We are a family of 11 (mama, daddy, toddler, baby, 3 bunnies, 2 dogs, and 2 cats). My spouse and I met in London, England when we were both completing our PhDs. We adopted our kittens, Caesar and Jax, in 2014 and our bunnies in 2021 and our Egyptian Baladi dog & Manitoba-rescue dog in 2021. Don't Furry, Be Happy has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. My long-term goal is to open a sanctuary for rescue animals & combine my field of study (Child Psychology and Development) with my passion (Don't Furry, Be Happy). My spouse's PhD was in the field of Toxicology with a focus on the Diet and the development of Prostate Cancer.
Who am I?
I am Dr. Donia Heider and I am Canadian born & raised. Mother of two boys & fur mama to many. I have a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Child Psychology and a PhD in Psychology (focussing on the impact of divorce on attachment and child development). My passions include: Netflix, Superheroes, Fantasy/Sci Fi, Poetry, Crafting, Photography & of course, ANIMAL WELFARE. I have lived in many places, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt & England. My ethnic background is Egyptian and so I know first-hand the devastating state in which animals live on the streets in places like Egypt (and Saudi Arabia). The cats are everywhere, in garbage dumpsters, eating out of the bins and living on the streets whilst facing abuse, neglect, and violence. The dogs are treated even worse. Dogs are thrown from roof tops, sexually abused, physically abused, abandoned for no reason at all, and most of the lucky ones are kept in shelters for their whole lives. I grew up knowing that they needed to experience love, care, and compassion, which in many cases is only possible through overseas adoptions. This is why, with my ethnic background, experience, and fluency in the language, I am well-suited to communicate, plan, and process the adoption of animals in need from places like Egypt.
How this dream started...
When I was about 8 years old, living in Saudi Arabia where we relocated for my father's job, and attending an all-girls' school, I found a kitten behind the water fountain (no doubt trying to stay cool in over 40 degree heat), I quickly put her in my backpack and went to catch my ride home. We also had our beautiful Canadian family cat Cairo, with us at the time. Anyway, I brought this kitten home, unloaded her into my bedroom and closed the door, I still remember to this day how smitten I was with her (unbeknownst to me that she had no fur on one side of her body, a disease I now know was Mange). I would wait until everyone was asleep and I'd take her out into the kitchen and let her eat from Cairo's bowl of food and have a drink of water. I carried this on for about three days. On the third day Cairo started losing some fur around his mouth and my mother was getting worried, she kept asking if anyone else noticed his fur loss too, I started to feel extremely guilty and spoke up. My parents told me that the kitten had a disease and she had infected Cairo, too. I was devastated that we had to give her up but I knew right then and there what I needed to do. As a kid I had no control over which animals stayed in our home and which didn't, and I shouted at my mother, whilst tears poured down my face, "One day when I grow up I am going to save all the kittens in the world and let them all live with me!", she just smiled, as if to say, "Well, we'll just have to see, won't we."
How this dream is going...
I officially started my rescue mission in May 2021 and hope to expand my reach domestically and internationally. I have rescued over 400 dogs, cats, and small animals so far! I know I'll have my hands full ironing out any kinks that appear and learning from the many mistakes I am bound to make along the way! For more info on how our international adoption program works please visit our FAQ page.
**Right now, we need YOU to help build our foster network so we can start saving more beautiful lives**
Please donate any amount you can - every little bit helps an animal in need and helps us do what we need to do to save them from a horrible fate.