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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

AKI Support for Save the Animals-Armenia

It's not easy running a dog shelter in Yerevan, Armenia. There are so few people and businesses who are willing to donate to help dogs. There are so few people willing to adopt mixed breed dogs. Very few people are willing to work at a dog shelter-they find it demeaning-and it's hard work. The winters are harsh. The number of dogs who need to be sheltered far outweigh the capacity of Yerevan's main dog shelter, Save the Animals-Armenia. Yet Nune Mehrabyan persists, every day going to the shelter to feed and be with the dogs.

Nune opened the Save the Animals-Armenia shelter in 2003, and SA-Armenia has been an AKI Partner since January 2009.

We've mentioned before that most of the SA-Armenia dogs are now older--most dogs who enter the shelter don't leave. It's not just that they're mixed breeds-and therefore, for the most part unadoptable in Armenia, many of the dogs are large, and since most people live in apartments, they feel they can't adopt such large dogs (like those below, pictures from March 2018). And of course, most people don't want older dogs (also like those below).

The 1st dog pictured below developed a neurological problem while at the SA-Armenia shelter and needed vet care, which Animal-Kind International donations covered. (Thank you).

One of the older large dogs at SAA

Another large dog at SAA

Another older, large dog at SAA

Buddies: 2 old guys

A few of the dogs above have kidney problems and so they have to eat special food (costs $18 per kg for the Special Renal Diet). Nune also had blood analyses done for US$50, had to get vet care for some dogs with tooth problems (one of them now mainly eats cottage cheese!). So many of the older dogs have arthritis and need special meds. Nune relies on AKI donors to cover the cost of most of these items.

In March, Nune bought dog food with AKI's disbursement (photo below).

March: Nune bought dog food with AKI donations

But between the cost of dog food and electricity and water bills (over US$2500/month), Nune couldn't afford to pay the shelter worker, and he left (Nune had been paying him US$600/month). That meant all the work fell to Nune and a few volunteers who show up when they can.

On March 8, Nune wrote, "Dear Karen, I have been so busy, sorry for not keeping informed more often. I am on my own at the shelter, have no one to work, trying hard to hire anyone...but have no money to do so."

So in June, when Nune was given the chance to send 2 dogs to the US to wonderful, loving homes, she grabbed it! Back in March, a mama dog and 5 puppies were dumped outside Nune's shelter (1st 2 pictures below).

Mama dog with her 5 puppies dumped outside the SAA shelter

5 puppies and mama dumped outside the SAA shelter

The mama dog didn't adjust well to life in the shelter. On June 17, Nune sent her to Miami! (AKI didn't cover the cost of transport).

This dog (below) lived in a junk yard. She's one of the community dogs that Nune was feeding and she had her spayed with AKI funds. But the owners weren't happy with her, she wasn't a guard dog and they told Nune they were going to kill her. Nune decided she would send this sweet dog to the other available home-in Dallas. She's no longer expected to perform guard dog duties, now all she has to do is play, eat, sleep, and have fun!

Armenian dog before departure to Dallas

An Armenian dog arrives in Dallas

Armenian "guard" dog now a family dog in Dallas!

Although we don't advocate transporting dogs and cats out of countries to the US, Canada, etc. to be adopted, in some cases, it's the only choice. These 2 dogs would have lived out their lives in the SA-Armenia shelter, the chances of being adopted are tiny if you're a mixed breed, large dog! Now they have homes and more love than they ever knew before.

Hatiko, Nune's favorite dog (if she has a favorite....), was born at the SA-A shelter 14 years ago. She was once adopted, but she was brought back when her owner decided he wanted a pedigree dog. She then developed problems with her legs and couldn't walk for 40 days! The vet thought she should be euthanized, but Nune disagreed and massaged her legs every day, she wouldn't give up. And then, Hatiko started walking! Nune says, "she's very nice and clever." As sweet and beautiful as Hatiko is, she is still at the SA-Armenia shelter -pictures of her from May 22 is below-and will live the rest of her life out there. At least she has Nune and AKi donors to cover costs of food and meds!

Beautiful Hatiko

Hatiko at 14 years old-May 22

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