Bosnia to Germany Dog Move: Three Weeks in Quarantine

The author explains that she often takes Fibi’s puppies away for play time, but the mother always counts them when she brings them back.This blog is the third in a series chronicling the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s transport of dogs from a shelter in Bosnia-Herzegovina to foster homes in Germany. Read the previous installment here.--The eds.

Quarantine: it’s a terrible sounding word.

It conjures up images of sickness, of suffering, and of isolation. And when it comes to dogs in a quarantine shelter, it sounds even worse: cages and cramped conditions.

Now Fibi, Lady, Flora, and the rest of the dogs from the first round of our Bosnia dog move are finishing up their three weeks in a quarantine shelter.

Thankfully, quarantine for these dogs has meant a great deal more than just waiting in a cage.

For the first time in a long time – in fact, the first time ever for some – they’ve gotten regular meals twice each day. It has meant safety, and a warm place to shelter them from the harsh elements.

They’re getting checkups from a veterinarian, and being sterilized to prevent unwanted puppies.  Those who need medical attention are being treated and regularly monitored. And best of all, they’re getting daily walks, snuggles, and as much affection as we can possibly dole out.

And boy, do they need it.

Emma, for example, who stood timidly on her chain back at the shelter in Jajce, simply bounds out of her cage and into my arms when I let her out of her cage. Though she is completely bursting with energy, she snuggles calmly into my lap to be petted.

Flora, whom we affectionately call “The President,” would be happy being carried around 24 hours a day.

And Lady has come to absolutely love exploring the countryside around the shelter with us.

Fibi, who was practically skin and bones when we found her, now trusts us completely. She lets me get into the cage with her and the pups, pick them up, take them away for play time, but she always counts them when I bring them back. On walks, she bounces along happily, but is constantly checking back in with us, and stopping mid-walk to ask for attention.

Most of these dogs spent the better part of the last year chained to a doghouse. They couldn’t run, they couldn’t jump, and most importantly, they can’t run away from danger. I’ve seen many dogs in similar situations lose trust in humans, or turn inward and simply hide from the world.

And so I was expecting fear, mistrust, even perhaps some aggression. I expected the young puppies, who have never really had much human interaction, to be fearful and wild.

But these are some of the most sociable dogs I have ever met.

Now that they’ve settled into the quarantine facility, we spend each day attending to the dogs. If it rains, we let them run around inside in shifts of 4 or 5 dogs. When the sun shines, we take each dog outside for a long walk alongside miles of corn fields and small farm houses. They’ve seen their first chickens, pigs, cows and bicycles.

Their unique personalities, with all their lovely quirks, are beginning to emerge. It is amazing how quickly they change once off the chain. Many have suddenly become completely different dogs. Puppi and Anooka, who once cowered in the backs of their doghouses when humans approached now leap to greet us and bound toward the door, jump up on me asking for pets, and trot happily on walks, tails in the air and noses in the wind.

Soon this group will be loaded up into another van and taken across the Croatian border. From there, they will travel north through Croatia and Austria, and into Germany.

It’s a long journey, but it will be so worth it when the dogs find the loving embrace of their new owners.

Next: Bosnia to Germany dog move: To new homes, lives


You can help the Bosnian dogs, and animals around the world, find new homes.

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