Food. Food. Food. It's by far the number one plea for help we get all year long. We've been buying kibble by the ton for rescue centers internationally, with a special emphasis on preparing for winter. Often the roads become impassible for several days after a storm and it's so important to have a stockpile. You can't imagine what a joyful surprise it is when trucks full of food pull toward the gate. (If you haven't seen our holiday surprise video, watch it here)
Before we move on to other news, we wanted to be sure that each and every one of you knows just how much we treasure your role in feeding animals across the planet. It's been an extraordinary year, and you've kept thousands upon thousands of animals from going hungry. Your kindness shines so brightly, it feels as though we're holding the sun in our hands. Here you see the dogs at Sasha Pesic's sanctuary in Serbia. They're eating from a heart-shaped pile of kibble. Not all of the 450 dogs wanted to take part in the photo, but just look at how many did! We'll post a full sized photo on our Facebook page.
Good News in Our Mission to Save Sasha's Sanctuary from Christmas Eviction
We've spent the past week frantically working to protect Sasha Pesic's sanctuary in Serbia. Here the dogs eat, play and run together in a cage-free lifestyle. At night they sleep in straw lined beds in what was once a horse stable. Normally Christmas is a time when the staff prepares special surprises for the dogs, but the peace here was shattered last week when the municipality ordered the dogs to leave on Christmas day.
The eviction notice came on the heels of the sanctuary's whistle-blower activity against a government veterinarian who was performing grossly negligent spaying surgeries on street dogs.
Our collective power has brought great influence to this crisis. Under pressure from the Prime Minister himself, the mayor of Nis made an unscheduled visit to the sanctuary two days ago and said that the dogs will not be seized. Thousands of people sent in photos of themselves holding up signs up support. It has been absolutely incredible to see the faces of so many of you, across the planet, who stand beside us in this mission. And 140,000 signed our petition.
We're told the sancatuary needs to move in about 6 months. We're now seeking a firm written agreement to spell out the details of that relocation and trying to apply pressure for the city to donate the land for the new location. Breaking news on this mission will continue to be posted to our Facebook page We're going to need a lot more help as this situation continues to unfold. Thank you all for the incredible wave of support.
Heat Arrives for the Felix Cat Sanctuary
Danica Mirkovic cares for over 100 cats, all taken from the streets of Serbia. Most of them know what its like to be cold, really cold, and they face chronic health vulnerability due to their former life. So when we received a plea from Danica to purchase fuel to heat the sanctuary, we didn't hesitate.
"We're in a deep crisis," Danica said. "We're desperately trying to raise $2,300 for the first tank of gas needed for the heat. We're freezing in the meantime. We have no money to purchase heating fuel, and according to the weather forecast, a severe drop in temperature, violent winds and icy rains are coming in this week. If we don't succeed in raising the funds for the first tank of gas before snow comes, it's possible that the gas truck won't be able to push its way through because the snow usually makes most of the roads in this region impassable."
Within days, Harmony Fund supporters had contributed the funds to buy the fuel and Danica didn't waste any time placing an order to the gas company.
"The gas delivery truck should be pulling into the shelter on Saturday," Danica Mirkovic reports. "No more shivering and freezing here over the next two and a half months! We hope we'll soon be able to cheer you with the photos of Felix kitties sitting, lying and sleeping on the pleasantly warm radiators"
And yes, those photos soon did arrive. Here is our absolutely favorite image of one cat who clearly can not see. But you don't need eyes to find the warm radiator in a building that's been cold for far too long. This sanctuary is a permanent home to so many cats who are ill or injured and couldn't possibly care for themselves on the street. We are so thankful for Danica's rescue center and so thankful for all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone!
Moved by a Force Greater Than Gravity...
All year long, we've been helping paralyzed dogs and cats to get back on their paws.Though many of these dogs and cats were irreparably damaged when they were struck by a car or beaten with a pipe, there's a force greater than gravity that helps them rise again. That force is you.
We're sending Panda (shown here) to her foster mom in the United Kingdom. Panda is in Romania under the care of Norica Prigoana. We often help Norica to pay the mortgage at her rescue center or to buy food for the dogs, and she needs extra help this month.
