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History of the "SOS animals" shelter project

Read a blog about building works
Look at the pictures of our new shelter

Dear friends and readers of “SOS Animals”,

Only thanks to you in the diaries of the website stories about homeless animals saved by us are told. In the summer of 2008, when we received 2% support, we obtained a mobile house and established a little shelter in it, called “SOS Animals House”. In this house we settled most of our stories’ heroes. Many of them already enjoy warmth and love in their new homes while some of them are still waiting for it.

We are very glad to have attained so much approval of our idea – foster disadvantaged animals and look for new owners for them for unlimited time without any threat of putting to sleep “unsellable” ones. “SOS Animals House” became an especially attractive place, which can be visited by people who are not indifferent to animals – we made sure that almost all of them dreamed of … their own animal shelter since their childhood. 

So in 2009 we invited everyone united by this dream to realize it together and took a new challenge – to build a real animal shelter that corresponds with all standards. “Let’s build shelter together!“ has become our slogan. One of the main aims of the project is that our animal shelter has to correspond with all the necessary requirements and acquire official status of animal shelter. That would be the first animal shelter in Lithuania having official status, built by volunteers using finance of residents, without any financing the project with EU or state institutions.

During several years of our activities we managed to feel what difficulties constantly accompany animals and volunteers when we have to keep animals in unsuited rooms and ourselves think about constant worries and threatening moving. They have always caused big anxiety – after all, such tenants like us are not welcome, and even if we managed to find some place, we could never be sure that next day we could receive host’s call requiring to move to another place in a week… So our, our friends and sponsors’ aim was to construct such a building which from the very beginning would purposefully be projected and adapted to the functions of animal shelter, so that we could go on with our jobs to even larger extent and improved conditions of keeping animals. As we did not have our own site (and it was even difficult to dream of it knowing the price of it), we thought to make the shelter … mobile!

In the autumn of 2009, as soon as we received 2% support from income tax, we understood that we could not only dream, but actually we could realize our dream with the help of people! The first jobs, of course, were preparatory. After finally deciding to choose a mobile type of building and a company that would build it, at last shelter’s area and shape became clear – that would be 108 square meters rectangular premises after joining 4 mobile containers. An especially important advantage of this decision has been that after receiving extra money we could enlarge it by joining extra containers at any time.

Next step – detailed planning of premises. For a long time we analyzed the plans and recommendations of the shelters of foreign countries, drew and painted trying to use the space at the maximum and also to correspond with requirements for animal shelter, as well as plan comfortable movement of the shelter’s personnel, visitors and different groups of animals.








After having analyzed more than one article of specialists and recommendations about planning shelters, building materials and peculiarities of keeping different groups of animals, we prepared a preliminary plan and the list of questions that concerns us.

Then we had additional consultations and systematized every advice given by the specialists of State food and veterinary service, a veterinarian Jakovas Šengautas who consults us, Joint Stock Company “Ryterna” where equipment work was ordered, projectors. In this way the final plan of the shelter “SOS Animals” was born. Here we have 3 rooms for cats (we can hold there the total of 48 cats), 3 rooms for dogs (total of 18 places - 6 for big dogs and 12 for the smaller), exam room, WC and a small staff room.


Soon future shelter’s walls were started to be built in the workshop of the enterprise that was building the construction. One of the most important principles of building and equipping the shelter were as following: infectious diseases prevention (separating the rooms; smooth but not slippery surface; easy disinfection and maintenance; suitable system of waste and ventilation) and durability of the equipped shelter, so that after a year or several we would not need to overhaul (material resistant to scratching and aggressive chemicals, stainless steel, strong constructions). Namely these needs determined that material chosen for building the shelter were more expensive than most commonly used (but we do not regret it – quality is better than a cheap thing that can be used only for several months).

In the spring of 2010 the shelter’s constructions were already prepared for their transportation to the right place.

Shelter building is finished!

However, at this point constructional history stopped for a short time, because it became clear that our rented land in Žalgirio Street would soon be sold, so it was not worth transporting it to the great shelter. We inevitably had to search for the way out and we succeeded one more time.

It is said that the more activities a person has, the more he/she is able to do. It is similar with us – the more we undertake, the more we do. In 2010 we made a contract to buy a site on Minskas road. There was not much money left after building the shelter, but autumn came and we received 2% support from income tax where the biggest part of money came to paying for the site, and we also got indebted.

A site for the shelter

Although it was difficult, we managed to obtain our own site and buildings. On the obtained site we constantly organized aid so that it could become suitable for building the shelter. Vilnius municipality and Joint Stock Company “Grinda” also added to agricultural work – we could not have managed without their technique. As expenses did not concern only care and feeding of animals and veterinarians, but they also included buying the site and constructional work, financial difficulties became unavoidable, so it took all the year saving every cent – we could not stop our activities, so we did our best to take homeless animals in the way that we could.

After getting through one more year the autumn of 2011 came – as you know, every year it is the time of hope and waiting, when we impatiently wait for 2% support from income tax. So this time we could relax a bit, because we could finally pay the debts. However, the account remained almost empty… There is nothing to be done about it, our scopes are big, so we have to do our best and ask everyone’s support for daily needs.

In the same autumn we finally said good-bye to our temporary shelter in Žalgiris Street. The new “SOS animals house” was brought to the new site and 2 more mobile houses were additionally built and repaired, as well as aviaries for keeping dogs were constructed and the field for walking the animals was fenced.

SOS animals shelter at the new place

Dog holding places

So we survived the winter. And as soon as thaw had come and we had done all the preparatory work for the ground, at last our new shelter was brought to our yard! This event was the reward of three years of waiting, especially hard work, hope and faith.

"SOS animals" shelter

Dog room

Soon after housewarming we rushed to prepare for the action of sterilization of homeless animals. Our struggle was not worthless – we equipped a veterinarian surgery in the shelter in which several hundreds of animals were sterilized.

Veterinary cabinet

It is hard to believe that it is only three years ago that we worked hard in a wooden house in Žalgiris Street and could only dream of our own animal shelter and a veterinarian surgery. And now in the outskirts of Vilnius our SOS small town is growing and which after several years maybe will look not worse than a foreign shelter.

"SOS animals" city

At the moment we are again anxiously waiting for autumn support, because our project is still unfinished. It is necessary to install electricity and running water to our site, as well as waste system, which will require much investment and at least half year of waiting. It is necessary to install heating and ventilation system (HVAC) in the shelter, which costs much money. 2% support of income tax of 2012 will be appointed to it.

In this way step by step, with your help our shelter that we have been dreaming of for a long time is rising – the shelter for homeless animals, where they safely wait for their hopeful tomorrow and new owners who will never betray them.

A way to the shelter

We sincerely thank all the people and organizations that have supported us – without your help this intention would have remained in our dreams. So we further invite you to build our shelter together! Visit us, contribute with your work, take part in the volunteering activities, buy in our Donation Store, support us financially and with things – everything is very important to us so that we could ensure safe and cosy home for the animals of the shelter.

You can read all the news in our blog of constructional works of the shelter. You will find more pictures of our shelter in the photo gallery.

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