Stray dogs feel home when sanitation worker around

Caption: (Photos: Rula Samain/Jordan News)
Abu Laila, a sanitation worker, feeds a Canaan stray dog, a familiar morning scene in Bader Al-Jadidah area northwest Amman (Photo: Rula Samain/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Although known only to few, Abu Laila, a sanitation worker, is keeper and caretaker to half-a-dozen or more local Canaan dogs residing on the outskirts of Amman.اضافة اعلان

Abu Laila has worked in the Bader Al-Jadidah area for over 20 years, making friends not only with the residents, but also the animals dwelling there. He told Jordan News that with time, friends from the neighborhood become like family and believes that the Canaan dogs who follow him everywhere have become his responsibility. 

Canaan dogs are a staple of Jordan. The ancient breed was historically used by Bedouins to guard their camps. But today, many of those dogs are strays that hunt for scraps around Amman and other cities.

Abu Laila shares what little income he has with the dogs. Sometimes he collects chicken and bones leftover from butcher shops; other times he buys tuna cans or cooked meat, to share with the canines.  Many times, the shop owners join, bringing with them hot tea.

 “A few years back, I was doing my job cleaning the streets when a reckless driver hit one of the dogs and simply took off. As heartless as the driver was, the car behind the hit-and-run stopped, and out came a lady who carried the badly injured dog in her car, heading to the nearest veterinarian clinic,” Abu Laila recalled.

Later, the same woman told him that the animal was safe, and that she adopted it.

 “Sadly in our culture it’s not common to show affection to homeless animals especially cats and dogs,” Abu Laila said. “Some mistake affection with weakness, forgetting that these creatures are God’s creation as well,” he explained.

The dogs wait for him every morning at the spot where his cab drops him off, and together they walk along, pursuing the area where he works.

“I look in their eyes and feel that each dog has a story, just like us, humans, and incredibly, each one has an independent personality – God is truly great.”

As a child, Abu Laila never had a dog, or any sort of pet. But he always felt sympathetic towards all the helpless and peaceful animals.

While the Jordan News was interviewing Abu Laila, two shop owners approached to speak affectionately about what the cleaner taught them about loving animals. One said that Abu Laila “is indeed a rare man to find.” 

A father to four daughters, and soon to be a grandfather for the first time, Abu Laila vowed to teach his grandchild to be kind to all creatures, especially vulnerable animals. He believes that “in teaching animal love, I am actually teaching to cherish life.”

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