After a week of hard work in Serbia we are ready to tell you all about it. The dogs we’ve met, fallen in love with, our foster-dog and of course the improvements that have been made.
First, I would like to say Thank You to all the generous donators. Together with Nobletails we have collected over £1000 that we were able to spend on Jalena’s Shelter in Nis and contribute towards new fencing for Goran’s Shelter in Belgrade.
Secondly, we are happy to announce 2 of the volunteers fell in love with 2 dogs and they will be adopting them!
Sophia could not let Babs sit around, an adorable pup that… well…. You just can’t help but cuddle him the moment you see him.
Justyna fell in love with Joy. A beautiful girl with some problematic teeth. Nevertheless, she surely honours her name!
We are also getting a new foster dog! Benji.
But we will tell you all about Benji in another blog. Be prepared!
We have now finished all of the flooring in the dog cages. So the dogs do not have to worry anymore about sitting in the mud, as stone has been laid out through all the enclosures.
We also repaired the fencing wherever needed. Because of the harsh and rather extreme weather-conditions in Serbia the pens get quite some stuff to endure!
This causes the pens to degrade and some of the walls may start to rot.
Hence it was time to make some improvements and replace some of the walls.
With the improvements we have made we have finished all the important improvements we have been planning to make over the past 4 years.
And as such I would like to sum up the situations as in how it was before, and after our group of volunteers started to help out on a yearly basis.
When the shelter was just set up. They were being overloaded with dogs, and the numbers quickly went up to as much as 400.
Since it was a fairly new shelter, there were no funds to properly feed the dogs and they used to live on bread made into a broth with condemned meat from the local butcher.
As there were no funds, of course this also brought many issues for the hygiene in the living areas. The dogs were standing in mud and feces. For a shelter that wanted to try so hard to make the lives of these stray-dogs better this was a terrible reality to be in.
There were not enough volunteers and there was not enough personnel to help clean up after the dogs and keep the place hygienic. Which of course could lead to serious illness.
The dogs had barely any shelter form the harsh weather conditions in Serbia.
Which made for both terrible summers and winters.
If that was not terrible enough yet... they felt like they could not even keep the dogs save from harm from outsiders. For example, puppies were running around freely, and it worked out GREAT.
However, apparently there were some passerby's that didn't like the puppies greeting them at the fences and they poisoned the poor things. It was absolutely heart-breaking.
At the time, a few people trying to make things better were incredibly overloaded. Barely any dog got rehomed. No proper food. No personnel. No dogs were being walked. Not even safety!
Determined as they were, they could not let this go. They set up the shelter and got 400 dogs off the street, as bad as the conditions were they knew they could not give up and they set up a plan. The word spread and fund-raising became effective.
They learned people were willing to help and this is where it started to change.
Money came in, volunteers started... volunteering... ;)
Quickly things started to change for the 400 dogs living at the shelter.
Insulated dog houses were being build, donated, bought, and places around the shelter.
Proper enclosures were being constructed for the dogs.
To secure them from both outsiders and sometimes from each other.
Even a special puppy-run was being build! A 50 x 15 enclosure secured from outsiders, where the volunteers could check beforehand for strange objects to be sure it was safe for the puppies to run around, play, socialize and grow up.
Flooring has been installed now in ALL enclosures. Which means no more muddy paws for the pooches.
As fundraising got more effective they were able to hire a few employees to be there every day. Able to pay for the rather expensive medical costs. Proper food. And of course... they were able to re-homed in the UK!
Dogs are currently being re-homed at a relatively fast pace. Roughly 12 dogs are being adopted every month!
With this slowly the number of dogs living in the shelter is decreasing.
Which makes it more spacious for the remaining pooches and makes it easier to provide better care for every single one of them.
The target is to drop to 250 dogs, so there still are quite a few to be rehomed! Because of course with every dog that gets rehomed, another one gets brought in at the shelter.
However, with a positive outlook for the future. We believe SFP is able to reach this target.
As I am writing this, I'm personally growing even more admiration for every single one of the volunteers giving their time to better the lives of these dogs as well as for every single donator making a change.
Would you help them?
Want to volunteer in Serbia for a week or longer? Want to donate? Foster a dog or would you like to adopt? Then by all means check out their website!