Located in Sakkara, Unleashed is a dog shelter that trains its rescues to help them find their forever homes.
“I’ve learnt more living with these dogs in the past four years than I have in my entire life living with people,” says Unleashed founder, Sally Yassin. Launched in 2015, the Sakkara-based dog shelter aims to rescue, rehabilitate and train both stray and abused dogs. When Yassin first built the dog sanctuary, her vision was to not only establish the facility, but to continuously maintain the quality of services given to the dogs that come under her care. Joined by Nour El Desouky in 2018, the pair strives to fulfill Unleashed's goals.
One of the steps Yassin takes to ensure that Unleashed's objectives are kept is to maintain the shelter at a certain capacity to guarantee that each dog gets the attention and specialised care they need. Equipped with a specialised team, as well as an on-site trainer who teaches the dogs basic commands, Unleashed doesn’t believe that rehabilitation simply ends with a stay at a safe house or the treatment of their physical ailments.
“Over here, we believe it’s not just about taking them off the streets and making them avoid the kind of harm they’d be subjected to otherwise," Yassin tells CairoScene. "We believe in the second part of their journey as well, which is actually increasing their prospects of finding a forever home in Egypt. Once we're done treating the dogs, our trainer starts working with them and teaches them the basics. So, for example, the team works on getting them to accept being put on a leash - which for a stray or abused dog - can be a horrific experience. We teach them how to accept water on their bodies and then, with some dogs, we'll even begin teaching them a few tricks."
Sally Yassin (L) and Nour El Desouky (R)
Divided into a series of kennels with doors painted in bright colours, Unleashed affords its dogs a space to live as comfortable as possible, with each kennel getting its turn at 'play-time' throughout the day.
"There's something about going through this journey with these dogs," Yassin explains. "They've taught me so much about mercy, about love and about patience."
Over the years, Yassin has seen cases of all sorts pass through the doors of Unleashed. Some dogs have been severely abused as bait in dog fights, while others were simply abandoned by their owners. But Yassin and El Desouky's hard work quickly pays dividends; Unleashed manages to see one dog adopted to a loving home per month, on average.
"I've seen dogs that should not have made it through, dogs that should not have survived, but they did. These dogs are now the most playful dogs, and they're giving our kennel the energy it needs. My dogs have given me a reason to believe in miracles."
Video and photography by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions