One of the hardest things about being an American in Kosovo is the difference in how animals are seen/valued. I know the other volunteers struggle with this, too.
I try to chalk things up to “cultural differences,” but it’s still hard. My (real) parents are both animal lovers, and I grew up in a household that was basically a zoo. (How can anyone not love animals?)
Stray dogs are a big problem in Kosovo. At night, they form packs, and can be dangerous. Part of me understands why people are wary of them.
Sometimes I feel helpless about the situation. I could … start a shelter? I could… try to get people from other countries to adopt these dogs? But there are plenty of animals worldwide who need homes. Why would someone pay extra money to adopt a pet from Kosovo?
But then I had an idea while I was petting the corgi who lives on my street. I can start really small, by trying to change people’s attitudes toward animals. Kosovars love social media, so why not start an Instagram feed celebrating pets in Kosovo?
I talked to my cohort about my idea, and they liked it. And so … we launched Kosovo Pets on Instagram!
There are seven of us behind it. Our goal is to post photos of animals we see in Kosovo, and encourage others to share their photos using the hashtag #kosovopets.
Granted, starting an Instagram account isn’t exactly an earth-shattering idea. But if we can get people more excited about pets, maybe more people will be encouraged to adopt strays.
If you are on Instagram, please follow us! (Hey, hey, we may even follow you back!)