From streets in Iran to stardom in the US


by Debra White

A car accident left the scrappy young mutt paralyzed in the back legs, lying on a road’s edge outside of Tehran. Kind strangers loaded the gravely wounded dog into their car, fed him then transported him to the VAFA shelter, outside of Tehran. Shelter personnel say if Omid, whose Persian name means hope, hadn’t been rescued, he would have perished due to the extent of his injuries. The dog also had fleas and intestinal parasites, common among Iran’s street dogs.

Opened in 2004, VAFA cares for at least 400 dogs. Many Iranians love dogs but ownership is frowned upon by the current Iranian regime so adoptions are slow. Caring for a dog with special needs posed a problem for VAFA so they posted pleas on their website and Facebook page asking for a traveler to fly with Omid to a Western country. Weeks passed and no one offered to help.

A group called Street Dogs International saw the posts and got involved. They located a traveler for Omid. Finally, the spunky street dog that couldn’t use his back legs had a second chance. Omid arrived at Dulles International Airport in the DC area on March 24, 2012. Animal lovers including the couple who would provide Omid a temporary home waited for him, says Farah Ravon, a VAFA volunteer living in the US.

Omid became a media darling. Featured on local television, he’s been the topic of several newspaper and magazine articles. He will be included in an upcoming children’s BBC special. Recently, he won a Facebook photo contest. News of his rescue from Iran spread and Omid’s fans sent him gift cards from Petsmart.

Not having use of his back legs doesn’t stop Omid from getting around. He walks with a doggie wheelchair, courtesy of a generous donor. Omid loves everyone he meets. Strangers ask to have their picture taken with him. The street dog from Iran shows appreciation every day for his new life, courtesy of thoughtful strangers and to the VAFA shelter.

For more information about the VAFA shelter, visit their Facebook page called VAFA Animal shelter or send them an email at

Banafshe and Babak Alipour, the Iranian couple who foster Omid, were nominated as “Iranian of the Day” last month.


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Lucky Boy - He Deserves His Break

by CultureVulture on

Omid, you have a whole life ahead of you... May you bring boundless happiness and peace into the lives of your new owners, and may you yourself never have to suffer the suffering of despair and unwantedness again....

Mohammad Ala

Thank you.

by Mohammad Ala on

Regardless of amount of donations, animal shelters in Iran do not have sufficient funds to cover needs of the creatures. 


thanks debra for the post

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

the news is very uplifting and gives us all a chance to support the special and very necessary mission of vafa.


kind supporter ...

by kfravon on

thank you, Debra for always following vafa shelter dogs' stories and happy endings for those who end up in forever loving homes ...

'together' we can make a difference!

--faranak ravon


I hear he is a celebrity

by Truthseeker9 on