Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Remember Snowy? The little puppy in hypothermia we have rescued from snow bigger than her on the streets of Ploiesti? 

Sweet little Snowy is still looking for an owner and her forever home. Snowy is currently in foster care at my place, growing and becoming a super happy and well socialized puppy by the day. Here's this little white angel's typical daily schedule in images:

 Snowy playing

 More play!

 Resting a bit after so much play


 Being lazy

 More sleep, yay!

 And then more play!

Followed by even more play!

And then a nice walkie among the piles of snow where she was found

 Snowy is doing really well with house training, currently doing her business mostly outdoors on our walks, or on the balcony. She learned this really fast with the aid of positive reinforcement- biscuits for each pee and poo in the right place.

 Snowy will be able to go to her forever home soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


"Ya lublu tibia" means "I love you" in Russian (that's all the Russian I know, but it covers the basics!), and for this young lady I am about to present, a name symbolizing love seemed to be the most appropriate. I called her Liublia in the end - from the Russian "lublu" for "love". A beautiful name with a beautiful meaning for a beautiful girl! And to make things easier for the ones finding it hard to call her name, we also added "Lily" as her second name. Hence, meet Liublia-Lily:

I found Liublia one morning in a neighborhood of Ploiesti during the RAR-sponsored, FPCC-performed sterilization campaign of 100 stray dogs in Ploiesti. It was hard to miss her- right there in the street, this older puppy ran straight to me, tail wagging, for some petting and maybe some food. I held her in my arms and put her in the van to be taken to the clinic for spaying without a problem. Our first meeting was truly beautiful and I kept on thinking of this exhilarating, very friendly girl and what a great companion animal she could be. After a while, I went back for her.

We ended up taking Liublia in foster care in a private yard, where she still waits for her forever home. Two months ago we noticed she suffered from a beginning of scabies. Caught early and treated right away, it healed fast and well, and now Liublia is a healthy girl with nothing to remind of her past disease.

Liublia back in December in foster care, an exceptionally beautiful and playful young girl

I had no problem taking her on lead to the vet - her first time on lead and she did incredibly well.

She is exceptionally friendly and loving: tail wagging constantly, or trying to "hug" my arm or leg with her front paws, giving me kisses, play bowing or springing in the air around me. 

Since in foster care, with adequate food and vitamin supplements, after healing from scabies, Liublia has put on weight and is a very healthy and happy doggie. This is Liublia today, among piles of snow in the courtyard where she is fostered:

 Always happy to see us

Spending some good quality time with Liublia today

 Girlfriend Clara (left) and Liublia (right)

So far Liublia was an unlucky girl. She was supposed to go in foster care in Holland, but the fosterers' own dog got ill and they were unable to foster Liublia anymore. So she has spent the entire winter in foster care in Romania in a courtyard, out in the cold, waiting...

 Liublia's dog house yesterday, covered up in snow after only one day of intense snowing

Liublia is a young female dog of about 10-12 months of age now. She is spayed, super friendly and playful, small to medium-sized. She is an energetic young doggie that would need a decent amount of exercise. But an exceptionally good dog that could become somebody's dream doggie given her beautiful nature. 

Nikki and Pedro

Dear friends,

I am going to describe some of the doggies that need help the most during this exceptionally harsh Romanian winter. But first I want to stress that these are, first and foremost, really good doggies. Doggies that ought to be rescued not just out of pity, but because they have great temperaments and have the potential to be truly great companion animals. When a dog is so good like these 2 guys I am about to present, of course I'm going to fight for them!

Pedro (Male, Medium) and Nikki (Female, Small) put up with the cold winter in cardboard boxes outside in the cold. However, only days ago some ill-intended person burned down some of their boxes, so now Pedro and Nikki and the rest of their pack use the few remaining boxes left.

Nikki with her friends in the fall

Pedro happily wagging his tail at me in the fall

Nikki and Pedro seeking shelter from the weather these past few days

 Nikki in her cardboard box- what came closest to a home for her

Nikki is a small pretty lady and a very easy dog

Pedro among piles of snow, coming to greet me

 Here is more information about them:

Pedro- Boy, neutered, 3-4 years old, Medium sized- about 20-22 kilos heavy; white with orange spots. He loves affection. Sometimes when I am surrounded by the members of his pack, he will start barking for my attention. He also "talks" to people- something in the lines of a cat purr, especially when he gets petted and really enjoys your attention. He's a lovey dovey doggie. Lazy big time. His favourite activity is sleeping, followed by being affectionate and loving. He is also an amazing pack leader- I have never seen him engaging in acts of aggression against the members of the pack, he is simply a laid back leader that the others like and respect. When another dog occupies his cardboard box, he just starts barking as if telling the other "Heeeey, you've taken my box, give it back now!" But that's all he does, really. He's an exceptionally gentle and laid back leader of his little pack.

