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A beautiful and forgiving soul, abused by the people she trusted

Even though Doina was someone’s pet, she was never given a name. It was us who named her Doina when her family brought her to us after their other dog (who is more than twice her size) bit off her left eye.

The family informed us that they could not afford to pay for Doina’s surgery and no longer wanted her. We told them that we would gladly take her in and get her into surgery immediately, but they refused to release her to us until we reimbursed them for Doina’s vaccinations (because apparently, it was a waste of money to vaccinate a dog they no longer want to keep).

We were able to gather the money to pay them, and we rushed Doina to our veterinarian, Dr. Andrei. Sadly, Doina had already lost her eye, but Dr. Andrei and his team took great care of her. They cleaned, cauterized, and sutured her wound. She is still a little shaken up, but she has a good appetite and seems to be healing well.

The life lesson we can learn from her can change the way we give

My name is Laika, and I am a Romanian girl. I am prettier and younger than I look. But too many litters of little ones have aged me. Last year, there were four puppies, and now there are 6 more but only 2 still alive.

I love my children, but I cannot provide for them. There are no human homes for them here, and my own family was too poor to have me sterilized. There is a desperate need to spay and neuter me and the millions of other homeless dogs. To stop the cycle of unwanted puppies, more pregnancies and more abandoned dogs dumped on the streets to die.

My puppies and I are a few of the very lucky dogs to make it off these mean streets alive. ROLDA is providing us with shelter, food, and water. I know we are safe here, and that the kind people here work so hard. Each one of them, like each person out there, can make a difference.

You may think you are only one person. How could you possibly make a difference with seemingly insurmountable problems? But you can. And you do.

Michele from Switzerland donated 75 EUR to help us sterilize Blonda and provide medical care for her three babies. You might think it’s just a dog and only a donation, but for Blonda and her babies, this meant that Michele saved their lives and stopped the cycle of babies being born.

Donating to help have me sterilized means I will not produce any more unwanted puppies to suffer on the streets. For only 20 EUR you are helping to stop the cycle of overpopulation. It is a small step. But every journey begins by putting one foot forward.

Gift for Laika’s castration


Your generosity gives us dogs hope, and a chance at a better life. Every Euro, and every dollar helps.

I used to wonder if anyone cared if there was any hope at all. Now that I am at ROLDA, I know me and my family is safe. I know that things can change, and things do change. Make that change, change for the better.

Cookie spent years in the ROLDA shelter and nobody wanted to adopt him. He got used to sheltering routine and survived, exactly like he did on the streets before we rescue him. Cookie is a senior dog and with a shelter full of cute pups, not many people give a chance to a senior. But Avril did.

She got the precious Cookie delivered in September and when she contacted us with feedback, she brought tears to our team’s eyes. It is said that love is blind. In Avril s eyes, Cookie is looking exactly like Baloo from Jungle Book.

She told us that: “Cookie is adorable. We got him in September and as the days passed settling in, delightful characteristics unfolded. His excited pant on greeting you, his nose erect then breaking out into a funny bellowing howl. Wriggling on his back contentedly alleviating his itch and his big paws shaking about, he resembled Baloo the hilarious gentle bear in the cartoon Jungle Book!” But what touches us the most is this phrase: “We wish he had entered our lives many years earlier.

Yes, Cookie should meet Avril much sooner because, in a shelter, we only protect these dogs against being hit by cars, and injured, but we can’t offer them the best. With Avril, Cookie enjoys living, even if it’s just for the last years of his life. We thank you Avril and family for this happy end story and this amazing opportunity to discover the treasure inside a senior ROLDAdog!

In photos, you can see Cookie enjoying walks at the beach and long walks near someone that love him. Cookie gets lots of hugs and surprises because Avril wants to catch up on all the years they missed. And in one of the photos, you will see Cookie near his first-ever Christmas tree. He might not understand what that tree is about, but we know that Christmas miracles exist when are made possible by amazing people.

But our mission does not end here! In the ROLDA shelters, we have around 300 senior dogs that deserve a chance at life and good care in old age. We need your help, they need our care!

