Monday, December 24, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know it's late, but I want to write this letter to you on behalf of the Ploiesti stray animals that cannot do it for themselves. I know there are so many souls waiting for you tonight and you'll be awfully busy riding your sleigh all over the world to deliver countless gifts and much happiness, but these guys I am asking you to help this Christmas are in dire need. So please, do not forget them, because they never have it easy.

The Ploiesti strays would appreciate any bit of help towards more sterilizations so that no more pups would be born to a life of suffering in the streets. The Ploiesti strays would be happy to receive help towards dog food or vet expenses. And you bet they'd forever appreciate the chance to a good, loving home!

Let me introduce you to one of them, a dog found abandoned in the streets of Ploiesti, a dog that has been through hell and back. Her name is Mamma and she was a Sharpei abandoned in the street together with her 4 mix breed puppies. Mamma and her pups would eat and sleep in a garbage collection point. As Sharpeis do not fare well in very low temperatures, poor Mamma would always shiver outside in the cold Romanian winter. No more owner, no more comfort and warmth of her old home, no more safety, no more easy meal for her.

Mamma is now in foster care inside, in a warm and loving place, and she is happily awaited for by her adoptive mommy in the UK. For Mamma, Christmas really came!

But like Mamma, there are thousands more other needy dogs, dogs that have so little and are so deprived they would be happy to sleep and feed from garbage collection points like this:

Please, Santa. I really, really wish you will remember the Ploiesti strays this Christmas! They need you.

If you cannot pop in tonight, but still wish to help them, you can send your gifts and good wishes to our organization email and paypal address:

Thank you, Santa. Remember, they need sterilizations, food, vet care, plus loving owners. Very little can mean the world to them and make all the difference!

Merry Christmas from RSDP!

We wish you a Merry Christmas with your loved human and furry ones, from our hearts to yours!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ploiesti Neutering Challenge Day 12

This past week we held Day 12 of our Ploiesti Neutering Challenge, our last day of free sterilizations this year. On Day 12 we helped 12 animals with free sterilizations, that is, 8 dogs and 4 cats. At the end of 2012, we can happily say we have sterilized a total of 328 animals this year. That is almost one animal per day! It was a lot of hard work and huge efforts from our volunteers, combined with support from many kind hearted donors, that made this huge achievement possible for the strays of Ploiesti. How many innocent pups and kittens were not born in the streets this year alone to a life of suffering? Countless.

Here's Day 12 in pictures:

 Bogdan earning the trust of one pregnant stray female dog and catching her gently by hand

Her pups from the previous generation, enduring the cold and hunger outside; such hard life for innocent pups is precisely what we try to prevent with our sterilization campaigns

An exceptionally lucky female dog we took for sterilization; she is very well taken care of by people in her neighborhood and she even has her own improvised shelter with blankets!

 Volunteer Alina feeding more strays; some of them were taken for free sterilization

A little doggie, recently abandoned, that we met on Day 12 in the street

Animals were taken to the FPCC clinic, sterilized, and kept at the clinic for 48 hours in order to fully recover. Here's their return into their territories in pictures:

 Recovered and waiting to be released

 Sterilized, with ear tag to show it

 One sterilized lady, coming out of the van and going back into her territory

 Another female doggie, picked up by the volunteer who cares for her in the street

Day 12 was supported by Claudia and her dear Happy, Guen, Ulrike, Jane, Lyn, Anja and Caroline. Thank you, dear friends of Ploiesti strays, for not forgetting about them! Thank you for your continued, thoughtful support for these animals. As for us, we continue our work until the day no pup would be born to be abandoned again in the streets of Ploiesti!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our priority, always more sterilizations

With the coming of the cold season we are all the more motivated to help animals with free sterilizations. Leaving aside the Romanian animal overpopulation, the tough Romanian winter would be too difficult to endure for pups born outside in the cold. In order to prevent their unnecessary suffering, we sterilize as many animals as we can this season.

On December 10th we held a short spay day for 6 female dogs at the nearby FPCC clinic. Their sterilization was possible with donations from Ulrike and Pieter, YuenFan, Hilke and Anett. Thank you dearly for helping these animals!

