Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sterilizing like mad - why we do what we do

Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti started out because of the great need of just too many innocent companion animals ruthlessly condemned to a life of suffering. For any decent sensitive soul, assisting so much suffering without taking action is no way to go.

Back in March of 2012 we launched the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge, an ongoing sterilization campaign focusing on providing free sterilizations to females, owned or homeless, dogs and cats. The Ploiesti community needed free sterilizations like air - and we wanted to meet this need as best we could. Prevention of suffering was always key to us. Since then we have provided nearly 2,000 free sterilizations and our counter increases on a daily basis.

But it was never easy. It is still not easy. When we began, our free sterilization campaign was criticized by old established local animal rescuers. Their creed was simple: we should only sterilize shelter dogs that could also be subsequently adopted abroad. In their mind, sterilizations alone were "wasted" if animals weren't also re-homed. In their view, it was also a waste of money to sterilize homeless dogs, as their lives were doomed anyway. They were also totally against the idea of sterilizing owned animals, assuming owners should be the ones paying for this veterinary service.

The harsh everyday reality we are confronted with in the streets tells us a totally different story. Every year, thousands of puppies are born in the streets of Ploiesti or dumped from people's courtyards. Furthermore, owned female animals never have it easy. All too often, the cute owned female puppy grows up and gets dumped in the street or at the local pound when going into heat or having puppies. Here are a few recent stories from our Ploiesti streets, and unfortunately they are painfully representative and common:

These newborn pups were dumped near a residential building. Too young to survive on their own, they were heavily infested with fly larvae. Wouldn't you have wanted to be there to sterilize the owned female of the irresponsible owner who disposed of these helpless souls like garbage? Even worse, this owner is likely to continue with this disposal practice twice a year, every time his entire dog has unwanted litters...

This small female dog (Lisa) and her 5 tiny pups were dumped on a field near a residential area. A lovely little girl with great temperament, Lisa is a dream dog. By no means did she deserve to be dumped in the streets with her puppies on a cold rainy day. If only that owner would have brought Lisa for free sterilization and kept her- we wouldn't have now a total of 6 souls needing rescue

This is Romania and this is our everyday reality in the streets. And this is how we tackle this nightmare:
  •  We are happy to sterilize females for free, owned or not. Any soul not being born to suffer is a soul saved. 
  • Like mamma Lisa are countless abandoned moms with their pups. If we can extend our hand to such owners to have their female dogs sterilized for free, there would simply not be so many souls dumped and in need of rescue. At the end of the day, it's pure math: providing free sterilizations to owned females like Lisa prevents the subsequent birth of exponentially more souls needing rescue work
  • Many good willed owners simply cannot afford to pay for a sterilization. We are here to help them with all our heart and understanding.
  • Sterilizing homeless female dogs truly increases their chances to become adopted. At our sterilization campaigns we always hear: "my neighbor wants to adopt this community female but only on condition that she be sterilized first, for he does not want puppies"
  • Worst comes to worst... we sterilize a homeless female that then gets returned in the streets, and eventually dog catchers pick her up and take her to the city pound. Truly not great, but at least this female dog makes it to the pound sterilized and won't be having puppies in appalling conditions; plus dog catchers only pick up one female dog alone, not a female dog with her litter of puppies. That is one unfortunate soul instead of many more unfortunate souls. Fewer souls born to suffer!
  • We did assist miracles in our sterilization campaigns. Believe it or not, but sterilizations of females really do save lives. We've seen in our sterilized females countless cases of pyometra (infection of the uterus) that are deadly if left untreated. Sterilizing females with pyometra literally saved their lives. Today many females are still alive because of the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge.
At the end of the day, there are just too many great dogs that keep on coming, and not enough great loving homes for them. This is why RSDP's mission is primarily sterilizations as preventive means, and rescue work comes second. The case of mamma Lisa is always an example to us. If only her owner had spayed Lisa with us, for free... Now Lisa would still be owned; and we did not have 6 souls on our hands to rescue. It's that easy.

