“They Are My Life.” This Man Has Spent 20 Yrs And Counting Caring For Dogs In Need.

man with dog next to dogs by shelter

Every dog deserves to live a long, happy life, and Dejan Gacic of Serbia is doing everything he can to ensure that happens.

It all started over 20 years ago when Dejan and his late mother Svetlana began feeding strays in their village of Cumic. As they helped more and more abandoned pups, word spread of their kindness. Before they knew it, they had expanded so much that they decided to officially start a shelter.

“People want to get rid of their dogs,” Dejan said. “They just leave the dog 300 meters from the shelter.”

Since founding Vucjak Shelter in 1997, they have rescued countless dogs. But Dejan’s love for animals doesn’t end with these precious canines.

According to his nonprofit’s website, their mission is to “save every animal, and provide them with food, shelter, love, safety and medical care, while raising awareness both within Serbia and internationally about the importance of treating them with kindness, respect and dignity.”

two dogs resting on roof of dog house with other dogs in the background
Instagram

These days, the shelter takes care of all kinds of animals, including cats and foxes. He’s even created an entire sanctuary for wolves because, despite being the national animal of Serbia, these stunning creatures are constantly in danger from poachers.

Understandably, taking care of so many precious creatures takes a lot of time, energy, and resources, especially since Dejan preaches the importance of keeping his dogs chain-free.

“All the dogs here are free to run,” Dejan said. “There is no dogs on chains. Twenty-four hours, they are free.”

In order to better care for so many animals, Dejan bought a home that is far away from other people and has lots of space for them to roam. Although he is doing his best with what he has, he’s always looking for ways to improve living conditions for these adorable creatures.

Times have been especially tough recently because of the pandemic. Now more than ever, people are abandoning their dogs, so the nonprofit is sheltering over 1,000 dogs, cats, and wild animals.

“As a nonprofit, non-governmental organization dedicated to the rescue and welfare of abandoned and abused animals, Vucjak Shelter relies primarily on public donations and grants,” they say on their website. “This support allows the shelter to continue its work, and to give animals a dignified, safe and loving place to live.”

Thankfully, the people of Serbia have recognized the importance of his work, and their support has been instrumental in Dejan’s ability to continue. In fact, they were able to start expanding space for their dogs and receive several food donations!

The work Dejan does can be incredibly difficult, and he rarely takes a break, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

man posing with two dogs
Instagram

“I love my dogs, they are my life,” he said. “I’m trying to give everything to get more animals adopted to make more space for these animals. For most of my adopted dogs, I see photos every day… they have great lives. I wish that many dogs find new homes.”

Share this story to celebrate the work Dejan does to give animals of all kinds the lives they deserve.

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