Iranian dogs adjusting to new life in America

Iranian dogs adjusting to new life in America »Play Video
LYNNWOOD, Wash. -- Two dogs are embarking on a new journey after arriving in Washington state all the way from Iran, but adjusting to American life will be a challenge.

The long trip began when the Humane Society International asked a local organization to help some dogs in need. PAWS Animal Shelter normally focuses on animals in Washington, but it accepted the request to make a difference for a group of dogs that can't find homes in Iran.

One of the new dogs, named Shabnem, is getting carried around quite a bit at the shelter. The dog can walk just fine, but having lived her entire life in Iran, she's not yet used to having a leash.

Shabnem, which means "morning dew" in Farsi, arrived in Washington last week after spending 19 hours in a kennel inside a cargo hold. It's fair to say she's still adjusting to life in America.

The reason she and other dogs are now in America is because leaders in Iran proposed a ban on all dogs in cities and suburbs.

"Now, that legislation was never passed, but according to the shelter they're already starting to see dogs disappear," said Mark Coleman of PAWS.

With help from volunteers, Shabnem and Ghandoon were sent to Seattle from an overcrowded shelter in Tehran.

The dogs will have a better life in America, but PAWS workers say anyone who wants to adopt them will have to have a lot of patience. Because they've been holed up with other canines for so long, the dogs are still a bit skittish around humans.

"You have to respect the fact that no matter how enthusiastic you are and how much you love that dog, that it's going to happen on their time," said Molly Reagan of PAWS.

Shabnem was just adopted, but Ghandoon is still in need of a new home.

PAWS officials say they plan on taking in a few more Iranian dogs in the future.