Saving Puppies in Gjirokastër, Albania

It’s a tragedy you never imagine to experience. Normally pushed aside as something you’ll see in movies but know that no living creature actually was harmed during the making. The other hostel volunteer and I figured it’d be best to start going for walks. Especially needed as most of the culture in Albania is centered around food and cafe visits with friends and/ or family. Anyhow, our specific walk led us across the bridge in Gjirokastër heading toward the mountains…where we heard a horrifying sound on the return trip…

…the sounds of trapped puppies. What we found was something you’d never imagine others were capable of doing. Along the road was a ditch where we heard cries, unsure of where they were coming from. Soon after, we saw a thin brown plastic bag, the kind you get for groceries, with 4 puppies inside.

A nightmare? If I’ve ever seen one. Almost immediately after, my friend and I were filled with panic and rage. After all, who does that? I understand that the association with dogs is different here (Albania) compared to New York and Ireland (where my friend is from) but still. That seems a little harsh, no?

Too many questions started coming. Do we bring them water-but what do we put it in? Do we bring them back to the hostel? Do we return to the hostel first and discuss what to do? If so, will they still be alive when we come back for them?

Gathering a box with towels, we hurried back to the pups and crowded them with towels and warmth before all the hugs and attention. And now they are learning how to walk, crying a little less (TG!) and growing healthily.

I have to admit, it’s weird; a part of me tries to understand how one could do that because they are seen differently, however, it’s from the association I was raised with that makes this infuriate me.


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