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Il gattaro D'aleppo

Il gattaro D'aleppo is Italian for The Cat Man of Aleppo.  The Cat Man of Aleppo is a man named Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel.  He is a resident of Aleppo and the caretaker of cats, dogs and even some tigers and bears.

I first became of aware of him during the autumn of 2016.  He was running a cat shelter in Aleppo called The House of Cats Ernesto.  There were hundreds of cats, and a few dogs, that had been left behind by those fleeing war torn Syria.  At the time I discovered this man and his cause, Aleppo was under siege and tragically his animal shelter was eventually bombed as well.  On November 26, 2016 I wrote the following to deal with my feelings about Alaa and his shelter.  I did send him a copy because Aleppo was being captured and I was afraid he might not live.  If that was the case, I wanted him to know how I and I'm sure thousands of people feel about the work he has done and continues to do in earnest. 

As things in Syria became worse and worse I often worried about the children. Children living in the country and scattered around the world as refugees, living in tragic conditions, that no human should ever have to endure. I worried about their present state but I also worried about their future. If they survived, what would their lives be like in 15 or 20 years?  If a child does not grow up feeling safe and secure it can have profound detrimental effects on their future. If they hadn't known kindness or joy would they be able to give and receive these things as adults?  Would they be able to love others? Would they be able to love themselves?

And then I learned about Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel and the House of Cats Ernesto. A man was risking everything to care for hundreds of cats. To some people this may seem like nothing of importance. But in showing love to these animals he was showing love to the children around him and to countless people around the world. There are children who see Alaa today and I think they will grow up to be adults and they will know what it means to give and receive kindness and joy. They will know what love means. Despite all of the horrible things they have experienced they will have hope and they will know that it is possible to grow up and be good and strong and to take care of others.

So many things in this world will not last. Things are destroyed. Unfortunately lives are lost. But love never dies. And the heartfelt lessons from Alaa will always survive and will always prevail throughout the generations.

Alaa did survive the siege of his city.  And eventually moved with so many others to a refugee camp in Turkey, but very soon he returned to his beloved Syria and has already established a new animal shelter called Ernesto Paradise.  

Slowly cats are coming to the shelter and Alaa and his team are fattening them up and getting them healthy.  He has also adopted dogs around they city, mothers with newborn puppies.  Spring has arrived and we know that so many kittens and puppies will be in need.  Most recently he has started caring for the remaining animals of the Aleppo zoo.  They are weak and hungry.  Some have died of starvation.  

Alaa is able to do the work he does because first of all, he is a resourceful person and blessings seem to follow him wherever he goes.  Also there is an Italian woman of Lebanese descent named Alessandra Abidin who helps him communicate with the world outside Syria, and helps to mobilize resources and obtain funding.  Ernesto Paradise is funded by a relatively small group of people from around the world who have seen the miracles Alaa has done and know that anything they donate will be used properly and will directly help those most in need.  

I will continue to maintain this page with pertinent links and information about Alaa.

Nobel Peace Prize to Alaa

If you would like to help, please contact Alessandra Abidin.  

The Dodo's featured articles about The Cat Man of Aleppo


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