AKI Partner Organization-Save the Animals-Armenia (SAA)
During the COVID-19 crisis, Save the Animals-Armenia's shelter remains open and continues to care for the 51 dogs living at the shelter. On her way to the shelter every day, Nune continues to feed the groups of street dogs and cats who rely on her for their only meal of the day. SA-Armenia's work continues as usual through the crisis.
AKI's Partnership with Save the Animals-Armenia
[Above: Nune, Founder & Director of Save the Animals-Armenia]
The typical "animal control" method in Yerevan, Armenia's capital city, is shooting. Shooters, hired by government, travel the city's streets and shoot at all dogs they see.
Nune (photo above), a concert pianist and piano teacher, couldn't stand to hear the gunfire every night and see the dead bodies of dogs on the streets. So she took it upon herself to form a charity that would save the dogs from the killing.
In 2003, Nune started Save the Animals-Armenia. She bought a run-down factory, put her friends and supporters to work building the kennels, repairing the existing building, and making a space for the kitchen with a small hub to cook dog food.
At that time, Nune never imagined she would have 220 dogs (at the height of intake) at the shelter, and a staff that included a manager, cook, cleaners, and a security guard.
Over the years, Nune's work at the shelter has increased and she's had to give up her career as a pianist so she can dedicate her life to saving Yerevan's dogs.
Photos above: Nune with the national dog of Armenia, the Gampr; dogs at the the shelter gather around the water trough, built with donations from AKI donors; SAA kennels before roofs were placed; and during the winter, after roofs were placed (thanks to funding from an AKI donor); shelter view from entrance; the shelter (before roofs were put over all pens).
Save the Animals-Armenia has been an AKI Partner Organization since 2010. AKI donors provide lifesaving support to SAA, especially during the winter, when the SAA dogs (most of them are middle aged or older), need extra nutrition and warmth. Thanks to our donors, SAA buy can dog food for shelter dogs, cover the cost of their vet care (including spay/neuter) and meds, pay the heating bills in the winter, and pay staff salaries. SA-Armenia has also made major infrastructure improvements, thanks to AKI donor support, making the shelter so much more comfortable for the dogs who live there.
Save the Animals-Armenia tries to find good homes for the shelter dogs, but in Yerevan, there are still very few adopters, especially for large, mixed breed dogs-which is mostly what you find at the SAA shelter. Until they are adopted, they have a permanent home at SAA. SAA also feeds, spays/neuters, and provides other vet care for street cats and dogs, which local communities then take care of.
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Hatiko was born at the SAA shelter. She was adopted, but returned to the shelter. She hurt her leg and couldn't walk. Nune nursed her to health. Hatiko is now 15 years old, one of the older dogs at the SAA shelter.
Gudrun contacted AKI about 2 dogs living outside of Yerevan, who were chained and not well-fed or given water. She was hoping to bring the dogs to the Save the Animals' shelter in Yerevan, but the owner refused to give them up. Instead, she worked with him so that he would provide better care.
Gudrun tells us, "I never saw that people were bad to the dogs. Most were indifferent, but they were not bad to them." Read her article about her experience with the street dogs and owned dogs of Armenia. Read it here.
This video shows Nune at the SAA shelter back in 2010 (for some historical perspective!)