The story of the group began in 2012, when Danish Marianne Søndergård could no longer close her eyes to the grim situation facing dogs in Bosnia (and other countries) during the harsh winters, where hundreds and hundreds of dogs – both strays and those in shelters – died of cold, hunger and disease. She was especially moved by the situation of the dogs in a shelter in city of Tuzla in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and decided to do something about it.
Marianne has always loved animals, and for many years has actively supported animal welfare. It was important to her that these dogs received a voice and that people became aware of their plight. This led her to start a Facebook group called Marianne’s Dogfood Bank, in order to tell the world about their situation of their and their acute need for help.
The situation in the Spring of 2012
The weather in Tuzla is sweltering hot during the summer and freezing cold during the winter. The shelter, is situated on the outskirts of town, and had no running water, heat or electricity. There were only a few, decrepit dog houses – not nearly enough to provide shade from the heat or protection from the rain and cold for all of the approximately 650-700 dogs. And there was no place for sick dogs to recuperate.
When they did get something to eat (which was not always the case), the dogs lived on nothing but chicken feet and beaks- scraps from a local slaughterhouse. This diet provided little nutrition and it also damaged the dog’s stomach lining, causing the death of many dogs – especially puppies.
There were only four people who were employed part-time by the shelter, and only a few volunteers who came by to care for the dogs and show them some true affection.
This was the situation before Marianne began to tell the story of these dogs on Facebook. She gathered people around her and encouraged them to help. Together with a group of dedicated local volunteers in Tuzla and members of the Facebook group, they were determined to try to give all the dogs at the shelter a better life.
Since the Spring of 2012, much has happened
People from all over the world have sent donations – big and small – to help the dogs get enough to eat, and importantly, to have a better life. Through the group, the shelter has received donations of food, dog houses, blankets, a quarantine station, a container to store dog food in the winter, medicines and veterinary care, toys and more. A transportation network has been setup in Denmark to transport donated goods to the shelter.
We have also started a successful virtual adoption program, a buy a dog house campaign, a number of other campaigns (both emergency and ongoing), as well as our Facebook group with over a 2,000 members.
Recently, the leadership of the shelter has changed, and a new and better – dog-loving – leadership has decided that the dogs will NEVER again live off chicken claws and beaks, and they will instead get proper food. The change in leadership has also meant that there is now a much closer and positive cooperation to help the dogs.
With this said, there is still much to be done, and dogs continue to die from cold and disease.
The goal from the beginning has been to work tirelessly and selflessly to improve the conditions for the dogs.
We started with only a few members in Denmark, and now there are more than 2,000 members from around the world- all of us with a yearning to help these dogs to a better life. This wish has spread from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart, over the whole world – and now to you.