Stray dogs caught in Iraq conflict brought to UK and now need homes

Give a war dog a home! Strays caught up in Iraq conflict were brought to Britain… and now they need loving families to take them in

  • Roby, Romea, Stevie, Little Bea and Hope were taken in at a shelter in Iraq 
  • But IS rocket destroyed the premises in February, leaving them homeless again
  • Two British charities joined forces to fund an operation to bring them to the UK 

They were found emaciated and wounded on the streets of Erbil in war-torn Iraq, where summer temperatures regularly hit 50C and Islamic State bombs are a constant threat.

Today, five dogs rescued from the Middle East find themselves in altogether more relaxing surroundings after being transported 3,000 miles to the Welsh countryside – where they are looking for new homes.

Roby, Romea, Stevie, Little Bea and Hope were taken in at a shelter in Iraq after they were found wandering between traffic. 

But when an IS rocket attack destroyed the premises in February they were left homeless once again. 

It sparked an operation requiring military precision as two British charities joined forces to raise thousands of pounds to bring the dogs to the UK.

Five dogs rescued from the Middle East have been transported 3,000 miles to the Welsh countryside – where they are looking for new homes. Pictured left to right: Romea, Stevie, Hope, Roby and Little Bea

They were taken to a shelter near Erbil airport by a charity set up by veteran Louise Hastie, 48, who settled in Iraq after serving there with the Army. 

She now runs the charity, War Paws, from the West Midlands.

Miss Hastie has teamed up with Sylvia Van Atta, of the Many Tears charity, based in Llanelli.

Miss Van Atta, 62, helped raise £10,000 while Miss Hastie, a former logistics lance corporal, devised the journey – a cargo flight to Lebanon, then a flight to France before a trip via the Channel Tunnel to Britain and the safety of Carmarthenshire.

Miss Hastie, who began rescuing pets while still a soldier – earning her the nickname the ‘Baghdad cat lady’ – said: ‘Failure was not an option.’ 

Abandoned: Stray dogs roam streets in Fallujah, near Baghdad, Iraq

The dogs, some who were found with broken bones and even shrapnel wounds, are now recovering well and it is hoped they can be rehomed. 

Miss Hastie added: ‘They now have a chance to have a really nice life.’

Miss Van Atta, who is taking care of the dogs in Wales, added: ‘It’s great to see them all finally arrive here. 

‘But it’s also so sad when you hear their stories. They’ve been through hell.’

The hounds that came through hell 


Described as a ‘walking miracle’, the one-year-old German shepherd was found with a cable around her neck. 

As she grew, it sliced through her skin and into her windpipe. 

She required emergency surgery and five months of wound care. 

She has forged a close bond with Stevie.


A ‘gentle giant’, Stevie is blind and was frequently attacked by other animals in Erbil. 

Now 110lbs, the kangal shepherd was ‘skin and bone’ when he was discovered, and may have been previously hit by a car. 

The breed has been used in Turkey as a protection dog, but Miss Hastie said Stevie ‘loves to be around people.’


A three-year-old saluki. 

The breed is popular in the Middle East but they are often left to run feral on the streets of Iraq. 

She was found with badly cut ears and an illness. 

She had a foster family in Iraq so has had some training.

Little Bea

She was so neglected that the shelter staff who discovered her didn’t realise she was a dog at first. 

She had no fur and had succumbed to mange. The three-year-old terrier had been used for breeding but was thrown out.


A pure-bred saluki. The three-year-old was abandoned by her owners and lost four puppies. 

She was found malnourished but has gained weight and, while shy and reserved, would make a wonderful pet. Miss Hastie said she is ‘beautiful and laid-back.’

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