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Volunteer of the Year

Fata Duric

Soldiering On to Support a Sanctuary: Fata Duric and her incredible story of selflessness and love for animals.

Fata has been nominated by fellow volunteer, Gail Charlton. The organisation that they both volunteer for do a great deal for dogs and animals in vulnerable positions. Gail has highlighted how much time and effort Fata dedicates to looking after the animals, and shelter itself. So, we asked Gail a few questions about Fata's responsibilities, interests, why she puts so much of her energy into to shelter that she runs, and why she deserves a SuperAchiever award:

What is the name and purpose of the organisation that Fata volunteers for?
SOS Sunshine Paws Sanctuary, based in Bosnia. The sanctuary has a dedicated band of supporters from around the world, including the UK, USA, Denmark and Eastern Europe. This rescue began some years ago and was named after the daughter of a hugely dedicated and generous supporter. Tragically, her daughter passed away aged 11, but she lives on in this shelter named after her. The sanctuary is a comfortable home to many animals that have been found stranded, mistreated or that used to be strays, giving them a second chance at life.

What is Fata's current occupation?
Fata is a law graduate who works in the legal department of an economics organisation in Sarajevo.

Why do you think Fata is so motivated to volunteer?
Fata is a selfless individual who quite simply loves animals. The dogs she looks after are her world and they inspire her to carry on helping as many as she can.

Is it possible to measure how much volunteering that Fata does?
Fata doesn't volunteer for set hours. In reality, this isn't possible as abandoned and neglected animals require help day and night. She has literally spent all night in the vet's surgery, watching over injured dogs, willing them to get well and helping their recovery. She's also been there when an animal sadly can't be saved, giving them reassurance and care as they gently slip away. For some, this will have been the only time they have ever experienced kindness from human hands.

Why is SOS Sunshine Paws Sanctuary so close to Fata's heart?
Fata became involved with SOS Sunshine Paws Sanctuary when supporters were looking for new land on which to build a new rescue. She helped to source a new home for the dogs and never left! She has looked after the animals ever since, putting her own needs to one side due to her genuine love of animals. She is truly dedicated to these dogs and will do anything to make sure they are safe, warm and loved. So many dogs owe their second chance at life to Fata as she is there when so many others have forgotten them.

How does Fata balance her commitments?
Despite personal tragedy and her own health challenges, Fata makes sure dogs are safe, warm and fed. She sees the injustices meted out to the stray dogs on Bosnian streets and is dedicated to doing everything she can to save as many of them as she can. Often friends and family have to take a back seat, but they understand this is what makes her special and she has their full support. Despite having a full-time job and health worries to contend with, she dedicates a lot of her spare time to taking care of the animals that need it the most.

What has been Fata's standout volunteering moment?
She's had many! I have seen her drive out and trudge through very heavy snow, a regular part of the bitter Bosnian winter. I've also seen her reach out and touch a frightened, neglected, often injured animal, to help them understand that not all humans are cruel and unkind. Perhaps one moment that stands out clearly in my mind is when Fata was saying goodbye to one of her rescue dogs, leaving to begin a new life in a new home. She said, quite simply, 'Please look after her. She is my daughter.

That is love and dedication to the cause.

Lastly, why do you think that Fata deserves to win this award?
Fata Duric is an incredible young woman. Not only does she work full time, but she is in charge of more than 40 dogs at the shelter. She is helped by shelter worker Dino, but nevertheless she carries a huge responsibility. She works tirelessly and has rescued dogs in need in all weathers, day and night. She sees the injustices meted out to the stray dogs on Bosnian streets and is dedicated to doing everything she can to save as many of them as she can. For many stray animals, Fata has been their saving grace, and if it wasn't for her commitment and dedication to the cause, many of these animals wouldn't have had the second chance in life that they got.

Also, Fata has sacrificed a lot to look after SOS Sunshine Paws Sanctuary. She is married and has other close family to whom she is also devoted. Tragically, she lost her dear mum Habiba to cancer last October, but she still looked after the shelter and made sure the dogs were well taken care of. Fata herself was also diagnosed with cancer shortly after her mum passed, meaning she has another battle to fight. She is strong and determined and is not letting her illness stop her. It is incredible, but Fata has been making arrangements for the dogs and organising their welfare from her hospital bed! Her selfless determination and enduring love for her animals is seeing her through this difficult time. She has so much love and support from those who are involved with the shelter. We all adore her; she is a light in our lives.

It sounds as though Fata does an incredible job over at SOS Sunshine Paws Sanctuary and is highly regarded by many. If you think she deserves this SuperAchievers award, vote for her today!

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