Our old shelter, the view was spectacular but the same could not be said of the building...it was in a pretty sorry state.
Sun New Hope "Doggy Barn"
Our old shelter was not far from Natasa's home. Prior to acquiring this she could only rescue a few dogs at a time which she had to keep at home. It soon became apparent that the only way to enable her to rescue more poor doggies and keep them from harm was to find a suitable building in which to house them.
She had always wanted to save more poor doggies but had been constrained by space. So, when Natasa said she had found somewhere nearby, which was perfect for her to expand her rescuing, Izzy Chill and her husband agreed to pay the rent.
The building was in a very sorry state, but we could see the potential. Lots of work was needed but we all agreed that with all the extra space, we could save so many more furry friends. With that in mind we set to work. Lots of hard work, blockwork, steelwork and industrial cleaning later, it then provided the perfect shelter for our growing number of rescue doggies.
The building had sound solid walls and roof and there was plenty of space to house many more dogs. It was divided into separate cubicles (Kennels) to house different groups of doggies, and there was a small run where they all got exercise whilst Natasa was cleaning...However there was neither water or electricity
We carried out a fundraiser to purchase "doggy houses" for inside the shelter in autumn 2020 and with the addition of some structural modifications and gravel for the floor, it provided a warm safe environment for the dogs.
The Old shelter while enabling us to safely house many more doggies was far from ideal. It was very difficult for Natasa to access every day, there was no electricity and no water on site. This meant Natasa had to take many10litre bottles of water and dog food to the shelter 3 times every day come rain or shine or 2 feet of snow and had to use a wheelbarrow from her car 100m away, down a very steep slope.
Not only was this time consuming and hazardous in bad weather but also made regular cleaning and disinfecting an arduous task. She has fallen over in the snow trying to get the water down to the dogs on numerous occasions.
We had asked the landlord to install running water, and with some very generous donations we had raised the money for the project. Unfortunately, after repeated requests he would not give any time scale, and the price kept rising and almost 2 years after renting the shelter we were no further ahead.
The final straw in April 2022 was his insistence on yet another sizeable hike in rent, and no sign of any improvements, which Izzy and her husband decided was not worth funding.
Once the decision was made to look for alternative doggy accommodation, Natasa and Victor one of our wonderful vets, set about making enquiries. After much looking and telephoning around Victors contacts, they found the perfect place.
Our new "Doggy Barn" is exactly that a Barn. It is 38metres x 10 metres, at least 5 times larger than the old shelter. It is on level ground and Natasa can drive her car right up to the doors.
Our kind new landlord has also included a large area of land outside the barn to use as a run for our little souls to exercise and have fun. In the meantime, they use the central inside area to run around while Natasa is cleaning etc.
We are currently sourcing suitable fencing for the run to keep the doggies safe and once the work is complete, they will have such wonderful, enriched lives. Yes, the rent is more than we were paying previously but not as much as the increase we were facing in the old shelter.
On top of the extra space, the area for a run and the easy access….wait for it …we have electricity and running water !!!!!! included in the rent.
Natasa with help from her wonderful hubby and her dad set about cleaning and disinfecting the barn and then the monumental task of building kennels or boxes as she calls them.
Materials available in Macedonia for the build are different from those we might buy here, so we spent a few days working out what best to use. We decided that metal panels which Natasa could get would fit the bill, and she ordered them.
We sent stainless steel cable ties and some other items, unavailable over there, from the UK.
Izzy has daily conversations with Natasa and when they were discussing getting tradespeople in to weld and fabricate doors etc,….Natasa said…Every girl in Macedonia leaves school being able to weld….I will do it !!!
We know she is a very determined lady, but we also knew how much work that would be…but she insisted.
Over the following 6 weeks Natasa, her family and a couple of trusted animal welfare activist friends firstly cleared out and cleaned the empty space.
After this the real hard work began. The space was measured, and a final design was decided on. They fitted windows, a sink for washing bowls etc, electric lighting and built the boxes from scratch.
Of course, she also had to do the three times daily run to our old shelter to care for the dogs.
The only things we needed professionals for was to refurbish the sliding barn doors and run the water supply from outside the barn to the inside. All involved have done, what seemed like an impossible task…but they have achieved it and more…despite aching muscles and lack of sleep.
The result is, I’m sure you will agree, an awesome transformation.
Moving day was absolutely manic as all the “Doggy Houses” and all the dogs were transported by Natasa in her car to our new “Doggy Barn” for them to enjoy their new space.
Natasa and her Hubby have as always gone above and beyond and are totally selfless in always putting the doggies before everything and everybody else.
All our gorgeous Sun New Hope doggies now have a wonderful new, safe, and spacious home awaiting their journey to kind, caring adopters here in the UK.
The photos show just how much work was involved and what a magnificent job they have achieved.
The Doggy Barn like our old shelter will be primarily funded by Izzy and her hubby, but also by Sun New Hope Dog Rescue with kind donations from wonderful supporters and friends, and although the rent is a little more than the old place, we (The doggies) get so much more for the money.
The North Macedonian authorities make no contribution to our non-profit rescue, they do however give Natasa the legal status, authority, and permission to rescue and care for animals in need.
Over the next few months Natasa and her Hubby will build additional boxes on the other side of the barn, which will allow us to rescue even more doggies. The potential for our new Doggy Barn is almost limitless, and our doggies are going to be so much happier and enriched with the new safe run.
We will add more photo’s as the changes are made.
All this is only possible due to the kindness of our wonderful supporters.
If anyone would like to consider helping with a donation or a small regular contribution towards the rent and upkeep of the shelter, and become one of the SUN NEW HOPE FAMILY of course we would be really grateful. Only the Shelter allows us to continue rescuing more poor dumped and abused doggies, and bring HOPE to them finding a forever loving home, here in the UK. Please email Izzy for more information.
The Barn needed lots of clearing and cleaning
It needed emptying
and lots of bags were moved
The area outside that will become our enclosed doggy run
Natasa with her trusty angle grinder
Making the Doggie Boxes
Making the doors
The Magnificent new sink
Inside the new large dog boxes
One of our cosy kennels in the new box
Sun New Hope Shelter
Some of our younger residents in the shelter up to their usual mischief 🐶💖💖😁😁