News | April 14, 2021

Volunteering at Bahrain’s animal shelter

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

The Persian donkey’s origins are a mystery. Pale as the color of the Bahrain sand, the donkey has no name but loves apples.

Grooming the beloved donkey, walking dogs and playing with kittens brightens the lives of not only the sheltered animals but also the Defense Logistics Agency Energy Middle East team who volunteer at the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  

Army Lt. Col. Kristyn Felix is the chief of Supplier Operations for DLA Energy Middle East. She has been volunteering at the BSPCA shelter for two months. SPCAs are a common name for non-profit animal welfare organizations around the world. The local Bahrain shelter is home to a mixture of 40-50 animals that have been surrendered or found in the island kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf.

“I love animals,” Felix said. “I have a rescue cat at home, Bruno, that I miss, and being with animals on a weekly basis in a way makes up for it.”  

Inspired by Felix’s activities, five of her colleagues also volunteered. Chief of Customer Operations Army Lt. Col. Justin Darnell, Petroleum Operations Officer Army Reserve Maj. Frank Parillo, Petroleum Operations Officers Army Reserve Capt. Demetrios Rocco and Air Force Capt. Michael Tannen, and Quality Assurance Representative Army Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Grace.

“I’ve been going to the BSCPA on a weekly basis to be outside and help some lonely animals. I walk 2-3 dogs every time I visit,” Felix said. “It’s a great way to start the weekend.”

Volunteering is a favorite activity of DLA Energy Middle East employees stationed in Bahrain.

“I also strongly believe in helping where I can,” Felix said. “I’ve been doing beach clean ups with a group here for a few months. When that stopped, volunteering at the BSCPA was another great opportunity.”

Each year Bahrain holds an annual donkey race. It's possible the donkey may have been a participant.  

“I don’t know his name but since I’ve been volunteering, he has been there,” Felix said. “I started bringing him apples, which he loves. I just bought some grooming brushes to help with his coat.”  

“I plan on having another volunteer event in May after Ramadan,” Felix said.     

The BSPCA was established in 1979 by a small group of committed and passionate animal lovers. The Society was officially registered by the Bahrain Ministry of Labor as a humane, charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals. According to the agency’s website, the BSPCA is run by a dedicated group of volunteers and receives no official funding whatsoever. The Society depends on the generosity of the public for its funds as well as monies generated by the Thrift Shop.