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Dear readers, animal lovers, supporters, fans,
Days are at their shortest, many lights illuminate the streets and houses, winter has definitely arrived. In Serbia, winter means harsh, cold days for the dogs and workers of Sashaโ€™s Shelter. Thanks to your great support we were able to provide dry hay for the dogs to lie on and wood to fire up the stoves.
We are still trying to send warm clothes for the workers, as they are literally standing in the cold, every day. And yes, again we get help from loyal supporters, so heartwarming. In the meantime, from our warm and cozy homes we are busy in supporting Sashaโ€™s Shelter with medical care and other basic needs, infrastructure, planning, consultation, contacts, administration, organizing transports, getting dogs ready to travel, adoptions, follow up and last but not least, social media.
However, we will not elaborate on the work behind the scenes. In this newsletter youโ€™ll read about the volunteer camp of last September, the use of the pallets in the shelter, our very successful Halloween walk and Sasha tells us the story of his dear friend Kudra.

We wish you all happy holidays in good company, 4- or 2 legged.
Bring on 2022.
Team Dog Happiness Be vzw

Sasha narrates...

During our visits and workcamps we discuss needs, issues and plans while enjoying the evening meal. Only once (over all these years) we managed to get Sasha in storytelling mode, while enjoying traditional, delicious Serbian dishes in a traditional Serbian restaurant. Sasha is not a man of many words, despite having lived and encountered enough to fill a whole book. Not every element is nice to hear, but let us focus on the nicer stories. We asked how he met dog mommy Milena (see our previous newsletter "Newsletter September 2021"- click on the underlined title) and how Lija and Kudra came into his life: 2 furry friends who donโ€™t leave Sasha's side and follow him around wherever he goes.

Sasha & Kudra,
  miraculously reunited...

Many Serbian dog names have a meaning, referring to a characteristic of the dog. "Vampirce" means "little vampire", the name of a small dog with big ears. "Crni Meda", means "sweet honey" as he has a very sweet character. "Kudra" means "curls", referring to his curly, black fur. But he could have just as well have been called "Sloboda sreฤ‡a", meaning โ€œJoyful freedomโ€ referring to his cheerful, independent spirit. When we asked Sasha the story of how Kudra came into his life, his eyes sparkled and his son Pedja had a hard time keeping up with translating ๐Ÿ˜˜ Below you can read the unlikely story of the union between Sasha and Kudra, so unlikely it seemed unbelievable even to Sasha when he was telling the storyโ€ฆ
"A long time ago, in 2008, I found a young dog near the bridge, a Puli mix (editor's note: a small Hungarian shepherd dog). I named him Kudra and brought him to the shelter. But what a pain he was, he couldnโ€™t settle in the shelter, always causing troubles. He definitely could not stay in the shelter as he clearly enjoyed his freedom too much. I decided to grant him his freedom, he could roam the streets to his liking, but he always came back to the shelter. He clearly enjoyed this free life out on the streets of Niลก, his town, which he knew like his pocket, provided he had pockets ๐Ÿ˜‰
Every day he showed up at the shelter to get his food, accurate like clockwork as he recognized my car and me. Kudra is a very clever dog, clever like a human and always cheerful, a little crazy even. Seeing him again was a joyful party, every single day.
One day, Kudra didnโ€™t show up for his food, nor the next day or the days after that. I was worried and started looking for him all over town. Weeks and months passed, but Kudra was nowhere to be found. Maybe he has had an accident and would never return? I felt sad, missing the daily visits of โ€œmyโ€ free-spirited  Kudra.
About 4 months after his disappearance, I had to go to Vranja, a city about 115 km away from Niลก. Returning home, about 45 km from Niลก, I noticed a black dog wandering around. I stopped to give him some food (Sasha has always kibble in his car to feed the stray dogs which he encounters along the road.) When I approached him, he didnโ€™t run away like they usually do, quite the opposite, he recognized meโ€ฆ. It was Kudra!!!!! Being such a clever dog, he had probably recognized the car before I got out.
In that era, the communal dogcatchers got money to โ€œcleanโ€ the streets of Niลก from stray dogs. They caught the dogs and dropped them off again about 100 km out of town. Clearly this happened to Kudra as well and maybe he was on his way home, to Niลก to the shelter, to meโ€ฆ
Finding Kudra there, on the way back from Vranje, 45 km from Niลก, roaming around, on exactly the same moment of my passingโ€ฆ 
๐Ÿ˜ฎ (editor's note: Sashaโ€™s eyes sparkle again, relived happiness or deep emotion??? He is silent for a moment, then continues).
What a joyful reunion it was! I put Kudra in the car and told him to stay with me forever. Ever since that day, Kudra rides along with me. Wherever I go, he comes along."
We write November 30th,  2021:
"A black day as Sashaโ€™s best friend, Kudra is no longer amongst us.  Partners in crime, Sasha, Kudra and Lija, always together. Kudra was there for every rescue, more than 1000 dogs, saved from the streets, always greeted by Kudra and Lija. Sasha is lost, devasted by the loss of dear Kudra."

