Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thanks and Wishes for Christmas

Christmas has an extra special meaning to me. It is a celebration of the family, of love, tranquility, peace. It's our chance to be reborn again each year, except as better people than the year before: doing, caring and giving back a little more. And it's a perfect opportunity for reflection, for giving thanks, making wishes, and even hoping for miracles.

Christmas is the time to give thanks for all the wonderful things that have happened throughout the year. I am extremely thankful to the special people who cared about the Ploiesti strays:

- the wonderful people that opened their homes for some Ploiesti strays, making them members of their families, or fostering them before finding them perfect homes;

- Romania Animal Rescue and their donors for sponsoring 100 free sterilization surgeries of Ploiesti strays in November;

- friends that helped with transporting some Ploiesti strays abroad to their wonderful foster or adoptive families;

- friends that helped with caring for animals in great medical need;

- friends that provided great pieces of advice, as well as support and encouragement.

It's a lot to be thankful for. And I am extremely grateful for all the good things that have happened for the Ploiesti strays in 2011. 

But there is also a long way to go. Hence, I also have quite a few wishes this Christmas for my dear local strays. I wish for:

- more sterilization campaigns in Ploiesti. Hence, I really wish more people will donate to Romania Animal Rescue specifically for spay/neuter events in Ploiesti (please see Ways to help). One animal can be neutered for as little as 16 euro. Given how many animals are born each year to suffer on the side of the road... 16 euro can really go a long way, doing a lot of good on the long run. Imagine all the puppies that will not be born anymore to a female dog, throughout her whole life.

- more people to open their hearts to the Ploiesti strays, giving them a home and the chance to thrive as beloved members of a family. Wonderful local canine companions available for adoption can be found here.

- truly improved welfare and care for the homeless animals that end up in the local state-owned Bucov shelter.

- a general shift in the perception of stray animals by the local population and authorities. Greater understanding, humanity and responsibility in dealing with stray animals.

Thank you for everything, and please help me make these wishes possible. For Christmas, pray with me for a miracle for these wonderful animals.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Urgent appeal for an old prisoner

Dear all,
Please urgently help an old Dalmatian female of 10 years of age that was recently abandoned at the state-owned Bucov shelter, left with severe untreated, infected open wounds on all four limbs, and exceptionally weak. The adoption requests of two local animal protection associations (“Ploiesti-Munchen” and “Prieteni fara Grai”) were denied, contrary to current legislation. Possibly so that people would not see outside the shelter gates how severely neglected this dog has been while at Bucov.

Please contact the Prahova County Prefect and the Ploiesti Mayor with regard to this situation and demand that the dog be given for adoption to the animal protection associations that could provide the much needed care for this old, injured dog. You can contact them at:

Mr Prefect
Fax: +40/244/546.067

Mr Mayor
Fax: +40/244/513829
Thank you for reading this! She was abandoned at the Bucov shelter after having been faithful to her family for the first 10 years of her life... Now she is old and badly injured, and most definitely needs the care and tranquility that a shelter with 600+ dogs cannot provide.

Friday, December 16, 2011

On the way to becoming Dutch

This week 4 Ploiesti strays hit the road to Holland. Luiza and Whitey, Belice and Blanca were welcomed by wonderful, caring, empathetic families who were concerned and very receptive to the situation of the Romanian strays and the danger of the mass dog cull law. Here are the now former Ploiesti strays soon after arriving in Holland:

Belice, shy at the beginning but opening up and starting to show his true colours

 Luiza and Whitey, best street friends, still together in the new home

Blanca, a tiny darling, a beauty and a super doggie ambassador

Belice is now getting used to his new life with an owner. Luiza and Whitey are learning together the ropes of having a family of their own. And Blanca is an absolute darling in her foster home, being a most amazing ambassador for the many wonderful stray dogs of Ploiesti and of Romania that desperately need a home and the chance to flourish as part of a family. 

While we are super happy for them, and we wish them long, happy lives with their new owners, they are already missed. Personally, I ended up sending my 2 favourite local strays, Luiza and Whitey, just because it was impossible for me to adopt them myself, and I really wanted to know them safe and loved like they deserved. And yes, safe from the risk of becoming victims of the mass stray dog cull. Because they deserve so much more than such a fate. Like many others.

By looking at these pictures now, of them newly arrived in their homes in Holland, I can only say how much they fit in. It seems surreal that only until recently they were street dogs that no one wanted in Romania.

Belice, Luiza, Whitey, Blanca, may you flourish and show the world how terrific the Ploiesti/Romanian strays are!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life is a story

Sometimes we get days that seem a bit surreal. Today was just such a day... Let's see how it started.

Yesterday, a friend found an injured female dog and simply could not leave her there. A dog that had been ran over and dragged under a car, and had open injuries. So I advised him to take the dog to a good local vet I knew. The news was good: the vet sewed her open wounds and considered she'll fully recover after the accident. Even better, a neighbor was willing to host and care for this dog until her recovery. Yet, her spine is swollen as you can see in the first picture, and while she definitely feels in her hind legs, she's not able to walk quite yet.

