Bosnia: Mud and Hopelessness in Tuzla’s Dog Shelter


Written by: Emina Divković

Last year we were more or less happy. We had hope that things were finally moving forward and that some key questions were being resolved. Dogs had enough food every day. We succeed in realizing several big projects, which literally pulled many dogs out of mud. Dog adoption was going better than ever and we managed to drastically reduce the number of dogs. We kept pushing each either forward like we had done from the beginning and telling each other that we cannot relax because there was a lot more to do ahead.

Despite the fact that we managed to create a little breathing room, there was still a lot of work and need to conitnue to collect resources. We finally felt some relief and for the first time things didn’t seem to be a hopeless battle. We were prepared for the winter with supplies of hay, blankets, food and other necessary resources in order to ensure a somewhat normal life for the dogs in the shelter. Of course, we were not able to pull all of the dogs from the mud, but we tried our best to make their lives easier as much as possible.


We worked hard and waited for the summer…We dreamed of new projects, new facilities and new successes. But, the summer never came…The waiting turned into agony and then literally to drowning in major flooding. First, massive flooding made the terraine a living hell with mud literally up to our knees. The road to the shelter was impassable due to large craters that opened up, which made it nearly impossible to even reach the shelter by foot.


Endless rain made the dogs restless. Many got sick, many languished in silence and within a month many lost weight despite the fact that they were regularly fed. Everywhere you turned there was suffering and we were left without any solutions. We comforted each other by telling ourselves that it could be worse and that we could lose some of the facilities that we worked so hard to build. Many dogs could have lost their lives during this period.

We also learned that woes come in bunches as we experienced a resource shortage in addition to the severe weather. After the county government cancelled all of its support to help cover veterinary costs, we once again found ourselves ten meters under water where we still remain…without any mercy or interest, the county continued to send us new dogs while we were drowning in costs and fear that things were becoming undone.

Veterinary costs are enormous because we have around 600 dogs. New dogs which arrive to our shelter are severely underweight and weak. They require additional care. We’re bursting at the seams and we just keep going in circles. Once again we are fighting hopelessness and we do not know how this time we will reach safety.

Winter is upon us and we require a lot more food than during the summer months. Bills are mounting and help from the county is nowhere in sight. If we are unable to create some solutions in the next few months, we will be forced to release many dogs back on the streets.

I am asking all good people to find mercy for these creatures and help us overcome another winter in hope of a better summer. Until then we will continue to fight against people without heart and soul in the name of those who wag their tales at us even where we are bankrupt.


These poor souls rejoice when they see us even though we are broken and overwhelmed by worry as this has gone far beyond just love. This is a responsibility and a promise that one day things will get better. Five hundred of them are in happy homes and that is what is keeping us alive and forcing us to keep going. Help us to ensure that the next five hundred dogs will also find happy homes and love far from the mud and the smell of the depot where our shelter is located.


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