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Fundraising with one eye smiling and one eye crying

An honest, raw and emotional update from ROLDA Founder Dana Costin
The war’s horror bled across borders, and as ROLDA stood witness to this unfathomable suffering, like many shocked others, we dashed to offer hope amidst the chaos. We share our soil with Ukraine – they are our brethren in distress, a mere heartbeat away from our base in Galati, Romania.

In 2022, a torrent of desperate souls surged through Poland and Romania, seeking refuge from their ravaged homeland. You could see in their eyes the anguish of being separated from their cherished animals, who were often left to fend for themselves in the onslaught.

Our small team reached out at the border, distributing leaflets translated into Ukrainian to help refugees whose companions bore paws and claws to get veterinary assistance if they needed it.

When the exodus diminished, we continued to help Ukrainians by providing repeated grants to those brave rescuers who chose not to flee but to stay home and help animals amidst the ruins, bombs and bullets.

The rescuers – heroes cloaked in humility – face a daily gauntlet of extreme poverty, makeshift shelters teeming with the lost and the wounded, and a dearth of necessities. Yet, their spirits remain unbroken.

Two years have etched deep lines of worry on my ROLDA Rescue Team’s faces, but what they endure pales in comparison to the tribulations faced by our Ukrainian allies. Overwhelmed yet undeterred, they’re tirelessly expanding a lifeline that stretches across a nation scarred by conflict. And I am immensely proud of them for it.

Of course, none of this would be possible without you and other caring animal lovers who have risen to the challenge of helping to fund this urgent, essential work. Choosing and sharing a glimpse of the stories they are exposed to is an emotionally draining role for my ROLDA team, but it is an essential one to draw attention to the suffering of abandoned dogs and cats. And, thankfully, what can be done to help them.

For full transparency, ROLDA started creating monthly reports showing what we do in Ukraine, whom we are helping, and where. The ROLDA annual report summarises the entire activity for the past year and highlights the most important moments.

Our social media, website, and email updates always present facts, frequent updates, and examples to explain what ROLDA is doing. As a result, the amazing support from the international community enables us to continue assisting over 40 brave animal rescuers all over Ukraine.

Recently, we managed to send a new grant to Aleksey in Kherson, Ukraine. I met Aleksey in person last fall during my brief visit to Ukraine. We travelled together (accompanied by a soldier) in the “grey zone” where many animals were trapped (abandoned, scared, hiding) in houses destroyed by bombs and drones. Land mines make it very dangerous to move around villages here.

I didn’t think travelling to Ukraine would affect me as much as it did. I had sleepless nights thinking of the senseless harm people can inflict on each other and animals. In almost 20 years of running ROLDA, I have seen a lot of shocking injuries and behaviour, but the painfully hard reality which I noticed with my own eyes in Ukraine and which I will never forget.

The moment Aleksey pleaded for anti-mine gear, my world stood still. The sheer absurdity of such a need in a mission to save abandoned souls sent a shiver through my core.

One can understand how the Ukrainian situation worsened by observing how the Ukrainians’ requests to ROLDA changed over time. They went from asking for food to medical equipment and then heavy anti-mine equipment that would enable people to continue going into war zones to rescue dogs and cats. This is a dramatic change.

During my visit to Kherson, I saw various signs warning people about mined areas. I remember taking photos sitting near these signs. We all smiled and kept calm, but I know each of us had a lot on our minds behind those smiles.

During my visit to Ukraine, I was most shocked by people’s adaptability and how life goes on while rockets fly above their heads and houses. While their lives were falling apart, their families were crumbling. I met people showing me their pets in the most natural way while the noise of rockets hitting targets didn’t disturb anyone anymore.

The news of Aleksey’s shooting and the loss of one of his brave drivers is a stark reminder of the high stakes faced by those who dare to care in Ukraine. And when caring people like yourself recognise their bravery and offer financial support, the ROLDA Rescue Team is also inspired to do everything possible.

When we delivered aid to Aleksey to acquire the anti-mine equipment, one of my eyes smiled, knowing that fulfilling his wish would help many more animals. But my other eye cried, remembering my memories from Ukraine and understanding that, now, the situation is much worse.

Some people might be exhausted from hearing about Ukraine and choose to look the other way. But we passed a point of no return when we met and became allies with the Ukrainian animal rescuers who remained there—losing family members or their houses, often living in ruins without windows, heating, or flowing water.

Some voices say that Ukraine might lose the war and the consequences will be terrible. All I know is that right now, some brave souls dress in anti-mine equipment and rescue terrified animals from the most dangerous war zones.