Nikki/Meat Loaf- Girl, around 3 years old, spayed, Small size,10-12 kilos heavy; black back, with brown legs and tail. She's very affectionate and laid back, both with people and other dogs. An overall easy dog. She also makes people chuckle because she has a funny appearance, and she also lifts her leg while peeing! One funny little doggie. About 2 years ago she suffered from a broken pelvis following a car accident. But she has recovered very well thanks to the care of a wonderful lady and now she is a happy go lucky dog. People thought 2 years ago that she'd remain paralyzed after the accident, but the caring lady did not give up on her and would take her on walks supporting the lower part of Nikki's body with a scarf. Neighbors were truly surprised to see that the good work of this caring lady, plus the will and ability to recover of this little girl, made her walk again. Today she walks perfectly fine, being fully recovered. She'd be a great companion animal, being an easy dog to handle. She is small, spayed, and not very energetic, being a bit overweight. Because she is a bit overweight, her walking/running looks like a bouncing ball!

Like their pack member, Whitey, that is now enjoying a happy life in Holland as a beloved family pet, these 2 doggies also have the potential to become somebody's dream dogs. They would also need little to moderate levels of exercise, and their short fur does not need extensive care. They are well socialized, people-loving dogs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Desperate cry of help in snow

Dear friends,

I don't like to appeal to emotions and make things look desperate in order to get help, but this is a situation when things are indeed really bad and the dogs really need your help.

Romania has been hit again by mountains of snow since last night. Here's a video and you can see rural areas not far from Ploiesti that have been hit by snow really badly. By today, 74 people have died in Romania due to this harsh winter. Here's a news report from days ago. You can see snow as big as the houses, people walking on the roofs of their homes:

There was even a dog shelter in a village called Lehliu in the county of Calarasi where the roof fell over the dogs under the pressure of too much snow. All dogs were safe though, no dog died in this accident, luckily enough!

Personally, this is the hardest winter I have ever seen in Romania, USA, or Scotland- and all the places where I've lived had decent amounts of snow, but nothing compares to the amount of snow I am seeing this winter in Romania and in my town of Ploiesti.

As you can imagine, street dogs take a big toll on such a weather.

Today I went outside with a shovel and dug the snow so the stray dogs we care for can go out of their shelters and back in again- they would have been covered in snow soon. Plus release the roofs of their shelters of snow- there was at least a good 50 cm on their improvised shelters and I was worried the roof would collapse over the dogs eventually. I dug for one hour, but in a couple of hours we have to go back for more digging, because the snow falls in heaps continuously. In 2 hours only, according to my dad, approx. 10 cm of snow have set. Since last night when massive snowing started again, we've probably got at least 60 extra cm of snow. Traffic is close to dead in town- from public transportation like trams and buses, to small personal cars.

 Puppies Nikita and Tigger in the fall of 2011, in the enclosure we had built for them

The same enclosure on February 13th, 2012

An improvised shelter for street animals- we had to dig through the snow to gain access to them on February 13th 2012

Liublia in December in foster care

Liublia's dog house on February 13th 2012

 Nikki in fall of 2011

Pedro in fall of 2011

Nikki and Pedro on February 13th 2012 in their improvised shelters

Things are exceptionally bad right now. While I am first and foremost for spaying and neutering, these days what dogs need the most is to be taken out of this disastrous situation and found a dry warm shelter.

I am not a big fan of appealing to people's emotions, I much prefer to appeal to people's intellect in an honest, unexaggerated manner. The truth is that this is by far the hardest winter I have ever seen in my life, and the dogs out there in the street are the most vulnerable. Right now, they need help more than ever.

If you can think of ways you can help them, if you can think of people that may be able to adopt or foster some of these street dogs, it would really be saving them from a very difficult situation.

I am willing to conduct temperament tests on video with these dogs so you can see for yourselves what good dogs they are temperamentally. Not just beautiful dogs, but also really good dogs that deserve better than to be covered up in snow for the rest of this winter.

This winter we've had temperatures as low as -20- -25 degrees Celsius. And when it's not that cold, it snows like it does now. It's been a really tough winter for these dogs. If you can think of any way to help them, now it's really the time.

