Our experience with rescuing two dogs from Romania
More and more families these days are choosing to adopt rather than shop for their furry friends. My own dog, Jessie, who passed last year was a rescue Staffy herself. However there has been an increase in the amount of people rescuing animals from abroad. Romania is one of the worst countries in the world for the amount of stray dogs living on the streets. Either that or they are living in shelters that aren’t fit to care for the amount of dogs coming to them on a constant basis.
So, bring in the Great British public! Full of dog lovers, people are gravitating towards the helpless dogs in Romania who, more often than not, are put on kill lists if they aren’t adopted. Quite a lot of our clients are Romanian rescue dogs who are the lucky ones who found their forever home (complete with a very good pet care service!) Yes, they are a little
more work. Some are more than happy to settle straight into family life after travelling for a week in a cramped van. Others take a little longer and ease in gradually, with some even being too scared to even venture outside.
Our very own trainer, Victoria has opened up her home to not one, but two Romanian rescue dogs. Clyde, who is an adopted Shepherd (we think!) and Panda who has just arrived as a foster dog, still waiting for his forever home. Victoria’s role is to care for Panda while a family is selected for him, but I’m afraid she’s already claimed Clyde! Both dogs were very different when arriving with Victoria and we both wanted to share her experience to aid those who are also thinking of adopting a Clyde or Panda of their very own.
Clyde came first! Victoria originally researched Weimeraner and I was quite surprised that she had completely tipped that on it’s head and gone for Clyde instead. She was fully aware of the risks in his behaviour when he arrived and how unpredictable the whole experience could be. To be honest, when I think about it, I'm not surprised. Victoria already has two
rescued cats and lives a vegan lifestyle so rescuing dogs who deserve a better life is not a surprise at all! Clyde was approved to stay in a home with young children so surely it couldn’t be that bad. She says! Clyde came in like a dream. He came in the late hours of the night, both children were in bed and Victoria and her husband were there to greet him.
He was a little dirty, a little smelly but that is to be expected when you’ve been travelling for five days. I feel dreadful when I’ve been on a six hour flight! Other than that he seemed healthy and exactly how he had been described to them when they adopted him. He couldn’t be left alone to sleep on that first night which again when you’ve left your home, been put in a dark van for five days and been placed in a home that you’ve never seen, you can expect that.
Now he is a little ray of sunshine that has captured the heart of anyone he sees! He barks sometimes at newcomers and has a real usual getting on and off the sofa. Victoria describes it as “slugging off” when he drags his back legs off! He came to stay with us recently if you’ve come from our Instagram account. He was truly a delight. He was calm, sociable but also a little playful. He now goes with Victoria to work sometimes and meets the dogs that we see
on a regular basis and is so mellow that he just goes through life “going with the flow.” One job that Clyde prides himself on is protecting Victoria's children, Evelyn and Stephanie. Especially Stephanie, who is the younger of the two girls, he growls and barks sometimes when visitors or even approach her or Stephanie approaches people for herself. Clyde is not satisfied that Stephanie can make decisions on her own safety, but everyone needs someone to have their back! I visit Victoria and the family quite regularly and before Clyde came to stay I was allowed nowhere near Stephanie (clearly my DBS check means nothing to Clyde!) Victoria and I were quite interested to see is this would change when he returned home from his holiday with me. Thankfully, it did! We're best friends now, sorry Stephanie.
Panda however came in a different state. He arrived in the same way Clyde had, in the middle of the night via a van he’d been in for several days. Unlike Clyde, Panda was covered in his own faeces and his coat was matted with dirt. He cowered in the corner of her kitchen and didn’t move. Victoria’s husband slept on the sofa next to him and made sure he was fine. There you can see a direct comparison between the two. The next day Panda stayed in his safe little corner of the kitchen but befriended Victoria’s eldest daughter, Evelyn. With a very calm temperament she just sat next to Panda and stroked him and kept him company. She wasn’t overpowering, she just let him come to her. Sometimes he ate food from her hand and they just had a very chilled Sunday together.
It must have worked because now Panda likes to go outside with Clyde and has started going on some walks with the family. He still has his moments when Victoria has to carry him outside to remind him how exciting it is or when he gets possessive over his food because in a shelter if you don’t eat fast, you don’t eat! With time and patience though, he’ll be ready for his new forever family and I think he’s gone to the perfect family to help him do that. (He has also been cleaned everyone, don’t panic!)
As lovely as this story is and there are so many more dogs in these countries that do need homes, there are also dogs on our home turf that need the same care. Jessie we saved from a dog shelter that, two months later, was shut down for animal cruelty. That was eighteen years ago now and Jessie lived a long and happy life with us and Clyde and Panda will definitely do the same.
Until next time, keep those tails wagging!