No natural disaster, earthquake, or tsunami caused this situation to happen. What people do to each other and to what surrounds them is what causes this situation to happen.

This latest grant request for Aleksey was heartbreaking for me to fund. My heart cries for Ukraine and their animals. I hope that this nightmare will be over soon.

If you would like to help the abandoned, injured and terrified dogs and cats in Ukraine, please donate to ROLDA or consider becoming a monthly supporter. Just $5 from 80 monthly donors allows us to provide 960 highly nutritious food portions.

Thank you for letting me share this heartfelt update with you. I appreciate your taking the time to read it.

I got two NP’s during my trip to Ukraine. Can you guess which one I took back with me home?

There are a few reasons why I decided to visit Ukraine: I got the feeling that our international supporters were getting bored with this subject, sometimes get skeptical, and many living in West Europe are getting frustrated to see a large number of expensive cars (over 100k euro each) with Ukrainian plates, driven by perfectly healthy guys who could stay to defend their country. I wanted to see the war zone with my own eyes, to understand what makes the rest of the people stay and defend their land; I also wanted to meet some of the rescuers whom we have helped since this unfair war started.

No good deed remains unpunished, it is said.

Customs seem to be all the same, no matter the country. After spending 2 hours crossing Rep Moldova, I spent 2 more hours to exit it to Ukraine because the broker made a typo mistake and added an E to my license plate number, which triggered the attention of customs, phone calls, email exchanges …and me waiting. I needed to fill out tons of papers, including handwriting a declaration that the items I was transiting through Moldova to Ukraine would not be unloaded and sold there. A true nightmare, which I had expected – and which sadly, discourages others who genuinely wish to fill their cars with products bought with their own money to drive and deliver to people who need help in Ukraine.

The fact is I stayed in customs more than I actually drove. At midnight, after another (almost) 5 hours at the checkpoint in Ukraine territory I was allowed to continue my journey. You will not believe it but the reason why they kept me in Customs for 5 (FIVE very long) hours was that they kept asking for an original paper which my contact from Ukraine had sent by phone. The Xerox copy was black and white, but on the phone, the stamp was blue, so they said they wanted to see it blue … and in the end, I was followed by two customs people to the nearest broker office (we walked like 200m) and he made a color copy which showed the blue stamp, which was called the original. Looking back, I believe they only wanted to keep me there, like a fool.

The problem was that when I finally could leave, the curfew had started in Ukraine (at midnight) and to continue to drive you need a green pass, which I didn’t have. Not having it means you need to pull over and stay until 5:00 am when you can continue the journey. I was stopped a dozen times by military groups who asked me to stop, and every time I begged them to let me travel to the hotel in Odessa …they didn’t know English, so we communicated by a phone application that translates what people speak into it. Finally, around 2 a.m. I checked into a hotel in Odessa which also has a shelter but that night, the sky was clear and I heard no bombs. In the morning, I started driving to the meeting point for Aleksey and his team.

Aleksey runs the Homeless World organization which helps people and their pets. He also has a center to rehabilitate dogs and some areas built for wildlife rescue. Aleksey and his team save injured animals from the front line and also evacuate animals from occupied or destroyed territories. When the dam was destroyed, the Homeless World team moved from the Kyiv area to Kherson to save animals in danger of dying in the waters and he remains there because Kherson is a hot spot partially occupied by the enemies.

I passed Odessa city which doesn’t seem affected by bombs but has a lot of military activity. I met Aleksey and his colleague Toni who is only 18 years old and has served in the army since January this year. Together, we passed Mykolaiv (which doesn’t seem touched by bombs, except some broken windows of a building at the edge of the city) and headed to Kherson.

As you drive to Kherson, the marks of the war get more and more visible. Houses have a blue cover instead of a roof, holes in the walls, buildings including gas stations burnt or completely destroyed, and cars are burnt. In between all this destruction, people defy this décor and continue with their lives. We stopped for a quick coffee break and I asked Aleksey where we were going to unload the items filled in my car. He laughed and replied: In Hell.

After a few more military checks, we reached a warehouse in a village which I was not allowed to film. I stepped out of the car and saw a dog hiding in the shadows under a car. I heard birds singing. The Ukrainian villages are similar to Romanian ones, people living there seem trapped in time. We visited a family who has an epileptic dog who has more seizures when the bomb noise gets stronger, also 2 cats who need sterilization, 3 other dogs, one of whom is very old, and another completely blind, which lives in a separate enclosure.