Donate 1 Euro

Ioana – and the reason why we sometimes think that animals have more soul than many people

If this dog could speak, she would say: “It’s been over 6 months since I couldn’t properly eat because I can’t close my mouth.” I can speak but I would prefer not to, especially when I have to tell you her story. However, if this dog survived for 6 months like that, I must find the energy to speak up for her. Even if it’s so painful!

When meeting the ROLDA rescue team, a tail started to wag. The tail belongs to a medium size dog that looks like a German shepherd. Her head and entire body are full of healed wounds. Yes, wounds look healed and emotionally, she is even better than she looks because she wags her tail to strangers.

Strangers who beat her, almost killing her, some months ago. Since that moment, she couldn’t close her mouth, but her head full of wounds got better, and her body stopped being in pain … months after, her mouth still couldn’t close ..and therefore she vomits everything she is trying to eat.

This dog lives in a very poor village, she is fed by the mercy of a lady that sees her every day when going to look after a 98 years old woman. The dog follows this woman back and forth to her house because this is what she knows doing – taking care of the people she loves. She ignores the danger of being hit by cars, which barely avoids her. She is following the person who gives her the rest of the meals, even if she can’t even properly eat the meals.

She is desperate for human attention even if people were beating her to death. But this doggy has good instincts because this woman turned out to be her guardian angel because a few days ago, she called to ask for help.

A woman named Ioana called me around 6 pm. She apologizes for calling so late. (It wasn’t late because some call me at 22:00 or later. Dog’s emergencies don’t run based on a “working with public” program.) The lady was calm, coherent, and spoke from her heart. She told me that she is taking care of a senior woman, located 45 km away from Galati, in a little village called Baleni.

Close to the lady, she is taking care of, it’s a very old house, more ruined and there, she found a dog hidden. She tried to remove the dog from the house and had a stick in her hand. Seeing the stick, the dog went on the belly, lying down, leaving head down, ready to be kicked. She said: How I can hit that dog, I was so impressed by how the dog left to head down… knowing that it will be hurt. I would never hurt a dog.

In the house it was dark but when the dog finally exits to light, Ioana could see the dog’s proper skin was full of wounds, and the head was also wounded; the dog was severely beaten before.

The dog is a female. She suffered a lot, Ioana said. Every day she goes to the ruin to feed the dog. The dog is always there. Probably she belongs to people who used to stay there. Even if the signs of past injuries are gone, months after, the dog continues to feel sick. Every time she eats, she vomits. I guess she has something stuck in the way to her stomach. Obviously, the dog needs urgent medical aid because she is vomiting for months!!! After every meal.

In the village, the vet only gave this poor animal some pills, which have no effect because the dog won’t take the pills and even when she does take them, she instantly vomits them.

The dog is only bones and Ioana feels sad. That’s why she called me. From Ioana’s voice, I felt this dog’s pain. Without knowing, Ioana is this dog angel on Earth – it’s the woman kind enough to never use a stick against a dog, to carry food for this dog, to protect her when she is following Ioana on the road (Ioana is afraid the dog not to injured by cars). There are many ways in which this story is special. I simply can’t decide what part moved me so deeply.

Shortly after we rescued Angel, she was diagnosed with Dirofilaria immitis—heartworm disease. Sadly, Angel passed away. Heartworm is both complicated and expensive to treat, which is why most infected dogs don’t survive.

Preventing heartworm disease is much less expensive and much more effective, but the harsh reality for stray dogs is that they are extremely vulnerable to being infected with this fatal disease because they do not receive heartworm prevention medicine.

Dirofilaria immitis, or heartworm disease, is a serious and potentially fatal disease in domestic pets, wild animals, and humans. It’s caused by foot-long parasitic roundworms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels which cause severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs.

The disease is so widespread because it’s easily transmitted by mosquitoes. One bite is all it takes.

Our ROLDA sanctuaries are surrounded by forest, agricultural land, and the Danube and Siret rivers, making it a favorable habitat for mosquitoes to thrive. The area is also home to hundreds of wild animals and stray dogs—all potential carriers of Dirofilaria.