I thought of calling her Alma, which means 'soul' in Latin, because her face expression can tell so much. Here's Alma yesterday, right after being seen and treated at the vet:

So this morning, the plan was for my sister and I to leave the house for half an hour... Solely to go see Alma and take more pictures of her. And so we did, but little did we know that this would be only the beginning of our day... Here's Alma this morning, well cared for by the foster lady and our friend:

Now, two things grabbed my attention the minute I saw her: firstly, that she looked so much like a Spanish Podenco dog, reminding me of my friends' super sweet dogs. And secondly, that judging by her breasts, she was a lactating mom...

Which meant that she most certainly must have had small puppies left behind somewhere in the area where she was ran over. So instead of going home to relax at least today, well, off we go, 3 friends, at the accident site to explore the area in search of Alma's puppies. One dilapidated building on the one side, bushes with thorns on the other side. We looked for the puppies everywhere we could, calling them, and showing people pictures of Alma and asking of her and her puppies' whereabouts. Well, no luck...

... Until I go into a nearby gas station and ask staff members about this dog and whether they had seen any puppies in the area. The guy at the counter immediately tells me there's a puppy that had been ran over by a car that very morning, and now was hiding under a car nearby. We found the little darling shivering under a car, but wagging his tail and being super happy to get some dry dog food. We pulled him from underneath the car super gently and started examining him...

Let's just say that some puppies are just incredibly lucky... The guy from the counter was firmly convinced that the car had ran over the puppy and had damaged him badly. While the little guy was clearly in shock and trembling, he has no broken bones and no visible external injuries. Most likely, the car ran over him, but fortunately the wheels did not touch him. He stood up and walked. And while still shaking, he showed us how hungry he was by finishing immediately a handful of kibble. Skin and bones, only the long fur hiding his skinny body, the dirtiest puppy I have ever seen, and full of fleas too, we could not leave him there.

Judging by his puppy teeth that are falling off, he's around 4-5 months of age. And because of his colour, I've decided to call the little guy Smokey. So meet Smokey:

Now, Smokey clearly is too old to be Alma's puppy. Judging by her breasts, her puppies must be way younger. But despite our efforts and willingness to save them and reunite them back with their mother in a safe place, we could not find Alma's puppies... I sincerely hope that someone finds and saves them. We certainly did our best.

Well, we went there to rescue Alma's puppies... And ended up rescuing this little guy that had been involved in a car accident himself that very morning. After calling friends and trying to find him a foster place, we resorted to driving to the countryside and leaving the little guy with plenty of food, water and warm blankets in a relative's courtyard. Here's Smokey in the car in my arms, going in foster to the countryside:

Day over? Nope! We felt sorry to leave poor baby Smokey alone in that courtyard. So we went back into Ploiesti and rescued another stray puppy that is already spoken for adoption. We took this puppy as well to the countryside to keep Smokey canine company and also be safe herself. Now they're both treated against internal and external parasites, and finally spending their very first day in a safe place, away from cars and traffic. They'll also go see the vet very soon.

When my sister and I finally returned home, it was late afternoon/early evening. Just one of those days...

UPDATE Dec 5th: The vet told me today that by the way Alma's breasts looked, she hasn't been sucked in quite a while now. Which means that as a matter of fact, there weren't any tiny puppies left behind depending on her! So a big relief. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Protesting for life, and teaming up for Triumph

On Wednesday, November 30th, animal lovers and rescuers from all over Ploiesti held a peaceful protest in front of the local town hall in the name of life, and against the planned mass stray dog cull. Although it was in the middle of a working day, at least 50-60 people managed to stop by, getting to know each other and showing their united support for the stray dogs' cause. It was good to see in the crowd many young people concerned about animals' fate, it's always a good sign when young faces join the ranks. Here are some pictures from the protest:

Animals, too, joined our ranks to show their support for their fellow canine friends:

Three fellow animal rescuers and I then went to talk to the vice-prefect of the Prahova County inside the town hall. We all advocated for substantial spay and neuter campaigns of both stray and owned animals, for controlling animal numbers in humane and responsible ways. We showed our concern for the fate of the local animals, friendly, neutered and well cared for by local people, as well as for the welfare of the animals at the Bucov animal shelter. I am sincerely hoping that this dialogue with the local administration will continue, and that, with enough support and help from the country and from abroad, we'll manage to push the balance towards spay/neuter instead of the much dreaded mass dog cull.

Before arriving at the protest, Laura, a friend of mine, found an injured young cat that had been just hit by a car. Let's call her Triumph, as she's got tree colors, plus she's one mighty kitten:

Triumph was found badly injured on the road, crying in pain, with a broken pelvis and broken legs, a victim of a recent car accident. A tough start for a 5-month old super sweet kitten. My friend rushed Triumph to a vet, but she needed help with temporarily placing the cat for a couple of days plus ensuring further vet treatment. Luckily, at the protest two other friends of mine instantly offered to host the cat for a few days, and my part was to go again to the vet with Triumph. Said and done. Now Triumph lives up to her name, eating well and being a fighter. Apart from this kitten's sweetness (we all grew terribly fond of her), I was also very well impressed with the great team work done for Triumph. I am really glad and feel honored to work together with such wonderful fellow rescuers. Once again, I get reminded that Ploiesti does have many great animal rescuers. A group of great people that could.