Aleksey delivers food to people who own pets and finds solutions to evacuate them when needed. He also hopes to be able to sterilize dogs and cats in this region, but every 300 animals costs 15000 USD (only for surgery and medicines) which shocked me because these are the prices we pay here including recovery after surgery. After meeting some pet owners from the village, I kept expecting to go to Hell as Aleksey had said.

From the beginning, I refused to wear a helmet or bulletproof vest. I had different reasons but also agreed with what they explained to me. Toni said that a vest without a helmet is kind of stupid because your head is an important asset too, and you don’t want to be hurt by bullets. In case we were bombarded, I was quickly instructed (using the phone application that translates words) to cover my head with my arms and duck down into some ditches in the ground, which can be observed along the road. I had a walkie-talkie to use if needed and was asked to switch phones off.

In the case of bombing or a sniper shoot, no vest or helmet will protect me, I was told. Going to the next village, located at the edge of the gray zone (the so-called no man’s land between the Ukrainian front and Russian-occupied territories) I kept hearing in the walkie-talkie: don’t stop, don’t stop …and I was busy avoiding the small and large holes made by bombs not long ago in the road.

There was no shooting while I was driving. We reached another warehouse where we unloaded the canned food for people and the dry food for animals, plus some medicines. This is the warehouse of collaborationists. They run a small shop located close to the villas of the former president of Ukraine, Yanukovych, a member of the pro-Russian party.

The villas were used for wild parties and obviously would have many stories to tell. When the dam was destroyed, the whole valley where these (and other houses) are located, was flooded.

Aleksey drives the ambulance around and rescues animals on the front line or during flooding. Despite two of his drivers previously being shot/killed by snipers, they managed to later make a sort of agreement to cease fire for men from his team who don’t carry weapons and aggressive badges (as they called them), but a medical red badge (which both Aleksey and Toni had when we walk around) which means they are medical staff who go to rescue and not kill.

I was told that Kherson is full of collaborationists and many people are pro-Russians there. After unloading supplies, we moved 1 km further in the gray zone where I saw 2 different signs of landmines and Toni said that if we walked further, we should stay 5m away from each other in case one exploded. I asked Toni (who speaks some English) if since he is in the army, he ever shot to kill someone. He hesitated and then replied that not in the area where we were. He said that since we stopped the car, stepped down and walked, we were in sight of both Russian and Ukrainian snipers but we were safe because they wore the red badge.

Toni said that they take each new day as it comes and there are many positive and negative aspects to this and naturally, I asked what the positive aspects were because I looked around in that particular spot, expecting to see the sniper in a tree or somewhere …but couldn’t see him or imagine anything positive. And then he told me that saving lives is what keeps him going. At the age of 18, being a soldier, he believes that saving what war destroys is the positive part of his mission. Amazing, isn’t it?

So let’s return to the beginning of my story “The two NPs I got during my trip in Ukraine” are: the first dog I held in my arms there, a lovely black puppy that was loaded into the ambulance minutes later …and a piece of bomb which has two letters on it an N and a P. Remember the house of collaborationists I mentioned above? It was damaged by a bomb and near it, there was a warehouse completely destroyed. A senior German shepherd called Baghera is the guardian of those ruins. The house owner showed me pieces of bombs that caused the destruction and offered me one – I didn’t know if to accept the gift or not. Before leaving, I decided to take that piece and on it, I noticed the letters NP. I was told this is the tail section of an aerial bomb.

The sound of bombs I heard during the few hours I spent there, watching the destruction people cause to other people is unforgettable. Every time a bomb explodes, it sounds like fireworks on New Year, but one a time and stronger. The piece I held made the same sound before falling near Baghera’s warehouse.

Remember I mentioned some birds singing? When they feel the bomb, they start flying randomly, desperate until it is quiet again. You know the bomb missed its target/you as soon as it is silent again… and you look around but what you see it’s not Hell – it’s life and hope.

Can I challenge you with a question? Which NP of the two, do you think I brought home?

A volunteer profile of Lisa and why she needs us to save more dogs.

ROLDA Sverige was founded in 2014 by Lisa, and a group of volunteers dedicated to helping homeless animals live better.

The main goals of this association are to help ROLDA Romania:
● Fundraise to keep our shelters functional
● Rehome dogs from our shelters in Sweden

We have been working with dogs in Romania for almost 20 years. We have saved dogs of all breeds, colors, and sizes. Each with their unique personality that leaves a lasting impression on us all.

