Playground hope for pet therapy

Il Gattaro D'aleppo Animals

The story

Dear friends of Il Gattaro,

Remember the time when we asked you for funds to finance the first stage of the construction of Ernesto’s Paradise? Since then we have seen wonderful things happen. We were able to open the children’s playground Hope, we have seen the cats, along with some new families of kittens, settling into the house of Ernesto and we were fortunate enough to find our wonderful vet Dr Youssef - who not only cares for the well-being of our cats, dogs and monkeys but already has been able to help animals that belong to the local people - like the wounded dogs and of course to strays like our beautiful Max. All this is possible only because you were generous enough to donate to our first appeal.

Now the time has come to finish the project. As much as we have achieved until now, we face a lot that still needs to be done.

Construction costs

First, there are still bills for the construction of the building that we couldn’t pay after the last appeal. Alaa took a loan from a friend to be able to pay the outstanding bills and move on with the construction. We urgently need to pay this loan back now. We want to move ahead with out any outstanding debts. Furthermore, many rooms in the building are still empty. We need to furnish them to be able to start with our pet therapy programme.

Animals: clinic and food

Next to that, we need 2000-5000 euros to be able to buy an ultrasound scanning machine for Dr Youssef. There is a second hand one available at the moment and it would allow him to improve his diagnostic possibilities. With an ultrasound, not only can the pregnant cats be monitored better but it would also allow our vet to create images of an animal’s internal parts. Veterinary ultrasound can be used to examine multiple areas of the body, including the muscles, tendons, internal organs, and other tissues without having to performing any invasive surgery. Having such a technique available would make life more easy, for DrYoussef and for our animals.

For the clinic, we also need to buy medication: antibiotics, anaesthetics, vitamins etc etc. This is a constant cost and a constant drain on our bank account. As we told you before, all medication needs to be bought on the black market and the prices are therefore sky high. We also face the continuous rising of food costs. Also food is only available on the black market and costs of it are ever spiralling. Our food bills are running into 3 figure numbers every day now.

You saw our monkeys of course! Their cage is a lot better than the horrible tiny bird cage they arrived in but we want to give them more room to move. They should have a more natural living habitat and their lives should be enriched by opportunities to play and show their natural behaviour.

Let’s not forget about the dogs….. Hope needs his own house and the puppies are still living on a plot of land next to Ernestos. They need better housing too.


Remember the happy smiles on the faces of the children during the inauguration of the playground? Alaa wants to keep organising such parties and give small presents to the visitors of the playground. It is often one of the only opportunities these children have to forget about the war and the traumas and displacement that they suffered

We have several bids out for funding to various organisations and charities but as yet no one has got back to us or confirmed that they are willing to help.

This is becoming a huge worry for us and for Alaa and Dr Youssef. Therefore we ask you to give generously one more time. Please don’t think that we are now such a large group that your donation, as small as it may be, doesn’t matter. It does! The danger of fundraising in a large group is that all members think the other members will donate. In that case, no money will be raised…… So please, dig as deep as you can and help us to pay our debt, to continue with the pet therapy for children, to care for all our animals as good as possible and be as self sufficient as we can possibly be. Please don’t forget that many small donations can add up to a wonderful sum.

Some good news we have for you is that our friends Syrian Charity ( the organisation that Alaa works for as an ambulance man and first responder) have asked permission to run a clinic for people from a room at our Garden of Hope and will enter into a joint venture with Il Gattaro. This is amazing news for the people in the surrounding countryside. Syria Charity also want to build an underground room at the Garden of Hope. All hospitals in Syria now have such an underground area available. Of course we hope we won’t need it but should bombing start again they will still have a safe place to operate and ensure that they can still save lives. Syria Charity will pay all the bills for running the clinic, including employing doctors and auxilliary staff. We are certain that it will work hand in hand with our Pet Therapy for Children plans and offer medical treatment to some of the orphans and the people living in the refugee camps and surrounding area. It can only be beneficial and enhance the services that Syria Charity and Il Gattaro can offer .

So, once again, dear group, dear friends, we are here asking for you to help us. We are trying to raise in the region of 20,000 euros. We know this is a lot of money again - but this should enable us to finish plans and move ahead into the future.

Thank you for reading this appeal.