Here's some of the animals helped on December 10th:

 Above: this female dog was abandoned a couple of months ago on the side of the road with her 6 newborn puppies; now they are old enough so she could get sterilized; Below: recently abandoned German Shepherd mix that also mothered pups judging by the state of her body; some weeks ago she was found exceedingly skinny and was cared for by a volunteer

 A young female waiting for her turn to be spayed, in the arms of a volunteer

 FPCC vet Gabi Bratu operating away

Abandoned Sharpei Mamma post surgery

Awakened from the anesthesia, this female dog was taken home by one of the volunteers until she would be fully recovered from surgery and ready to be released back into her territory

6 more female dogs helped on December 10th, which increases the count of our Ploiesti Neutering Challenge to 316 sterilized animals!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Simply amazing

Tonight, as I was walking in the street, I saw this little guy. A medium sized teenage puppy looking up at passers by and craving for attention and some food. I felt inspired enough to film him and look what happens. A really beautiful moment totally unexpectedly. I had never seen these dogs before. Just some stray dogs of Ploiesti, out of the thousands of strays in Ploiesti (and the millions of strays in Romania). They don't know what the future holds, but they live in the present and enjoy every bit of it. 

Hungry, thirsty, cold. With very uncertain future. No shelter, no veterinary care, no warm food, no comfort. And yet, so beautiful and resilient. Romanian strays, simply amazing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anni-Frid the little love machine

Anni-Frid is one of the ABBA pups found abandoned in garbage nearly 4 months ago. While brothers Benny and Bjorn have found themselves wonderful homes in Holland, little girls Anni-Frid and Agnetha are still waiting to go home.

After almost 4 months of caring for Anni-Frid, we can confidently say she's half puppy and half angel. A terribly sweet and little girl that has so much love and joyfulness to give to the world! She will also stay small to medium sized when fully grown, likely in the range of 7-9 kilos at adulthood.

But what better way to show Anni-Frid's sweet nature than through pictures and videos?

A sweet angel from the very beginning

Months ago, with brother Bjorn, her best friend

 Always affectionate and kissy, with people and other dogs

 In the fall, patiently waiting for an owner at the Puppy Center

 Winter has come at the Puppy Center and Anni-Frid still waits for that wonderful owner we have promised her

 She has a super delicate body structure, like a deer's

 Very pretty girlie with soft velvety coat

 Little Anni-Frid with pal Bruno at the Puppy Center

Anni-Frid, ready to run into the heart and home of a very special family! 

And some short videos of her:

Anni-Frid is a dream of a puppy, really wanting to go to a warm and loving home soon. Please spread the word for her so she can find her way home soon. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A majestic heart, too good for some people

Some weeks ago a black Sharpei female was abandoned in my neighborhood of Ploiesti, Romania. She was dumped together with her 4 puppies. We assume they were discarded like this because the Sharpei mom gave birth to mixed breed pups, not pure Sharpeis, hence without financial value to the owner. The poor Sharpei mom and her pups would eat and sleep in a garbage collection point, having to fend for themselves and put up with inclement weather. Soon, the two male pups were adopted locally, but no one wanted the mom and the female pups.

Sharpei mom and her mixed breed daughters, happy to eat dog food I would bring them

At the beginning both mom and pups kept a safe distance from me. But, with time, and with the help of my own dogs, I have managed to approach the mom and gain her trust. One evening, she simply walked to me and allowed me to pet her all over her body, gently. She has trusted me and been like glue ever since. 

A friend managed to find both mom and her two female pups a local home that seemed very promising at first. The family had shown sincere interest in the dogs, and we were so happy they would not be outside in the cold any longer. We also provided them with pictures and information so they clearly knew the pups were not pure breeds like their mom. After getting mom spayed, we took the mom and pups to their new family. Unfortunately, the new family did not want the pups anymore after seeing they were without typical Sharpei folds. They even commented that the pups looked like the street dogs outside that should be "killed" in their opinion. Heartbroken and disappointed, we took both mom and her pups back. A totally failed local adoption.

We call the mom "Mamma" and she is pure gold. An unbelievably calm and gentle Sharpei that has been through a lot, yet continues to be terribly good. She comes when called, walks well on leash, and also separates dog conflicts by simply walking in between the arguing dogs. An inborn peacemaker. But it is when she comes to me for affection, when my forehead is touching her forehead, that I can feel her gentle, majestic heart.

