Meet Lela. We’re using only her first name because she is in a public service job in the mountain village of Hreša, located near Sarajevo in Bosnia. She’s in the very delicate position of needing to ‘fly under the radar’ in her efforts to bring care to 80 dogs at the public pound.
The only food provided to the dogs is stale, sometimes moldy bread. There are a few workers at the shelter but they rarely feed or clean the dogs. They simply don’t have empathy. And with no real oversight and a municipal view that the dogs are an inconvenient series of items to be warehoused, Lela must be diplomatic if she’s going to continue to receive access to this pound. She is truly as warm as the sun itself to these unfortunate dogs as she single-handedly brings them comfort.
“Sometimes 80 dogs are looking forward to seeing me,” said Lela who donates 9 to 10 hours each weekend day to care for the dogs (plus whatever she can spare during the week). “They’re waiting patiently for me. Even the most aggressive dogs soften up and begin to love me after a few visits. I’m at my happiest when their bellies are full, and they are all happy and healthy. There is a feeling of fulfilment when 80 small heads know that I will do anything for them, anything in my power.”
“When I pet them I know how much my touch means to them, and when I leave at the end of the day I’m sad because I’m leaving them behind.”
Lela is a single mom and her daughter accompanies her to the pound and helps with the dogs.
When Lela cannot get donated dog food, she’ll often get scraps from the butcher and cook up a mix of the stale bread, water, meat and cans of dog food. The mixture does provide the dogs with a meal, but just look at how they responded to a full supply of kibble we recently donated.
We need help here on several levels:
- First, we’d like to be able to provide kibble on a regular basis. It also helps feed homeless dogs outside the pound.
- Second, we’d like to insulate the dog houses and perhaps even build some warmer ones before winter (we don’t have much time).
- And finally, we would love to hire someone to help Lela so that she can finish earlier on the weekends and spend more time with her little girl. Lela and the dogs really need our help. In fact, they are just one of the rescue missions we’re undertaking in Bosnia in the moment.
Here’s How To Help
We’ve set up a special donation page for aid to Bosnia. We’d be incredibly grateful for any donations to help. Thank you.