People who follow me on social networks, particularly on Instagram, know how much I love animals. I blogged about them, and I am always very attentive to positive animal-related stories in BiH. I found out through a friend about the „Little Paws“ Čapljina and I watched with how much enthusiasm this crew worked on saving dogs and finding homes for them. This is why they were one of the first addresses I „knocked“ on when Čapljina was selected as a town I would visit.
Belma Repeša, Haris Repeša, Valentina Ješić and Marin Matoš are a group that has been active for quite a while on protection and saving dogs in Čapljina, and a little more than a year ago, they opened their own dog shelter, where at the moment they keep more than 100 dogs. Everything they do is simply their good will and enthusiasm, because they take away their time from themselves and their obligations, but their reward is to see four-legged friends finding good, happy homes. They did a lot of work on sterilization and castration of dogs on the streets of Čapljina, they conducted many interventions, and saved and cured many dogs. Four of them could not do it all without help of others, people who follow their work and assist them, responding to their calls. Dogs in Čapljina are lucky, because these people do important work and give them hope for a better future.
We have been active for a year now. We had found five puppies, which I raised to the age of 3-4 months. I had done it before, and usually I could find homes for them. But for these, I could not, and then I looked around where to place them. So I learnt about Valentina keeping these dogs. When I visited the site, I did not like the idea to leave them there. So we gradually began working. Started putting up the fences, first five dogs, 10, now we are at 130. And so, we put up fences, created this, now we can’t get out.
What is the situation with strays in town?
For the moment, we are managing. There may be perhaps a dozen that need to be collected. We are waiting for the transport of the 15 which had found homes, when they are gone, will pick up those. But there are always more.
It is a problem of the failure to address the underlying causes, records on owned dogs and about sterilization and castration. Are people here protesting, are they sterilizing their dogs?
Well, there are people who protest, and others really respond to calls. We put up on our website the phone number where they can go to have their dogs castrated and sterilized for free. We get a lot of calls, quite a few owned dogs have been treated, but there are people who do not want to hear about it, and who see it as a sin.
But it’s not a sin to take the puppies away and discard them?
So, you have free castration covered?
Yes, we do. The Austrian organization N&N Helping Dogs, they provide for us all castrations and sterilizations for free.
Are you managing to find homes for dogs?
Rather well. We found homes for 145 dogs in one year, either here, or abroad.
From your experience, what would you advise people who are considering adopting, or even purchasing, a pet? What should they have in mind and what are the most frequent causes problems occur?
Well, first, they must be aware that you don’t take a dog for a year. Every dog, who has good quality of life, can live 15-16 years. They ought to make up their mind that this would be the family dog, that this would be an obligation that would last 15-16 years. There are chores involved, for any dog. This is why we have this situation, people take a dog, please their children, and then they toss them into the street.
How about the citizens of Čapljina, are they helping you any?
Yes, they are. Whenever we publish a call for food, that we ran out, our citizens always help. When we have a problem to pay a veterinarian for a surgery, the same. So far we have no outstanding debts to the vet station, we paid everything we owed, we are clean. For the moment, everything is working just fine.
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