Mamma and her pups are in foster care locally, separated, in several people's courtyards. While the pups are ok, Mamma is obviously cold outdoors and we had to improvise a doggie jacket to keep her warm:

Please, share for Mamma and her 2 mixed breed female pups. So they find their way home soon, to the good people that deserve them.

Celebrity update!

Quido used to be a couple of months ago yet another abandoned soul in the streets of Ploiesti. A terribly skinny puppy, with crooked legs from calcium deficit, and with bold patches from scabies. A puppy in shambles, really...

Quido the way he used to be

After a couple of months in our care, Quido thrived and got healthy, and was fortunate enough to be selected for adoption through the organization A Better Life Dog Rescue and go to a most wonderful home in the UK. Now little Quido is a bit of a local celebrity, and had a news article dedicated to him! You can read about Quido in the British journal here.

How I wish for more such happy stories like Quido's!

Bruno update

Remember poor little Bruno thrown over the fence over 3 months ago, ill with scabies? Well, let's see him back in the day:

And then Bruno now, a happy, healthy, chubby, friendly puppy:

Bruno is everyone's favorite at the puppy center because of his bubbly and affectionate personality. To get a glimpse of his beautiful soul, here are some videos of him:

Bruno is fully ready to go home. We think he is about 5 months old now, and he has already been neutered. A true soul mate looking for his equally great human companion.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Romanian authorities and the stray dog business in Romania

Dear all,

I will re-post a message I have received from Carmen Arsene, the vice-president of the FNPA (National Federation for Animal Protection). A message that sheds light for many with regard to the stray dog business in Romania. Yes, there is such a thing as a stray dog business here, quite a lucrative one for the authorities who do not want stray dogs to stop existing, because that would mean they would run out of a substantial source of income. All, at the expense of poor animals' suffering.

Please meet the Romanian authorities as they really are, fully exposed, in Carmen Arsene's words:

"Dear all,

Some of the stray dogs extermination camps operating in Romania are already known. But the business behind them is not fully known.

"Puppy Vet" from CONSTANTA is just one example.

The dog shelter managed by this company, which I saw just a little while ago and we came in as "visitors willing to adopt" (because as official for sure we could not go or see the reality), is in fact a camp where animals die slowly of hunger, thirst and lack of veterinary care.

When you enter the so-called dog shelter in Constanta , you feel that there might even be a real dog shelter but beyond the other iron gate is the cruel reality.

In a box a body of a puppy hanging by a fence eye, in an attempt to escape he remained stuck, we do not know for how long, for anyone from the shelter did not matter. The skeletal dogs, some who could no longer stand, which had no power even to bark. Recipients with water so green that only deduce there is water inside.

In other pen a dog was lying. The catchers said he was brought a day ago, accidented by car. But the condition in which it was, proved that he had at least few days lying in that box. The lower body was full of worms. A bone seemed to be out through the skin. Sometimes he lifts his head in a desperate trying to get where the worms swarm and ate him alive but his head fall back helplessly. We did not have the right to take him! Behind him some cadavres were laying and others in adjacent box.

 Puppy Vet shelter (Constanta) - the dog eaten by worms
 "Puppy Vet" shelter (Constanta)

I called the Police, the women from the office fled the scene, and the Police was not allowed to enter the shelter !

The next day, all dogs that could constitute evidence of cruelty in Puppy Vet camp gone, it certainly killed during the night. We followed the usual path, complaints to the police and to the Sanitary Veterinary Institute (DSVSA) were we detailed presented all illegalities found. DSVSA response, that comprised a lot of stupid information just fill two pages, was ending with the classic formula "the conclusion of control made is that it is complied the animal welfare legislation".

Later, we meet again “Puppy Vet”, 600 km from Constanta , in Botosani where they caught 80 dogs and transport in a van over each other and go to Constanta . The local animal welfare association of Botosani manages to follow and then to stop the van by the police. Dogs have been returned in Botosani.

dogs from Puppy Vet's car

 Puppy Vet's car transporting 80 dogs

We find there is a contract by which Puppy Vet has sponsored Botosani city hall and also Puppy Vet promises "help" to the Botosani cityhall by capturing 1000 from Botosani and being taken to Constanta.

We also find out that City Hall Constanta signed a contract (no. 15538/2012) with “Puppy Vet” by what Puppy Vet receives 1,250,000 Euro (incl.VAT) for stray dogs management in Constanta!!!

