An Egyptian woman's act of kindness has changed my life here in America. Her name is Marwa. We have never met. But last year, this compassionate woman rescued an injured dog from the streets on the outskirts of Cairo. I am grateful to her for starting the journey that would bring this dog into my life.
I do not know much about her. A Facebook account reveals that she is stock broker. But, more importantly, she is an advocate for animal rights and a volunteer with an Egyptian society devoted to "mercy for animals." From what I have learned, Marwa has rescued many animals from the harsh Egyptian streets, animals that would never have had a chance to survive otherwise. Last year, she received a phone call about a dog who had been hit by a car months earlier. She was told that the dog had sustained terrible injuries to his back legs. Without hesitation, she made her way to the area where the dog had been spotted and searched. When she finally found him, he was nearly dead.
The veterinarians who examined the dog urged her to euthanize him. She refused. She fought for his survival. She saw him through surgery to amputate his back legs. She never gave up on him and he pulled through. She formed a special bond with this dog and named him Lucky.
Once Lucky was healing, Marwa had a decision to make. She had connected with Lucky on a profound level and wanted to keep him for her own. But he would need a wheeled cart to walk and she could not find a way to have a cart built or sent to her in Egypt. Knowing that life in Egypt for an injured dog is nearly impossible, she selflessly chose to send him abroad for the possibility of a better life.
She arranged for an American rescue organization to take him. She accompanied him to the airport to see him off. I have two pictures of Marwa with Lucky just before they parted. In one photo, the difficulty of letting him go is etched on her face. Wearing sunglasses, perhaps to shield the pain in her eyes, she holds onto Lucky one last time. In the second, she is smiling, more hopeful. Ready to send him onto the airplane to an unknown future, she is beautiful. Her generosity radiates from within her.
A few months later, I adopted Lucky. I live in a small college town in Pennsylvania. A two-legged Egyptian dog is a rarity here, but Lucky fit in immediately. He is goofy and full of life. He has a cart now to help him walk. He is a local celebrity, a visible symbol of perseverance and fortitude. He has an inherent ability to inspire people. He receives messages daily from Facebook fans around the world who say that he has made someone smile, that he lifted someone's spirits, that he is making a difference in people's lives. Lucky is training to be a therapy dog and he will soon be comforting hospital patients who endure hardships similar to his own.
Marwa could not have known that rescuing this dog would have ripple effects that would reach around the world. She acted selflessly and humanely, in an atmosphere that is often inhospitable to animals. She wanted nothing more than to save another living soul. She is a hero. When I look at Lucky, I see the results of the generous spirit of another human being.
Lucky is truly lucky that Marwa came into his life. When I adopted him, I kept the name she had given him. It is a constant reminder of how lucky we both are to have had this generous woman touch our lives.
This blog post is part of a series for HuffPost Gratitude, entitled 'The One Thing I'm Most Thankful For.' To see all the other posts in the series, click here To contribute, submit your 500 - 800 word blogpost to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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