The arrival of Spring and the Iranian New Year was being felt in a small village around Abhar.

It was a few days before the noise of fireworks would not stop.  Children gathered in groups to show off their collection of firecrackers and other fireworks to each other.  When one juvenile created an explosion, he would feel pumped up with pride!

Rahaa lived in that village.  He was afraid of these loud noises and wished he could take refuge to a safe corner.  Hunger didn’t allow him to be away from humans for too long!

The last Wednesday before the Spring equinox (when Persians traditionally celebrated by lighting fire and jumping over it), the noises got more frequent and louder. Rahaa first thought let’s ignore the hunger and stay safe, but eventually, he gave in and went to look for a few morsels of food.

When he gained consciousness, it was daytime.  He was in searing pain!  His mouth and his throat had burnt.  His jaws have fused together, and he could not open his mouth.   Half the skin that covered his snout was gone, his strong teeth and his gums were showing through…His left eye was blinded.

From afar, the villagers could see Rahaa wondering around silently and unable to eat or even drink.

No one knew how this happened! Did a few wicked kids force the combustible material in his mouth?  Or did hunger make him take a package and it ended up exploding in his mouth?!

One month passed until a Vafa volunteer by chance passed by that remote village and took Rahaa with him to the shelter.

Rahaa was skin and bones.  Everyone was trying to care for him and to feed him in every possible way.  The shelter vet could not do much, the restoration needed a highly specialized procedure.  Rahaa’s case was reviewed by a sanctuary in the USA. Raha had a long journey ahead of him. He first arrived to Toronto, then flew to Minnesota and was transferred to “Home for Life” sanctuary.

He was examined and underwent several surgeries.  The scar tissues inside his mouth were removed.  The damaged jaws were restored so that he was able to open his mouth again.  Rahaa was given a second chance in life.

His latest photo taken with the famous conservationist, Jane Goodall. The photo shows how healthy and strong he has become.

Many good people participated in this rescue case.

Anonymous heroes who do not remain indifferent when they see pain and suffering of animals and helped courageously.

Would you be one of these people?


Fatemeh Motamedi


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