Loyal Angels

Photo essay: Animal sanctuary near Karaj

by kfravon

It's hard to decide whether I was blessed or cursed to make my way to Vafa Animal Shelter, the 'only' animal shelter/sanctuary in Iran. It is situated on a 4,000 square meter plot in Hashtgerd, near Karaj. They have the capacity to house 50 to 60 dogs. It was all good in the beginning when they started with a few dogs, but before they knew it they found themselves in high demand of abandoned and abused dogs in desperate need of medical attention, a meal or even just a safe place to recover from abuses and harassments. The dedicated ‘angels’ who manage and volunteer at Vafa Shelter now house over 300 dogs who were lucky enough to be adopted by them.

I managed to collect some donations from friends and family in US before heading to Iran. I hand delivered a total of $840 to the director of the shelter, Mrs. Esna Ashari. A drop in the bucket. They struggle with the most basic expenses to run this "najess" place (unclean as the government calls it). Their truck- the only way to move  the dogs to the shelter, as well as transporting food for them from the slaughter house- which needs to be done daily since they do not have electricity, hence refrigeration, needs major maintenance. Every dog, depending on their medical needs and health,  costs the shelter between $15 to $25 a month. Needless to say they get absolutely no support from the government.

I believe that even if there was such thing as a curse, with good deed it can be turned into blessing. Together, let's ease their sufferings. Over the past years, many of you have gotten to know me well enough to know that my love for animals has no boundary. Also, my integrity comes highly validated. That is why I dare to turn to you. I am asking you, based on your trust in me, and kindness of your heart towards God's Creature, to help me help these selfless people take care of unfortunate animals. They can use any help they can get. Any dollar amount will help – even if it’s just 1 dollar.

Imagine if every Iranian.com reader who is an animal lover sends in at least $1 each, it will add up! Please contact me at (kfravon@yahoo.com)  with your questions and concerns. If you are ready to send your dollar (or more), my address is  5483 Copeland Lane, San Jose, CA 95124, USA. Please note Mrs. Motamedi, Founder of Vafa is my contact in Canada who will help me get the funds to dear Mrs. EsnaAshari who will spend it in the most appropriate way.


Alos for those of you who may not have seen this clip on JadidOnline, it's a must see! 

-- Faranak Ravon


more from kfravon

Bringing animals to USA

by komak (not verified) on

It is very nice to know this shelter exists in Iran. I wanted to share with everyone that if you ever decide to bring back a homeless cat or dog from Iran to the USA, it's not very hard. Contrary to everyone's belief there is no need for quarantine when the animal arrives in the States. If the animal is young/small, they can be brought on to the airplane cabin. Each airline has it's specific rules and cost, so check with them directly. Or larger animals can be placed in cargo. You need to get a vet in Iran to vaccinate the animal and the vet will let you know what kind of paperwork you need to travel with your animal. I brought a stray kitten back with me to USA last year. I found him on the street, abandoned by his mother and was unable to find him a suitable home in Tehran. So here he is doing wonderful, and a joy to have around.


  hey thank a lot about

by nojanthegreat on


hey thank a lot about the pics . I found you very brave to be this involve in the cause and put yourself in the center of cause. my hat to you . and for some of you, please stop blaming Islam for every thing , just let start teaching our kids to love dogs and other pets and not hit them with rock at them ok. for better future we need to protect our youth and animals so our society will improve rapidly. I hope we see more of this kind movement in the future and who said that ladies cant lead ?


re: Loyal Angels Animal sanctuary near Karaj by kfravon 5-16-09

by Magen30 (not verified) on

I find it interesting that more animals were saved during the flood of Noah than the number of people. Animals had enough sense to get in out of the rain & onto the boat while only 8 humans survived the flood. Yet some people have the arrogance to use animals for their own cruel warped since of fun & humor.

In the Bible, in the end-time prophecy, there is mention of God removing the "dread" that animals currently have for mankind & instead, animals will have no fear of humans during those dreadful end-time days. Today, a small child can lead a fully grown horse or cow around with a piece of rope. But if I understand the Biblical prophecy correctly, this will change in the future. Even predatory animals like tigers or lions today avoid humans & only seek them out if their territory has been invaded or they have been provoked ---- they avoid humans even though they are much stronger than even the strongest human adult. I am Christian & adhere to the teachings of the Holy Bible ...... I also realize people of other faiths may hold different end-time convictions or a different view regarding the “flood of Noah” story. To each his own.

In the Bible there are many examples & verses of God showing His favor for people who treated animals kindly (all animals - even those which were considered unclean for dietary consumption are creations of God & should not be treated cruelly.)

