This is the first in a series of blog posts where we introduce you to some of the rescuers BDRUK works with to save dogs from the streets and public shelters in Europe. Our rescuers work tirelessly to save dogs from terrible situations and care for them until we are able to bring them to the UK and we want to share their stories.
Delia Botea is a rescuer in Brasov, Romania, and is currently caring for Sean and Bianca.
Tell us about yourself and the rescue...
My rescue is called Care for Dogs Romania. It was set up because of the passion that we have for not only saving dogs but also for caring for them, beginning with the physical and ending with the emotional. We help the dogs we rescue get their confidence back, become the dogs they used to be before they were traumatised; we teach them to enjoy human companionship and to accept love from them again. We teach them how to walk properly on a lead and to come when called. I believe these are basic needs for dogs, it's important for them to feel loved and cared for so they can blossom. The dogs care for us humans, so in return we care for them.
Our rescue is only a year old, but I have been saving dogs for over 2 years now and rehomed over 100. We have big plans to make a bigger shelter and I hope everything goes as planned and we can see all our dreams come true. Like every rescue it all started with a single dog and we are growing and improving and have now reached 70 dogs in our shelter plus 30 strays that we take care of.
What is a typical day like for you?
My whole day revolves around the dogs. In the morning I wake up at 7am and feed the ones that are at our home. These are the ones that needed help the most, the ones that were most traumatised and the ones that didn't blossom in the shelter. We then go to the field to feed the stray ones, go to fosters, take them food, take a dog to the vet, do tests, give vaccines, dewormings, go to the shelter because we have to clean, feed a lot of dogs and give ongoing treatments. Then there might be an emergency where we have save a dog from the street that has been hit by a car. All whilst trying not to forget to eat drink and pee - this is something I always ask myself during the day "have I had the chance to go to the loo?", the answer most of the time is no! Life is a rollercoaster here and it’s never ending, but what we do for the dogs changes their lives and our lives so there's no stopping it. It makes us proud to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves and to save so many lives.
What does working with BDRUK mean for you?
The first dog we rehomed through BDRUK was Siz and he got the most perfect home. Julia, who adopted him, loves him more that I could have ever hoped and gives him everything that he needs. They are just a perfect match.
BDRUK means heart most of all, they have compassion for the ones that are not the 'ideal dog' that everyone has in mind and they are professionals that always put the dogs' wellbeing first. A team dedicated to saving every single life, because every life has value even if it's disabled. I believe that every dog has a home waiting for him somewhere and BDRUK is constantly searching for that home. For this and much more I am so grateful to them.
Tell us about the typical conditions dogs are kept in, in public shelters?
Public shelters here are awful. If you ask me, the dogs would be better off on the streets. They don't get food or water and they are kept in overcrowded cages with no medical attention or help. The staff don't care if the dogs fight each other and kill themselves from hunger, fear or from plain exhaustion. Cleaning the pens means only taking out the mess, never disinfecting the place, never taking care of the wounded, never seeing if the dogs are fine. Viral diseases like parvovirus and distemper are common in public shelters and when left untreated kills the dogs. I have seen numerous cases of puppies dying of parvo and adults of distemper. Whenever I talk about public shelters in Romania I get so angry that I can't do anything to stop them and make it alright for the dogs. The feeling of being powerless makes me go crazy. Things will never change unless the mentality of this country changes and the people become more empathetic with the animals.
Everyone asks me why I do it if I put all of my money into it. I simply reply "because I don't rescue for the money, I rescue for the heart.."
How do you feel when a dog is successfully rehomed?
You know the feeling when you wanted something to happen really really badly, and then it finally happens? That's the feeling I get when I see the dogs in comfortable beds, staying inside and being cared for better than I could ever care for them. Our shelter is heated, we have straw and blankets and the dogs have plenty of water and food, but it will never compare with the feeling they have living in a home where they are loved unconditionally. I feel like I have won the lottery when I see them in a home.
What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis?
Space to be able save more dogs, and money for food and vet care. These two are ongoing and always present. You never have enough space to save all the ones you want to, you never have enough money to buy super premium food so you take the medium level food because it's better than the super cheap stuff, and you go crazy when your vet tells you again you have to pay something because you're again over your €2000 limit. I also work full time so I can have money to pay for the cases where I don't manage to raise enough donations and for sterilizations and vaccines for the non adoptable dogs. I have five sponsor dogs out of a shelter with 70 dogs. It's hard but I would be crazy to quit. Everyone asks me why I do it if I put all of my money into it. I simply reply "because I don't rescue for the money, I rescue for the heart.".
If you would like to find out more about Care for Dogs Romania, please visit www.carefordogsromania.org or their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/carefordogsro/?fref=ts
Click here to see dogs available for adoption now.