Why pick a Romanian Rescue? – It was the “song” that played on the heartstrings.



I came across this wall poster on yet another Rescue site on Facebook yesterday and there’s a lot of truth in it. Since looking for another dog to go with Annie (a Romanian Rescue) after Joe’s death I have spent weeks spiraling around a head-spinning array of sites for fosters required, adoption required, rescue this, rescue that… It’s mind-blowing to say the least.

Now, I had to make a decision.  As someone said recently “Taking in one dog won’t change the world, but it will change THE DOG’S world”.  So, I couldn’t go about trying to change the world per se, but I most definitely could change the world for one dog. I trawled quite a few sites, both UK and abroad – Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Spain again, Romania, UK, Romania…. One site stuck out – for me.  A lady who was a teacher by day and a carer for over 100 dogs by night/spare time had her story. It was no worse than some others I’d read, but when I read that she’d just taken in 18 pups barely 8 weeks old, that would have been put to sleep, I felt the tug.

We all get it at some point in life.  Not always about animals. Sometimes it’s children or elderly or disable people, or gardens, or buildings, or old cars … something somewhere hits a note in the heart that sings just slightly louder than the melee of other notes and there’s the tug. Some call it passion, some a calling, but whatever name you choose it’s that defining moment that leads you in a different direction from the one you intended. That’s also the point we can choose to ignore what we know and carry on our merry way, a pang of guilt or doubt or a 2nd thought soon wiped away by life itself and it’s forever busy goings on.

Sometimes we don’t ignore it, we’re tugged closer, pulled into the outstretched arms of the melody that begins to rise from that one different note.  We look, we search, we ask, we read – each time knowing that the more we know the more we’ll be dragged deeper into the song.

When I saw the pups, barely old enough to be away from their mum, I wanted to help.  After all, what animal/dog lover can turn their head from a babe in need, especially those of one of the species of animal that truly does just bond with man on a whole different level? Practically,  I couldn’t do a huge amount, I couldn’t house them all, pay a fortune for care or drive over and rescue the lot, but tiny stones dropped in a pond make a foundation on which someone can stand one day. I sponsored and offered to foster one (Maiya) , and said I’d adopt another (Tess) to have as a playmate for my Annie as was the original reason I was looking.

Maiya enjoys a chew

Maiya from a public shelter was to be put to sleep if nowhere could be found for her and 17 other pups

tess 8 wks

Tess when she was first rescued from a Gypsy cellar with her siblings who were all kept in the damp and the dark.

It didn’t seem much but the money I paid for both to be transported to the UK, plus the sponsorship money, paid for food for them and a lot more besides.  All of the medical costs for vaccines etc was included in the adoption pack for Tess and I could have avoided costs for Maiya (fosterers don’t pay these the charity does) but that note in my heart twanged regularly and I didn’t mind paying a bit extra.

All but 2 of those pups are now in safe, happy homes across Europe as fostered or adoptee pets. The success of this drive is testament not only to those who’s heart played a specific note that they could not ignore but also to the woman who took them in, loved them and made them ready to leave, whilst still caring for another 100+ dogs, working as a teacher in a school and being a wife and a human being to boot.

Why didn’t I ignore it all when there are thousands of dogs in UK rescues?  Simple answer is: – the UK rescue centers have many volunteers not just 3, they have a lot of ‘press’ and reasonable funding, some even from the government, and the dogs here are safe already.  Many people adopting a pet will go to RSPCA or the like, or even a local place: that’s the first place they’ll look. We did the same with Joe and Annie. The issue with Romania is longstanding and is now becoming known but has been overlooked to the point of utter meltdown for dogs.  The UK is well known as a country of dog lovers, there’s plenty of love to go around.

In Romania dog lovers are rarer as most people see these animals as vermin and starve them, hurt them beyond what we could imagine and then leave them to die. At the very least the country is so over-run the population is exploding ridiculously. A massive neuter drive is also happening but it can’t keep up.  Years ago dogs were loved in the country but social and economical happenings changed people’s lives and attitudes and dogs went feral.

