29 Mar

Testimonial Marianna

From Finland to ROLDA

(summer 2013)
marianna_july 2013_1

My first plan was to go somewhere in Europe to do voluntary work for one week and then travel around by train for two weeks. When I decided to go to ROLDA, I didn’t change my plans, even though Galati is on the other side of Europe and very far from Finland. It took me four days to reach Galati and I was very excited, also worried about how the place would be. But all the fears were unnecessary. There was a guy in the train station picking me up and at ROLDA, there was nice colorful bed waiting for me.

The next day I saw the dogs. It was my first time in any animal shelter so I was amazed by the enthusiasm of dogs. It was one of the best things for me while staying at ROLDA to go to kennels and greet all the dogs that ran towards me. The whole day I just sat with dogs and pet them and gave them treats.

After few days, I knew I was going to stay at ROLDA as long as I can. If I didn’t have a train ticket I could have staid even longer. Everything was so nice and easy. My days filled with dogs and my evenings filled with nice timeless hanging out. And I was taken so good care of. The shelter worker Denis didn’t speak English but it wasn’t problem because I usually understood what I was supposed to do and I had always Dana’s phone number so that I could call her if I need anything or if I need translator.

My main task was to socialize with dogs and this is exactly what I did with pleasure. I also helped Denis cleaning and brushing dogs that were going to new homes in England and Holland. Another day, I helped him cleaning the kennels and painting the outdoor fence. Sometimes I also walked with a dog on the leash. One day Dana took me to visit big shelter with hundreds of dogs and one horse. I greeted every dog that was willing to come near me – and almost every one did.

At any time I didn’t really get bored, not even in evenings when I was all alone. When I didn’t have anything to do I ate cherries. There were a lot of sweet cherry trees at ROLDA. I couldn’t eat to leave them empty, even if I tried my best.

When it was time to start the journey back home, Dana let me use her own personal computer to check train schedules. That was very nice but proofed to be useless. By the time of leaving there wasn’t any trains leaving to Bucharest from Galati that day. Luckily for me Dana came with me to the train station and took me back to ROLDA for one more night. Next day I found out by other passenger that the evening trains were cancelled because of holidays. It was very weird the women selling tickets didn’t know that.

The non-existing train is something I’m not very surprised of because it’s Romania. For people living in Finland where they make announcement if train is three minutes late it is shock but it just shows how different the country is. That’s why I think traveling to Romania by train was one of the best things I’ve chosen to do. It gives you opportunity to see the whole Europe in few days. Countries like Romania and Austria are pretty much the opposite.

That’s why I loved also Galati even it’s an industrial city. It’s so different from my home. It made me feel I’m really on a holiday in another world. And that’s the second reason I want to go back there. The first reason is of course the dogs and friendly staff of ROLDA. I just can’t tell a better place for dog loving person to spend holidays!