From humble beginnings as a hospital for ex-warhorses in a dusty Cairo street founded in 1934, the Brooke has become the leading international welfare charity for working equine welfare.
On arrival in Egypt in 1930, Dorothy Brooke was horrified to see hundreds of emaciated horses being used as beasts of burden on the streets of Cairo. The wife of a British army major general, Dorothy Brooke was appalled to learn that these walking skeletons were ex-warhorses of the British, Australian and American forces.
All of the horses had seen service in the First World War,
but when the conflict ended in 1918, they were sold into a life of hard labor in Cairo.
Dorothy Brooke, with the help of donors, bought 5,000 of these ex-warhorses. Most were old and in the final stages of collapse, and had to be humanely put down. But, thanks to her compassion and tenacity, all of them ended their lives peacefully. But she knew that her work could not end there while thousands of horses, donkeys and mules still suffered.
In 1934, Dorothy Brooke founded the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, with the promise of free veterinary care for all the city’s working horses and donkeys and the Brooke Hospital for Animals was born. Today, the organization named in her honor has expanded into 11 countries and has reached tens of millions of animals and the people who depend on them.