Our dogs receive Heartgard for 6 months (spring to fall) to protect them against Dirofilaria, but that still leaves thousands of stray dogs around our sanctuary unprotected and at high risk of contracting the disease.

A donation of €41 can protect 1 dog for 6 months against this deadly disease.

Since 2016, our efforts to provide Heartgard to all 650 dogs in our sanctuary have been compromised due to the abrupt financial cuts caused by our former partner ArcelorMittal Galati. Their actions have put in danger the lives of these poor dogs and have left us struggling to maintain our shelters operational—not to mention the risk of shorting food and medical supplies, including heartworm medicine and treatment.

ROLDA continues to pursue legal action against Mittal to seek justice for our dogs. The legal battle is still ongoing in court. Until the issue is resolved, we kindly ask you to help us keep our dogs safe and free from fatal diseases such as heartworm.

Remember, €41 can protect 1 dog for 6 months.


Every time we rescue a new dog, we try to figure out where he/she comes from so we can try to understand him/her better. When Delu brought Ellie to the shelter, these are the facts as we knew them: A local animal lover called Delu went to pick up Ellie. Ellie and a mixed chow named Bunga were sharing a transport crate when they arrived. The person who called Delu said she found both Ellie and Bunga wandering the streets. She mentioned briefly that Ellie was limping.

It’s clear to us that Ellie belonged to someone. She was abandoned but we don’t know why. Some time ago, Ellie must have been hit by or with something, because she had an old, untreated femur fracture for which she got no treatment. It is heartbreaking, but this is the reality: many homeless animals live in pain, with a fracture or break, and the bone sets naturally – sometimes, in the wrong position, which generates the limping. Plus, probably, pain and more damage/health problems accumulated as time passed.

Ellie is a small, adorable girl who has learned, unfortunately, what it means to be a homeless dog.

After seeing how she limps, we decided it was something serious and rushed Ellie to the vet. There, after a medical exam and XRAY, the vet decided it was the old femur fracture that needs surgery to be corrected and set into the right position.

Being an old problem, there were no guarantees that her leg will recover. But after surgery and a very long recovery period, Ellie‘s pain will stop. In the worst-case scenario, she will lose the leg – but we are hopeful that the vet will do his utmost to save her leg, stop her pain and help her walk normally.

It is sad to think that in a moment, the life of a dog can change so dramatically: from the time when she had a home, until the moment she ended up on the streets, being hit, injured – staying in pain and ending up limping, since who knows when! Thanks to ROLDA friends and supporters, Ellie‘s nightmare will slowly be over.

Making a small gift – Help Ellie’s leg to heal by contributing to medical costs.


More supporters mean more help and during critical times, when your finances are limited, our needs (emergency veterinary costs, food costs, etc) are easier to cover when there are more contributors.

Nothing comes easy in life. Not for Ellie and not for us. Our mission is to work hard, to face difficulties but to make miracles happen for these dogs. And you, dear ROLDA supporter, are part of every step we take to transform each dog’s future.

There is a saying, when someone needs a friend, God sends them a dog. Regardless of your religious beliefs, we can all agree dogs are man’s best friend. ROLDA dogs need a friend, a friend like you, and no dog needs a friend more than Piciu.

After everything I have seen since ROLDA began, I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking I have seen everything, then a story like Piciu’s comes along and reminds me just how wrong I am. You receive weekly – if not daily – heart-breaking stories about our dogs and I wish more than anything Piciu had no such story to tell; I do not know where to begin.

Piciu was the adored pet of a man living with his wife in the village of Smardan. One tragic evening, Piciu became trapped in sharp, metal fencing whilst exploring. In the desperate attempt to free himself, Piciu suffered deep wounds to all four legs and lost a dangerous amount of blood and no, there are no blood banks for dogs here. Piciu was not discovered until the morning, barely clinging to life.

Many would have discarded him like trash, though Piciu had loving owners who wasted no time in rushing him to a vet. It is a uniquely heart-breaking sight – a grown man, weeping and sobbing like a child, inconsolable with grief – cradling his beloved, dying pet in his arms, begging for help whatever the cost.