I can’t save them all but so far I’ve saved 3…and that is reason enough for me.

My story is for the one that struck that note then struck the chord, the chord became a song I could not ignore – I still sponsor with the few pounds spare and Barclay and Sophie are among the many that need to be taken out of that dog hating trap called Romania – but for the animal lovers of this world that’s a whole other story.

If you as a reader have an interest (and if you don’t you won’t have got this far) then take a look at the links for Barclay and Sophie and go from there – Maybe your song will begin too.


Joe’s story…………….



Oh Annie…not again! Now for my meltdown!


Today is Saturday.  The day of the week is actually rather irrelevant, but just a statement of fact at this moment in time.

Saturday is usually a mixture of day off, rest, play, a bit of housework and so on for me.  Nothing too strenuous.  I work 4 days in an office, 2 days online at home, look after house, husband, teen, 2 cats and 1 dog, so I give myself an “easy day” each week as a way to prevent complete and utter meltdown.

This particular day the plan was – sleep in a little; breakfast; walk Annie; coffee; work on a project on the pc; vac the house, coffee… well you get the idea.  Busy but not strenuous.

Annie, my little treasure, my angel, my furry baby… had other ideas. Now don’t get me wrong, she didn’t do it on purpose.  She was just being – well – A Dog.

to explain some of the problem, Annie is a rescue dog.  We had two, but sadly lost Joe to an awful accident in December (please feel free to read my post about that-Don’t let another good dog die needlessly).  Since losing Joe, Scaredy-pup Annie, who was just about gaining confidence went right back to square one.  She’s from Romania, found in a rubbish heap as a puppy, kenneled with several more strays for what must have been an eternity for a puppy.  A few months in Romanianan kennels and she was shipped to England, into kennels.   February 2013 when it was estimated she was about 1 year old, we picked her.  Fluffy, frightened and foreign. Reaction to uncertainty – she wee’d.  She always does.

Now, that all seemed a little boring I’m sure, but the reason I put it down was that this issue was the start of upturning my planned ‘easy day’.  

This is how my easy day actually went – thanks to the scaredy pup Annie.

8am:woken by husband offering large coffee.  Sat in bed and sipped said coffee.  Husband left for work.  I played games on my phone, read emails and snuggled into my warm sheets, looking out at a sunny, but cold, English winter day.

9am : wash, dress, waddle downstairs for another cup of coffee and breakfast.  Teen yapping in my ear about some inane teen talk.  Let Annie into the garden; feed cats.

10am : let Annie in from garden, fat cat hisses at Annie, Annie bounces to play, mud all over the rug- we’ve had a very wet winter and the garden is getting quite boggy.  I sigh, I’ll let it dry and vacuum it later.

10.15am : get Annie’s walking harness.  Call Annie, teen stands by door still yapping. Annie so excited she wees.  I sigh.  Annie thinks she’s done wrong (she has but I try not to get angry – she can’t help it.). In response to that she wees as she walks back to her bed.  She wee’s in her bed.  I start mopping floor.

10.30am : we try again.  This time I take harness to Annie, lay it in front of her.  She knows it.  She loves to walk and on a good day she will sit, raise paw to put one leg in the loop and so on.  Today she’s nervous.  Who knows why. Perhaps she’s heard some banging outside.  Banging makes her nervous. Annie sniffs the harness to me cooing “wanna go walk?”.  Tail wags, and dog wees.

10.45am : we’re out.  A car goes by, Annie looks wide eyed at it.  It’s going to be one of those days.

We walk through the woods, Annie has her fluffy white tail high, bouncing in the leaves, through the trees, over the fallen trunks, nose in this and that. Back on the lead we walk the path to the field.  We meet a large growly dog and Annie hides behind me and wees.  I walk her away, fully aware that I don’t need to stress her any more than she already is.  We meet a black waggy dog.  This is better.  Nose to nose with waggy tails she greets him and vise versa. We reach the field.

