The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats and sometimes would mummify deceased pet dogs, burying them with their owners, or on occasion giving them their own individual coffins.
Modern Egypt isn't quite so attentive to man's best friend. In a country of around 80 million there are only a handful of animal rescue organizations and the government is poisoning street dogs as a means of controlling the population.
Gordy is a four-year old Egyptian street dog who has, happily, escaped that fate. He was abandoned in Cairo this fall and spent five days patiently waiting in the same spot downtown where he was dumped. Every day he carefully watched everyone who came by, looking for his former family to come back and get him.
Fed on occasion by kindly soldiers and citizens who saw him standing there night and day, he was finally rescued by The Egyptian Society for Mercy To Animals (ESMA), a non-profit dedicated to helping homeless pets and wildlife in a society that very often considers such animals to be disposable.
So far, so good for Gordy, a good-natured, handsome Husky-Shepherd mix with a deformed paw.
Still, how did he get to Georgia?
Enter Tanya Mahrous Tobias, co-founder with her husband Toby of Second Life, a popular resale shop in Avondale Estates that benefits animal welfare and rescue in the area.
Tobias, a fresh-faced Midwesterner with Egyptian heritage and a big heart, visits family and friends in Egypt a few times per year. When she does, she tries to visit and help animals in need.
She's brought back several homeless dogs from Egypt and put them up for adoption. When she saw Gordy at ESMA's shelter in October, she knew she had to help him.
"I knew that with that deformed paw, he wouldn't have a shot at adoption in Egypt," Tobias says, hastening to add that the paw really isn't a problem since Gordy can run and jump perfectly well.
Tobias informs that shelter pet adoptions are not the norm in Egypt and few animals get adopted to new homes. Most pet adoptions in Egypt are of purebred animals. Mixed breeds like Gordy seldom get noticed or picked.
So she brought him to Atlanta and Royal Potcake Rescue, an organization that sometimes holds adoption events at Second Life, has put Gordy up for adoption through their rescue.
"Royal Potcake Rescue has been so helpful," Tobias says, "and we are thankful for their support."
Tobias, who describes Gordy as "goofy" and "a teddy bear," says the former Cairo street dog loves people, is great with other dogs, could share a home with cats and simply adores riding in the car and going for walks.
She wrote in a recent e-newsletter from Second Life: "He's looking for a home for the holidays. Is it yours?"
To find out more information about Gordy or to submit an application to adopt him, contact: email@example.com. To find out how to help Second Life support animal welfare in Atlanta, go to their website or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about the Egyptian Society for Mercy To Animals go to their website. Go here to donate to ESMA from the United States.