Dogs' hero up for award

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 April 2013

A Royal Marine dedicated to rescuing abandoned and starving dogs in war-torn Afghanistan has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award.

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing is the founder of the Nowzad Dogs Charity. 

Pen, 43, has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award at this year’s Ceva Animal Welfare Awards.

A Royal Marine dedicated to rescuing abandoned and starving dogs in war-torn Afghanistan has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award. Paul 'Pen' Farthing is the founder of the Nowzad Dogs Charity. Pen, 43, has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award at this year's Ceva Animal Welfare Awards.

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Saving abandoned and starving dogs from war-torn Afghanistan has resulted in a Royal Marine being shortlisted for an award for his charity work

A Royal Marine dedicated to rescuing abandoned and starving dogs in war-torn Afghanistan has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award.

Paul ‘Pen’ Farthing is the founder of the Nowzad Dogs Charity.

The 43-year-old has been shortlisted for the International Volunteer Award at this year’s Ceva Animal Welfare Awards, writes Becca Gliddon.

Pen, who learns if he has won next Wednesday, said: “My volunteering role is the best thing I have ever done in my life. I love being able to actually make a difference in animal welfare and I have met some truly amazing, dedicated and supportive people along the way.”

Pen set up the charity’s base in Exmouth after returning from serving as troop sergeant in the Royal Marines in Afghanistan, where in 2006 he rescued several starving and abandoned dogs – despite this being strictly against orders.

He was inspired to start the charity after he saved one dog from a dog fighting ring. He named the dog Nowzad and managed to transport the animal back to the UK.

The dog eventually became the inspiration behind Pen’s Nowzad Dogs Charity, which helps rehome stray dogs in Afghanistan.

To date, Pen and the charity have rescued more than 400 dogs and cats and found them safe homes with soldiers in the west.

His said his main mission was to help the “huge numbers” of animals left to fend for themselves in the war-torn country, where animal welfare is seen of little consequence.

Pen is also responsible for setting up the only officially sanctioned animal rescue shelter and clinic in Afghanistan in 2011. It aims to educate children about animal welfare through school visits.

“Setting up an animal welfare shelter in a war-torn country during the middle of a war has been challenging to say the least, but we could handle it,” said Pen.

“I work with seven local Afghans and one expat over there and we are gradually gaining the full support of all the local residents.

“We’ve even launched a very successful local animal adoption programme.”

l For more information on Nowzad, visit www.nowzad.com.

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