Annie runs, bounces, hops, skips, jumps…………and rolls.  “Oh Annie” escapes my lips once again.  But this time she just doesn’t care.  Every last bit of nasty, foul smelling, disgusting thing she could find on that field she rolled in. My shoulders slump.  She’s loving it.

11.45am: I head home with one rank dog trotting happily by my side.

Now, what should have been a nice walk and a steady afternoon has now turned into a nice walk for Annie, an unwanted bath for Annie, an unwanted soaking for me, 2 carpets vacuumed, 2 carpets washed, and wet dog smell throughout the house.

I love Annie to bits and I know she’s a dog with issues.  She’ll get over them, we love her too much to allow it to rule her forever… but why does she have to wee and roll in poo on my easy day :-/  I’m now off to have a genuine, exhausted, meltdown.





My dogs- how the hell did I get two?


I have 2 dogs now.  

After losing my faithful Dizzi on New Years Eve 2008 I held back from getting another.  I did not want to replace my friend.  She’d been with me and my family for 17 and 3/4 years (we say 18 for ease).  My son was 4 and my daughter was 6, so we all grew as a family with Dizzi.  

After finally feeling that the loss was bearable at some point last year (2012) I set about constantly hinting, whining, nagging, and such at my husband for another dog.  Late last year he agreed. The search began. I set myself realistic targets, rules for type, size, age, gender etc.  I trawled websites for rescue centres.  That was my main aim.  I wanted – a rescue dog, a female, 2 – 4 years old so out of the chewing everything stage, mid size, not fluffy (dogs shedding hair constantly is not my preference), quiet-ish, but most of all, one that reached my heart.

I looked at the RSPCA sites, I found one, she got rehomed before I even got to look at her in the flesh. I looked daily. 

Oooo that one’s lovely, and aaah that one’s cute eminated from me and my stepdaughter.  Hubby was not enthused. He did want us to have a dog, if only to shut me up, be he holds his feelings in reserve to save disappointment – my son’s like that so I understood.

Now two factors started to come into play, one I anticipated, money – to rescue a mutt in the UK from a centre currently costs upwards of £100, and that’s before you buy insurance, bedding, toys, food etc.  We’re not rich.  We’re not really poor, we just don’t have a lot and work hard to earn what we have, and it’s spent on the rising costs of living far too quickly. So, whilst hunting, I saved money, I collected food – a tin a week in the shopping didn’t get noticed, I scrounged for old throws for bedding and so on. 

By Jan 2013 still no dog.  My search went to twice daily until……………..

I mentioned it with a woeful tone to my line manager at work.  He’s an animal man through and through and lost his dog to kidney failure in the December.  He doesn’t mourn his friends in the same way as I – he rather prefers to think he’s doing his best for a dog each time he has one (he had 4 at one point, the eldest of these died age 15 2 years ago).  SO he was soon trailing Norfolk looking for another to save.  He found a rescue centre 50 odd miles away from base but was soon enthusing about their attitude and work and the fact that he went for one dog and came back with two.(bear that in mind as you read)

SO, I searched them on the internet and got in touch.  I saw photo’s of a lonely female collie 2 years, shy, short haired – perfect… but I hadn’t got enough money.  Katie was her name.  Please wait Katie I said daily.  The stepdaughter ooo’d and aaaah’d at the pictures. The rest of January came and went.  Katie was still there.  

We had a family loss, husband’s nan, and so he said I had to wait until March – let things settle. I agreed and Katie went to another home.  

Then mid Feb, the centre brought across a bunch of dogs from Romania.  They were gorgeous. All shapes and sizes and ages etc.  I picked a couple.  We went the 50+ miles one Sunday.  After following a winding road to what seemed to be the depths of nowhere, we found F.A.I.T.H (For Animals In Trouble (there’s) Hope).  

