Jaanaan’s Story


Jaanaan was a very young puppy when she was separated from her mother. She was so small that a shoelace was used as a collar and leash. As she grew, her fur covered the shoelace, and it remained around her neck. The people who separated her from her mother while she was still being nursed got tired of her and abandoned her.

Jaanaan somehow endured homelessness, hunger, and abuse. However, as she grew up, she got bigger, and the pressure increased from the shoelace around her neck. It had penetrated into her neck tissue, become infected, and now her face was tremendously swollen. Feverish and suffering excruciating pain, she was lying in a corner ready to die, when a kind woman saw her and informed Vafa Animal Shelter.

Jaanaan with the embedded shoelace around her neck.

Jaanaan had no strength to resist, so her transfer to Vafa was easy. The doctor and the shelter manager acted fast, as she was only steps away from death. The shoelace was removed, the wound was quickly disinfected, and she was placed under intensive care. A few days later she was eating, and the inflammation had reduced and eventually was completely gone.

Everybody was happy that the rescue was a success, not realizing that this was not the end of the story. While everyone was still rejoicing, they noticed the inflammation returning.

Jaanaan was then sent to the shelter’s surgeon, who determined that the embedded shoelace had resulted in the blockage of blood vessels in the neck. She quickly was sent to the operation room. The surgery was successful, but she had to adhere to a very strict diet for her recovery.

The logistics of keeping a dog on a strict diet and recovering from surgery in a crowded shelter system are very difficult to manage. So it was determined to have her be the next little traveler to fly out of Iran to her future forever home.

Here is where this little angel’s already eventful story, becomes something else entirely.

Jaanaan arrives at the airport in Toronto.

On April 6th, 2019, Jaanaan and her two caring travel guardians arrived at Toronto International Airport. As she was to fly out to the United States on the following Monday, she had to be rushed to a veterinarian office to get all her paperwork cleared for her next flight.

Two of our volunteers took Jaanaan to the vet. The vet was typically closed at this time on the weekend, but he had graciously agreed to stay on duty that day just to check on our little girl.

Jaanaan meets the vet, Dr. Bonab, and wins him over.

The meeting between Jaanaan and Dr. Bonab is one of the most heartwarming encounters anyone will ever see. The short clip of their introduction melted the hearts of all the volunteers and friends of Vafa who viewed it so far. The amazing vet then suggested taking Jaanaan to his home on Sunday so she could meet his wife and son. The doctor wanted to see how his 12 year old son would get along with Jaanaan. If he took to her like everyone so far had, doctor Bonab wanted to personally adopt her. This is the effect this little angel has on people.

Jaanaan won both his wife and son over in mere minutes with her warm and friendly demeanor. It was now an easy decision to cancel her flight to the US, which was scheduled for the next day, as she had already found her happy home.

Jaanaan (now Juniper) with her forever family.

Dr. Bonab’s home was supposed to be Jaanaan’s permanent home, but unexpected events meant that they, unfortunately, had to give Jaanaan up. So after five months, Jaanaan moved to a new foster home for a short period of time. Her new temporary foster mom, Tracy, took care of her for the time being until her friends at Paws Across the Water found beautiful, young, nature-loving parents for her. They saw her, fell in love with her, and adopted her right on the spot. Jaanaan (now Juniper) is living life to the fullest with her new family in Hamilton, Ontario.

Many good people participated in this rescue case. This outcome was possible thanks to heroes who help courageously when they see the pain and suffering of animals.

Featured image: Juniper (formerly Jaanaan) in her new home in Canada. This image and all images in this story via Vafa Animal Shelter.

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About Author

Vafa is a charitable NGO run by grassroots donations. It runs two animal shelters in Hashtgerd and Qazvin, Iran, housing more than 1500 dogs. Click to see author's profile.


  1. For a night Jaanaan was with me. We didn’t hear a sound from him. He was kind and lovely specially with my two year old granddaughter. I wish I would be a next host for our dogs from Vafa to find a forever happy home.

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