30 Mar

Wild Habitat Fundraising

harta-nat-shelterHave you ever try to communicate using a language that you don’t know?

Has this ever happened to you, maybe on a vacation?

I tried.  This was my experience.

It was last winter.  After six hours of driving, I stopped to relax a bit in a parking lot just outside B. town in Transylvania, Romania.

I walked around the car and there he was:  a giant white dog with a large metal collar around his neck.  He looked a bit neglected, with dirty fur.  His big black eyes were already staring at me.  He sat.  Only his eyes followed my moves.

I froze.  He looked to me like a guard dog.  I needed time to evaluate the situation, to think what I will do.

To my surprise, he continued to sit and I found the courage to walk toward him.  I don’t know why I did it.  His eyes seemed to carry a secret message.

I didn’t want to challenge his instincts.  He took a step back.  And so did I, because closer, this dog seemed to me even bigger.  The next moment, he moved toward me.  Fixing me, slowly.

I didn’t turn, but stepped away, also slowly, until I could open the car door.  But the dog stopped.  I remembered that I had some snacks – so I moved again toward him to share the food.

To someone watching from a distance, this might have looked like dancing.  Two beings tried to find a way to communicate.  And failed – because sometimes it’s so hard to let your guard down in a short time and express your real feelings…

A man’s voice yelled “Boris!”

The dog who sat in front of me jumped back, turned and left.  Probably I will never see Boris again.

Boris is one of the lucky dogs who have a home––but it is a dangerous life for him, each time he escapes from his heavy chain to enjoy a few moments of freedom.  His house is dangerously close to a busy road full of trucks, day and night.

Boris is not a street dog, but his story is special because it explains how hard it is sometimes to communicate with each other.

When we fail to communicate, often lives are sacrificed.

Meeting Boris was meant to be because this dog helped me to transmit a further message. There are plenty of dogs like Boris, dogs who would remind you of a wolf, dogs who have a strong wild side.  Most of these dogs were born feral and live most of their lives without homes.  Others – often abused by their “owners” – try everything to escape their boring routine for some precious moments of freedom.  Sometimes, they even hurt themselves if kept in captive isolation.

 Loving a dog means above all, respecting a dog.

In order to respect a dog, you have to observe and understand the basic needs he has and also, what makes him happy.  Some dogs are born to always be around you, to do goofy things, or to simply lie at your feet.  Other dogs were born unwanted, survived as wild animals and enjoy their freedom.

An influential voice within the Romanian community demands no more street dogs – because they are noisy, they make dirt, they might carry diseases and they sometimes bite people.

Animal lovers demand a safe, responsible home for every street dog.

But what do the dogs want?

Exactly like people, I think they are divided.  Some dogs dream of a home and desperately cry for human’ attention, for a kind gesture and for the feeling that they are lucky to belong to someone.

Other dogs dream of living free.  When chained, they find ways to escape––even for a little while, to run free and play.  When being imprisoned in kennels they think about escaping, or refuse food,  because to them a life in captivity is not worth living.

We humans often think of “dogs” as being the type of animals sold at pet shops. And many are…but many others are not.

There are dogs who dislike being too close to people.  There are dogs who are frightened and stressed around people.  Some dogs act aggressive when cornered by our “care” and forced to follow our rules.  There are dogs who suffered a trauma once and dogs who have been abused every day of their lives.  These are all souls with a history that we cannot understand unless we take the time to try to figure it out

Are some of these dogs dangerous?  Probably yes – because they grew up and lived like wild animals.

Do these wild dogs belong near people?  Yes and no.

Wild dogs should be helped by specialists.  Many of these dogs can become safe pets – but this takes time, the process is slow,  and it should be carried out inside shelters.

The rest of the community should be protected from interacting with wild dogs.

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