Before I start with this blog, I should warn you that you may find features of what you’re about to read disturbing or upsetting.
Search for Rescue Dogs
As many of you know I recently adopted a Romanian rescue dog. I never imagined I would learn so much through my research for a new family member. The main issue in some countries is the overpopulation of dogs. This is a problem that has proven difficult to eradicate by sterilising the animals alone. The dogs are considered pests, some are deliberately poisoned in the streets and others are taken to a kill shelter to be euthanised.
I later learned my own rescue dog was saved from one of these kill shelters by a kind hero, Crina who has set up her own rescue shelter. Dogs are taken off the streets and given 14 days in these kill shelters before they are sentenced to death. Some centres are ‘nicer’ than others and euthanise humanely, others decide to cut costs and wait for the dogs to eat each other. Unfortunately, life on the street for these dogs is brutal – they are vulnerable abuse as there no laws, penalties or imprisonment. Consequently, the average life expectancy for a stray dog is 2 years.
My rescue dog, Azzra in the Simeria Public Shelter, Romania
There are many communities that are trying to help these dogs as they do not believe in their suffering. Some have set up their own rescue centres that are solely funded by themselves and people’s generosity. These people in my eyes are heroes and often put the dogs’ needs in front of their own. I have heard some live on basic foods like popcorn and pretzels just so that they can afford to feed and rescue as many dogs as possible.
Breeding vs. Rescue
Another revelation that shocked me was the price of pedigree puppies in this country. Pedigree puppies such as cocker spaniels for example were around £650 before lockdown and now for sale at £1500-£3500. There are millions of rescue dogs in the UK and abroad, desperately in need of a home.
Rescue Back Up
One thing to look out for when considering a rescue dog is rescue back up (RBU) which is important as many rescue dogs can be traumatised and scared from their experiences. With patience and love most dogs come around. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out as with every relationship. Nervous dogs are a commitment, taking time to adjust to a new way of living so when considering a rescue dog we must be aware of this.
Azzra had an 80 hour journey on what is called the ‘happy bus’ to travel from Romania and into the UK. It’s no surprise that she needs special training and shorter journeys to prevent car sickness like a puppy as she would have unlikely travelled much before. Furthermore, RBU means that somebody would be there as back up to take care of the dog in a foster home, keeping the dog safe without going back into a shelter.
Azzra loves to run around the beach and play ball. As a typical husky she is so fond of chasing cats and other small animals which we try not to encourage! Watching her with cats and birds on the TV just makes your heart melt as she tilts her head from side to side.
She loves lying on the grass and would quite easily sleep outside in the garden if she could bless her. Azzra is super smart and has been taught many tricks already like sit, down, stand, spin, leave it and heel. We think she will love agility and hope to take her when lockdown has passed. She quickly became part of the family and we couldn’t imagine life without her.
Adopting a Dog
If you are seriously considering adopting a pet dog, know you have the time and commitment it takes for the next 10+ years then please do consider a rescue. There are various Facebook groups which advertise rescue dogs from various countries. If you can’t commit long-term due to holiday or work commitments, why not consider fostering until they find their forever home? Looking after a rescue dog is so rewarding. I will list some recommended rescue centres in the UK and abroad below. Most centres ensure the animals are spayed / neutered, vaccined and microchipped but it is worth double checking. Note briefly: some of them feature their rescues on Facebook pages / groups and don’t always have them updated on their website.
*The Biggies League – rescue dogs from Romania, some Fosters in the UK, RBU.
(This is where Azzra is from, they also have a Facebook group to keep in contact with other Biggies League rescue owners and ask for advice)
*8 Below Husky Rescue – northern breeds in England and Wales https://www.8belowhuskyrescue.org/
*Dogs Trust – UK