Thursday, September 13, 2012

Who I am

I've always believed people have to follow their heart in life and do what makes them happy. I always did what I wanted and what I was passionate about. I left my family and my Romanian home town Ploiesti at 19 years old and ventured in life all by myself. I went to college in the States on scholarship and studied Psychology, then got a full time job there.

While in the States I felt awfully lonely and really longed to have my own dog. I felt I was finally ready. I visited the local shelters in my area daily for several weeks, looking for the perfect dog for me. After a few weeks, I fell in love with Bebi, now my beloved companion. Bebi was a rescue dog from Puerto Rico from a place called Dead Dogs' Beach. This US shelter (St Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, NJ) had rescued Bebi and other Puerto Rican stray dogs from that awful place. So there I was, a foreigner living in the States, adopting this foreign stray dog. I also ended up volunteering at that shelter for a few months as a thank you for them having given me my Bebi.

Bebi and I, happy and grateful to see each other every morning

When I left the States and returned to Romania after years of being away, Bebi obviously came with me. Now, a bit about my Bebi. Bebi is terribly good and friendly with other dogs and is always curious and happy to meet and greet new dogs! So when I moved back to Romania with Bebi in 2009, Bebi befriended all the stray dogs in my neighborhood, and, through him, I also befriended these dogs and started caring about them.

As a side note, my family and I had always been sensitive to stray animals and could not bear their suffering. We would often feed them and care for them. But once I became the owner of my own former stray dog, I started loving stray dogs exponentially more. I felt really connected to them because of my own Bebi.

Months passed, and I was good friends now with all the dogs in my neighborhood. I had many of them sterilized, and would feed them daily. I also started to visit the local Bucov city pound to try to help the dogs there also. By this point, I already knew that rescuing and understanding better these fascinating animals was what I wanted to do with my life. So I applied and was accepted at a Masters program in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. My studies were supported with a scholarship from the British organization Dogs Trust, and my research and dissertation focused on canine temperament testing. I graduated with distinction in the fall of 2011, and since then I have been involved in a lot of rescue work in Ploiesti.

Along the way I have made wonderful friends from Romania and abroad, committed to helping me help the animals here. The list of friends is too big, but these wonderful people are always in my heart, whether they are from Ploiesti, USA, UK, Germany or Holland. And I am grateful for their friendship, trust and good will every single day. In the end, I am sure together we can make Ploiesti a place with substantially fewer suffering strays, and much improved animal welfare.

I have always listened to my heart, and after a long journey of many years around the world, my heart took me back to my old home town of Ploiesti, a place whose stray dogs need me the most. Sometimes you have to be where you are needed the most!

 Stray dogs are the most beautiful dogs to me

1 comment:

  1. All my respect for your choice and courage , you and the people who help you are heroes , real one's. Fighting for such a huge and heavy cause especially in Romania, demands lot of mental power .