On Saturday, a video started doing the rounds on social media in the UAE. Captured from a moving car, the clip shows the dramatic moment a delivery driver stopped his bike in order to carry a dog stranded in the middle of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road in Dubai to safety.
The video, captured by TikTok user Silhan Mohideen, has been viewed more than 403,000 times so far, with many asking how they could identify and reward the man for his selfless act.
Some have even posted the video on their own social media. “On behalf of all animal lovers, we need to find this hero and reward him,” said one well wisher.
The modern-day hero has since been identified as Parvez Alam, a delivery man working with technology and logistics company Lyve Global.
The National caught up with Alam, 26, who hails from Kolkata in India. An animal lover, he says he had just completed a routine delivery of medicine for Mediclinic Parkview Hospital, and was on his way to get something to eat when he saw the dog, in the third lane of the busy Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.
“There were cars that were moving very fast all around, so when I saw that, I parked my motorbike and went to help,” he says.
However, when Alam grabbed the scared dog, it bit him several times on his arms and once on his neck.
“Actually I didn’t know it but the dog had injured his leg. When I touched it, he bit me, but I didn’t care. I went back to the motorbike and called my brother who had a car so we could move him.”
The scared dog also bit Alam’s brother, Sadab Ali, twice during the rescue operation.
Despite this, the pair took the dog to Pet Lovers Veterinary Clinic in International City where they paid Dh290 for his treatment. The dog’s leg was bandaged and it was given antibiotics. The bothers also had their wounds cleaned up, and they received rabies and tetanus shots.
Despite the ordeal, they took the dog back to Alam’s home and put out an appeal in search of its owner.
“I knew that it was a pet right away. Once we gave him food and water he was so friendly … to the point where he followed me everywhere and slept on my bed with me that night,” says Alam.
It was later in the evening on the same day that Alam was told the video was going viral. “I have a roommate who is on TikTok who saw the video and told me about it,” he says. “There were people in the comments asking for my number but I told him not to share it.”
The next day, Dubai Municipality got in touch, telling Alam they had found the dog’s owner, thanks to its microchip. He surrendered the animal to the authorities on Monday.
Alam plans on visiting the dog to make sure it is OK and in good hands.
“If, for any reason, they couldn’t find his owner, I'd have been happy to keep him,” he says.
That spirit comes largely from experience. Alam is a self-confessed animal lover, and he has a pet dog in India.
“My family doesn’t like dogs, but I do. When I got him years ago, he was just a puppy, but now he is huge,” Alam says, affectionately. “I call him Scooby.”
Which is why, when he saw the dog on the street, he didn’t hesitate. “He was scared, trying to run around. I could not leave him like that. I had to take him.”