It is the opinion of some Christian teachers that God gave mankind animals for "pets" (specifically dogs & cats) not only for the safety of the home from vermin & theft but there has been a newly mentioned reason by some Christian teachers. That reason being they serve as a “psychological barometer” for mankind. Before the days of the study & understanding of the field of psychology, people often relied on their household pets to give a good indication regarding a stranger. They were very effective little psychological barometers & could give a “fairly” accurate indication if someone was at the very least giving off a “bad vibe” & warranted caution. Today, if one puts any credibility in the TV documentaries profiling serial killers, we have learned the ONLY characteristic that all serial killers globally have in common is they all have been cruel to animals on a big scale.... not just once kicking the dog because he was doing something wrong but rather cruelty such as animal abuse for sport or mutilations. That is the one commonality all serial killers have been reported to share. Not education, religion, economics, childhood experiences, good upbringing or bad upbringing, abuse....etc.... none of those factors or any others were consistent indicators – only cruelty of animals.

So if we can teach a dog to sniff out bombs & drugs & even cancer, I'm wondering if we can teach dogs to sniff out terrorists, rapists, pedophiles! God knows there are cruel people globally; they aren't exclusive to any one location & they will abuse & inflict cruelty & destruction not only on mankind but animals as well. We could all live a little safer if we could ID these people & hasten the conclusion of their reign of terror on mankind...... just imagine stopping a rapist, pedophile or terrorist before the term “serial” is added to their offense.

I often hear conflicting stories about how animals are treated much better in the Muslim world than in the USA or Europe. I have never traveled to the Middle East so I cannot give a personal account of witness one way or another. However, I have been told very detailed stories from people who were raised in the Middle East & id themselves as being from a Muslim background, that indeed, especially in the IRI, dogs do not fair very well & they are now happy to be able to have a pet to live in their home if they desire – even if the pet is a dog, & have the freedom to walk their dog in public & travel with their dog if they desire. I read on one website where a young person was arrested for posting “Lost Dog” ads. Apparently the legal view was such ads "spread depravity by encouraging dog ownership".

Below are a few articles which seem to give conflicting information regarding dogs in Muslim communities. I (& many others) would like to know the “real” truth of how well God's canine creatures fair in Muslim countries & particularly in the IRI (Iran). I realize there are warped perverted people living in all countries who do things contrary to human conscious & the law of the land. I'm not referring to those individuals but rather how the majority of the "normal" community as well as the authorities handle such individuals for their animal abuse – do they look the other way or give a mild slap on the wrist or do they encourage & enforce laws that promote safety for dogs & other animals alike?

1. Dogs! Are they dirty prohibited animals? www.quran-islam.org/119.html

2. Tehran Officials Begin Crackdown On Pet Dogs Sept 14, 2007 ..... a young person was arrested in Tehran for posting ads of his lost dog. According to Mehdi Ahmadi, a spokesman for Tehran's police force, such ads spread depravity by encouraging dog ownership. www.rferl.org/content/article/1078672.html

3. Islamic Rulings Prove Allah Loves Animals - Islam surpasses western animal rights groups www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3687704,0...

4. MUHAMMAD AND THE DOGS by Silas www.answering-islam.org/Silas/dogs.htm

5. MUHAMMAD AND THE ANIMALS by Silas www.answering-islam.org/Silas/animals.htm

6. Woof! Woof! from Tehran: Iran’s First and Only Animal Shelter //news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article....

7. A conservative Iranian prayer leader denounced the "moral depravity" of dog ownership and called upon the judiciary to arrest all dogs and their owners, the reformist Etemad paper reported Sunday. "I demand the judiciary arrest all dogs with long, medium or short legs together with their long-legged owners, otherwise I will arrest them myself", the Etemad newspaper quoted the cleric, named as Hojatoleslam Hasani, as saying at a Friday prayer sermon in the northwestern city of Urumieh, according to AFP. "The abominable people in this …....... IN THE ISLAMIC TOTALITARIAN STATE OF IRAN, THEY'RE ARRESTING MORE THAN JUST MEN WITH OUTLANDISH HAIRSTYLES, AND WOMEN IN PRINTED HIJABS - THEY'RE GOING AFTER PEOPLE WITH DOGS AS PETS. //astuteblogger.blogspot.com/search?q=%22mora...


Kurush Aziz, Most

by someone (not verified) on

Kurush Aziz,
Most Zorastrians were gardners as well and guarding the garden and property requried a dog. Dogs also protected people in thier travels against other animals. Also the dogs bit the Arab invadors that is why dogs were no liked by the Arabs as dogs were also used in battle by Persians defending Iran.


donations from europe

by kfravon on

Here's my understanding: I can open a facebook page, but accepting donations requires 401c in this country, otherwise they will tax me. I really don't have the resources to maintain a whole new site (as in facebook page), as i work full time and have a lot on my plate already...
I believe Vafa Shelter has a contact in EU also, who can take donations and see to it that it gets to the shelter. I emailed Mrsr Motamedi to get the information. I really appreciate your willingness to help, and I'll do my best to figure out a way!


