Oftentimes, the smallest, most silent among us need the most help — that’s especially true for the helpless animals left abandoned on the streets each day. The ASPCA estimates that around 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters every year in the United States alone. With no official, national reporting precedent in place, that number may be even higher.
In Dubrovnik, Croatia, one woman is trying to change that. For 13 years, Sandra Sambralio and her sister have been slowly building up the walls of an abandoned fort high above the city, which now plays home to their stray animal shelter, Žarkovica.
“It seems that Dubrovnik’s political interests do not fall with the animals of the city,” explained One Green Planet’s Anna Vallery in January. “Despite numerous promises to the Žarkovica shelter for workers, food donations and, most importantly, a new building, nothing has come their way.”
Random Acts Destination Projects Tracy Liu wasn’t about to let bureaucratic waffling infringe on the shelter’s overall goal. After learning of Žarkovica’s plight this past spring while planning her summer trip to the the coastal city, Tracy read up on the organization’s wishlist and submitted a request for funding to Random Acts itself.
“They have about 350 to 400 dogs alone,” she explained later, “and they desperately needed flea and tick medications, specifically [two American brands].”
Using the allocated Random Acts funds, Tracy gathered together over $400 worth of medications — the only trouble at that point, she said, was figuring out how to “fit them [all] in her backpack.”
After finally making the long trek to Dubrovnik, Tracy proceeded to drop off the medications at the dog shelter where she was greeted with wet noses and cheerfully wagging tails.
Given the shelter’s humble beginnings, Sandra (who cares for the animals almost exclusively by herself) has accomplished the unthinkable and turned the old fortress in Dubrovnik into an workable, inviting, makeshift home for the large abandoned dog population in her city — and with Random Acts and Tracy’s assistance, hopefully that camp of loving canines will be able to grow a little bit more.