Lisa and her team visit us regularly to meet and evaluate our dogs so we can post an accurate adoption profile on our web page. Of course, there is always some degree of unpredictability when assessing a dog. Still, we spend a lot of time with each of them to thoroughly evaluate their behaviour while interacting with humans.

Some people believe they can care for more than one dog at a time, some believe they know everything about dogs and don’t need guidance, and others wish to rescue or adopt a dog because it’s the right thing to do. But as kind and noble as rescuing or adopting a dog is, it’s critical to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions about the dog (when possible, of course) because they may have experienced a difficult past that can make them fearful or aggressive towards humans.

It’s essential to remember: When people don’t invest time to get to know their dogs, their dogs suffer.

Lisa had to transform her home into a small refuge for all the dogs people “adopted” and then returned to her because the people changed their minds (usually because their dog didn’t meet their expectations or were too much to handle). These “returned” dogs stay with Lisa as long as they need, which she has no objection to, but it does mean extra food is required, more visits to the vet, and more time is spent to relocate the dogs to suitable owners.

Luckily, not many dogs are “returned” after being adopted, but each extra added to the existing ones from Lisa’s home can be very stressful. Every time we organize a transport to Sweden, it’s a happy moment because we see former homeless or abused or neglected dogs travelling to their forever homes where they’ll spend the rest of their lives with the loving family we interviewed and approved.

Lisa doesn’t complain. She is brave and handles these situations with grace. She never requests money for her work or extra expenses. She is a fantastic volunteer. However, as ROLDA’s leader, I must protect Lisa so she can continue helping us rehome dogs. I also care for Lisa. Without her and others like her, ROLDA would not be able to continue rescuing and rehoming dogs. The whole idea of running a shelter is to save dogs, rehome as many as possible and make room for others to be saved. Otherwise, the shelter gets overcrowded, which is not safe and healthy for the dogs.

To keep this story short, 21 #roldadogs arrived safely in Sweden at the end of April.
We are incredibly grateful to Lisa and her team for their outstanding work preparing this carefully.
From the previous transport, she is trying to find the perfect home for dogs like Charlie and Blanco, who were “returned” to her.

Charlie and Blanco integrated perfectly into Lisa’s home and even enjoyed friendly vacations with the rest of her dogs. Not long ago, Lisa had Farina, the alpha dog of her pack, who was very helpful in “teaching” the new dogs about house rules. When Farina passed, Lisa was devastated.

I often feel that Lisa is alone, and I hope that if you read this message, you will help Lisa and her “returned” dogs.

If you live in Sweden and have experience with an NGO (charitable association), please contact Lisa if you have the time and skills to help her.

If you don’t have time, you can become a ROLDA ambassador by contacting us at, and we will send you the Ambassador pack that you can wear and promote for FREE!

If you can, please donate directly to ROLDA Sverige using the following information:
Swisha till: 1234 126 348
Donera genom bankgiro: 573-0502

If you live outside Sweden, please donate securely online here.

If you can’t donate now, please share our Facebook page, where many cute dogs are waiting for a home!

The ROLDA and ROLDA Sverige team effort is huge, and we need your help to continue our mission. Please help us continue rehoming rescued dogs from Romania in Sweden.

In 2004, ROLDA became aware of a horror scenario unfolding on our doorstep. A local steel mill, owned by one of Britain’s and the world’s richest men, Lakshmi Mittal, had become an involuntary home to countless stray dogs desperately seeking shelter and food. Instead of looking for a humane and compassionate way of dealing with vulnerable animals, management decided to poison hundreds of innocent animals and dispose of their remains in the Danube River. We, as any human being with a shred of decency, were appalled and apoplectic in our anger at this grotesque injustice. Faced with the daunting task of taking on the depraved indifference of those who put profit before humanity and the vast resources at their disposal; ROLDA refused to give up without a fight.

We instantly made our outrage known and petitioned Mittal with the details of the sickening acts of cruelty unfolding on his property. Our voices were finally heard and, in 2006, ROLDA’s founder and president, Dana Costin, was contacted by the representatives of the steel company to discuss the out-of-control stray dog population. Desperate and starving dogs were migrating from the city to the oft-abandoned industrial complexes in search of warmth and food.

Many found their way to Mittal’s steel plant, enticed by the shelter it offered and the acts of kindness of some staff who would share what little food they had with them. Frustrated by the impact of the dogs’ presence on their productivity and profit margins, the steel mill management took to medieval methods to remove them. After several months of intensive negotiations, ROLDA succeeded in convincing management to abandon the barbaric methods of killing strays and invest in humane solutions to decrease the stray numbers.

