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).
Sometimes people ask me ‘Why Bosnia?’ I don’t think there is any particular reason other than it was Vučko who I saw that day on YouTube. Perhaps if he had come from China, I’d be rescuing there. And, maybe there is a connection – prior to finding out about Vučko, I wrote two short stories that had Bosnian connections, even though I had never visited the country. And I love traditional Balkan music… so, who knows.
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, in Ireland.