Iran opened their hearts to homeless animals in 2003. VAFA which means loyalty became Iran’s first and only animal shelter in a country of at least 71 million people. The 32,000 sq. foot facility is located about 50 miles outside of Tehran. VAFA houses mostly dogs because they are more likely to face mistreatment from fearful or uniformed people. Homeless dogs meanwhile just try to scratch out a living.
Through months of hard work, diligence, and preparation Iranian animal lovers recently unveiled VAFA #2, in a village near the tomb of Ferdosi, the popular Iranian poet.
Generous donations made the second shelter possible so that a handful of homeless dogs are fed daily, medicated, cleaned up, and protected from harm.
The new fenced in shelter separates puppies from adult dogs. All the dens are solidly built. Dogs live comfortably in carpeted areas with space to go outdoors for fresh air and elimination.
VAFA manager Lida Esna-Ashari, a retired nurse, says, “Kind ladies founded this peaceful space for the helpless animals and they can use any help they can get. Please spread the word especially to people who are near Mashhad.”
Dogs are God’s creatures, says Niloofar Asgharian, an Iranian student in the US, who in 2007 raised money for VAFA. “They feel the pain and misery that man inflicts on them.”
Iranians who made the second shelter possible include but are not limited to: Mr. and Mrs. Erfani, Ms. Foroogh Emami, Ms. Khandan Del, Mrs. Mahdavi, and Ms. Lida Esna-Ashari. Through their generosity and kindness a few more homeless dogs experience kindness and compassion.
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