When ROLDA was called by the steel plant management to come up with a plan to collect all the dogs from the plant premises, we knew these dogs have only one chance. If we failed, hundreds of innocent animals would greet a painful and traumatic death.

ROLDA agreed to have built on our land a shelter for dogs captured from the steel plant, as the only alternative these dogs have to live – giving us time and opportunity to feed them, give them medical care and prepare them to become one day become to someone the loving companion they only wish to be. Many of the dogs we encountered had been born into the wild, never knowing the comfort of a home and the love and affection of an owner. These dogs need kindness, time, and patience to grow their trust in humans. Many more, traumatized by past horror and cruelty, required long and comprehensive psychological rehabilitation as well as caring for their physical injuries and ailments.

The scale of the challenge deterred many; ROLDA stood up for these dogs and said yes. We knew no one else would step in to save this animal and we know we made the right decision and when we look at all the dogs lives we transformed, all the dogs saved from the steel plant that live safely in homes across Europe. Our largest shelter can be found in the outskirts of Galati, Romania’s fifth-largest city, it’s outskirts is home to sprawling industrial complexes in stark contrast to the unforgiving wilderness beyond.

Our 15,000msq site was paid for in the summer of 2006, with the money donated to us by one of our most generous British donors. The shelter consists of two rows of kennels in parallel formation.

In total, 12 paddocks (120 kennel boxes). Every box is 18 square meters (3 x 6m) and can accommodate up to 6 dogs (depending on size). The sanctuary was authorized by the National Veterinary Authority (ANSVSA) in 2012 and the same year, included in the TRACES system.

The first paddock welcomed dogs in the fall, of 2007. In 2012, our veterinary clinic was completed and in the same year, we completed multiple running and play spaces for our dogs to exercise and socialize. Over time, ROLDA expanded by purchasing additional land surrounding our shelter, bordered by Acacia trees which we’ve strategically planted to act as a natural barrier to the snowstorms that plague the boreal Romanian winters.

Between 2007 and 2016, ROLDA successfully decreased the stray population within the steel plant premises by over 90%, reducing a population of over ten thousand to one approximately one thousand, providing lifesaving food, medical assistance, sterilization and rehabilitation.

Many of these dogs went on to loving homes internationally. It was a herculean challenge for our team. The gargantuan size of the steel mill, over thirty times larger than Vatican City, meant our small team had to cover the ground over which a city or micronation would sprawl. However, despite the mammoth challenge ROLDA rose to the occasion.

The initial agreement between ROLDA and the management steel plant included basic investments like access to water and electricity, but years passed, and these promises went unfulfilled; the much-needed construction of outdoor spaces for dogs’ exercises was also postponed.

In 2014, after countless of our calls, letters and emails went unanswered, ROLDA approached Mittal’s headquarters in London with news of the dire situation in Romania which they were complicit in creating. Soon after, a new contract was agreed upon with a plan of investments which included a connection to an electricity network. Unfortunately, the new management at the steel plant failed to deliver on the promises outlined in the new contract.

They even went as far as to use illegal and unethical methods to prevent ROLDA from holding them to account. In February 2016, they aggressively terminated the written agreement, leaving the promised investments unfulfilled, the large sanctuary with no sewage system, and worse: refusing to pay for 200 dogs (from a total of 644) collected by ROLDA from the steel plant and housed in our shelter.

Nearly one thousand dogs remained on the steel plant premises left to starve; now even the steel plant employees are forbidden to feed the dogs. They are suffering and in desperate need of medical attention. They are starving, desperate for food. They are vulnerableinfested by ticks and other parasites, and go unvaccinated, a source of disease for other dogs as well as for the employees and clients of the company.

ROLDA took the management of the steel plant to court, despite the company being a very influential international corporation, with vast financial resources and political influence that dwarfed our own. We began legal proceedings against the termination of the contract which ROLDA won in May 2019, after over three years of court battles that ended in the Supreme Court of Justice in Bucharest, Romania’s highest legal authority.

Over the years, new pieces of land have been purchased on both sides of the kennels. The land was intended to be used to slowly transform the rusty shelter into a state-of-the-art facility that will not welcome just dogs, but other animals, too. We called the new project PawzUp, a project to connect generations of animals and people for generations to come.

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Alien survived a horrible infestation of fleas and ticks. Today, he is living at our ROLDA sanctuary happily waiting to be adopted. Alien was found by ROLDA rescuers in early spring, already completely covered with fleas and ticks. Normally, we see cases of heavy flea and tick infestation a few weeks into spring, once these pests are at their peak after a long hibernation period.