Now here’s where plans went wrong but in the best way ever.  

We spotted the dog we had ‘picked’ from the website.  Another spotted us and Paul took to it’s laughable pushing-for-a fuss attitude.  The staff said to just wander and look and call if we needed help.

We looked. We found pigs (another story indeed).  We found cats, stepdaughter was now gushing and pleading (a cat preference for her even though we have two already).  We were even introduced to 2 resident peacocks.  All very entertaining but I wanted my dog.

We looked and looked again, but only one touched my heart.

‘Chloe’ as she was called was shy and reserved.  We asked to walk her, and it was more a case of drag and run and she tried to hide or run off whichever she deemed necessary at the time.  This was going to be work.  But I liked her.

So we asked for information.  Female is about the only pre-requisite box she ticked.  Chloe was large, fluffy, like a small german shepherd (in fact she’s a romanian shepherd dog we have found since), never been in a house let alone trained in any way, raw from the streets, then kennels of Romania and only 1 year old.  But she was mine.  I knew it.  I could feel it.  

So we walked a few others, but each time I looked longingly back at her, and to my surprise she did the same for me.  Stepdaughter noticed.  Husband noticed.  But she didn’t tick all of the boxes so I looked for one that did.

My heart could not be over ruled.  All the rest were too old, too loud, too male, too skittish, too temperamental … the excuses flowed.

So we had lunch and a chat and eventualy took ‘Chloe’ out again. We had travelled for 2 hours, walked various dogs for another 2 and I knew I couldn’t have left without her.  Carrying cage was in the car ready.  She was mine and I hers.

So then the question – how much? £130.  Oooya!  But I was prepared.  I had saved for months. 

What happened next I didn’t expect, want, need or could afford but somehow it happened.

Just as I was signing papers to make this fluffly mini german sherherd type 1 year old dog my own, a staff member came to us and said ‘before your sign for her do you want to look at a collie we have?’

Now Dizzi was a mixed collie.  I say mixed not crossed as her mum was a bearded collie / border collie cross and her dad was a pure bred rough collie.  I love collies.  But No, I had my girl.  The staff member listened to husbands “ok we’ll look” response rather than my ‘I’m busy with MY dog’ growl under my breath.

The next thing I knew a dog was sat next to my legs. He was lovely, true black and white, long haired border collie with the lightest brown eyes twinkling at me.

Please, please, oh lets walk him, were the cries from my human companions. HIM!?  I don’t want a boy dog.  I fail with boy dogs.  I never can train boy dogs.  I don’t know why but I can’t.  I protested as the lead went on his neck.  I protested as we walked the country lane. I protested as we walked again but this time with Chloe in tow ‘to see if they get on’.  

To See If They Get On?!  Who cares?  I can afford one dog.  I want only one dog.  I want this young FEMALE dog.

Another £60 lighter I came home with Chloe – who has since been renamed Annie, but I also came home with a 6 year old male collie who was called Jodie – since renamed Joe.

We got him for ‘half price’ because he’d been at the centre a while after recovering from severe injuries from beatings and dog baiting attacks.  Husband and stepdaughter adore him.  I like him.  I love Annie.  

Having the two has had it’s benefits though.  Annie learns from Joe, we had a mere 3 puddles in the house and she’s house trained.  She walks on the lead beside him.  And they are company for each other when we’re out.  I don’t regret having Joe.  I love having my fluffy Annie, even if I do have to clean up dog hair every day.  

My Dizzi smiles at me from her photo and in my dreams.  I think she approves too.

(https://www.facebook.com/nature.association.romania is just one rescue gourp, there are more).  Dogs there are vermin to most people.  They are left roaming, often chased down and maimed or even killed for fun, but they are still breeding in the thousands.  Here in the UK we have a dog problem, in Romania it’s a dog crisis.  ImageJoeImageAnnie