Freshta Siddiqui has always been an animal lover with a soft spot for those most in need. About three years ago, she heard a puppy crying so loud that his cries filled her entire garden. Freshta ran outside her house and found kids brutally stoning the tiny puppy. She immediately stopped the children and brought the dog inside. Her mother named him Lucky. And he quickly became a part of the family, warning them against dangers like scorpions that had entered the home and charming them into giving him human food as treats.
But Lucky was not the only animal Freshta rescued; she also saved Leo. Freshta saw a young girl carrying a crying newborn kitten and asked where she was taking him, and the young girl replied, “I’m throwing it away in the garbage at the end of the street.” The kitten was an orphan, and the girl’s family did not want to care for him. Freshta took him in, feeding him milk with her pinky because he was too tiny to drink from a syringe.
Freshta had a beautiful life in Afghanistan with her parents, aunt, and beautiful boys, Lucky and Leo. But shortly after the Taliban took over, it all changed. Freshta Siddiqui, a women’s rights activist, quickly became a target. She had lost her father and aunt, leaving her and her mother without a male guardian or the support of other relatives. Staying in Afghanistan became increasingly more dangerous.
At around 10 PM one night, Lucky began loudly barking. Leo joined meowing. Freshta was startled by their unusual behavior. She knew something was terribly wrong, and so she checked the garden. The Taliban was trying to enter her home. Freshta ran and, for months, continued running.
Freshta and her mother fled Afghanistan, leaving Lucky and Leo in the care of the veterinary clinic she frequently visited, Kabul Small Animal Rescue. As much as it broke her heart to part from her boys, Freshta knew it was the only way to keep them safe. And in early February 2022, Lucky and Leo embarked on a plane evacuating 286 animals from Afghanistan to Canada, a joint rescue mission funded by SPCA International.
For months, Freshta tried to make her way to Canada. In the meantime, Leo stayed with Freshta’s friends in Canada, and Lucky was sent to a foster home in Portland, Oregon. Once Freshta and her mom finally arrived in Canada and secured a dog-friendly home, we rushed to reunite this special family.
“I’m filled with this overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude,” said Freshta as she waited in the park to reunite with Lucky. The moment she saw him, the two ran toward each other. After a very difficult year, Freshta and Lucky were reunited. It was an emotional reunion that none of us will ever forget and are honored to have been a part of.