This is a love story. A true story. In 2014, Hanne, a young woman travelling through Montenegro, a small country with many natural charms, fell in love at first sight; not with the beautiful coast or the azure blue sea, but with a stray dog, emaciated and dirty, who had approached her timidly. She named him Willy.
Willy was in rough condition and in desperate need of help. Having to fly home to Belgium the next day, there was nothing Hanne could do for him so with a heavy heart, she left Willy to the street. Time passed. But love found a way. Hanne could not stop thinking about Willy who had unwittingly taken a piece of her heart. She searched online for months for someone who would locate him, hoping he was still alive. Eventually she found Steph, who with a local volunteer, found Willy. Steph brought food to Willy daily but his condition worsened. Willy was very sick. Hanne could not allow him to die alone in the street. She begged the volunteer to take him to the vet. Willy was only about a year old but his kidneys were failing. The vet recommended euthanasia but Hanne would not hear of it. With the help of Steph they got Willy off the street and he was now getting medication and food. Still, it took months to get his health under control. As soon as she could, Hanne rallied friends and together they drove from Belgium to Montenegro, a twenty-two hour drive, to rescue Willy. Weak from disease, Willy slept on the long journey back. In his new home, Willy still had many more health challenges to overcome, but he had a will to live. With love and care Willy eventually recovered.
Willy’s story has a happy forever after but Hanne and Steph could not forget the countless other strays. And that’s when SAM (Stray Aid Montenegro vzw) sprouted 🌱