Dear "kfravon",

by MiNeum71 on

It´s not possible to make a cash/cheque donation from the EU: Putting money into an envelope is forbidden, and Eurocheques have already been abolished. This is one of the main reasons why Ebay acquired PayPal for an huge amount.

At least donations using PayPal will be possible, also private persons use PayPal for Ebay payments (//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal), and I don´t know any reason why you will not be allowed to create a Facebook page.



MiNeum71 and Mehrnaz

by kfravon on

Dear ones,

I've actually thought about facebook donations and/or paypal set up, however due to the fact that Vafa is not a US based organization, and it's not considered a legal 'non profit' organization by gov't of Iran, we can not accept donations in that form. If anyone knows otherwise, pleas contact me off-line and we'll see if there's a way around it.

In the meanwhile, cash/check donations will be the way to go. Mrs Motamedi also included her contact information, in hopes you all rest assured that 100% of your donations will make their way to the shelter staff and dogs.

Many thanks,



Vafa animal shelter,Iran

by Fatemeh Motamedi (not verified) on

This is Fatemeh Motamedi the founder of the Center for Animal Lovers & Vafa animal shelter in Iran.I would like to Thank you all for the encouraging and heart-warming emails.And a heartfelt thank you to Mrs.Faranak Ravon for her touching essay and pictures of Vafa.
To contact us in Iran,you may call Mrs.Esnaashari:
I currently live in Toronto.You may reach me either by phone:1-647-438-3802 or by email:fatemehmotamedi@homail.com .You may also send your donations to Mrs.Ravon's address,as mentioned in her essay.
We desperately need your help to run this shelter .people in Iran are educated to spend money for human issues.They are very generous when it comes to helping an orphanage, nursing home,hospital,etc... but they haven't been educated to donate for the care of animals.We have begun to educate people and change their attitude towards animals.But,till then,we are mostly depedent on Iranians who live abroad and are familiar with the culture of helping and caring for animals.So,please help us to keep on.Thanks.



by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

Yes, I think the idea of a face book for regular update and a place to make donations is brilliant, but come back here every now and again to let others know you are there!


Dear "kfravon",

by MiNeum71 on

Maybe it will be possible to create a Facebook page, so then it will be easier to follow the recent activities and also possible to make donations using credit cards or PayPal.



God bless you all, for you

by Adel (not verified) on

God bless you all, for you bring more good into this earth! Animals are God's creation. NOBODY has the right to abuse them! Vafa Animal Shelter has earned my respect!


Different Breed

by Anonymousa (not verified) on

I truly believe poeple who care so much for humans or animal, be it nurses or otherwise are from different breed. Very extrodinary and close to angels. May God bless all of you.


GuessWho and everyone else....

by kfravon on

GuessWho, in response to your comment: It will be really helpful if you could include detail contact information for this shelter so donars can contact them directly on their own

 You can reach Mrs Motamedi (founder of Vafa) who currently resides in Canada via email: fatemehmotamedi@hotmail.com

And if you like to reach Mrs EsnaAshari, she lives in MehrShahr of Karaj and can be reached via phone: 011-98-912-121-1629

I'm just acting as a middle person, and doing my part to collect some funds to send back via a trusted person who was introduced to me by Mrs EsnaAshari and Motamedi.

I am truly humbled by all the kind comments AND tons of emails I'm receiving from folks who are interested to help. I urge you to follow through with your kind offers as soon as possible, and I PROMISE to report back with the progress.

With warm regards,


A lot sympthy postings, but no real $$$$ donations, I noticed!

by gol-dust on

Who said Taarof should cost you anything! wondering if this posting is going to be delted like my first one? Whatever!




درود فراوان بر همکیتان ای فرشتگان روی زمین که با این کار عظیمی که میکنید حق حیات را به این دردکشیدگان و مخلوقات خداوند برمیگردانید. اگر تک به تک ما نیز به عنوان یک انسان واقعی مبلغی را به این کانون هدیه کنیم  باری از روی دوش این عزیزان برداشته ایم. و در برابر پروردگار عالم روسفید خواهیم بود. یا اینکه شکرگذاریمان را جوری در برابر این طبیعت پر رنگ و زیبا نشان خواهیم داد.

بهمن جان خوشحالم که مورد توجه اتان قرار گرفت.

