Monday, October 22, 2012

A surprise German gift!

October brought us a lovely surprise gift from Germany. We received, together with hundreds of other Romanian animal welfare organizations and animal rescuers, much needed aid for the animals in our care. Donations were provided by ETN eV, and the transport assured by JAS Forwarding GmbH and friend of animals Tamara Raab. What a lovely surprise!

Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti received 70+ food bowls, 3 car seat covers, several harnesses and boxes with compresses. Pretty incredible!

The little ones in our care are very appreciative of the lovely food and water bowls they received!

A truly wonderful surprise. Thank you dearly, German friends of Romanian animals!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Puppy Center Opening!

A few days ago, with our hearts full of hope and joy, we opened our little Puppy Center. It's small, but it's made with love for the little ones in our care. We truly put our hearts into it. Our little puppy rescue, socialization and adoption center!

We have one enclosure so far in the countryside made with generous donations from Help4Strays, Dog's Wish and friend YuenFan. It's called "The Dutch Squad." So have a look at The Dutch Squad and its first residents!

 Half of the enclosure is covered by the roof

 Several donated doggie beds for the little ones

 Plenty of new donated doggie bowls and toys

 More cozy doggie beds

And the pups can also run free in the whole garden supervised during the day

May this be a new beginning for something truly great!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Skyping Happy!

A few days ago I had the pleasure to video skype with Happy, a dear former stray from Ploiesti that now lives happily in Berlin. It was so touching to see her reacting with enthusiasm to my voice, to see she did not forget me. Pretty unbelievable. I guess dogs really don't forget the ones that take care of them.

Happy was one truly lucky puppy, being at the right place at the right time, and stealing the heart of a lovely lady visiting Romania with work. A match that was meant to be!

 Happy on the night of her rescue, back in spring

Happy now, happy in Germany. Quite a difference!

Thank you, dear Happy, for the joy you've brought seeing you remembering me. Let me know when you want to skype again! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Black and white, the Chess Family

Remy is a sweet tiny mother and the head of the Chess Family, as we named them. She is yet another terribly sweet little doggie that was probably abandoned after getting pregnant. She had her litter in the streets of Ploiesti, 5 gorgeous tiny puppies. Meet the Chess Family:

 Sweet little mom Remy

 Remy with her 5 puppies

 Smallest puppy, all black

 The second black puppy

 And the 3 white puppies complete the Chess Family

Remy is the most dedicate, delicate, calm, loving mom I have ever seen

Here are Remy and the rest of the Chess Family!

Tomorrow (Sunday, October 14th) is St. Paraschiva, a big important Romanian saint and miracle maker. Let's hope together for a miracle for Remy and her pups! They deserve much better than spending this winter outside in the cold.

Cinderella and pups update, and an important message

Remember Cinderella and her sweet pups? Cinderella was a stray female we unfortunately did not find early enough to sterilize in due time. Here's Cinderella with her pups some weeks ago:


Cinderella had at first 7 pups. A couple died hit by cars in the nearby traffic. And a few others died in the following weeks due to Parvo and Distemper. They got ill one after another, and we simply could not vaccinate them as they were already ill. Antibiotics and vitamins and visits to the vet could not save them, they were still too young and too little to fight such ugly big diseases.

These days, only 2 of Cinderella's pups are still alive. Unfortunately, due to recent cold weather and rain, both surviving pups are down with pneumonia and were taken to the vet this morning:

 Cinderella's surviving daughter

 Cinderella's surviving son

Gabriela with the 2 little darlings at the vet

With all my heart I wish we had found Cinderella in due time to have her sterilized. So her sweet litter of pups would not have been born to suffer and die like this. Sterilization is the ultimate act of love and kindness that would have prevented so much suffering of little innocent beings. Never again!

Cinderella is now sterilized as part of our Ploiesti Neutering Challenge. So no more pups of hers will ever be born to suffer and die like this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mighty Fiona

Fiona is an exceptionally sweet teenage female puppy abandoned in the streets of Ploiesti. As it turns out, Fiona is also exceptionally lucky! She beat distemper, a puppy disease with high death rate, and has made an impressive recovery.

 An exceptional young lady

Fiona during her days in intensive care when she was seriously ill with distemper

Now Fiona is happy and healthy again, and can be adopted in a few weeks. She is one mighty little survivor who beat one merciless disease. Fiona will most likely stay medium sized when fully grown. But just as sweet!