We strive to touch the lives of as many animals as possible, and prevent as much unnecessary suffering as possible, at the crossroad between compassion and reason. Because we care too much.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dreams come true when you fight for them and don't give up

So it happened. After an enormous amount of work, Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti has helped open a social veterinary clinic in Ploiesti, Romania. A clinic focusing on prevention of unnecessary suffering via education and free sterilizations. Exactly where our heart is.

Meet Friendly Vets for Pets social veterinary clinic. A small, modest vet clinic in a rented house, but full of dignity and good will, a place that works wonders for the animals of Ploiesti and surrounding villages:


From donations, our organization sponsors free sterilizations daily at Friendly Vets for Pets. Our focus is sterilizing as many females as possible, whether owned or not, dogs or cats. The great news is that people are waking up - people are asking out loud for help with free sterilizations. They do not want any more dogs suffering in the streets, no more abandoned litters, no more dogs born only to be taken by dog catchers then killed in appalling public shelters.

Meet some of our recent cases that received free sterilizations:

A young owned female dog that should have been lactating her pups. Only that her pups are gone. Her owners disposed of them (and by that you can understand they dumped them on the side of the road, in the woods, or worse). A classic Romanian tale. The only great thing is that we had her sterilized. From this day on, no more generations of pups would be born to suffer from her. We have cut suffering from the root

We had this stray cat sterilized today. She was only a baby herself, but life in the streets is tough. A small teenager but already pregnant. From this day on she won't perpetuate the cycle of unnecessary suffering by giving birth to kitten for which the world has nothing great to offer. Even better, she has found herself a local carer to look after her

Found abandoned in a nearby village, this female dog was rescued by a local and found an adoptive family- but only on condition that she be sterilized first. So her rescuer brought her to us for free sterilization today, and then off to her forever home. Sterilizations really do save lives.

These are only three of our most recent sterilized cases. Each animal has an incredible story to tell. A story of survival, of suffering and pain. Each case reminds us why we do what we do - it's best when we can prevent harm in first place. In collaboration with Friendly Vets for Pets, our organization continues to fight towards the day when no pup would be born to be abandoned again. 

And some numbers. From January to June 2014, Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti has provided a total of 352 free sterilizations, most of which were performed at the Friendly Vets for Pets social vet clinic. Our goal is to reach at least 1,000 free sterilizations by the end of the year

It's been an incredible journey of hard work, draining and stressful times. But it's important to never give up. Just as important as it is to have by your side committed friends and sponsors to walk with you on the long run and never give up side by side with you. I cannot thank enough Stumme Schreie e.V. and Petops e.V. for always walking side by side with us and doing their utmost best to help us help needy animals and prevent as much suffering as possible.

This blog has seen a long, long absence. I was simply too busy and overwhelmed to sit down and take the time to write about our activities. The social veterinary clinic Friendly Vets for Pets is up and running!
 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

August 2013 Report

Never have I imagined I would fall so behind with updating the blog... But here I am, writing on January 1st 2014 about our work in August 2013. The second half of 2013 was beyond busy and crowded for us, and updating the blog was not a priority any longer. We had our hands too deep into doing actual rescue work- and no time to write about it.

August 2013 was magical. Claudia, the owner of our first dog adopted abroad, came to visit us here in Ploiesti, Romania. Claudia adopted Nikita in Germany back in 2011 and we've kept in touch ever since. Aside seeing our everyday reality and meeting the dogs in our care, Claudia and husband Volker got for our dogs around 100 kilos of food:


In August 2013 we also rescued with Claudia a severely undernourished pup in bad shape, Mr Wormy. Mr Wormy, now well and happily adopted in Holland, has become a symbol of our work to prevent more souls from being born into a life of suffering:


And then, August 2013 brought what I consider to be the greatest miracle of my life. Back in May 2013, some aggressive gypsies stole from one of our foster courtyards our sweet Santana, a puppy prepared for adoption. For weeks, we posted reward flyers so we would get Santana back... All in vain. Then August 21st came when I walked as usual into one of our vet clinics... Only to find a grown but injured Santana being treated in there! The puppy I had given up hope on was there, right in front of my eyes, injured but alive:

 Santana growing up in our care, before being stolen by force by aggressive gypsies from one of our foster courtyards

