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Our Trip To Bosnia

Having been involved with a group of women fundraising for the rescue of Bosnian dogs for the last couple of years, myself, Steph and Andy decided to visit Bosnia in Feb 2018 to meet our rescuers and pension owners and, reluctantly, the kill shelters. What an eye-opening experience. The dedication of the rescuers and the plight of the dogs. 

In the first couple of days we met the rescuers who get the dogs out of the kill shelters into safe pensions. These are great people who do this voluntarily from the goodness of their hearts. Without them these dogs would have no shelter and would either freeze in winter months or starve to death. The following day we visited the pensions run by local families where are dogs are looked after with veterinary needs, well fed but most importantly are safe. The last day. Which we were dreading we went to visit the kill shelters... I cannot tell you how hard that was...conditions are bad...these dogs have NO comfort...a little hay and fed once a day by the rescuers…all courtesy of English fundraising and the fantastic work of the rescuers who look after them. To walk away from those dogs pleading with their eyes, in exposed kennels with temperatures reaching as low as -20 in winter months, the rescuers even have to blowtorch the frozen water bowls. This was a tough shout but a much needed one to see exactly what was going on and to give ourselves no choice but to help. I remember how guilty I felt that night in the comfort and warmth of the hotel...just thinking of those dogs...skinny, cold and without company in those remote kennels, not ever knowing the fate of these beautiful creatures. 

I felt bad knowing there was nothing we could do whilst we were there. I came home to see my dogs lying in front of the fire, without fear, full bellies and content. Every dog deserves the most basic of needs…we want to ensure that happens. The trip gave us a purpose…a final push, something had to be done on a bigger scale. Therefore, we decided to go public and raise awareness and the necessary funds to build a rescue centre in the U.K. 

People will always ask why we are bringing dogs from abroad when there are plenty sitting in shelters here. My answer is this...once in kennels in UK, these dogs are safe, fed and will be lucky enough one day to get a loving home. It’s a very different story to what happens to the dogs in Bosnia. What we saw there was on another level. How could we walk away and do nothing?... these dogs have NO chance without outside help. Bosnia is governed by European law and the legal system is meant to protect the dogs, but in reality, they are cruelly slaughtered to line the pockets of local profiteers. We plan to revisit annually to keep in touch with rescuers and visit the pensions. We need to set up rescue kennels in England to transport the dogs over as this problem is not going to go away. EVERY dog deserves love, safety and food…this is not the case in Bosnia, we just cannot ignore what is going on.

Jude Foote