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...There's a rumour circling around the dog shelter, that this is yet a city of good people. That there are people building dog houses in their yards. And places in their hearts. Just for them...
Azil, the last resort for many forgotten and abandoned four-legged citizens of our town, is situated in Nemetin, about 5 km away from Osijek. Hard-working volunteers and employees are trying to improve the everyday life of our protégés, whose number is never under 180. To avoid more hungry mouths, we carry out the spaying program throughout the year. Antisa, Seka, Gazda, Bucka, Divljo, Ankica, Valentina, as well as all the other residents of Azil, dream of the day when they will meet the person, that decided to come all the way to the shelter just for them, and next to whom they will forget all the ugly memories of homelessness. For 150 lucky dogs that dream came true in the last year, 2010. Every potential adopter gets a questionnaire to fill in, so we can recommend or help them find an ideal dog just for them. We also give them a brochure which emphasizes the importance of spaying, and all the rights and needs a dog should have in its future home.
Finally, when everything is clear to both sides, the adopter signs an adoption contract. To be sure that we really managed to join soul mates, we pay visits to their new families a certain time after the adoption. While the adopted dogs just occasionally remember us, we still maintain concerned with every day shelter problems. The life with about 200 dogs is everything but easy. There are 2000 square meters to clean, every dog’s bawl to wash, water to change and meals to cook for all those hungry mouths. And that’s still not all.
There`s always those who are in need of special care, there`s always a broken fence you have to fix, a dug out hole to cover...and how to pass through the shelter and not stop for a minute to exchange a word or two with a host, at least about the weather...and then two hundred times like that!
But that`s not all. We have big plans. At this moment, we are in a process of registration and the criteria in a Ministry`s Rulebook aren`t disputable – we are building new yards, adapting existing infrastructure, a cesspool isn`t enough, so the sewage has to be done and so much more...Often we are asking ourselves how are we managing to survive with 1100 Euros per month – the amount which we get from our local government. The answer lies in the good will of our citizens and the capability of determined activists to make something out of nothing. We are hoping for better days to come, and not only hoping – but also working on it. And there is nothing more beautiful than being part of that story, coming home tired from all the work you have done in a Shelter with a thought: I made a difference! Come and see for yourself...
History and numbers
Everything happened fairly spontaneously, one sunny day in autumn in two thousand and seven.
Curiosity and expectations which anticipated our first visit to the dog shelter were unfortunately (or fortunately) overcame by shock and disbelief; situation which we encountered was under all our expectations- dogs not fed regularly, dog houses which couldn't be called that any more, without veterinary care, dogs not spayed or neutered, thrown in yards and boxes without any logic, puppies and mothers with their young together with adult dogs, no volunteers...
We didn't know where to start, but our visits became more and more frequent. And our number grew. From the civil initiative we grew to NGO Pobjede (Victories, in translation) and in 2010. signed a contract with our local government and took the shelter management over from NGO Zivot (Life, in translation). A number of volunteers from our town and region with time, with a help from a media, became bigger and bigger. We managed to develop community`s consciousness for a necessity of a shelter which will treat animals with respect.
We built medical yard, invested considerable financial amount and even more considerable physical voluntary work in improvement of Shelter`s infrastructure – plumbing, electricity, adaptation of existing facilities, building of new objects...
We have neutered more than 400 dogs, during 2010 homed over 600.
Our everyday activities also connote providing veterinary help, castration and homing for an abandoned dogs and cats living on the streets.
We made a contract with a veterinary station Fury which provides their medical services with a 50% discount. City of Osijek finances our Shelter with 14 000 euros per year; volunteers, engaged in a various activities, collect money to ensure functioning of a Shelter by organizing concerets, second hand stores, educational booths, by printing calendar... Considerable amount of financial needs comes from an individual and business donations in money, dog food, construction material and intelectual services.
In a Shelter, during the year of 2010, on organized working actions, hundreds of volunteers had passed through Shelter`s yards, giving their contribution in 7000 voluntary hours.
Shelter is today well organized living organism thanks to three employees and twenty most active volunteers. 80% of them are women.
Today, Shelter is a home for 180 abandoned dogs. We are now trying to register our Shelter according to the Ministry`s Rulebook as a No-kill Shelter and become one of four no-kill shelters, among 21 registered shelters in Croatia.