Lucky dogs

Photo essay: The only animal shelter in Iran

by Mohammad Ala

Few months ago, my family members and I visited Vafa animal shelter near Karaj in Iran. Mrs. Esna-Ashari was kind enough to give us a tour. The good news is that there is this animal shelter to protect 250 dogs and few other animals. The bad news is that the land developers are fighting to take the land to build homes; they contend that residents are complaining about odor and noise. Tehran and many cities in Iran are developing very fast, making it difficult for any creature(s) to have a normal life. The newsletter has most of the information that one may need. Any support that you provide, not necessarily financial will help this shelter to provide protection for various animals. Also see Debra White's article: "Woff Woff from Tehran".



Recently by Mohammad AlaCommentsDate
خبر نامه ی از ایران
Jul 17, 2012
قهرمانان جهانی ایران
Jul 12, 2012
"تقدیم" نامه یک کتاب
Jul 08, 2012
more from Mohammad Ala

Dog-lover: maltreated dogs in Iran

by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

Dear Dog-lover, firstly I am so sincerely sorry to hear about your dog having been stolen. Being a dog-lover and owner myself I know how painful that is. I hope you find him. I was just baffled though because whenever I come to Iran, over many many years I have witnessed people having dogs that they openly walk in parks etc. I know we are not a doggy culture, but neither is Greece for example, and many other places where a pet culture is not strong. A lot of people use this as a forum to attack Islam and bring up the idea of Nadjes, well, many farmers in Iran have dogs. I think more than the idea of Nadjessi, it is the poverty and absence of knowledge, habit and facilities that get in the way of treating these animals with the respect they deserve. Cats do not fair any better and they are not Nadjess!! To my knowledge and observation, THERE IS NO BAN on having dogs at home, in so far as this does not intrude on other people's comfort and property.

I believe together we can gradually introduce a more compassionate culture towards animals, but that is inseparable from level of welfare in society itself. A country under perpetual threat of war and in the grip of long term sanctions and economic impoverishment naturally has little to offer its animals ... In the meantime, financing this great facility and promoting neutering so that unwanted pops and kittens do not suffer are what we can do best to help them.


Our Beautiful dog is missing in Tehran

by Dog lover (not verified) on

Thanks Mohammad for sharing that with us.
I admire what this lady do in Iran .

Our neighbors in Tehran complained about us to the police for having a dog. police made us to moved him from our home in Tehran to Aab _ali where my husband has a small property. some one stole him.
It has been few months that we are looking for him, no luck, they said he must be taken to Varamin by some drug addicted men who wanted to sell him to farmers, we went to Varamin and we did not find him there.
my point is : dogs and animals do not have right in Iran and we can not ask police or any organization to help us
last year polices came to our street and they were shooting the dogs. they said there are dirty and NAJES and government says we should remove them from street


I never participate on any

by chris (not verified) on

I never participate on any discussion. But as an animal lover specially a dog lover, I want to thank these great human being. Dogs are better friend than humans and whoever abuse them must get tough punishment. Thats one reason I do not want to live in third world country like iran because most people do not treat animals good. Again keep up the good work and god bless you.


Dogs, the one and ony friends of Humans

by Shahram Sajjadi (not verified) on

There is only one species that Human being, inspite of his wisdom, has made friendship with and that is dog (canis familiaris). Shame to people who disrespect this or any friendship.


luky dogs

by KEN NADRI (not verified) on

All dogs go to hevan {if there is a hevan)


Thank you.

by AnonymousFish (not verified) on

I wish to express my thanks to those who care.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

God bless those humane people!

