Sasa Pesic was unemployed and unsure of what to do when he happened upon four stray puppies in the woods near his house. He took them in with the aim to care for them, but had no idea that these pups would change his life. Pesic soon became an advocate for stray dogs and built a sanctuary shelter for them in Nis, Southern Serbia. The shelter is located at a former equestrian club stable, which the owner agreed to allow Pesic to use rent-free back in 2010. There is a great amount of outdoor space fenced off, which allows the dogs to run free all day long. At night, they come into their kennels for their own protection.
Photo Credit: AFP
All of the dogs have been vaccinated, neutered/spayed, and have microchips. Pesic says that even though there are about 450 of them, he knows all of their names and their personalities. He’s dedicated his life to these animals and it shows. The dogs are always happy to see him, surrounding him with wagging tails and happy barks as soon as he comes onto the property. Many of these dogs became strays when they were abandoned by their owners that had fallen on difficult economic times.
Photo Credit: AFP Andrej Isakovic
But now, the city is saying that Pesic has to find a new location for the shelter, because they say the land belongs to them and not the gentleman that allowed Pesic to use it. Animal rights groups and advocates sprung into action, however, and got a petition going that tens of thousands of people signed to prevent the shelter from being closed down. The city government has since backed down a bit and has promised to help find a new location for the shelter, because they recognize that letting these dogs back onto the streets would not be beneficial for anyone.
Photo Credit: AFP
In the meanwhile, Pesic and his team of volunteers are fighting everyday to ensure the well-being of the animals, because providing food and care for all of them is not easy. Luckily, they’ve received a lot of donations, especially from people abroad and are actively working to find suitable homes for the dogs. Since they’ve opened, they’ve managed to place 250 pups, which is pretty great. Pesic talked about the struggles of how expensive his project is:
“We need some 5,000 to 6,000 euros ($5,400 to 6,400) for our 400 to 500 dogs every month,”
Nothing seems to stop Pesic, regardless the work or the cost. You can donate to Pesic and his cause click here.
If Pesic’s rescue work isn’t impressive enough, you might recall this video of him jumping off a bridge to save a stranded dog: