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We visit EMIRs dogshelter in Poland (by Pia Haake)



On March 5 we, Ingrid, Monica and Pia flew to Poland to visit Krystyna Sroczynska who is the manager at the shelter and Anna Walentynowicz who works as a volunteer and who would also look after us. Thank you Anna! She picked us up at the airport and drove us to the shelter that is situated about 30 km southwest of Warsaw.
We are met by Krystyna and her son Tomasz, who also helps with the dogs. Krystyna lives in a house at the shelter and owns the land herself. It is quite a large place, all of it fenced in and divided into pens with different groups of dogs living in each. At the moment there are 90 (??!) dogs living here. Sometimes she drives 400-500 km to pick up dogs in need! Quite a few volunteers help with the daily chores.
The dogs are curious and jump to get attention and a cuddle – we are overwhelmed by these dogs that, in spite of everything they have been through, are prepared to give us humans another chance… Only a few keep their distance – but everyone goes to Krystyna. We are let in to every pen and get to meet all the dogs, the groups mix and all dogs seem to be able to mingle with everyone else – it is quite moving to see how well they communicate… Everything is very well organized – every dog has a name, she pets and talks to every dog; especially those who will not come to us…She knows where every dog belongs and cooks all the food for the dogs! Maybe that is why all dogs seem so well cared for; coats shining, eyes clear and clean. All dogs are wormed and vaccinated (including rabies), during summer they are treated with a spot-on remedy for ticks.
There is also a hospital area; indoors with central heating and divided into boxes. In one of the boxes are three puppies cowering in a corner, watching us and looking very scared… In another box is a bitch that has just given birth to a puppy; she is very young and does not quite know what to do… Just a few days earlier they were all picked up from Wegrow… Krystyna has an agreement with the university hospital where she takes the dogs that require immediate veterinary treatment. A vet visits the shelter once a week. One larger pen is used as a “recreation area” - all dogs get to spend at least one hour every day when they can play, run around and also improve their dog communication skills…
When we are quite dizzy from all new impressions Krystyna invites us for tea and biscuits – for a long time we sit and talk… -After a while we bring out the gifts we have brought - and Krystyna has some gifts for us! We are very moved by the mugs, the pictures and the little poems – a moving moment filled with mutual understanding… -After that we are taken to a restaurant where Krystyna has booked a table and she treats us all to a meal! We order pizza and they are so enormous that we start giggling like little girls…? After a guided tour of “Warsaw by night” we go back to Anna`s flat where we are to spend the night – we tumble into our beds…
In the morning we are treated to a breakfast fit for kings! After that we go to the school where Anna work, we have prepared a talk about CHANS and how we work but instead we are bombarded with questions about Sweden and ourselves! They seem to be genuinely interested! They also want to know what we think of Poland and polish food - ( and we ate pizza…) We answer as best we can… Classes I c and III a have compiled drawings and notes from a project on Astrid Lindgren which we are given! Interesting! Really good drawings all of them! Well done!
We hand over some information in English – about CHANS and also Ellas stories from Greece which, hopefully, the english teachers will use in class! Good! A very interesting meeting with children in Poland! We also brought some chocolate from Sweden which we hope they enjoyed!
A short and very intense visit – we talked a lot about what we will do next time we visit; maybe a visit to the university hospital… Having met these people in Poland it feels even more urgent to support their work and maybe bring some dogs to Sweden to be rehomed. A lot of dogs are rehomed in Poland but for every dog that is rehomed another dog in need gets a place at the shelter! Thank you Anna, Krystyna and Tomasz!
Pia Haake


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