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

S.A.M (an official Khar Vazir)


who says we are better than animals

by Elaheh (not verified) on

I looked at these pictures and I felt so much joy in my heart that an Iranian organization is helping these dogs that have no choice other than being in a culture that calls them 'najes' despite of having the forgotten title of 'vafadar' in ancient Iranian culture....and the very best human friends... I congratulate the founder of this organization... I wish there was a way to get a yearly bill to contribute to this organization.


i am a huge dog lover.  We

by desi on

i am a huge dog lover.  We adore our dogs.  They give our family unconditional love and joy.  I wish our culture in Iran didn't have this archaic Muslim "najess" label on them so that these beautiful creatures could be adopted and raised by a loving Iranian family. I think children who grow up with pets are raised with a sense of responsibility and compassion too.  Good work mrs. Esna-Ashari. 


Dogs are Najess!

by Anonymous-99 (not verified) on

Even the dogs suffer from the unhuman religion(Islam) that considers them as Najess!!!!!


Mrs. Esna-Ashari is my Iranian of The day

by shirazie (not verified) on

It is so good to see a shelter in Iran. I had a dog while growing up in outskirts of Shiraz . The animal control effort was to kill the dogs. So a cop shot my Eskimo. Only took 45 years for Iran to start thinking about treating animals humanly.

Bless you Mrs. Esna-Ashari


Very Nice

by winston (not verified) on

This is a great and noble cause. They need money more than anything else.



by hormoz (not verified) on

oooh , cheghadr sag moondeh toye iran , hanooz!!!?


Thanks for the Great Pics

by MiNeum71 on

Many of the past comments have already said what has to be said, representative for them is "A small gesture like this is a step towards humanification of our society". It is so important forgetting the past glories for a moment and looking ahead.

There are four parameters which show how improved a society is:
1) Dealing with/treatment of women and minorities
2) Dealing with/treatment of prisoners
3) Dealing with/treatment of animals
4) Dealing with/treatment of road users


Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

I have a suggestion for those who run this shelter.  I think that they should spay and neuter these dogs.  There are just too many puppies, and with the large population of dogs, there are surely more to come!  At some point, the population is going to outgrow the size of the facility, and that would be unfortunate.

Capt. Ayhab you’re right.  A dog’s love is unconditional.  In the immortal words of one of my college friends: ‘you want sex, get a girlfriend…you want love, get a dog”!!!  (I guess the same thing can be said about men if you are a woman:  “if you want sex, get a boyfriend….if you want love, get a dog”)!!!



by capt_ayhab on

From an avid dog lover, Tehran really needs more of these institutions. After all we, as human beings are responsible for these animals since we have domesticated them.

A dogs love and loyalty is unconditional, and wish some humans were as loyal.


capt_ayhab [-YT]


Thank you

by BWTB (not verified) on

Thank you for the good work. When a nation learns to respect animals, then it will respect humans. A country with no culture is one that respects nothing, least of all animals that depend on us to look after them.

What a shame that we have become a hollow nation relying on our past glories instead of learning from it and being a world leader.

A small gesture like this is a step towards humanification of our society. It will take time but it is worth it.

Thank you Dr Mohammad Ala


Happy 30th anniversary

by pedarSag (not verified) on

These pictures are so timely on the thirtieth anniversary of the Hezbollah revolution in Iran, and remind us of the Madrasas (Mullah Seminaries) in Qhom.


my personal opinion

by Maziar CVIII (not verified) on



Dogs are the Best

by dariushhhh (not verified) on

Awesome pictures. Thanks you so much for posting MA and thanks to all those Iranians who provide for these majestic creatures.
Dogs are so innocent, pure and loyal with a heart full of unconditional love.
Own one and you will see.


Great cultural work

by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

Thank you for this great humane and cultural work. I am sure many of us animal lovers who would have wanted to, will now be able to help financially with this wonderful effort.


Thanks. Good to know.

by Anonymous2be (not verified) on

Thanks. Good to know about this Shelter.

My favorite pictures: # 16 and 27


Nice pictures . . .

by Javadagha on

Thank you Dr. Ala for your support.



Wonderful. Now If They Could Only..

by Anonymousessss (not verified) on

set up a shelter for abused people in know, like women who get beaten on streets if their "roosari" is misplaced a little bit....