June 6 – Navaz Bustani writes:

Here’s an update on the VAFA shelter in Iran and some pictures, as promised.

I visited the Shelter day before yesterday and it was good to see some old faces. . . and lots of new ones! It has been ‘puppy season’ and the Shelter has been inundated with pups. . . despite the place being full to bursting point the staff just can’t say ‘no’ to new arrivals. They also couldn’t say ‘no’ to a pregnant mother who was delivered and gave birth recently. She was doing very well with her little ones; one of the few births at the Shelter, as all the dogs are neutered/spayed.

After some beautiful spring weather the hot summer has arrived. The trees that were planted last year have survived the long cold winter and will provide some shade. The hard work continues and the small number of staff are helped by a team of volunteers who visit every weekend and help out with the many chores involved in taking care of 400 plus dogs.

It is amazing that the dogs live together amicably under one roof – most of the time. There are some real fights; usually when a human enters and the dogs all compete for attention. But amazingly, no one fought when I hugged the little pup in the first picture – they somehow knew that it was badly injured and deserved some special attention. I was able to hug the little chappie for a good few minutes without any disruption – other than having another pup chew on my dreads.

The rest of the pictures are of some of the big girls and boys and some puppies. The big lion-like chap is old Sohrab; he was brought to the Shelter a very tired old dog. He would not let anyone near and it was months before Mr Sani, the manager, was able to pet him. He was weighed after being neutered and came in at a measly 57 kilos! He now sits at the entrance like lord of the manor greeting all who enter.

The sweet doberman is one of the oldest residents of the Shelter. No one knows her exact age but she is very old and very popular with the other dogs and all who visit.

And the dog sitting on the roof keeps a constant lookout – not sure how he gets up there, but that is where he hangs out all the time, bar meal times.


TheĀ  picture below shows, L to R, the two workers who live and sleep at the Shelter, Mr H. Sani (stepping in for manager Ali Sani who is recovering from major surgery), Ms S. Majidi (a supporter and regular visitor), my cousin and my Dad.

I want to thank each one of you for your support – together we can and are making a difference. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures as much as I did taking them.