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Dear readers, animal lovers, supporters, fans,

Slowly life resumes after the corona pandemic. In the shelter, life has never stopped and both you and us have continued to provide the necessary care for the dogs. Vaccinations are very important, but not always easy, as you can read below.
In our previous newsflash, we brought tribute to Zoran who passed away. This newsflash puts Milena in the spotlights.
The release of the travel restrictions enabled us to visit the shelter in July. 2 teams made the trip: the first one to screen the dogs, to discuss future needs, the second team to improve the infrastructure. A short report of both can be read further in the newsletter.
A third team is in Serbia, as we write this newsletter, to further improve the welfare of all dogs in Sasha’s Shelter.
Almost a year ago we started with adoptions, a world of difference for the adopted dogs and for those who are left behind, we want to make life as comfortable and healthy as possible. That is our dream, we hope you share this dream.
💖
Team Dog Happiness Be vzw
💉 How to vaccinate 750 dogs? 💉

Vaccinating 750 dogs? Ever thought about how to do it? It's a hell of a job
Over the years we learned and finetuned the process. We started writing down the names of the dogs which were vaccinated, but soon we lost track and didn’t know for sure if a dog was vaccinated or not.
Some clever soul came up with the idea of a (non-toxic) marker 😁 This explains why some dogs have colorful marks on their heads. It brings color in the shelter and sure is an efficient way to keep the vaccinated dogs from the non-vaccinated dogs.
The vet and his assistants come to the shelter to vaccinate. Lots of dogs watch them carefully when they prepare needles and vaccines. Once prepared it is like an assembly line: the dog is picked up, gets his shot, a mark on the head and released again. At least those who can easily be caught... 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶
Unfortunately the shelter also has scared, anxious dogs, some are even wild and defensive. Those are hard to catch and resist heavily, some even bite❗Unfortunately the shelter also has scared, anxious dogs, some are even wild and defensive. Those are hard to catch and resist heavily, some even bite. Muzzles or gloves are not available and would take too much time anyway. Being quick, firm and accurate is key, both for the workers as for the vet. It is an heroic event which occurs a few times a year. Well done for workers and vets when it is accomplished 👏

During our visit in July it was again vaccination time. Thanks to our “SAVE A LIFE” vaccination campagne we were able to vaccinate them all against the deadly infection diseases. We could only do this because of your massive support. Well done supporters ❣️❣️❣️ Well done for workers and vets for accomplishing the heroic task 👍👍👍

Work camp in July
3 ladies went to Sasha’s Shelter mid-July: Eloïse - our house photographer, An – administrative busybody and Trees – all-round volunteer and co-founder of Dog Happiness BE.
Each team has several tasks: assessing the most urgent needs, problems that need tackling, medical care discussions, screening for adoptions, visiting other rescuers, brushing the dogs, learning to walk on a leash, helping with vaccinations,…. The days are long and tiring, both physically as mentally... 🤗 Below the report of An, a new member of the team.
Serbia – an unknown world…
 
Being a new member of the Dog Happiness BE team I finally got the chance to go to Serbia. Corona got in the way, not once, not twice, but 3 times 🚘 A trip of 1800 km with heavy rain, lots of traffic jams, but always in good spirit, with lots of laughter and nice company.

I was keen to go, to finally meet all those lovely dogs
 🐶🐶🐶 which I only knew from pictures and films and of course also the people who work day in day out to provide for them. But, I must admit, also a little wary, having heard all those stories of how dogs are treated in Serbia
The first time through the main gate of the shelter, it sure was an experience:  the barking was deafening and dogs were jumping up to me from every possible angle. 2 hands were definitely not enough to cuddle them all 🙌
It was my duty to get as much information as possible in order to find the perfect match for them in Belgium or the Netherlands. Although we collected lots of information, we still lacked time (and hands) to give them all the attention they so desperately needed.
My suitcase is already packed and ready to go for the trip in 2022
💖

Sasha & Milena - Kindred souls

Milena lives in the puppy area along with 250 dogs. She lives there day in and day out, 24/7/3065 just for the dogs, taking care of them, making food, washing blankets, providing water etc....
We wondered how Sasha met her 🤔 When we asked him, an unexpected story followed...

Sasha narrates...

 
" A long time ago, a couple arrived at the shelter, their arms full of puppies, 9 poor souls  🐶 They wanted to leave the puppies at the shelter as their neighbor was about to throw them on the streets. At the time, there was no puppy area, so they would end up in the main shelter.
I said “ the shelter is full, they are far too young and not vaccinated. They will not survive here, I can’t take them”
The man started to get worked up “such a big shelter, surely you can take these 9 little ones, there is plenty of space for them”
I said “no, we really are full, there definitely is no place for them, please take them back home”
The man said “but they aren’t ours, they belong to our neighbor, WE can NOT keep them, while you have plenty of space.”
The discussion got heated and nearly resulted into a fight. The wife was silent, keeping the puppies firmly in her arms, keeping them out of harms way. I instantly felt she had a big heart for animals so I proposed them to take the puppies home and get them vaccinated to avoid infectious diseases. Later, when they were a bit bigger, they could come to the shelter. So said, so done...
Several weeks later she brought the 9 puppies to the shelter and I asked her if she wanted to foster puppies from time to time. She would give it some thought so I asked her name and contact details, her name was Milena. And so it happened that Milena took care of dumped puppies from time to time.
Later she got the offer to housesit a house in Topilo Spa. The house belonged to a friend and her brother, but neither of them lived there. The offer was happily accepted as it was free housing after all, despite being 30 km away from Nis. She now had the space to take care of the puppies and even disabled dogs were welcome. The numbers grew….
The rest of the story you know as you have been in Topilo Spa yourselves. “
So far the story told by Sasha
Indeed, we know the rest of the story, previous newsletters told the story of Milena being evicted from the house in Topilo Spa by the police for owning too many dogs. Just in time did Dog Happiness BE have the little house in the puppy area enlarged and isolated. She still lives there and cares for 250 dogs.
In the meantime, "Milena" is no longer only the name of our dog mommy, but has become a conception. Milena means as much as “no effort is too much to take care of the dogs”. Rain or shine, taking care of the puppies and young dogs in the puppy area is her priority.

(🐶 4 of the 9 dogs were adopted, 5 remain in the shelter: Mata, Secer, Haradinej, Devojka 1 and Devojka 2.  Some of them are called “the terrorists” as they are very vocal and instigate trouble) 😁)

Hay for winter

It has become a yearly tradition, our call for hay. After summer, when hay has been harvested, Sasha has to order sufficient hay for the dogs. It allows them so sleep in a warm, dry bed all winter long. And again, we managed to get the necessary hay for the harsh winter to come  😊 Each time the hay gets delivered in the shelter, it is great fun for the dogs, sniffing, rolling, jumping, they are loving it.
Warm beds are ready to be made for the coming cold winter
😴

BUILDING CAMP 5

After 1 year corona break, Peter and Serge took their overalls and reported for duty in the puppy area. They  were greeted enthusiastically by Sasha and lots and lots of dogs 🐶🐶🐶🐶🐶
The blue container received a new patio, with extra cover for the hot Serbian sun. Under that same hot sun, they used their best carpentry skills and to a great result. Extra shelter against sun and rain for Zoran’s old dogs, which stay around the container, despite him being no longer there. Maybe they are waiting for his return? Who will tell?
Tremendous thank you to Peter and Serge 
👍 and all sponsors of building camp 5 🙏
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Dog Happiness BE vzw · De Paallanden 35 · Brugge 8310 · Belgium

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