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!

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