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