Walking in the street we see a group of dogs running out, wagging their tails, and we know we must be in the right place! There, we meet Miriam Hathout, an Egyptian artist who recently came up with an idea of helping stray dogs using her painting talent. We sit down with her in her studio, surrounded by happy dogs, what’s not to love?
Miriam is an artist that comes from a very artistic family. She has been known for painting donkeys and very local Egyptian things. She enjoys addressing the simpler people and now has gotten more into animal welfare.
“I thought I would draw portraits of people’s dogs and donate the money to help dogs in need”
This all started when Miriam started feeding the stray dogs in her neighborhood, Zamalek, “I made them part of my daily routine, I started feeding them and even vaccinated some of them”, she says. When she saw that there were even more dogs in need, she thought of doing something to raise money for them, “I thought I would draw portraits of people’s dogs and donate the money to help dogs in need”.
Talking about what’s next for Miriam’s project, she says, “I really want to make a gallery about stray dogs, and the money would be donated to help stray dogs. I would want a gallery with pictures of stray dogs that tell a story, and even write captions for the pictures to try to explain to people what these dogs really are”. She also has ideas for videos that could raise awareness about the state of street animals in Cairo, “to show the life of a stray dog, show how they feel and how people are treating them, and how harmless they are. I think this could have an effect on people, but this is just an idea”, she explains.
Animal abuse is very common in Egypt; it’s something we see in our everyday life. Miriam thinks a campaign to raise awareness in schools would be the most effective. She has very valid reasons as to why she thinks that’s the case, “there was a dog that gave birth in the area, and as soon as she would see someone with a backpack she would try to attack them and start barking, this really goes to show what she has been through”.
“There is a dog called Willam, he got run over and he can’t move He’s been lying in bed at the vet’s for a while now. It’s very sad; he is a very kind dog. We’ve been paying for his stay and from donations, we got him a wheelchair.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to animals that need help. Miriam and a group of women who live in the same neighborhood help as many dogs as they can; they start by helping the animals closest to them, and the cases that they see in front of them. Miriam recalls their work, “for example, there is a dog called Willam, he got run over and he can’t move He’s been lying in bed at the vet’s for a while now, which has also caused him bed sores! It’s very sad; he is a very kind dog. We’ve been paying for his stay and from donations, we got him a wheelchair, but we’re still adjusting it”.
People are being very supportive of Miriam’s idea. She started this initiative only in January 2016, and it is slowly but surely picking up speed. If you want to help by getting a portrait of your dog painted you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook group Get Your Dog Painted And Help A Stray Dog!