AVA Refuge: the choice of animal welfare rather than euthanasia

It is a unique place in France where animals of different species live harmoniously with respect for each other. This place is the refuge of the Help to the Old Animals (AVA), in Haute-Normandie. An idyllic place where life, in all its forms, is sacred.

It is in Cuy-Saint-Fiacre (Seine-Maritime) that is the refuge of the AVA. Founded by Dr. Thierry Bedossa, veterinarian and behaviorist practitioner, in 2004, it is a place of welcome for the elderly animals but also those with behavioral disorders. In a word, the AVA is the refuge of animals that have no place in our society, because they are too old, too restrictive, too aggressive or just too misunderstood. A real alternative to euthanasia that most of the animals present would not miss


The staff take care of the 500 animals at the shelter - © Facebook @AVA

A haven of peace for 500 animals

Therefore, one could imagine a sad refuge filled with senile and / or completely crazy animals. One could think of the bars of boxes as we see in most French shelters. But it is not so. Because at the AVA, everything is life. Everything breathes life.

No less than 500 animals (dogs, cats, equines, deer and cattle) conduct a peaceful retreat within 75 hectares allocated to them. The dogs live for the most part (depending on the characters and affinities of each) in large outdoor enclosures, enriched during the day; cats also live in large outdoor areas with heated caravans, hiding places and perches, and they have the opportunity to wander around the area at their ease; while fallow deer, horses, cows, cattle and bulls have all the time to move in the middle of Norman greenery.

A true haven of peace, therefore, where passers-by would almost forget that this place is primarily dedicated to the rest of aging animals, sometimes suffering from serious diseases. Visitors, perhaps, but not the shelter staff. They are about ten employees and some volunteers take turns to take care, night and day, of their boarders. Passionate, they know everything about animals: their name, their history, their health, their diet, their preferences, etc. Here, everything is thought for the welfare of animals, including the most difficult cases.


An agility course allows dogs to work out - © Facebook @AVA

A unique philosophy

Car the AVA is an ethical that sanctifies the living and does not stigmatize abandonment. On the contrary, the philosophy of the place is that thoughtful abandonment is sometimes the best option for an animal suffering in its environment. Regularly, dogs and cats arriving at the shelter are indeed animals that have developed behavioral problems (aggressiveness, hyperactivity, dirtiness) because their way of life did not suit them. At the AVA, they return to an almost wild state where they are not prevented from expressing themselves and where their very essence is taken into consideration.

Also, euthanasia is practiced only in case of suffering of the animal. A dog, even aggressive, dangerous and inadmissible will not be sentenced. On the contrary, everything will be done to offer him the most dignified existence possible. And through love, attention and positive reinforcement, the shelter staff manages to rebalance cases that others would have deemed "hopeless". Until they can be Adopted


Cat's paradise! - © Facebook @AVA

But taking care of an animal until the end of its life has a cost. Totally independent, the AVA shelter is not subsidized; he lives mainly thanks to the donations and the animals who come there during the holidays of their masters. For assisting the AVA shelter, you can don , sponsor an animal, or express your love of animals by purchasing > t-shirt whose profits will be donated to it

To know more about the AVA, do not hesitate to see or review the documentary by Florence Gaillard, To the happiness of the animals , aired on France 3 Normandie and available in replay .

To read on the same theme : A shelter and a canine sport club join forces for the well-being of dogs