Nikita, our lovely first one

Nikita is our first puppy that ever got adopted abroad. These days Nikita celebrates a year of being with her wonderful family in Germany. What a difference her loving family has made in Nikita's life!

Nikita exactly a year ago, and Nikita now!

Nikita, Claudia and Volker, may God bless you, and may you celebrate many, many happy anniversaries of Nikita's arrival into your loving home!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In the week before Easter

Originally written on March 30th, 2010

Another morning like all others before. A spring day, bright and sunny, that helps you get by easier in this grey town. A day during the week before Easter, when you’d least expect people to be evil. And yet…

Today I did not have to walk far until this grey town completely overshadowed the sun rays. Somewhere, on the pavement, I found the little puppy I had cared for, with the community, during the last few months. The puppy I used to feed, care for, and cure of scabies. The puppy of 3-4 months of age that had never hurt anyone, quite on the contrary, having been liked by the community, from residents to shop assistants in the area. With his small stuffed body looking terribly funny, he managed to make many people smile. Let’s say that out of the hundreds of dogs I have ever seen in my life, maybe only a handful had such a funny-looking body like his. And when such a funny body was doubled up with contagious puppy joyfulness, he was just too much, he would at least make you smile. All those times he walked through the intersection, stopping the traffic for a bit, and yet all drivers protected him. Somewhere high up there he must have had a guardian angel always looking for him, helping him survive unharmed the heavy traffic each and every single time. This angel also helped him survive the long, cold winter, and live till spring.

As I was saying, today, like many other times, I found him somewhere on the pavement. Fast asleep. But this time, he was sleeping his final sleep. You wouldn’t have guessed, until you noticed he wasn’t breathing anymore. The puppy I played with yesterday and that made me laugh is without life now. His stiff tail doesn’t wag anymore. And what hurts the most is that he has fallen asleep, his final sleep, with a smile on his face, going into death believing in a kind, beautiful world.

No, he was not hit by a car, his guardian angel did his job thoroughly. Not even weather extremes harmed him. Somebody simply poisoned him in the week before Easter. Someone who, for Easter, will most likely go to church and think of himself as a most righteous Christian.

I am going now to bury my sweetheart, as hard as it is. Because that’s what a real Christian would do.

Why adopt a stray?

Originally written on October 29th, 2011

There are several reasons why a stray dog can make a most wonderful pet. These are purely my observations though, without being based on scientific evidence I am aware of:
  • Stray dogs in Romania come in all sizes, ages, energy levels, colours, temperaments. Chances are one of these stray animals may be absolutely perfect for you.
  • Many stray dogs can be very easy to housetrain. A dog naturally avoids doing its business in the area where it eats or sleeps. Furthermore, strays tend to prefer doing their business in the grass outdoors. The stray puppies and adults we have fostered were sort of "naturally" housetrained- they would start crying and scratching at the door in order to be let outside to relieve themselves. I did not teach them this, I did not housetrain them myself, this is what even puppies were doing naturally! This is very different from what dogs from caged environments- such as puppy mills- do. Usually, such dogs take the longest to housetrain, because their natural tendency to avoid relieving themselves where they eat and sleep was counteracted by the possibilities of their limited environment.
  • It is my impression that stray dogs tend to have fairly robust immune systems. Life on the streets is tough, plus no medical care usually, plus no preventive medication. It's really a survival of the fittest, meaning that the existing strays have strong immune systems if they survive and even get to reproduce in such conditions.
  • I also do believe that many stray dogs are particularly smart, crossing the streets with humans, learning to use the sound of the traffic lights for crossing the streets, knowing where to go for food, etc. Again, a sort of survival of the fittest that has selected for smart dogs, capable of living in urban environments and learning super fast, adjusting well to new environments.
  • Stray dogs LOVE food and are rarely picky. Furthermore, they're always willing to work for food, which is likely to make their training much easier. Brains plus love for food is a really good combination for when training a dog!
  • Many stray dogs are absolutely superb with people and other dogs. Chances are that as puppies, they were properly socialized with their siblings and other dogs from their pack. Furthermore, the lucky ones have hopefully been well socialized by well intended humans caring for them and bringing them food.  
That being said, there are some things to watch out for when choosing a stray:
  • Some may have had really traumatizing experiences with people, or may not have been lucky enough to be properly socialized with people in their puppyhood. Such dogs may need a lot of time and patience and even expert behaviorist advice.
  • Stray dogs are likely to be fairly independent in the first few days from adoption. It's not uncommon for a newly adopted stray dog to try to escape during the first 2-3 days in its new home. Hence, care must be taken to ensure the dog cannot escape during its first couple of days in its new home, before it gets to form strong attachments to its caregivers and feel at home.
  • Even some of the smartest and best cared for strays still get into trouble, enduring injuries and broken bones during their tough life as strays. Hence, it's not unlikely the dog may have suffered a fracture in the past, his entire medical history being unknown until going through a thorough vet examination.
  • You may not know anything about its family history. So the cute, adorable puppy you like so much may grow to be quite a big doggie! Something else to be aware of.
I have tried to describe the benefits and drawbacks of adopting a stray dog from my own perspective, in a manner as objective as I could. Adopting a stray dog must be an informed decision, well considered, as I really do believe that "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas" (Dogs Trust logo, a quote I highly believe in). Personally, as owner of a stray dog, I know I made the right choice.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Local affordable sterilization procedures