Alien was immediately treated, and he is now waiting for you to adopt him. He didn’t survive these mighty mites to spend the rest of his days with us (although he is welcome to do so!), he wants to spend them with you! And don’t worry, Alien is flea and ticks-free!

Did you know?

Fleas and ticks carry an array of potentially fatal diseases including anemia, tapeworms and Lyme disease, that are transmitted to dogs, cats, and, yes, even humans. Fleas and ticks are incredibly stubborn pests that are almost impossible to eliminate. It’s even extremely difficult to keep their numbers under control.

But there are preventative measures you can put into effect to minimize the risk of infestation, such as reducing the possibility of contact between wild animals and your pets. However, the safest way to protect your furry friends from the dangers of Fleas and Ticks is to use a flea and tick control product.

At ROLDA, we choose to protect all 650 dogs in our sanctuary with Advantix Spot-on Solution because it’s safe and effective. One dog can be protected against fleas and ticks for one whole month for just 8 EUR. Fleas and Ticks can also cause skin lesions and aggravate existing skin conditions such as mange.

Last October, Chick was found suffering from severe mange (a skin disease) which had been aggravated by the abnormal weather conditions. She was also full of fleas and ticks which only made her already damaged skin much more painful and difficult to treat.

Thankfully, Chick has made a full recovery and is also living with us at our ROLDA sanctuary!

Your donations help us:

Don’t delay. Donate today.

Remember, each dog must be protected for a period of 6 months—from spring to fall. View our financial reports and learn how ROLDA uses your donations for life-saving work.

To see a full list please viewour financial reports.

How ROLDA has allocated donations during this year:

Other expenses include shelter repairs, social campaigns, and medical assistance for donkeys and horses.

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Help ROLDA to provide care to dogs abandoned by their families who have no other home except our shelter and no one else.

My name is Dana and I live in Caracal, Olt county. For many years, I save cats and I consider that the first step to stop the abandons is to spay/neuter cats. I contacted ROLDA who helped me already cover a large number of sterilizations for cats from Caracal town.

Presently (September 2022), we sterilize in Constantinesti village near Scornicesti (the town where dictator Ceausescu was born). We work with a local vet and all the costs are covered by ROLDA. I choose this village when one of my relatives pointed me that many families living in this village and also in surrounding villages own unsterilized cats that keep multiplying and their kittens were thrown like rubbish.

After we reduce the number of cats there, I would like to continue to sterilize back in Caracal town and after, in each village surrounding it. Why? Because it became like a bad habit that people living in villages to come to town to abandon cats, and kittens, or leave them in the forest or even throw them in the Olt river!

I have dozen of cats at home, all saved from the streets and I wish with all my heart to do many sterilizations which will eventually stop these cruel abandons.

Since then, ROLDA have kindly sponsored the vet bills of a few desperate cases of both cats and dogs each month, and with their help, we managed to do a lot more than we could before.
Just to name a few,

Even if we have laws and Animal Police in Romania, people continue to abandon animals.
Big thanks ROLDA for your generous support.

Starting in September 2021, ROLDA expanded its support to the nearby county, Tulcea. Danube river separates Galati and Tulcea counties (10 minutes by boat, which was the only connection between these two counties before the bridge was built). Tulcea is beautiful and has huge potential because of Delta of Danube, a popular tourist attraction. However, the locals who mostly live in the fishery are largely impoverished.

Poor communities have many problems, and animals are not a priority. Farm animals get more attention because of immediate benefits (eggs, meat, milk etc.). Nonetheless, pets are poorly cared for and get no medical treatment. They freely reproduce, expanding the suffering with innocent babies born to live in misery and neglect.

The volunteers from a local charity (The Great Catsby) primarily help cats but also dogs when possible. Their funds are tight, and the requests are overwhelming. Madalina contacted ROLDA asking for support, and from that moment on, we contributed to support their mission.

Among the things we have achieved together:
Sterilize dogs and cats.
● Support the local public shelter with canned food.
● Aid for pets from poor communities.
Treat puppies found abandoned in the local cemetery against parvo.
● Cover medical costs for cats with severe conditions who needed help from specialists, surgery and boarding in Bucharest clinics.

Currently, ROLDA covers care bills ranging from 2000-5000 RON per month for the Tulcea project. Over the following months, we hope to bring our coloring books to the area. We’ll work with local volunteers to distribute it for free in rural areas to help increase awareness of animal welfare among those who need it the most.

