Memoirs tell horror of Middle East animal care

A woman, who was born and bred near Horsham, has published her memoirs raising awareness of animal welfare in the Middle East.

Charlotte Smith, 52, was born in Rudgwick and spent years living in and around Horsham with her husband Nick.

Nick, 57, works in the property industry and Charlotte worked in the art department at Farlington School.

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But the couple, who have three adult children, found their life changed dramatically in 2006 when Nick was offered work in Oman.

Over their seven-year stay, they met challenges including cyclones, earthquakes and cultural differences, but the focus of Charlotte’s book called Paw Prints in Oman is her work at a veterinary practice.

She said: “Animal welfare doesn’t really exist in Oman. Pain and suffering is visible on every street and the police shoot stray dogs often leaving litters of puppies orphaned.

“My former boss was spending in excess of £40,000 a year on animal welfare - rehoming (often abroad), treating sick strays and most importantly neutering.

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“She is desperately trying to get the government on side to support a widespread neutering programme. After all, sick animals on every street corner is not so good for the tourism industry that Oman are trying to build up.”

The couple returned to Warnham in June last year along with a dog and two cats rescued from Oman. Another Omani rescue cat joined us in October last year. The couple now live in southern Spain.

In a review, family friend and writer Bridget Cordy wrote: “These memoirs of the Smith family’s seven years in Muscat share lots of short anecdotes, from cars getting stuck in the desert and the trials of bureaucracy or even the weekly shop, through to the stunning scenery and their trips to nearby Beirut and Dubai.

“Missing her wider family and friends in the UK and reluctant to fully embrace ‘expat life’, Charlotte really shows a passion for the animals in Oman.

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“The pace picks up whenever the book focuses on her work at the vets, where she helps out with the rehoming of hundreds of stray cats and dogs and has plenty of little stories to tell about the staff, their assorted clients and even more assorted pets.

“Written with a light and often humorous touch, Paw Prints in Oman is an easy read about a life lived (at least in part) elsewhere.”