Vučko, how he might have looked
If you want to know how this website came into being and who is involved in it, then read on.
In May 2012 I was browsing my friend’s Facebook walls and clicked on a link that seemed interesting. I did not know what I was clicking on. It took me to one of the petitions created to bring justice to Vučko’s killers. When I saw the photograph and read the story I was in shock. I wept. Although the incident had happened over six months previously and that particular petition had closed – tens of thousands of people having signed – I could not get the photograph of Vučko or his story out of my mind. Against my better judgement I did a Google search to find out more. I watched the video of him at the veterinarian’s office. I could not stop weeping. For many days I wept several times a day and night for the suffering this dog went through. I continued to seek out information. I could not find out if the petitions had achieved anything.
For many days I felt completely helpless and hopeless: hopeless about humanity. That we do such things to animals.
Eventually I discovered who found Vučko. A small group of volunteers trying to help the suffering animals of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I found their Facebook pages and groups, and then saw more photographs of Vučko.
I knew I must do something. I was not sure what. I do not have money – I am an ‘emerging’ literary fiction writer and have a chronic illness that means I cannot do normal work. I also knew weeping about Vučko was not going to help him. In fact it seemed pathetic to weep when he was the one who had suffered.
I looked into what the animal activists in Bosnia Herzegovina were doing and realised they needed all the financial support they could get: there were hundreds of dogs and other animals in Vučko’s country desperately needing care and attention. They do everything they can, but they can only do so much. I wondered if there had been enough money, could Vucko’s face have been reconstructed? I do not know.
What I did know was that I had to do what I could to ensure something positive came out of Vučko’s death. I may not have money, but I have some time and the ability to create websites and blogs, and to spread the word about issues.
So I made this website and, through Facebook, began to develop ongoing relationships with animal activists and rescuers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You can find some of them here: Activists. (Most of the activists in BiH fundraise and spread the word about what is happening by Facebook).
By December of 2012, several other animal lovers based outside of Bosnia Herzegovina rallied around to assist me in my work. We call ourselves AWAB, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia Herzegovina. We live all over the world: USA, Finland, Sweden, UK. We are an informal group, doing what we can to help the strays of the country and to spread the word about what is happening there. We fundraise, mostly via Facebook, and the donations we receive go towards a number of situations: advocacy, spay-neuter programs, food for stray dogs and cats, emergency veterinary treatment for abused or injured animals, advocacy work. There is also the daily care and upkeep of rescued dogs and cats we sponsor to keep safe off the streets and in ‘pension’ ( kennels ) or in foster homes (see some of them at http://awabosnia.org/ and on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/AdoptionAnimalsBosnia). When we can we help organise the re-homing of rescues in the UK, USA, Germany, Holland and other parts of Europe, ensuring that they go to homes that are home checked and monitored.
We also fund lobbying, investigations and documentation of the horror ‘shelters’ other animal atrocities in Bosnia Herzegovina.
We have an AWAB Facebook group and a Facebook page and a number of individual Facebook fundraising events and pages.
And we have a website dedicated to finding homes for rescues from Bosnia:
The painting of Vučko is by a friend of mine, Rosemary Taylor, based on a pencil drawing kindly provided by supercolouring.com.
A little more about me and my relationship with animals:
I have always been an animal lover but only recently have been more involved in animal activism. In some ways I feel it has been a long time coming.
When I was seven years old my family lived for a few years in Greece. I saw many starving and suffering stray dogs and cats. I once found a tiny orange tabby kitten by the side of the road, abandoned. Too young to survive by itself. I was not allowed to take it home. I promised myself that ‘when I grew up’ I would return to Greece and save all the feral cats. Needless to say I did not do this. I have had cats, and now live with Ronan, our beautiful black cat who was also found by the side of the road, a tiny kitten, here in Ireland.