Thank you for reading this.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beautiful Heart

Some rescue stories have truly unique and unexpected happy endings. Such was the case of Clarissa, a young female dog I found in the streets of Ploiesti at the end of August when returning home for a vacation. A very sweet and friendly dog, but a dog with a really bad eye injury that most certainly gave her a lot of pain. It hurt us to see her suffering. This was Clarissa when we found her in the streets:

Clarissa underwent an initial eye surgery aimed to save her eye. And we were hopeful for a while that she would make a full recovery and see with both eyes again. After weeks in foster under the terrific care of a local animal rescuer, however, Clarissa's eye got worse, to the point that a second surgery to have her eye removed was the last and only option. A big hit for all the people that cared for her and fell in love with her absolutely beautiful loving nature.

Many animal rescuers know it's truly hard to find a good loving home for a big, black dog also with a physical imperfection: one eye only. No matter what amazing dogs they can be. We had lost hope, but then a miracle happened for her. A nice lady from Germany wanted Clarissa!

So at the end of October, off Clarissa went to Germany to meet her kind-hearted adopter, the person that had offered to give Clarissa a good home despite Clarissa's handicap.

And this is where the story twists and turns and becomes all the more special. Unbeknown to us, her adopter happened to have a female cousin over for a couple of weeks at the time when Clarissa arrived. Long story short, Clarissa and the owner's cousin formed a truly special relationship and became inseparable during the weeks the cousin spent with Clarissa and her owner. We were all puzzled and baffled, and thought long and hard about what was to be done when the cousin would leave to go to her own home. The owner was saddened by what was happening, seeing her newly adopted dog bonding really well with her cousin instead. But what was to be done?

In our conversations, the owner often described Clarissa's beautiful "big heart" when talking about her. Luckily, this story is not only about Clarissa's beautiful heart, other beautiful hearts being involved as well. In the end, the owner, who had initially offered a home to our Clarissa, found the strength, wisdom and kindness to let Clarissa go with her cousin, when it was time for the cousin to go home. So off Clarissa went to her new home with the person she had chosen herself for her owner.

 Clarissa at home with the people she has chosen herself as her owners

 Clarissa and her new owner being inseparable from the moment they met

 A happy, loved, spoiled girl now

Clarissa is a happy girl now, living a good life full of love, just like her beautiful heart deserves

We were initially worried we could not find Clarissa a good home because of her missing eye. But her beautiful heart shone through, and in the end Clarissa even had the luxury to choose herself the person that was going to be her owner. A young injured dog at first, now a happy and lucky girl with the person with whom she developed a very special relationship from the moment she arrived in Germany.
Clarissa looking ahead to a bright future by the side of her new loving owners

One unlucky girl, becoming a very happy and lucky girl in the end. God bless such beautiful hearts!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Snowy Story

Meet Snowy, the world's smallest polar bear! Well, not really, but as close as you'll get to a polar bear lookalike in Romania:

Snowy was found a few days ago by my family: a recently abandoned puppy in our neighborhood, wet to the bone from all the rain combined with snow, with water that had turned into icy particles covering her fur. She was crying, trembling with cold and trying to follow any human being, really. Such a small, wet puppy of 2-3 months of age, all alone on freezing cold temperatures would not have survived one more night in the streets.

My family took her in right away- and she spent the first 3 hours still shaking in a warm towel next to the heating unit. But then, little by little, she started to open up. She started to eat a bit, to play with the toys she found around, and challenge our dogs to play. She even got her first ever flea bath, and her coat turned from white to snow white:

 Can you spot Snowy in the image above? Here she is on a walk in the neighborhood where she was found in terrible condition only days ago

A few days later after being found, and Snowy is a happy puppy full of spunk and desire to play and explore. She's also really smart- she has learned very fast to do her business outside on our walks or on the newspaper in the balcony. Such a small puppy learning really fast!

Now Snowy, our little polar bear, only needs a good loving forever home. That's all she asks for. Given what she has been through, she truly deserves the comfort of a good home- having to put up with the terrible winter cold only during pleasant walks alongside her very own loving owner.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

One lucky puppy: Smokey

It's not always easy to be an animal rescuer. In fact, it's more often heartbreaking than good, but when it's good, it's really priceless. Such is the case of Smokey, a puppy we found emaciated, recently hit by a car, and exceptionally dirty and full of fleas at the beginning of December. Please read Smokey's story here.

After 2 months in our foster care in Romania, Smokey started off to a new life in Holland. Please see below Smokey's first steps in Holland, surrounded by doggie and human friends:

 It was hard, but when a dog goes from this in Romania...

... to this in Holland...
... then it's all really worth it.

Thank you, Romanian and Dutch friends who have helped Smokey!

God bless you, little guy!