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Save our strays

We are currently helping over 600 dogs to start living again. Their journey to recovery begins with giving them a nutritious meal – almost always they are first in a very long time. The meal costs around 25 cents. That’s because our animal shelter is in my hometown of Galati, an industrial port on the River Danube in Romania – and any donated dollars go a very, very long way.

Save our strays

photo: Meet Faraon, one of the oldest dogs from our shelter.

When I was given a chance to transform a dog’s life… I took it. Life changed for me – and over 7,000 abandoned dogs. For just 25 cents, you can join me and make even more of a difference…

Dear Friend, dear Animal’Lover,

We are currently helping over 600 dogs to start living again. Their journey to recovery begins with giving them a nutritious meal – almost always they are first in a very long time. The meal costs around 25 cents. That’s because our animal shelter is in my hometown of Galati, an industrial port on the River Danube in Romania – and any donated dollars go a very, very long way.

I never thought I’d write to animal-loving people, like you, asking for help. That’s because I never thought I’d be running a unique animal charity that depends on the kindness of wonderful human beings in other countries. A chance encounter with a single stray started me down this route: 17 years ago, in a park in Galati, I spotted a dog acting strangely. When I reached him I was horrified to see his fur was matted with blood and he was writhing in agony.

Walking on just wasn’t an option for me; I had to do something. Trying not to panic, I managed to flag down a car and get him to a vet who did what he could but didn’t hold out much hope. He thought the dog had been used for fighting and was abandoned to take his chances on the streets after losing. The poor creature was very seriously ill.

I wasn’t going to give up and neither was my new friend. I took him home with me and gently nursed him back to be as well as he could be. I called him Printz. We had four fantastic years together. Then one day in 2002, Printz died suddenly. The legacy of his terrible past had caught up with him.

I felt awful… I felt helpless. But whenever Printz had looked into my eyes, I could see the difference I had made to his life. After I lost him, I just knew I had to try at least to give a second chance to as many other dogs going through such terrible times as I could.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought if there was a shelter that could provide a true refuge to dogs – and perhaps other animals – when they had nowhere to think of as home? Somewhere they could get a meal, sleep safely, and enjoy some human kindness.

There are cities in your own country that have more animal shelters than exist in Romania. And a lot of the Romanian ‘shelters’ are in reality squalid doggy prison camps run for profit, where dogs are so hungry they have been known to try to eat each other.

And the scale of the problem was daunting. In Romania currently, there are an estimated 2.5 million stray dogs and around 20,000 in Galati alone.

Every year an estimated 6,000 puppies are born on the streets of our country. How was I going to realize my dream? I called in favors from animal-loving friends and contacts all over the world to help start raising funds. And so ROLDA, the Romanian League in Defense of Animals, was born. It became a registered charity in Romania in February 2006, following the USA, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Australia.

With the generosity of true animal lovers around the world, we have expanded to a refuge that is currently home to some 650 dogs.

Of every dollar we raise, a minimum of 92 cents is spent directly on the welfare of the dogs in our care. We provide much-needed employment for some local people who live with the dogs and we also provide very basic accommodation for volunteers and vets from around the world who give up their holidays to help care for our strays. To date, we have changed the lives of more than 7,000 dogs. But there is still so much to do.

Eventually, we hope to:
● Rescue every dog referred to us
● Give veterinary aid whenever needed
● Ensure unwanted dogs are not born in the wild
● Re-home every dog in a loving environment

The generosity of animal lovers around the world makes a real impression on the authorities and businesses in Romania. If we can prove that our Worldwide friends can support the welfare of hundreds more dogs, we may well be given the land to build more shelters.

None of this would be happening if I hadn’t rescued one dog, that German Shepherd cross I named Prinz.

Make a gift to help us continue our work and give life to our dreams for animals’ welfare in Romania

There are still thousands of others out there living rough – damaged, beaten or just ignored – but every bit as deserving of human kindness. We have to do everything in our power to change the lives of dogs like Faraon too.

Thank you for taking the trouble to read this far – and for whatever gift you can spare. You can be certain that your kind support will have a huge impact on my country.
With respect and hope,
Dana

P.S. Not one of the dogs we have helped or saved has ever said, “Thank you.” But I can speak from experience that when you look into their eyes, you will know that they are forever grateful for your compassion.

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