In the early hours of a wet spring morning life began. By the side of a road an emaciated, flea ridden and scabby stray female dog gives birth to a litter of puppies. A few miles down the road another female, also not particularly well fed, and chained up in a back yard with virtually no shelter from the morning drizzle, gives birth to her litter of puppies. This second litter, unknowingly, are lucky. The first mum and her puppies are found by a passing man. He hits the mother over the head and hangs her body from a nearby tree, leaving her to die a slow and miserable death. The puppies he bundles up in plastic bag and throws in the trash where their brief little lives come to a miserable end.
Meanwhile the second little of puppies are scooped up by the female dog’s owner and he drives to the Bucov shelter where he unceremoniously dumps them in a cardboard box at the shelter gates. Their mum pines for them and searches for them but they are gone. The little bundles of new life shiver, wet from the rain in their box, and still less than a day old. They are too young to survive alone and too young to understand or see what is happening to them.
But they are lucky. They are lucky that they were not killed and that they have been given a chance by being brought to the shelter, albeit a very tiny chance. Without their mum and without round the clock care they have no hope of survival but the shelter employees will not be there to help them. Fortunately Aniela sees them as she arrives at the shelter and scoops them up and takes them under her care. Now they have a chance.
Aniela nurses the two little angels but sadly one of them dies while still too young to be vaccinated. As the “day” progresses more new born puppies are dumped and our little puppies now have to be moved to the over-crowded puppy enclosure as there is no more room with fosters and Aniela has to focus on the next batch of new born puppies. Fortunately for the puppies Hope for Romanian Strays had funded special puppy enclosures so they do not end up in the main enclosures with the adult dogs. If there were not the special puppy enclosures they would not survive for long at all – dying from either disease, starvation or injury as the large adult dogs eat their food and attack them. Sadly though despite the vaccinations that supporters have paid for one more of the puppies dies. This is the reality of life as a puppy at the shelter – despite all the help the death rate is still far too high.
As the “day” progresses our surviving puppies are moved to the adult enclosures. Here they have to survive in the pack. They have to fight for their food and they are to survive with very little shelter. The morning drizzle has now turned to a downpour and the floor in the kennels is a sea of mud and faeces. To try to stay out of the mud and rain they move into the old wooden kennels, but the cold wind still comes in and no matter how they try they just can’t get dry or warm.
As the afternoon turns to evening, our remaining dog, huddles at the back of the kennels, wet and covered in mud from the autumn raid. She is listless and clearly depressed. When Aneila comes to visit she no longer even manages to raise her hear or wag her tail. She has given up. During her short life she has known nothing but the misery of being unwanted, of growing up and living in the shelter. Aniela and the Hope for Romanian Strays supporters have tried through this “day” to find her a home. Sadly no one wanted her as a puppy and as she grew into a young dog her chances of adoption get lower and lower.
Now she sits in the dusk of the day and her life. Old, broken, unwanted and all she has is her own misery. She has given up on her miserable life. Her joints are aching with the damp and wet and her own old age. She has known so little life other than the horrors of the shelter. From the moment she was born into this Romanian life her chances were so low. She survived but only to have to live out her life in more misery than she could ever have imagined. All those she knew and loved are gone. There is nothing for her left in this life but more misery and an old age which promises only worse to come. Soon she will be too weak and old to be able to fight for her food. She will slowly starve to death or be mauled by one of the other dogs. She has never felt the warmth of her own home, of her own family. She can only dream of love and of spending her last days curled up on a warm rug by a fireplace, safe inside and sheltered from the winter snow, and with enough food. She just stares at the back of the old kennel she sits in. She does not even come out anymore when Aniela visits. Her life is over. As the day comes to a close she closes her eyes and waits for her painful death.
This is a “day” in the life of a shelter dog. Whatever age they are when they come to the shelter the prospects are grim. The young puppies dumped have no hope unless we can provide them with food, safe segregated shelter and vaccines. The adult dogs must struggle to survive in over-crowded kennels where there is never enough food or adequate shelter, from the cold or heat. For the elderly dogs life gets even worse. They can no longer defend themselves and they feel the cold even more than the others. They face a very miserable end to their lives.
This is why we beg you to get involved. We beg you to help us raise funds to provide better shelter, better food and better care. We beg that you talk to your friends, family and Facebook friends. Can they find a small warm place for one of these dogs? They do not need huge gardens or stay at home mums – they need love. They need a forever home where they can grow old in safety and warmth. Perhaps you know someone who does not want to commit forever but can offer a foster home? For each home we find we can save a poor soul and get one more soul out of the hell that is the public dog shelter in Romania. Each and every one of you can help dogs like these so please do not look away. Please take that moment and help save a life.