I have rescued and helped
Working with animals from passion, I try to understand their feelings, and the drama they live on the streets. I often compare their situation to that of humans.
20 years after the fall of Communism,
They still have many dogs roaming loose in rural areas and small cities, but their humane communities have growing political influence and community support.
Very few humane societies in
Sadly, bad luck for a Romanian stray dog comes more then once.
A traveler who explores Bucharest on foot, or travels deeper into the country by car, is immediately shocked by the packs of dogs, or isolated lonely individual dogs, at every step--near the trash bins, near hospitals, near fast food stands, in the middle of the road, loitering near train stations. Small or big, different colors, shapes, young or old, disabled, newborn puppies--their variety is evidence that these mongrels have bred at random over and over again for years.
Stray dogs within a town or city will adapt to living anywhere they can. Like all other animals, they want to be dry and safe in a relatively quiet area. This instinct for self-protection makes industrial complexes and ruined former factories common places for stray dogs to live. Distance between human habitations soon transforms these dogs into wild animals.
Like humans, dogs have different characters, and show different behaviors or personalities. Some dogs learn to be beggars in order to survive--they come near your car at the gas station and give you the paw or wag their tail and act silly to get your attention, to reach your heart. If they are lucky, they get food from compassionate people one more day.
Stray dogs eat like wolves when they have the chance, as it might be a few days until the next meal comes. Sometimes they hunt rats, or small wildlife. A stray dog will eat almost anything a human might classify as edible, and much that humans would avoid.
When desperate, stray dogs will often eat plastic containers that smell like food. And, sadly, I have seen many of these situations.
ROLDA in Romania: Work and projects
In soon to be 10 years of managing the ROLDA shelters, I have worked to feed the rescued dogs in my care a diet of good dry dog food. Not leftovers from human kitchens, and not refuse, as is often the only food given to dogs at other Romanian shelters. Just the best quality dry dog food I can obtain, as I see my rescued dogs as souls who deserve to be treated royally after a lifetime of suffering.
For $15/month you will not only help us to continue feeding a dog from our shelters, but help us to look after this dog's health and welfare.
Like humans, some dogs dislike being in captivity, especially the wildest strays. Some of them never adapt to being kept in kennels. Some refuse to eat during their first days with us, not even knowing how to eat dry food, as they never saw any before, or saw it used as bait by dog-poisoners.
Watching these dogs to learn their individual quirks and fears is often a sad experience, but for sure it is a lesson about life.
After years of observation and experience, we have discovered a solution for the dogs who hear the "Call of the Wild" and prefer to live untamed. We are asking our donors to help us raise the funds to create a wild habitat for un-adoptable dogs who will never give up their freedom in their minds and hearts. The start-up costs for the wild habitat project will be about $200,000.
Meanwhile, I am proud to notice the day by day improvement, each time a scared or shy dog becomes transformed. Like a traumatized person who rise above her pain and doesn't want to give up, the dog works hard to find the strength in himself to overcome his fear, to ignore his instinct to run, and instead come closer to humans: at first shy and insecure, then curious and ready to give the human nearby a chance!
Dogs who can be rehabilitated in this way will become soon pets, placed with care in homes perfectly matched to their needs. But because we lack enough staff and resources, we cannot provide to our dogs as much individual rehabilitation as they might receive from much larger charities in wealthier nations, who handle far fewer dogs.
Of necessity, we challenge our dogs' natural abilities to adapt and accept the shelter routine, including the presence of staff nearby and other dogs sharing the same space.
We have 14 large paddocks, consisting of 140 kennels, and with around 500 to 600 dogs sheltered at ROLDA. Our eight caretakers do everything--catching and rescuing dogs; transporting them to the veterinary clinic and back for sterilization and treatment; transporting them to the airport when they are adopted abroad; collecting blankets, food, and supplies; cleaning the kennels two times every day; feeding the dogs; and providing several times every day fresh drinking water.
We have recently improved the big shelter where 500-600 dogs are getting quality care every day, to ensure safety and comfort to each and every rescue. We have more improvements in mind. To minimize the stress our dogs experience, we must build a few running spaces for the dogs' daily exercise. This will cost about $10,000. We also need to complete the ROLDA veterinary clinic, which is in itself an ambitious project.
The veterinary clinic was built on the premises of the large shelter in fall 2011.
It is structured not only to serve the large shelter's needs, such as emergency treatment, sterilization, and isolation & recovery space, but also to serve as soon as possible the local community's needs. We are planning to organize big sterilization campaigns and to invite the foreign veterinary volunteers to join our efforts to develop a healthier and cleaner community.
Before opening the facility to serve social and charitable programs, we must purchase veterinary equipment, or get it donated. The estimated cost for the basic veterinary equipment we need is $20,000. The monthly cost for veterinary supplies, in order to keep our services free to the poor of our community is $800/month.
Dogs that are flexible enough to forget their wild experience and adapt to the presence of a human being can go to our
Help us to raise $2,500 to complete renovations that are already underway at our
If a special donor would offer to donate in particular for cottage renovation, we will be able to repair the roof, replace old pipes in the bathroom and kitchen, and replace the broken central heating central, which failed under the stress of our unusually severe 2011-2012 winter.
Dogs with a mission
There is another category of dogs we help: dogs with a mission. These are dogs with forever smiles on their face and wagging tails, walking with pride near their human companion, or posing as saints after being naughty. Their mission is to bring to light the best from inside us. Unforgettable moments, true friendship, devotion, pure happiness - after all, each person's real treasure.
ROLDA has placed in lovely homes some disabled dogs, who would have zero survival chances on the street; young and old dogs of all sizes, shapes, and colors; even senior dogs who finally discovered a different, relaxed life full of affection.
Among our "special stories" are a dog who healed his human companion of allergies in Norway, and some dogs who persuaded their adoptive families to ask ROLDA to send them more precious furry friends.
Happy ends in USA
To be correct, I must add that every dog adopted is a special story for the people who will treasure the dog forever.
From the dogs with a mission category, we highlight now the story of the three slumdog millionaires. Spotted by a celebrity animal activist from USA in the port of Constanta during a cruise vacation at the Black Sea, these three dogs were rescued by the ROLDA team, who immediately picked them up, sterilized them, and gave them quality care for about two months while their surgical scars healed and the papers for travel were completed.
The celebrity kindly paid for Kongo, Melony and Cathy to be flown to her home in the
A man named Tim was the first person to meet these three dogs at the JFK airport, near
Photo: Cathy rescue mission in Constanta
Photo: Rescue mission in Constanta
Thank you, Kongo, Melony, and Cathy's mom for making your pets' family bigger with these three precious souls. It is pointless to emphasize where these dogs would be today without your generous heart and good observation.
Photo: Cathy in USA (August 2012)
Photo: Kongo in USA(August 2012)
Photo: Melony in USA(August 2012)
What a team of ambassadors for all Romanian dogs they became, in a blink!
P.O. Box 40, Greenbank,
roldausa (at) care2.com
phone: 360 678 1057
mobile: 360 969 0450
(Org.Nr. 998 398 495)
Contact person: Sandra Keim
Facebook page ROLDA Sverige
Interesting blog about Romanian animals charities.