Article revised February 23, 2019
More than 1,100 dogs at three big rescue centers need your help.
Please consider donating to keep things moving through their Crowd Funding Page
There’s a saying about dogs that rings true for dog owners everywhere: If you want loyalty, get a dog! And it is no accident that we think of dogs as “man’s best friend.” The problem is the sheer number of homeless dogs roaming the planet, and the unhappy task of having to euthanize millions of unwanted animals every year.
The World Animal Awareness Society reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are 200,000,000 to 600,000,000 stray dogs and cats worldwide.
Aside from the humane issues, the health issues are enormous. But let’s save that for a rainy day, and focus on the possibilities that are available to us here and now.
I’m Only One Person – What Can I Do?
Let us acknowledge that one person can change the world for good, and alter the course of human events and history by taking the dog by the proverbial tail. This is a brief glimpse into the boundless love of one such person, Sasa Pesic.
Several years ago, the unemployed Pesic went for a walk in the woods and found four stray puppies. Unable to just walk away, he took the pups home, and unknowingly stepped on a path that would carry him forward to become an advocate for stray dogs. In 2010 Sasa built a sanctuary shelter at a rent-free, unused equestrian stable in his hometown of Nis, Southern Serbia.
Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished!
City Officials stepped in claiming the property belonged to them, not the kind man who offered the space for the sanctuary, and that Pesic and the dogs had to go. Advocates and animal rights groups were suddenly on board and delivered a petition with tens of thousands of signatures in support of the sanctuary. The city backed down, and agreed to help find a suitable new home for the project. After all – they don’t want a bunch of stray dogs roaming the streets, biting officials!
Aside from the normal everyday care and feeding of the dogs, one of the missions is to find loving homes for them. To date, nearly 1,000 pups have been adopted, opening the door for other strays to be brought into the sanctuary.
Each dog has a proper name, is spayed or neutered, micro-chipped, and current on their vaccinations. No worries, everyone has a warm, dry, and safe bed every night. These pups are loved. The only serious downside to such an enormous project always comes down to the costs of keeping the dream alive.
How Can We Help?
No one I know really wants to be an activist. The work is always grueling, heartbreaking, and invariably a labor of love. That said, Pesic estimates that the bare-bones cost of keeping his all-volunteer facility functioning is about $6,000 per month.
Serbia is a long way from most of us but the sweetest part of love is that it can literally wrap around the world and give us all the lift and collective hug we need everyday.
If you would like to chip in, the sanctuary has a crowdfunding page. You can also watch Sasa Pesic save a dog stranded on a river island. If nothing else we can simply send our own Love Wave around the world to remind ourselves that Love is the Answer.
Carmen Allgood © March 2016
Images: AFP Ajdrej Isakovic – Thank you!