Testimonial from Madalina, coordinator of the project in Tulcea

“A few months ago, we were desperately reaching out for support to animal aid organizations around the world, as we are doing TNR and animal rescue in the small city of Tulcea, Romania and we are simply overwhelmed with the situation of stray cats and dogs here. Very few have replied, and the only ones that actually offered support were our neighbors based in Galati, ROLDA Foundation.

Since then, ROLDA has kindly sponsored the vet bills of a few desperate cases of both cats and dogs each month, and with their help, we managed to do a lot more than we could before.

Just to name a few,

We are forever grateful to Dana and her team, she always says she wants to be able to do much more, but for us and the animals we are now able to help, this means a lot! We are also very appreciative of the fact they decided to support fellow rescuers in Romania, and thus, animals outside their immediate reach, as this kind of cooperation is unfortunately not so common although so necessary.

We couldn’t have done all of this alone!
Thank you, ROLDA and we hope you’ll be by our side next year too!”

Hugs from us and from our rescued babies,
The Great Catsby team

We need your help, they need our care!

The law says: Pet Dogs in Romania must be sterilized and microchipped.

Dogs that belong to people must be sterilized, microchipped and registered in a National Registry (database) of dogs owners called RECS. This is a general rule that became effective in 2016.

Dog owners can be fined as much as € 1500 for not obeying the law. That is a lot of money, especially considering that the average monthly income in Romania is € 250. Most of the population barely subsists on this amount. One individual earning € 250 a month struggles to cover the necessary expenses such as rent, utilities, transportation, and food. A married couple with a combined income of € 500 can live comfortably, but if they have kids, that amount of money is not enough. And if they own a pet or two, then they are really in a hole.

So, why would people who are struggling to survive to choose to own pets?

It is essential to understand that low-income and impoverished citizens in Romania do not purchase dogs or cats; they adopt them or rescue them from the streets. These are people who love animals and hate to see them suffer, or they need a dog to protect their property. Either way, this keeps dogs and cats from being homeless, which is excellent!

These kindhearted people take good care of their pets, often making financial sacrifices to keep them fed and healthy, but many people cannot afford the € 26 it costs to sterilize, microchip, and register their dog.
And this is terrible news for the dogs. More dogs are abandoned for fear of Government fines.

ROLDA has always been in favor of sterilizing dogs and cats because it reduces the stray population, which means fewer dogs and cats suffer needlessly. We believe that sterilization is the only humane solution to the stray crisis in Romania and globally; therefore, we agree with the government’s enforcement of the sterilization law.

However, the law has caused an increase in stray dogs because owners are abandoning them to avoid paying for the € 26 for sterilization and do not want to risk being fined € 1500. Most people in Romania sadly cannot afford the € 26.

Our solution

To prevent abandonments provoked by financial reasons, ROLDA started a campaign to help low-income and impoverished pet owners sterilize, microchip, and register their dogs and cats.

Thanks to our amazing supporters, ROLDA helps hundreds of people in our community with these costs each year.

Bobi and Fetita are two dogs whose impoverished owners reached out to ROLDA for help with covering the costs of their procedures. Before Fetita was spayed, she had given birth to a litter of puppies who, sadly, all died from distemper. Her owners did not have the money to pay for their vaccinations.

Vlad and his parents contacted us when their dog, Heart, was getting sick. Heart was losing her appetite, which led to unhealthy weight loss, and she was also losing her fur and developed sores all over her body. Vlad and his parents were worried that Heart was going to die. They did not own a car to take Heart to the vet, and they did not want to risk taking her on public transportation because she was too sick. So, we gladly went to pick up Heart to take her to the vet.

ROLDA’s Community Pets Campaign continues to provide Heart’s food, as well as the food for hundreds of pets in our community. Our campaign gives pets with impoverished owners the opportunity to have access to quality food and emergency treatments.

We are proud to help the citizens in our community keep their pets healthy, and we are determined to continue providing them with food, medicine, sterilization, microchipping, and registration.

They need OUR help

Please donate to help impoverished pet owners in Romania keep their pets healthy and safe.

Every penny raised provides pets in impoverished communities with emergency food supplies and essential care like vaccinations, medications, and aid supplies.

Meet the pets who need your immediate support to live with dignity!

Dear special friend of ROLDA,

You may guess I would begin with a story about a dog. However, this time I want to write about you because no matter how desperate I am to save dogs in need in Romania, no matter how this consumes me every day, this is not everything that makes me who I am. I want to improve and avoid mistakes. Sometimes I struggle to communicate and may not rise to your expectations. But I am also keen to deliver good news about a rescued dog; not just because I care about each and every dog, but because I want you to be happy that you support us, I want you to feel respected, appreciated and correctly informed.