با درود فراوان به شما خانم لیدا و دیگر اعضا ی کانون

مینا کینر از المان


Faranak jan Affarin!

by Monda on

Your photos and report are all touching. I am passing the word around. The dedication of Vafa's staff is commendable. My donation is on the way.


another cruelty caused by Islam

by Arash Kamangir (not verified) on

Treating Dogs in Iran as " Nejes" has come from Islam and it will not change as long as islamic culture is the leading culture in Iran. While this animal is treated in most of the world as the "best friend of man" he is slaughtered like flies in Iran.


getting even

by hamidbak on


Nice way of getting back at me!  

All those articles and stories that made you teary eyed...you finally got back at me...good girl.

Thank God dogs live in the moment...they are happy to be where they are.



Many thanks to Ms. Ravon!

by benbagheri on

I found their website (www.cal.ir) by chance last week and contacted them and in fact got an email from Mrs. Esna Ashari whom you have mentioned in this report. 

I thank you Faranak khanom and all who help this wonderful organization. I urge all Iranian-Americans and Iranians travelling to Iran from Europe and elsewhere with financial means and ability to help this organization to go and visit these animals and help them in any amount, form or way they can.

And from a religious duty point of view, in my opinion, there is no bigger SAVAB than helping dogs in Iran!!! They have been traditionally mistreated and must be protected.



the Zoroastrian in us

by Kurush (not verified) on

the Zoroastrian do not even eat their own food untill they have fed ther dog, dog being sacred to the Zorastrian faith. yet moslem call them najes! that is a shame. thanks for the post.


Dear "kfravon",

by MiNeum71 on

Thanks for these wonderful pics, also for your great efforts. Seeing these beautiful Basharat-e Khoda makes me so sad, suffering so much pain until having the chance to start a new life.

It´s so difficult to me to understand what people think when they mistreat or slaughter animals. 



Faranak khanom dastmarizad!

by sima on

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. (My husband said Faranak even makes dog food look good!) My check will be on the way.

What a bunch of sweethearts who take care of these mistreated dogs -- and I'm not even into pets. I am so touched by the staff who defy all kinds of stupid cultural taboos to be simply kind.

Mohammad Ala

Thanks for your time and efforts.

by Mohammad Ala on

Thanks for your time and efforts.  My family members and I support this Center.  We visit this place at least once a year.



Great Cause

by GuessWho... (not verified) on

It will be really helpful if you could include detail contact information for this shelter so donars can contact them directly on their own.

They are all beautiful, though they look a bit weathered, sad, negelected and some obviously badly abused. Too bads humans will never learn how to be as kind and as forgiving as dogs.


The Persian Puppy

by Anonymous_Whisperer (not verified) on

Thank you for your thoughtful and caring posting. I am thinking that maybe someone like Cesar Millan of the show "The Dog Whisperer" (National Geographic Channel, Friday Nights) can shine the proper light on this problem and give it the attention that it needs.
For those who don't know him, he is an incredible individual and an advocate of the dogs in the animal shelters or abusive situations. If you watch a couple of his episodes, you will become an instant dog lover.


Its amazing that these

by Sadaf 22 (not verified) on

Its amazing that these people in Iran are helping the unfortunate abused dogs.
I am very touched,... keep up the good work..

Soheyla Marzvaan

Faranak Jon

by Soheyla Marzvaan on

 Thank you for your efforts and essay to bring attention to this cause. I was introduced to Mrs. Motammedi through a  great friend who is an animal resuer and a scholar Dr. Daneshvari, and I donate and collect donations to give to Mrs. Motammedi once a year when she goes to Iran.

I can vouch for whomever is concerned about the legitamcy of this effort. I vouvh that it is real, true and legitamate. Any one is welcome to contact me. I am a well trusted person in this orange county community and I will also volunteer to help in collecting donations , as I have before as well as any help needed. I too love animals and am member of many organizations here in US, nd it would be my pleasure to reach to these wonderful beings abroad.

Thank you so much for bringing this effort into the forefront. I also have a contact on Radio Iran that thanks to you, will be referred to this site to see your report and announce this on Radio.

In hopes that Iranians too become activist for these benigs that we can all learn from.




Donations and Adoptions

by Shahriar on

Thanks for a great photo essay. I've seen pictures of people in Iranian cities walking their dogs. I guess a good campaign would be to make it "cool" for well-to-do families to adopt these dogs rather than buying their pets.




My sincere thanks to you and all of you who are doing this wonderful work.  As an animal lover and a dog lover I am so moved by your work which I know is of such a considerable value in Iran, where resources are small and the number of astrays many.  What wonderful people you all are!  I believe we can all make make a big difference through small donations that will go a long way, and I will give commitment to do that myself.

Thank you.