Many of us Youth Corps participants have pets at home, and most consider them as part of their family. It could be a dog, a cat, maybe a cow, or even a fish. Whatever it may be, these pets are usually very well taken care of and unconditionally loved. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Hayasdan. We’ve all seen a stray animal or two in the U.S., but none of us are used to seeing herds of dogs running around town.
Walking around Yerevan, we began to notice how many stray dogs were actually roaming the streets. Many were big and shaggy, referred to as “Chobani” dogs, which roughly translates to sheepdog. Unlike many of the dogs in the U.S. that are usually kept indoors, these dogs are left stranded outside, with no food or water provided, and are not even picked up and taken to shelters. Most of Armenia’s residents don’t even acknowledge these dogs, and are prone to kicking them if they even come near for some attention. Don’t get me wrong, they are pretty dirty and most probably covered in fleas, but if you take two seconds to look at their poor adorable faces, you’ll fall in love. You’ll feel an automatic need to take them in and provide them with the love and care they need. This brings us to Gago, aka Oreo.
As we strolled down the streets of Yerevan, we passed by many stray dogs that were just looking for scraps of food to eat, or scratching themselves non-stop due to their flea infested fur. Of these dogs, our group fell in love with a black and white mixed stray that had the cutest nose and most loving eyes. We realized that Oreo had been following us for about two blocks and did not leave our side. As soon as I (Knar) gave him a little bit of attention and used some loving terms towards this dog, such as “hokis” and “jeegar”, and after our group gave him a name which he responded to, he continued to follow us for the next 5 blocks to the Hrabarag, the town square. He would stop when we stopped, walked in any direction we went, and always responded when we called him if he strayed a little far from where we were. Gago was the most adorable dog, he almost became the Youth Corps mascot.
This brings us back to the huge dilemma of the increasing amount of stray dogs in Armenia. It came to our attention that once in a while, authorities will round up these stray dogs and kill them off because they don’t want them running around the city with their infections and what not. Although many people would argue that human needs are more necessary than those of dogs, it is still an act of inhumanity. We would love to see a group organize a shelter for these animals that only need to be cleaned and given shots or treatments for their conditions. After a little sprucing up, they can be adopted and become someone’s loving pet. A dog like Oreo proved to us that some of these dogs in Armenia have the qualities of being loyal and deserving of love and a good owner. We know that it will take a while for this type movement to take place and really become successful, but these dogs have the right to be taken care of.
Knar and Rita
Recently IANYANmag founder Liana Aghajanian rescued a stray dog in Yerevan and worked tirelessly to find it a home. We’re happy to report that Lucky now has a home. You rock Liana!