Piciu is a beautiful, affectionate dog. He needs every prayer to see him through his intensive care and rehabilitation. All four of his legs were grievously wounded, three of which were maimed including one of his front legs that were so irreparably damaged, it required amputating. Furthermore, Piciu is not vaccinated and it would be too risky to vaccinate him in his current state of extremely poor health and weakened immune system.

We have to take extra special care of Piciu, who is exceptionally vulnerable to diseases like distemper, though with our love and expert care, Piciuwill recover and his remaining legs will gradually improve. The most important thing now is to do everything possible to help Piciu fight back to health and reunite him with his family.

Can we, with your help, get Piciu back on his feet?

“My pain is easier to bear when I see you.” that’s what Oscar seems to say when he is around people. Unfortunately, there is no end to the pain that animals feel. It was a regular Saturday. I took a break from writing a report, and logged in to Facebook when the image of a tiny fur ball filled the screen… he was trying to reach a person in a parking lot.

He was too young to understand how dangerously close he was to the busy road. He was focused on reaching the person that stopped the car in the parking lot before she went away, like all the other people who abandoned him behind… hungry and scared… alone in the bitter cold.

He wished to go faster or run as normal puppies did, but he couldn’t… he could only use three legs to move. With one paw suspended in the air, the pain was easier to manage. And so he hopped on, in the night, waiting for someone that would notice him before it was too late.

There is no end to the pain that animals feel, so there is no end to the ROLDA Rescue Team’s mission. Even if it was his day off, Vasile rushed to his van and drove 90 kilometers to Tulcea to meet a lovely girl called Ema.

It was she who spotted Oscar in the parking lot and rang the alarm. Vasile took the small, injured pup back to Galati to the same clinic that once saved Maia’s legs. For this particular case, ROLDA Rescue Team had to cross the Danube River twice and drove for a total of 3 hours and now, veterinary bills are ahead.

We hope that together, we can transform Oscar’s life. Please make a gift to help Oscar heal!


I don’t know if everyone can get an Oscar … but on Saturday, thanks to Ema from Tulcea and thanks to Vasile, ROLDA got one.

Please make a gift to help Oscar and also, help ROLDA reach more dogs like Oscar, dogs that have no one else to turn to – dogs that without you, would die all alone, hungry, injured and scared.

We can say that after being adopted, Bo is living like a celebrity star, enjoying long walks in the Swiss mountains and relaxation time in the jacuzzi. He even climbs alone the house stairs, after his mother carries him (1/3 of her entire weight) in her arms, a few times every day, to build his trust. In Switzerland, Bo has also a gang to share the “dog moments” with.

Before being adopted, Bo’s life was hard. It always takes human actions and efforts to change a homeless dog’s life. We don’t know how many more Christmas Holidays Bo will enjoy, we hope for plenty.

Bo was nominated #roldadogs ambassador for 2019 and in Switzerland, he is the sunshine in Lolita’s life, but today, Bo is on a mission to help his furry friends remain in the shelter in Romania.

For the 2019 Christmas campaign, ROLDA selected 7 senior dogs to fundraise for winter costs for the shelter and food for hungry, homeless dogs. No matter which of these 7 dogs you sponsor, the donations are shared with all the others.

Senior Lulu is one of the oldest #roldadogs, but he wasn’t selected for a simple reason: we didn’t think he will make it another winter. One morning, Senior Lulu didn’t come to the door to greet our caretakers because he hardly could stand up and move his back legs. We rushed to the clinic and with adequate treatment, Senior Lulu is back on his feet.

Senior dogs like Senior Lulu can suffer unexpected medical problems which require special attention and which add up to the vet’s total bill. We don’t know what the next Christmas will look like for our giant Senior Lulu but this one should be joyful and free from pain.

Senior Lulu just got sponsored by Nicole, from Switzerland. More supporters will enable us to keep him and the other 300 senior dogs from the ROLDA shelter safe this wintertime.