In brief, today I write about you and how important you are in my life because you make me better, more responsible, more receptive to supporter’s wishes, and part of a community, the ROLDA community, spread all over the world where we share the same values, dreams, and ethical principles.

thank you from all my heart for being an amazing ROLDA supporter and for not giving up on me when I was late replying to an email or when I failed to save a dog (even if my whole team tried everything) or when I asked too often, too much. Your moral and financial support made ROLDA shine in our rescue missions or at least keep going in the worst moments.

You will be pleased to know that:
● after many months of struggling through a hell situation, we finally restored water for the dogs from our large shelter;
● the dogs saved from our local public shelter early this year were rehomed in the UK, US and Canada and are now living a better life than the ROLDA team does!
● during 2021 we successfully rehomed dogs in Sweden and Switzerland too;
● despite the horrible travel restrictions, we were fortunate to welcome volunteer visitors from Switzerland who helped us create a 2022 calendar to raise funds;
● the “spayathons” held in different villages from the Galati county were successfully completed, and at the start of September we started offering sterilizations to families with pets from the disadvantaged community of Smardan;
● we created two more websites, one to cover the crypto donations and the other to provide a way to honor the memory of our supporter’s furever buddies who had passed away;
● we celebrated 15 years anniversary together with our team, foreign affiliates and incredible supporters;
● we created the first products that were delivered for free around the world to our Ambassadors;
● due to the increased abandonment of dogs, which added to an already enormous stray population, ROLDA started the first-ever National Study in Romania to find out why Romanians tend to abandon their dog. We aimed to go to the roots of dog’s behavior problems and work together with the owners to prevent/limit these abandonments;
● working with specialists, we created the first ever online ABC for kids who need guidance to learn to look after their furry buddies responsibly, to offer them (under adult supervision) correct assistance and care;
● we managed to stretch every dollar long enough to reach animals in Tulcea (a county across the Danube river) by working together with some local volunteers…

…and we hope to not stop here but wisely spend every dollar or euro received to create more good for animals in Romania, a poor country where homeless dogs and pets from poor communities struggle but deserve a better life.

Together with the entire ROLDA team, we would like to thank you once again, but never enough,  for your support. I hope that every time we give you good news or need support, we will look around and not be alone.

We wish you good health, Holidays with peace, silence and a Happy New Year!

I write this letter because it’s important that this dog story be told. I don’t intend to make you sad, but if you read the letter until the end, you will agree with me that we still can save the dog’s World and reshape the future of many who still have a chance and for whom it’s not yet too later.

I came as a puppy into your family and you liked me at the beginning.

But when I grew bigger, you put me on a chain in front of your house. And forget that I existed in your life. I remain alone in my small World, in my little improvised doghouse and this is how years were passing. Days when it rained inside, when I freeze, when I starve, days when I was so alone! And this is how years were passing and I became old.

My legs hurt, and my eyes were tired. I felt many times so sick. And so alone! You grabbed me one day and chased me off your garden. That day, I became a stray, one of the many dogs that become homeless when we get too old.

It’s my last winter …and again, I haven’t eaten for days, it’s hard to walk to search for food, it’s hard to eat it with my teeth, I got really tired. So I lay down, on the floor near the wall of a house, which could be mine, and I fall asleep. That day I got my wings and I moved up in the clouds, in the Dogs Heaven where my dreams come true and where I am fine.

Why it has to be like that and people can’t be dogs’ best friends on Earth, while we are still alive? I write this letter because I know you care. I know some people do care about dogs like me. I remind you shelters are overcrowded and some dogs still have a chance to be rescued. No dog should die nameless, starving, freezing, no dog deserves that because you might not know, but we, dogs, hope until the very last moment.

Please help shelter dogs! Every euro gives hope, food gives warmth and helps us to stay alive and continue to hope to be rescued by real humans. And at ROLDA, thanks to you, we do help dogs. We shelter them until a forever home is found. Or for the rest of their lives.

Dogs like Artemis.

She was found abandoned at the shelter gate, wrapped in a bag and severely hit on her head, terribly scared. Due to being hit so hard, she temporarily lost sight in one eye.

She needed time to recover and trust people again. We gave her ample TLC and medical care. Artemis is still in our care, 6 years later. She has grown old with us. She was overlooked for a forever home because of her large size and her high energy levels.