For locals and tourists alike, the sight of stray dogs wandering around is a familiar one. In Tbilisi alone, despite various dog control programs being declared, it is estimated there are tens of thousands of dogs wandering the city’s parks and streets fending for themselves, struggling to survive.
Our mission at D.O.G. is to address the many different roots of this problem; and in turn reduce the number of stray dogs, to help homeless animals and promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.
The Founding of D.O.G.
Arriving in Georgia in 2008, Dutch businessman, Ivo Bakhuijzen was astounded at the number of stray animals lying around the streets of the capital. He was shocked to witness car after car simply driving past a semi-conscious puppy that had clearly been hit by a vehicle; when only he stopped to help the poor pup, he knew he had to do something.
From that moment, Ivo decided something had to be done and he established the charitable foundation – Dog Organization Georgia (D.O.G.) to provide shelter and food for homeless animals. His goal was also to prevent unwanted and uncontrolled births of stray animals and stop their abuse together with the reported use of inhumane culling methods.
After extensive fundraising and overcoming numerous obstacles, D.O.G. eventually opened Tbilisi’s first no-kill dog shelter in 2011.
Very early on, the extraordinary Fiona Coxshall was instrumental in all the hands-on jobs of running the shelter and just as importantly, in fundraising. She managed all this as a volunteer first, then once Ivo moved back to the Netherlands in 2013, Fiona became the director of D.O.G.
Her dedication and amazing energy moved our organization forward in numerous significant ways.
Under her tenure, D.O.G. has started an important cooperation with Mayhew International that secured us the main funds necessary to run our T.V.N.R. (Tag-Vaccinate-Neuter-Release) program for four years. Within the framework of this program, D.O.G. vaccinated and neutered over 1000 street dogs.
Thanks to Fiona’s leadership the shelter facilities have also undergone some major developments, including the building of a new exercise pen, a quarantine pen and bringing electricity to the shelter site. She has initiated and organised a number of annual fundraising events to provide regular financial support for the organization.
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