Furrballs, known as Para UAE in the past, is a self-funded rescue group in Dubai founded by Emirati sisters Fatima and Sarah Alzaaki. Last week, it announced it was shutting its doors after more than five years of rescuing animals. The group has a small shelter in Ajman that will stay open until homes are found for all the dogs but will not continue taking in anymore.
The group issued a statement on social media saying that the past two years have been difficult, as a key member of the team departed and they lost their rescue rates with veterinary clinics, plus not enough dogs were being adopted.
Scroll through the gallery above to see which dogs are still in need of a forever home.
“Rescue isn’t a one-man job, nor can you just one day decide to walk away from the animals,” read the post. "In reality there is only so much you can do. So we are making this post to let you know that we are officially stopping rescuing."
Since that was posted, there has been an outpouring of support from the UAE community.
“I would like to thank each and every person that has always been there by our side and made it possible for us to save so many animals," Sarah told The National.
"I would like to thank the families that have opened up their homes and adopted from us, foster parents for opening their hearts and homes and preparing our rescues for their forever homes. I would like to thank the team of volunteers for always helping us with rides for our rescues to our adoption days, and the volunteers that attend our adoption days helping out."
Sarah says shutting down has been on her mind since last April, but that making the decision has been extremely tough.
“My whole life has been dedicated to saving [and] rehabilitating animals. Saving animals is who I am, so leaving this behind is going to leave me purposeless, but emotions aside, I have to be realistic and take every factor into consideration.
“Running a shelter isn’t a one-person operation. It needs a team of committed animal lovers. It needs proper management as any other entity or organisation, and unfortunately this all needs a budget which adoption fees cannot cover.”
Sarah hasn't given up hope that Furrballs could return one day, however, and is exploring various means to cut costs in order to make a comeback.
“Maybe in the future I’ll be able to start again, you never know."