Beginnings in Nis
Serbia’s Forgotten Paws was established in 2012 when a small group of like-minded individuals came together to support a dog shelter in Nis.
In fact, money was so tight that to feed the dogs Jelena relied upon a local bakery to supply stale bread that was soaked in water, a diet that meant the dogs’ teeth and health suffered.
SFP had one goal: to improve the lives of the shelter dogs. To do this we needed to:
- provide better quality food
- ensure every dog had an insulated dog house to keep them warm
- find workers to walk the dogs regularly
- provide vet care for every dog
- reduce the shelter population through increased adoption rates
- provide toys to enrich the dogs daily lives.
Finally becoming a registered charity
At first it was a struggle and the volunteers used up most of their own savings to keep the dogs healthy. In 2014 Serbia’s Forgotten Paws was finally registered as a UK charity, giving confidence to supporters and making donating easier.
Over time, support for SFP grew and we were able to aim higher. As the shelter became a safer and healthier place for dogs, we were able to fundraise for a very large exercise run meaning more dogs could be exercised safely. We now have 3 exercise runs at the shelter in Nis.
Second shelter in Mislodjin
We also started supporting another shelter in Mislodjin. We’ve helped them build a cattery as well as build a huge exercise field for their dogs. Basic and simple but valuable changes in the lives of rescued animals.
Catch, neuter, release programme
Over the last few years we have been able to run CNR (catch, neuter, release) schemes in the local area to humanely control the stray population of both cats and dogs. Our neutering scheme is not just limited to Nis and Mislodjin. We help with CNR all over Serbia, whenever we can. It is one of the most important solutions to the stray animal problem. By neutering we are making sure animals stay healthier, happier and safer. It is the kindest way to end the suffering.
Now SFP is run by 10 or so unpaid volunteers who all have full time jobs, but they will always find time for the animals.
Horse and donkey sanctuary
We have been fortunate enough to have some amazing support over the years and that has resulted in SFP helping open the first horse and donkey sanctuary in Serbia.
Some of these animals were rescued minutes away from being sent to slaughter, others were simply neglected and abused. Over the years many horses and a few donkeys have been rescued and rehomed in Serbia, whilst others are permanent residents at the sanctuary.