I arrived in Sarajevo yesterday afternoon after two flights, a very prolonged airport wait, and multiple attempts to avoid casual tourist chat that I couldn’t possibly endure due to my lack of sleep. I felt the cold the moment I stepped out of the plane and regretted not packing a scarf, then managed to guide myself through the fog to passport control.
I had a bit of a movie moment, as there was a guy holding a piece of card with my name on as I walked through the arrivals building. Sadly he was only my taxi driver, but the moment was still there nevertheless. I had no idea that from Sarajevo to Mostar, where I was staying, that it would take over a two hour drive, although the route was scenic and we slowly made our way out of the fog and frost.
Upon arriving in Mostar I met Tanja, the reason why the charity I work with, Wild at Heart Foundation, actually have a link with Bosnia. I was welcomed into her home not only be her and her husband, Paul, but also by their gorgeous dogs, Brownie and Bobbie. By this point it was already getting dark so there was no point engaging with the shelters at this time in the afternoon, so we planned to do that the following day. Instead, Tanja and Paul took me into the old town to show me round a little and have me test the local beer, which was approved. I was also shown the Stari Most (Old Bridge) which is a huge bridge spanning over the Nerevta river. There is a 78 foot drop from the highest point of the bridge to the river below, so naturally people throw themselves off it annually at a traditional diving competition.
So, after a lot of conversation, it became clear to me that one of the main problems here in the Bosnian shelters (in the Mostar area) is that people are not prepared to document just how bad the situation is. One shelter in particular is under threat of closure in 15 days because their standards are so low. There are 55 dogs with their lives hanging in the balance. They don’t want to disclose the levels of poverty that these dogs are living in. Part of it will be because they’re ashamed that they have allowed it to get this bad, but at the end of the day rescue work drains an individual of everything, and most notably, money. I highly doubt that they have the funds to resolve this situation on their own, and they don’t have the understanding of what makes a campaign. I intend to visit a couple of these shelters whilst I am here, taking a whole lot of photos and making a campaign of my own to try and salvage what I can of these shelters and save as many of these dogs as possible.