I am happy to recommend a local vet clinic for high quality affordable spaying and neutering procedures:

SC Dog Projects SRL - Branch in Plopeni
(affiliated with SOS Dogs and FPCC- Foundation for the Protection of Stray Dogs)
Strada Independentei Nr. 7, Plopeni
Phone for appointments:  0721. 36. 98. 09

They neuter a dog or cat regardless of size/gender for 90 RON = 27.5 USD = 20.70 EUR = 17.10 GBP. This also includes transportation to and from the clinic, as well as 2 days of post surgery and recovery for stray animals at their clinic!

They also have a branch in the Cornu township near Campina, Prahova County:
Str. Prof. Stanescu Cristea 267B
1071870, Cornu, Prahova

Vet Gabi Bratu does an amazing job, he has already sterilized for us hundreds of animals by now. Hopefully many more to come!

Vet Gabi Bratu at work

We're in for changes!

With time we have learned, grown and changed accordingly. Now it's time for our blog to catch up with these changes and reflect the current goals of Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti.

Stay tuned for a major revamp of our blog!

Friday, October 5, 2012

We're on Facebook!

Dear friends,

For the latest updates on our work and the dogs and puppies we rescue, please follow us on Facebook! We have just launched our Facebook page that can be found at https://www.facebook.com/romanianstraydogs, or by simply typing "Romanian Stray Dogs Ploiesti" in the search engine.

You will be welcomed by our beautiful new logo:
Thank you for checking us out and for caring about the strays of Ploiesti! :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Educational program kickstart and more sterilizations!

On Friday, September 28th we tackled the final battlefield in animal welfare: education. For without educating and engaging the community as a whole, without making them care and want to work with us, animals would never win the war. Without education, the flow of abandoned puppies would never cease. So on Friday I held the first educational day in a class of 26 4th graders in Ploiesti. Luckily for me, children really made things easy, being already animal lovers and some engaged in caring for little abandoned puppies in the school neighborhood.

 Talking to an amazing class of 4th graders

Children were enthusiastic about the educational booklets provided by Romania Animal Rescue for this educational program in Ploiesti:


But the real lesson came when the children wanted to share their own experiences with me. One girl told the class that her grannie had already sterilized the stray cats around her block. Children then took me around the school neighborhood to show me the abandoned puppies they cared for themselves:


I have then heard from several parents that their children went home on Friday and enthusiastically talked about sterilizations of the animals in their neighborhoods. Truly great, sensitive, caring and empathetic children that made my educational day a pleasure. A great kickstart for our Ploiesti educational program!

I then continued my day with 3 more emergency sterilizations provided as part of the Ploiesti Neutering Challenge:

3 female dogs, from left to right: teenage female abandoned in a parking lot; adult female originally with an owner but recently abandoned in the street for getting pregnant yet again; and an owned female dog. These ladies raise the total count of sterilizations of the Neutering Challenge to 281!

Education and more sterilizations. The best way to help the largest number of animals possible, prevent animal suffering, and reach out and engage the community to help as well. Addressing the larger picture of animal overpopulation.