Months later, on August 21st, I found Santana at the vet clinic! Injured after a car accident, but alive

The young couple that had brought the injured dog to the vet clinic filled in the gaps for us. Turns out after stealing puppy Santana from us, the gypsies simply dumped him in one of the villages bordering Ploiesti. The young couple would feed this abandoned puppy in the streets. Until one night when the dog was hit by a car, and they rushed him to the vet clinic... where I found him. Santana was stolen from us, dumped in the streets kilometers away from us, but someone high up there ensured he would come back to us in a most unexpected way. Now Santana is fully recovered after his accident and happily adopted in Holland. A great dog who endured a lot because of human evilness, finally living the life he would have deserved all along.

In August we also received veterinary supplies like sterile compresses and sterilization wraps from another lovely Romanian organization, A Doua Sansa (Second Chance):


Finally, a summary of our work in August 2013:
  • We provided dozens of life saving vaccines to homeless dogs and puppies; and provided medical care to needy diseased or injured animals. Little Max, for example, was a particularly tough case. Injured after a tram accident, he sustained one amputation surgery while in our care and demanded extensive veterinary attention. We were amazed by the overwhelming support we received for Max and are very happy to say now Max is in great shape and under the care of the US organization Nakio's Underdog Rescue. We thank dearly the ones who helped us cover these hefty medical costs in August 2013: Mirjam BH, Frances P, Christine S, Kim W, Robbert and Daisy R, Elaine C, C Reilly, Marie W, Raluca E, Toni R, Mark F, Linda W, Ingeborg P, Carolyn P, Corinne W, Mia L, Nel and Wietske L, John B, Susan P, Moira W, Jane F, Paola M, Yuen T, Lee Ann W, Cristina M, Ritva L, and a secret donor. Your help was very precious!
  • We could purchase over 150 kilos of dog food for the pups and dogs under our care. This was made possible by Mirjam BH and Yuen T. 
  • In August we provided 90 sterilizations part of the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge. Many thanks to the ones who made these sterilizations possible: Dog's Wish NL, Valarie W, Markus W, Toni R, Allison L, Mirjam BH, Erna V, Ramona R, Claudia K, Christina S, Timmy G and the store Hondenbench BE, Gabi S and friend, Claudia D, M Poulos, Eline, Lucie S. Big thanks for preventing more innocent souls from being born to suffer!
 A graph of sterilizations in 2013 by month, up to August

That was our August 2013, a month full of hard work, but also a month of great friendships and miraculous rescues.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sometimes it's really hard... but we have faith

This weekend we drove to visit my grandparents in the countryside, a good 40-kilometer drive from Ploiesti. Best way I can describe the drive there and back would be depressing... Truly depressing because of the numerous homeless dogs and pups abandoned on the side of the road.

In effect, almost no one sterilizes their own dogs in the Romanian countryside. All too often, the unwanted pups end up on the side of the road, abandoned in nearby towns, gas stations, train stops, cemeteries, school and church courtyards, you name it; sometimes even drowned or left to die in the woods. So I say, what's the point? What's the point of allowing these pups to be born only to suffer and die a slow painful death?

We wish to put an end to all this. Very soon we start in Ploiesti our own social veterinary clinic that will focus on providing free sterilizations to owned and homeless females. Precisely because we wish to prevent future souls to be born to suffer. But we truly want to go further, to reach out more. We really want to tackle the nearby countryside of the larger Prahova County- after all, that's where most abandoned puppies come from!

Coming soon, in Ploiesti, a social veterinary clinic focusing on providing free sterilizations as means to contain the homeless animal overpopulation humanely and effectively!

We have a plan mapped out for the countryside. But for this, we would really need a mobile vet clinic- a spay station that could travel around villages in the larger Prahova County and provide free sterilizations. Because the nearby countryside is too depressing. Because we want to prevent more souls from being born to endure cold winters on the side of the road like this:


A mobile vet clinic would complement our social veterinary clinic in Ploiesti, giving us wings in the countryside. This is our dream for the rural areas surrounding Ploiesti:

A spay station, our dream for the countryside. Image taken from this web article

Can you make RSDP's vision complete? Can you please, please, please, help us with a mobile vet clinic?