover and adopt Cookie.
How Cookie’s Rescue came to be
Cookie is Roxana’s now 6-year-old Bichon-Poodle rescue and the namesake of Cookie’s Rescue. Cookie has transformed with Roxana, going from being underweight and anxious to smiling and sociable. Her progress inspired Roxana to start rescuing more dogs from Lebanon (including her own second dog, a senior Pekingese mix called Sacha). This led to her eventually form an organisation to change abused dogs’ lives through rescue.
Cookie’s Rescue manifested when Roxana joined forces with fellow dog lover and rescue advocate, Emily Hunt. Emily’s social media and creative expertise was a ‘perfect match’ with Roxana’s legal background. Roxanna also had knowledge of Lebanon, and the international dog transportation processes. The pair work with the charities and rescuers that Roxana has built relationships, within this country and Canada. Over many years, they have worked with these groups to rehome dogs in there and the U.K. ‘Cookie’s Rescue is totally voluntary, so we do this in our spare time’ says Roxana – she and Emily being dedicated to the cause alongside their full-time jobs.
The benefit of being a smaller organisation allows Roxana to ensure that ‘100% of the donations [they receive] go directly to the dogs. This may be hard work, yet the experience overall is ‘so rewarding.’ Roxana and Emily have dreams. These include working with charities to educate children about kindness to animals in schools, in order to expand their work globally. They would also like to maybe, one day, ‘have a massive farm and fill it with rescue dogs!’
With around 1,200 followers on their Instagram, Roxana has felt ‘overwhelmed by the kindness of people.’ Thanks to social media, Cookie’s Rescue has ‘had the most amazing support and the greatest reaction […] reaching people who had never before considered rescuing.’ Instagram allows the pair to tell ‘personal’ stories, and therein ‘put rescue in a different light.’
Maggie the Wonderdog
One of Roxana’s very first Lebanese rescues is an Insta-famous example. Maggie was found abandoned, tied to the side of the road whilst pregnant; her eyes ‘destroyed’ by pellet gun bullets, and needing to be removed. Now, however, Maggie is a therapy dog – enriching the lives of others and spreading kindness! She is one of the many ‘angels’ which Roxana has seen ‘flourish’ after being rescued, and the fact that these dogs remain sweet and loving, despite having once been ‘sad, miserable, and unhappy,’ is the ‘best feeling’ that ‘keeps [Cookie’s Rescue] going.’
Cookie’s Rescue – the future
Cookie’s Rescue is now considering the concerns over what may happen to dogs in the UK when lockdown-puppy owners return to the workplace. Roxana hopes that the more pragmatic adoption processes of Cookie’s Rescue will draw more people into realising that rescue is a viable option. Many people have donated their funds, services, and time to support Cookie’s Rescue. Roxana believes this support really helped transform an ostracising year to become a more communal, inclusive, and hopeful time. ‘You’re not only saving a dog’s life by rescuing them,’ says Roxana, ‘but you’re improving your own quality of life.’
With debates surrounding the purchase of dogs from breeders and puppy farms increasing, Roxana and Emily are always happy to chat to those interested in rescue. They figure that ‘having these little angels in your life, that you know you have actually saved, is an amazing feeling!’
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