For dogs like Senior Lulu, Bo takes seriously his ambassador role and aims with your help, to make his furry friends’ lives better in Romania.

If you turn your head away, she will die. If your eyes can’t bear looking, imagine the pain she feels! “This is one of the worst I’ve seen” exclaimed our vet, gingerly removing a plastic shopping bag stuck to Bela’s deep and infected facial wound. Bela’s story begins in the village of Cismele, South-East Romania, one of the country’s poorest rural communities.

She shares with her owners an improvised home fashioned from scrap material with only the furniture they could salvage. Food is scarce. Bela’s owners cannot often afford to feed themselves, leaving Bela to rely on meager leftovers and whatever she could find. After almost a week without food, Bela, desperate and starving, strayed into a neighbor’s land in search of scraps. Assuming Bela sought to poach his livestock, the landowner cowardly lured Bela and attacked her with a farm tool and left her badly injured and permanently disfigured.

Bela’s owners, uneducated but with good intentions and aware they cannot afford the medical bills, but desperate to help, attempted to bandage Bela’s wound with adhesive tape. This only compounded Bela’s suffering, allowing infection to spread untreated throughout an uncleaned wound.

“Every time a tragic case like Bela is brought to us, I fall into the trap of thinking I’ve seen the worst a human can do to such wonderful creatures, though there’s always another Bela to remind me how wrong I am. However, it never fails to amaze me what strength and dignity dogs show in unimaginable pain.

Thankfully, very few people will ever experience that kind of pain; only those that have can comprehend that degree of suffering. I just cannot understand what complete absence of empathy, kindness or basic human decency it requires to be able to do something like this to any living creature, let alone a dog.

I feel sometimes I understand this world less and less, although the joy of rescuing dogs like Bela and seeing them through treatment, rehabilitation and finding a happy home makes the heartache worthwhile. Bela’s beauty shines through her facial scars and her adoring and sociable personality undimmed by the awful events which have brought her to us. Dogs usually forget and live “in present” and Bela will don’t care about her face scars but every time I will look at her, I will remember. “Because if you love them the way I do, you simply can’t forget”, said Dana Costin, founder of ROLDA when meeting Bela for the first time.

Bela is an affectionate, gregarious dog and once her treatment and rehabilitation is complete, she’ll be transferred to our shelter to live in safety and comfort with plenty of human and canine company. Eventually, once fully recuperated, Bela will make a perfect candidate for rehoming, where she’ll find a loving family and happy home abroad.

ROLDA is wholly reliant on the generosity and compassion of animal lovers to continue being the only guardian these suffering animals have to turn to, in a world all too eager to turn its back on problems in the hope they’ll disappear; they don’t, and we need your help to save lives.

1. Why do we help the local community’s pets in rural areas?
Obviously, because there is where our help is needed the most, in poor communities where people can’t afford to pay vets bills, where people are uneducated, and their pets are at risk of accidental harm, abuse, malnutrition and abandonment. We never leave an animal in need or in danger, regardless of their or their owner’s circumstances.

2. Why not immediately euthanize dogs like Bela?
After suffering a whole life, Bela’s luck changed the day we were able to save her. ROLDA’s duty is to try to help any dog in need and give them the best possible chance of a happy and comfortable, not to choose the cheapest and easiest way to solve these problems. It’s an expert decision taken by our vet to put a dog to sleep and only ever when it would be cruel to prolong life and suffering. We strive to provide whatever help and funds to try to save each dog in need. Bela, and dogs like her, deserve a chance to heal and have their futures changed for the better.

3. Why does ROLDA prefers international adoptions?
We rehome the vast majority of our dogs within the European Union, whereby their health and fitness to travel are tightly regulated by EU law, ensuring the dog’s health is paramount to all parties. Likewise, levels of public awareness and pet education are much more advanced in the countries where we choose to send our dogs, to loving, permanent homes. We also choose only to send our dogs to nations with comprehensive animal welfare legislation and infrastructure and of course, an appropriate and loving family. After so much suffering, Bela deserves a safe place to call home.