Dog naps at the National Library of Kosovo. Photo: Plator Gashi.

Unlikely heroes: vape store and pizzeria rally to help Kosovo’s strays  

As the cold winter sets in, shops and restaurants in Kosovo have set up charitable donations and feeding stations to help starving stray dogs in the streets of Prishtina.

Businesses in Prishtina have launched two initiatives to help feed street dogs in cities throughout Kosovo this week.

Dr Vape, an electronic cigarette store on Mother Theresa Boulevard, and Pizza Crust, a restaurant in Sunny Hill, have both pledged to donate proceeds from their sales for the rest of the year to buying dog food.

The electronic cigarette store, which has stores in Prishtina, Prizren, Ferizaj, Gjilan and Mitrovica, has set up large pipes that dispense dog food outside their stores across the country.

“Getting quality food in the winter is especially important for stray dogs, as it ensures their survival in cold weather,” said Roberta Osmani from animal rights NGO, United for Animals. “Going out to feed them in areas where they usually roam around provides for excellent opportunities to connect with these lovely creatures.”

Dog food dispenser on Mother Theresa Boulevard. Photo: Egzon Berisha.

For many years, state institutions in Kosovo have attempted to solve the problem and reduce the huge number of dogs that roam Kosovo’s streets. The government currently employs the “CNVR” method, which means to catch, neuter, vaccinate and release dogs back into the streets.

This is considered the most humane way to decrease the stray population by the foundation StrayCoCo, who have helped small local organizations and vets in Kosovo to neuter dogs and provide medical treatment.

The pizzeria explained that they will donate ten per cent of their earnings from vegetarian pizzas to buy dog food in order to help the dogs and draw attention to the struggles that the animals face.

“We feel that the stray dogs need us the most during these winter days,” said Ekrem Tahiri, co-owner. “This deal is set up so that we can collect as much money as we can to help the NGO that cares for stray animals, as well as to try and raise the general public awareness about this issue.”

Osmani explained that finding food is not the only problem that dogs face in winter.

“Although at first thought the impression is that food is harder to find, water is also a big challenge in the winter as ponds where they usually drink from freeze in low temperatures,” she said. “Everyone can help in this regard simply by placing bowls with fresh water and dog food or even leftovers and placing it in front of their homes.”  

Osmani stressed that any contact with strays in Prishtina can be a positive experience that helps their survival.

“In most cases, when we approach them with food, they are more interested to play with us first,” said Osmani, “which is sad because it shows how important the often overlooked love and affection are to them.”

08/12/2018 - 11:26

08 December 2018 - 11:26

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.