And that's why we have to thank you today. Panda actually spent days in the road after her accident. Hard to believe, but people were afraid to pick up this puppy who is about as small as a child's stuffed animal. It's only because of Norica that Panda is now comfortable and sleeps without fear. And it's only because of you that she will join a long list of victims who can stand tall again.
Update: Ukraine's Dogs & Cats Eat Your Donations
We've just sent another round of aid to the Ukraine to protect the dogs and cats of war. We'd like to report that conditions are getting better, but the truth is that winter is moving in and it's a very precarious time for both man and animal.
Communications have been difficult recently as electricity is often shut off and there is no internet connection for days. But there was a mix of both concern and celebration in the latest message we received from Tamara Tarnawska at the shelter in Kiev.
"We are all so tired," Tamara said. "Today, the Prime Minister of Ukraine informed citizens that it will be much worse. But I also have very good news. After my many appeals for help, Nestle company gave to the shelter one ton of food for our cats. That's enough for three months! This is good quality food and our cats eat with great pleasure."
In Donetsk, near the Russian front, there has been no rest. There's a dramatic increase in the number of homeless dogs and the shelter is trying to cope with the needs of more than 1,000 under their care. Last week we sent funds again for the purchase of food.
We are especially thankful for Marc Baur of the island community of Bowen in Canada. Marc put together a wonderful silent auction which included the sale of his painting Secret Meadow (shown here) to help care for the dogs and cats in Donetsk, Ukraine. And a big round of applause also to Darlene Paige Williams who organized a fundraiser at Abigail's restaurant in Connecticut (USA). These efforts, and all of you who have been donating, have helped us keep our promise that the dogs and cats in those rescue centers will not be hungry or cold this winter.
Our Holiday Wish List
#1 Heat in Bosnia
Lately, with the weather turning cold, we've also had several requests for funds to provide heat. Just last night, we got one request that was very moving.
"Laura, I'm wondering if it's possible for the Harmony Fund to help Jelena Paunovic?" asks Sandra Jensen of Animal Welfare Advocates Bosnia.
"Jelena lives alone with her rescues, 7 cats and about 4 dogs, and has no heating in the apartment. I have visited this apartment and it's in a terrible state with some of the windows broken and only plastic covering them. And yet in spite of struggling personally without income, she has done so much to document the atrocities happening in the country.
She is the only journalist really willing to take the risk to expose the corruption and cultural and political mindset that has created a horrific situation for strays in Bosnia. She has started a Journalists For Animals blog She really wants to make a difference." Can we work together to get a donation over to Jelena? Donate
#2 Funds for Rescue Centers in India
We're hoping to send aid to two special rescue centers in India. PFA Faridabad is a fledgling animal rescue team that provides free ambulatory services and emergency care for sick and injured animals of all species. Help in Suffering, based in Jaipur, does the same on a much larger scale and runs an incredible camel hospital. Both truly NEED our help right now and it would mean so much to be able to send them some funding next week. Donate
#3 Cat Sanctuary Needs Heating
We are stuck mid-way on a project to install a heating system in our own sanctuary for feral cats. The barn is now at full capacity and it would be a true fire hazzard to connect individual heated beds for all the cats. Our only option is ceiling mounted heaters which are designed to blow warm air down on the animals living quarters. Because the barn was built for horses, it's not ideally suited to heating, but we have consulted several electricians about the safest and most economical way to keep the cats warm. It's simply that the cost of the installation exceeds our budget and we need some help quite quickly as the weather is growning very cold. Donate
#4 Spaying and Neutering 100+ Cats in Turkey
And finally, we would be tremendously grateful for donations to help us carry out another wave of spay/neuter in Avsallar, Turkey. We're targeting three location with a total of about 100 cats. You can imagine how many offspring will be born to those 100 cats, but we do have an amazing veterinarian who is prepared to sterilize the cats immediately. Dr. Osman already does so much work out of his own pocket each month, we simply can't expect him to come up with all the funds for sterilization supplies on his own. Donate
Thank you for viewing our wish list and for all your help throughout the year. Together, we are Harmony Fund.
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