December 8 2022 5:35 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Four Paws vet clinic: Rescuing suffering stray animals

four paws vet clinic
An undated photot of Four Paws’ vet clinic founder and veterinarian Yasmeen Al-Otoom. (Photo: Handout from Yasmeen Al-Otoom)
Shooting of stray dogs makes the news every once in a while, pointing to a possible problem in Jordan. The Four Paws veterinary clinic that works around the clock in Jerash tries to make a more peaceful co-existence between free-roaming animals and citizens possible.اضافة اعلان

The clinic’s founder and veterinarian Yasmeen Al-Otoom remembers one Friday pre-dawn shot near her house in a rural area in Jerash. “Perhaps a police chase,” she thought. It never occurred to her that a stray dog had been viciously shot by a municipality sniper.


Four Paws operates veterinary services such as periodic care, including vaccinations, diagnosing illnesses, treating wounds, prescribing medication, carrying out tests and ultrasound scans, and consulting pet owners about preventive healthcare. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News) 

“The dog did not die immediately, I listened to his half-dead, half-alive, heart-wrenching squeals of pain for an hour until he died. I did not sleep a wink after that and to this day, the sounds of the dying dog echoes in my ears. To take a life, and in such a cruel way, is simply unimaginable and inhumane, and it does not solve the problem. Then, I took it upon myself to lend a hand to those animals so that such a scenario would not occur again,” Otoom told Jordan News.

After Otoom got her doctor of veterinary medicine degree, she started a mobile veterinary clinic which made her realize how many people in Jerash love animals and have pets. In 2020, she, with the help and support of her spouse, launched her private vet practice, Four Paws, with two special programs aimed at rescuing as many stray animals as possible.


Four Paws operates veterinary services such as periodic care, including vaccinations, diagnosing illnesses, treating wounds, prescribing medication, carrying out tests and ultrasound scans, and consulting pet owners about preventive healthcare. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News) 

One program, called “Safe life for humans and strays”, entails raising the Jerash residents’ awareness, in cooperation with Greater Jerash Municipality. Attendees were educated about stray animals, the importance of their presence in preserving ecological balance, and the acts that exacerbate hostility, as well as the sensible ways of dealing with them without antagonizing the animals who tend to protect and sustain themselves.
At our clinic, we spay, neuter, and vaccinate stray animals for free, which is especially important for reducing their population number and preventing the spread of canine diseases to humans.
The “Animal birth control — ABC program” strives to humanely control the number of stray dogs through the application of sterilization and vaccination, so fewer stray dogs repopulate and spread diseases over time, effectively solving the inconvenience stray animals cause in residential areas.

“At our clinic, we spay, neuter, and vaccinate stray animals for free, which is especially important for reducing their population number and preventing the spread of canine diseases to humans. We mark those animals yellow around their ears and then release back into the wilderness. Residents would know what to anticipate if they came across one of these if they are marked. The procedure is known as a TNR (trap-neuter-return) and is the most sustainable and ethical solutions to this problem,” Otoom said.


Four Paws operates veterinary services such as periodic care, including vaccinations, diagnosing illnesses, treating wounds, prescribing medication, carrying out tests and ultrasound scans, and consulting pet owners about preventive healthcare. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News) 

Specifically, rescuing and vaccinating stray dogs can minimize the number of people who catch and die from rabies — which is spread mostly through dog bites. It can also reduce the transmission of other canine diseases, by reducing the prevalence of dog-related injuries. Disease prevention is cost-effective, as it is less expensive than post-exposure treatment.

Four Paws operates veterinary services such as periodic care, including vaccinations, diagnosing illnesses, treating wounds, prescribing medication, carrying out tests and ultrasound scans, and consulting pet owners about preventive healthcare.

“None of this work would have been possible without the fund I received through Oxfam’s project JOin UP, funded by the EU. It enabled me start my clinic, increase the number of equipment and devices in the clinic. Next, we are introducing a new device that is not available anywhere in Jerash except at Four Paws. With Oxfam’s support, more than 500 dogs has been sterilized in the five most affected areas in Jerash,” Otoom said.


Four Paws operates veterinary services such as periodic care, including vaccinations, diagnosing illnesses, treating wounds, prescribing medication, carrying out tests and ultrasound scans, and consulting pet owners about preventive healthcare. (Photos: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News) 

Working in a veterinary clinic comes with its share of difficulties, but the rewards far outweigh the drawbacks. Despite the discouragement she experienced because the job has a reputation for being physically demanding and emotionally draining, she remained committed to finishing her degree, opening her clinic, and succeeding in her field.

Working with animals that are frightened or in pain does not come easy. It takes patience and a warm, welcoming, atmosphere.

The clinic also helped several animal lovers adopt animals, giving them a home.

Otoom aspires to implement her programs in all governorates of Jordan. One day she hopes Four Paws will evolve from a clinic to a multi-branch center, lending a hand to overlooked creatures.

Read more Lifestyle