Our story began in June of this year. We are Kačka and David from the Czech Republic, and we decided to go on holiday to Georgia for 2 weeks. We were attracted by the breathtaking nature, rich culture, and hospitable people. Georgia has a lot to offer in all these aspects. Unfortunately, we also encountered a dark side of Georgia – the dire situation of street dogs. From the very first day, we saw many dogs in poor condition, starving and suffering. Despite their friendliness, gratitude, and beauty, their suffering was undeniable.

Then came the day that changed our lives. As we were leaving from Shatili village in Khevsureti and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, we came across a puppy on the road. It was alone, terribly skinny, and obviously sick, barely able to walk and refusing to eat or drink. It was clear to us – we had to take the puppy and seek veterinary help, or it would not survive.

After three hours, we reached Tbilisi and brought the puppy to the Aibo veterinary clinic. During the journey, the puppy vomited several times and had bloody diarrhea. Tests revealed a positive result for parvovirus, a very dangerous disease for puppies. In that moment, we promised each other that if she survived (because it was a female), we would take her to the Czech Republic and give her a new home. We started calling her Gruzínka, which means “Georgian girl” in Czech.

Gruzínka required extensive treatment, but within a few days, she showed improvement, and we began exploring options for bringing her to the EU. We soon realized it wouldn’t be easy. Despite our efforts, we couldn’t find assistance, and our departure date approached. We felt desperate, as the Georgian government provided no support for street dogs, and apathy seemed to surround us.

Fortunately, we connected with an amazing person named Mariam, a dedicated volunteer who tirelessly helps suffering creatures. She has a network of foster caregivers for other suffering dogs and arranged vaccinations, a passport, and other necessities so that we could bring Gruzínka home. It’s truly inspiring how much effort, time, and money she dedicates to saving strays.

It took five months before everything was ready. During that time, we tried to raise as much money as possible from our families and friends, not only to help other street dogs less fortunate than Gruzínka but also to assist Mariam, who often pays expenses out of her own pocket. Unfortunately, money is crucial for this admirable cause. Mariam inspired us to connect with others in the Czech Republic who have had similar experiences, and together we aim to create projects for ongoing support.

Now, Gruzínka is at home, playing with our other dog, and appears happy and healthy. She loves the bed, the sofa, and the snow. And we love her.

Katerina Zelinkova (Gruzja’s mom)

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