Helping Iranian Hapoos


Helping Iranian Hapoos
by kfravon

Founded in 2004, Vafa Animal Shelter is the first animal shelter in Iran. We are dedicated to providing help and shelter to injured and homeless animals in Iran. The Vafa shelter is a non-government charity organization relying solely on private donations and volunteers. [See photos]

We are located in the town of Hashtgerd, about an hour and a half west of Tehran on the road to Ghazvin. The Vafa Animal Shelter was put together with the hard work of Fatemeh Motamedi, who has a deep love for animals of all shapes and sizes, and who donated her land and organized the building of the shelter with her own funds.

At present, the shelter is under the supervision of Mr. Ali Sani and is run by a group of devoted volunteers and caring veterinarians who donate much of their services. The shelter is currently home to over 300 dogs.

You may be wondering how you can help us? Apart from physical help at the shelter and donations, one of the best ways to assist us is by transporting our dogs from Iran to countries you are travelling to (such as the US, Canada, Europe) since placing them in permanent and loving homes is near to impossible in Iran.

How you ask? Easy peasy!

Here’s the process:

When a family chooses a Vafa dog, our team in Tehran will start the process of getting all their travel documents in order.  The dog gets micro-chipped and vaccinated as required by the country they will be traveling to. The size and weight of the dog is then measured and an airline approved travel kennel is purchased.  Some have been donated to us which at this time are all outside of Iran, as they were used and we can save some money for the family who is adopting the dog if we can get the kennels back to Iran (this is another way to help! if you happen to have just 1 piece of luggage from US to Iran, then perhaps you can help us by taking an empty kennel back with you).

We then ask you (the traveler) for your flight information and will contact the airline to make sure there is room for a live animal in the 'hold area' of the plane.  Once the reservation is confirmed, we just need to get a copy of your passport, to get the final document ready for the dog.

Our representative in Tehran will then meet you at Imam Khomeini Airport's security line and will also come through the security with you, so he/she can take care of the payment for the travel ticket for the dog.  The airline will at that time take the kennel to the plane.  Once you arrive at your destination in the US or EU, you just need to get help from a baggage handler to put the crate on a cart and roll it out… just as you pick up your luggage, and go through customs--One of our representatives or the dog's new family will meet you right outside the customs area, and at that time he/she will take care of tipping the baggage handler. [See photos]

No big deal! Don't be surprised if you receive endearing treatment at both airports by staff who admire your kindness!

Here’s a video of the arrival of precious cargoes:  Hapoo & Mina came to the US from Iran.

My blog after I first visited the shelter - and the 2nd time when I first experienced bringing a vafa dog (chocolat –in the photo essay) to SFO with me.

Please visit us on and/or join us on our facebook page.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for considering to help us in any way you can –

>>> Photo album on Flickr

Faranak Ravon


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Keep up the great work!

by cameron on

awsome people and awesome cause.

Mohammad Ala

Thank you.

by Mohammad Ala on

My family members and I have been VAFA supporter from the second year of its establishment.  Our support will continue.