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A Day in the Life of Volunteers


Four hard working volunteers went to VAFA Animal Shelter on Sunday July 15, 2012 to help out with the puppies and mothers. They packed their car with meat, broth, bones with meat, milk, bread, and chicken for the puppies and nursing mothers.

They arrived around 8:30 in the morning and the weather, for a change, was great. After changing into work clothes they started cleaning up the visitor’s room, which is always left in a mess. I’m not sure why this happens. If people come to VAFA to visit, they should respect the space and clean up after themselves. If it’s VAFA folks who are leaving a mess, than it’s a big shame.


The four volunteers mixed the meat broth with bread, the milk with bread, and took them, with the meat and ribs/bones, over to the Nursery. One of the pregnant dogs had given birth two days ago. Two abandoned nursing puppies were accepted by one of the nursing mothers who has five of her own, so right now she is nursing seven. They gave her the best meat, and a lot of it. Another mother was dropped off a few nights ago with five older puppies and was settling in very well. She was given one of the two remaining dens in the nursery.


One mother, who was hit by a car, was brought over during the weekend. Our veterinarian had shaved her hip where she had a bad cut and had applied cream. The folks who brought her over had searched in vain for her puppies, but had found none. Her milk has dried up and she was given the last free den in the nursery. There are seven mothers with puppies, one expectant mother, and one childless mother. We now have nine mothers in the nursery with around 29-30 puppies. The mothers are starting to get a feel for the place and hang out in the enclosed yard together, although one of them tries to rule the place.


The puppies get along well, however, the ones with their eyes closed or the very young ones do not leave their den. Meanwhile, Habib, who is in charge of supervision of the shelter, took one of the sick puppies to the animal clinic in Hashtgerd. He came back a few hours later and the puppy had bandages on his legs. He had received fluid through an ivy since he wouldn’t eat, not even the pure beef broth offered by the volunteers.


After feeding the mothers and the puppies, the volunteers let them out in the yard to play and while the mothers and puppies enjoyed themselves, they cleaned the dens, changed their blankets, put fresh water, and swept the area. Later on, they removed ticks off those who had them and then mixed yogurt with ground up bread and gave the residents of the nursery an afternoon supplement.


The two VAFA workers hadn’t had bread for a few days because Agha Karam, the driver of the shelter, had to attend his father’s funeral service (service for the fortieth day of passing) so he hadn’t been around this weekend. The two, Gholam and Ahmad, both Afghanis, were complaining to him that they missed bread. When Agha Karam approached mentioned it to one of the volunteers, about it, three “chelo kababs” were ordered for them.


The three had a good meal while the volunteers went into the guest room to eat their own lunch. Later on, they packed their stuff, cleaned the room, said their goodbyes to Karam, Gholam, Ahmad, and the dogs, and headed back to Tehran. They got home around 5:30-6:00 PM. Great day at VAFA and the volunteers were all beat!!

The volunteeers: Akram Akbarpour, Pourya and Parya Tamri, Sheyda Ardalan