An emptiness, sorrow each of us knows all too well. ๐Ÿ’” Goodbye, sweet, free -spirited Kudra. Run free over the rainbow ๐ŸŒˆ

Every day, the woodstoves are used for cooking, but the price of bread, rice and offal have risen since the first Corona crisis and hasnโ€™t stopped rising since. Like here, lots of shortages make the prices go up. This is a disaster for Sashaโ€™s Shelter, especially with winter causing the temperatures to drop to -6ยฐC. The puppy area is located in a remote area, which is only accessible via small, gravel roads which arenโ€™t cleared of snow. Not being able to reach the puppy area is a real possibility, therefore we should urgently stock some kibble to provide daily food for the dogs.
Kibble is expensive, even more expensive with the risen prices and less available, so we are running out of time. Are we worried? Definitely!
1 kg kibble costs about 1 euro, we need to stock enough to bridge a few weeks.


Please help the dogs with a donation for kibble with a donation to Dog Happiness:
Bank : IBAN: BE22 0018 1853 1647 (BIC : GEBABEBB)
PayPal :
Message: "winterfood"

๐Ÿ‘ป Fantastic ๐Ÿ‘ป

๐ŸŽƒ Halloween walk ๐ŸŽƒ
Despite the wet, cold autumn weather the Halloween walk was a big success! About 1.550 euro was raised ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘ป to be used for the medical care of the dogs.
How happy we were to see lots and lots of sweet doggy faces. Lots of them from Sashaโ€™s Shelter, adopted in Belgium. Lots of dogs and owners were nicely dressed up, hoping to win a lovely price for best costume. A lot of happy dogs, with happy, warm owners made it a day to remember.
Annick Dierick and her team, who organized the walk, were absolutely great. Well organized, lots of preparations made, nicely decorated event hall, creepily disguised ๐Ÿง›โ€โ™‚๐ŸงŸโ€โ™€๐Ÿง›โ€โ™€๐ŸงŸโ€โ™‚๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚, beautiful prices to win - all wrapped nicely-, goodie bags for the dogs, delicious soup, sandwiches and dessert and plenty for all, nice extra prices for the best dressed dogโ€ฆ. It was amazing, it was brilliant!
Thanks to all sponsors, helping hands and volunteers.

hopefully we'll see you again next year

Volunteer camp September
5 volunteers left Belgium in September and headed to Serbia to help out in Sashaโ€™s Shelter. Ingrid, Pascal, Lieve, Ann and Rudi had a mission: take care of the dogs, brush them, learn to walk on the leash, make small repairs, discuss planning and of course, cuddle the dogs, as much as possible.
For 3 of them, Ann, Rudi and Lieve, it was their first visit and it was a captivating experience. The first time through the gate, so many dogs to greet you, to cuddle, seeking your attention, it is a lifechanging experience. Leaving them behind when returning home is the hardest part of all.
Below you can read how Ann and Rudi experienced it all.
Rudi: Conclusion: I simply love every dog ๐Ÿ’–

Rudi: "My girlfriend has 3 dogs, sweet dogs, but 2 too many in my opinion. After 1,5 years, Iโ€™m used to them and I love them, but still I reckon 3 is too much. Her dream: visiting Sashaโ€™s Shelter, which she supports already a few years. Multiple times I told her to go for it, but when? And how? With whom? Finally she decided to do it and with the help of Trace and Ingrid of Dog Happiness Be vzw we left for Serbia. Not knowing what to expect we embarked on the journey of 2000 km. A van full of food and equipment arrived in Serbia, after being lucky at the borders. Nice hotel, which enable us to have a good nightโ€™s sleep and a sturdy breakfast. Time to leave for the shelter, a little nervous at the gate and thenโ€ฆ.

What an overwhelming experience... hundreds of dogs greeting us enthusiastically 
โค๏ธโค๏ธ Same scenario at the puppy shelter, such friendship, such love. In the beginning you look for the kind of dog you like most, but after a while you love them all. After 6 days of doggy love, doing small repairs and meeting very nice workers I had to wink away a tear ๐Ÿ˜ช

Conclusion: I now love every dog, big or small, adore the 3 dogs of my girlfriend and will definitely return. Thank you Ingrid, Pascale, Lieve, Sasha and his son, workers for the unforgettable moments."
Ann: My big dream? Visit Sasha's shelterโ€ฆ
Ann: "I am no globetrotter like Rudi is, main reason: my doggy family needs to be relocated. But to realize my big dream, visiting Sashaโ€™s Shelter, I had to bite the bullet and my dogs were put in a dog pension ๐Ÿ˜”
I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect as I had seen lots of films and photos before I left, but experiencing it in real life gave it a whole different dimension! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I like big dogs myself, so I had my favorites pretty soon: Dino and his sister Branji, very, very sweet rottweiler lookalikes ๐Ÿฅฐ But as Rudi already said, the border fades and it was only a matter of time when I fell in love with the little ones too.

It was remarkable how happy and well looked after most dogs are. Of course some are rather left alone and donโ€™t thrive in the big crowd, but a lot less stress compared to the dogs which are kept in kennels 24/24 like they do in other shelters. They live in a big flock, respect hierarchy and speak the dog language perfectly. It was an intense, overwhelming experience, which I like to relive again, but maybe next time in a more constructive way (I mean: seeing "touchable" improvements in infrastructure when we leave
Thank you for the friendship Pascale, Ingrid and Lieve, you were fine and educational company. Even more respect for Sasha, his son and all workers, you definitely deserve a place in heaven!"


Sometimes, simple things can improve the life of the shelter dogs significantly. High pallets for example, they can be used as platform or stacked to provide multiple levels.
In winter such a pallet is warmer to sit on as the cold wet or frozen floor. They dry and heat faster in the winter sun and dogs donโ€™t have to stand in the mud or snow all day.
In summer, those in favor of the sun can use the top deck, those in favor of shadow can hide in the shadow between 2 levels.
Not only suitable for the thermoregulating aspect, they are also fun to climb or catch-me-if-you-can games. Observation post for the nosy ones, hiding places for the shyer dogs, these high pallets have a number of uses in the shelter, both physically as mentally
Small investment > high added value

Therefore we decided to launch an appeal to build 50 extra pallets for the coming winter. 1 pallet costs 29 euro, the added value for the dogs can not be measured in numbers, but definitely increases their wellbeing immensely ๐Ÿฅฐ Sashaโ€™s dogs have a lot of loyal fans, willing to contribute in their wellbeing and soon we had enough money to purchase these 50 pallets. The timber was ordered, some workers assembled them, all under the watchful eye of the dogs ๐Ÿ˜‚
The new pallets were used immediately: enjoy the video ๐Ÿ˜ Thank you dear supporters ๐Ÿ™ It is such a great gift for the dogs ๐Ÿ’
This is our last newsletter for 2021. We reflect on a busy year: on top of all our other activities, we did our best to get as many dogs adopted as possible. Adoption is the only way to get more dogs a nice warm home and free a place in the shelter for another poor abandoned soul.
Big thanks to An, Inge, Isabelle, Dominique and Lieve to support the adoption team so enthusiastically.
Tumba (left) and Hercul (right) have found their golden basket ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’ž Their spots (red "circles") have become available for 2 other poor souls. Although we hope they will remain free as we dream of an empty shelter. Sterilization of stray dogs is one way of reducing the number of unwanted dogs, but also  โœจ DON'T ๐ŸŒŸ SHOP โœจ ADOPT ๐ŸŒŸ
Big, warm thanks to you all, fans, supporters and animal lovers for you never ending support: members of the coffee/wineclub, godfathers monthly and occasional donators, event organizers, creative masterminds and our sponsors. We would be lost without you all, your help and support makes a huge difference for Sashaโ€™s dogs ๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ Please continue to help us in the coming waggy-tail-year 2022 ๐Ÿถ
Wishing you happy holidays and a marvelous 2022 ๐Ÿ€
Team Dog Happiness Be โญ 
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Dog Happiness BE vzw · De Paallanden 35 · Brugge 8310 · Belgium

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