Same story we also meet in SLATINA, where shelter was managed by the municipality, then by the “Olcon Metal”, and after revelations of huge amounts reimbursed by the municipality to this company, the cityhall closes the "mouth" of the press, cancelling the contract with “Olcon Metal” and sign another contract with “Iberia Velvet” but having the same shareholders, meaning actually the same firm but with other name!

In the shelter of Slatina in some boxes there are a piece of broken plastic container where on the bottom you can see only some muddy. The other boxes there is not even a recipient so no water. Skeletal dogs were approchead the fence when from a bag we throw some dry food. But they can not take a grain because they are too weak.

In the court of the dog shelter (that has at the entrance an announcement "Private Property") is imposing a villa, newly built, with veranda, rooms on the ground floor and first floor.

Almost never the head of the companies that manage the dog shelter in Slatina is in town; he spends his time at spa or in Istanbul or wherever money got by "managing" stray dogs takes him.

Only the huge discrepancy between the amounts allocated for management of dogs and the terrifying images after the gates of these places of horror where dogs are either killed or die from starvation, lack of water, veterinary care, would be sufficient to prove corruption and financial interests.

National Federation for Animal Protection - FNPA is currently preparing materials for instituting criminal proceedings against Puppy Vet, cityhall Slatina, Olcon Metal , Iberia Velvet.

About mafia industry built on stray dogs I talked within a reportage made by a team of national television ARD in Germany , under these cases: Botosani, Constanta , Slatina. The reportage will be broadcast on Saturday, December 8, 4:30 PM (German time) on ARD "Das Erste", Germany and also it can be viewed later at:

Thank you.
Carmen ARSENE"

Welcome to Romania.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Love can shine a light

These past few days a Dutch friend asked me a very good question: "So how does animal rescue work in Romania, you find a dog in the street and you rescue him?" Indeed, for someone coming from a "normal" country, that's what animal rescue is supposed to be like. But there is very little normality when it comes to Romania and animal treatment.

Ploiesti alone has thousands of stray dogs and pups roaming the streets. We are a small charity and we do what we can, primarily focusing on free sterilizations. It would be impossible for anyone to rescue every single dog found in the streets, when we talk about thousands of strays, plus continuous incoming waves of abandoned animals.

For most of the times, we just have the animals sterilized, return them into their territories, feed them and continue to keep an eye on them to make sure they are ok. There are simply too many! We do intervene, however, when we absolutely have to. And better describe it with a real example:

Precisely a year ago we found a puppy recently hit by a car, all by himself, shivering, hungry, dirty, and very scared. He was hiding under a vehicle in a parking lot, all terrified after having been run over. We could not leave him in that highly trafficked area, injured and scared, so we took him into foster care:

Puppy Smokey on his first day in our foster care

Smokey spent 2 months with us and then he was ready to go to Holland. It was meant to be for him to be adopted by a very special person. Half a year later, Smokey and his extra special owner returned to Ploiesti in summertime for a vacation and with aid for Smokey's stray friends left behind.

But what's all the more special is that while in Romania on vacation this summer, Smokey and his owner had the opportunity to rescue another pup, and witness firsthand a case when we absolutely had to intervene. We ran across a little abandoned pup with a huge belly full of worms and with the worst infestation of lice and fleas I had ever seen up to that point in my life. The little guy had no hair left on parts of his body, just hundreds of lice occupying his skin. By all means, he would have been dead in a matter of a couple of days at most.

 Small, full of worms on the inside, and full of lice and fleas on the outside

 After his first bath, a very skinny puppy but with huge belly from worms

What he looked like after most of the lice and fleas were removed. Meet Little Man Slanic!

 Little Man Slanic, back then the size of a cat, with friend Smokey

Weeks later, when he was strong enough and ready to leave, Little Man Slanic went home to Holland with his best friend Smokey:

And have been best friends ever after:

This month I had the opportunity to visit the two Romanian lads now happily living in Holland:

Smokey (left) and Little Man Slanic (in my arms), not quite the size of a cat anymore!

In my mom's words, if we had not found and rescued Little Man Slanic that day, he would have been dead 100 times by now... 

It is in such extreme cases that we absolutely have to intervene. 

And yes, the reward of helping a dog get from here to there is priceless!