On the 8th July 2011, less than a month ago, representatives of Romania Animal Aid flew out to Romania, 3 huge suitcases full of aid and money in the kitty to buy food for the strays we would encounter on this aid mission. The first thing that strikes you and not surprisingly is all the stray dogs everywhere, so very skinny and ill, tiny puppies to heavily pregnant mummy dogs all needing help, all needing to be rescued from their life of hell.
Then the sinking feeling starts to fill your belly....As yet again you are reminded that you can only help so many at one time, have only so much space in your hire car to rescue those in desperate need. Knowing that when the space in your car has been filled, all you can do is give basic care for the others you will find on your way, treat their wounds, feed and water them, then with tears in your eyes as you look in your rear view mirror, you have to drive away from them, leaving behind strays that you know that you could save if only things were different.
The space in our hire car started to be taken up on the second day of our journey, Kendra was driving, now she has no sense of direction when she is in the UK so you can only imagine how many wrong turns she took during this week. However, after the team having to find an alternative route to remedy what would become one of many of Kendra's Mystery tours, they were travelling through a village along a very busy road. A tiny ball of white fluff was spotted laying lifeless in the middle of the road, behind this ball of fluff was a similar little figure but this one was moving, sitting on the grass verge.
The team immediately stopped the car, got out and went to what now is known to be two puppies, only a few weeks old. The white one just lay there, not even moving. The sun was beating down on her little body but no blood could be seen, so at this point we had no idea if she had been hit by a car. We scooped the little one up and thankfully she started to breath. Though when she tried to move her neck she was listless and her neck seemed to be stuck as if unable to move. Also her right eye was really off centre, it was clearly obvious that this puppy had internal injuries, but first we had to treat and care for her, to keep her going till we could find a vet.
The little brown one too was scooped up, and thanks to the first aid treatment we were donated or bought with donated funds, we were able there and then to pump some hydration fluid into both pups, and immediately afterwards some puppy milk formula. Unless you have rescued pups in a similar situation, it is hard to describe the relief when they of their own accord start to guzzle the fluids you are giving them by syringe. This showed to us, especially with the little white one (now named Baby Bear) that she wanted to live, and we would help her and little Croc to do this in anyway that we could.
These two little guys were the first of our furry passengers, and would travel around Romania with us until the very last day when we had to leave. The Second passenger was a little dog that literally in front of us was deliberately run into by a car ( a sick past time we found out for some in Romania) Thankfully the car did not actually run over him, rather he bounced off of the drivers side door. The dog was stunned and limping...We slammed on the breaks, halted the traffic (much to other motorists annoyance) and our third passenger joined us on our journey. Shortly after this 2 tiny kittens were spotted darting in and out of a busy road, cars literally missing them by a cats whisker...These became our fourth and fifth passengers. Needless to say as we travelled through Romania we stopped at veterinary clinics to get these guys checked over and buy any treatment they needed.
Only after the vet gave them each the all clear, we continued on our travels with regular pit stops for feeding time and to let them do their business.
With Baby bear the vet confirmed that not only had she and her little brother been thrown onto the road, but with baby bear she was slammed so hard onto the concrete this caused her brain to swell, in turn this affected her neck and why it was so stiff. Also her eye to be literally be pushed out of alignment. After an injection from the vet, 4 days of round the clock care from us, by the time we left her along with her brother and the rest of our passengers with a foster carer, she was happily (if not a little wonky) playing grab the big dogs tail and skim the floor on your belly game! She may never recover 100% as she was before, after being slammed to the concrete by some excuse of a human being, but she will lead a full and happy life. RAA will make sure of that, as we will with all the passengers that were rescued.
The week was filled with so many ups and downs, we visited shelters and helped where we could, even meeting up with the Mayor of Botosani after us literally bumping into him at the city hall where we were lodging an official complaint after seeing for ourselves his vile dog shelter where we also donated food. (Video footage will be available on our site shortly) We were literally covered in mud and slime after standing up to our ankles in a swamp made up of dog and rat excrement, refuse spillage and goodness knows what, this is what surrounds the public dog shelter. Our clothes were ripped from climbing through the rubbish and scraping against the bars of the shelter...We must have looked like a right motley crew, but either way, the man had to sit for over an hour and be grilled by us.
What we witnessed at that shelter was heartbreaking and this simply cannot be allowed to continue the same goes for how strays and animals are treated in general in Romania. The cruelty and abuse must be stopped, and the victims must somehow be saved from this living hell.
Apart from seeing animals being deliberately driven over in front of us to stop us saving them. Also being targeted by trucks trying to run us over when standing in the road to stop an animal from being killed, one of the lowest points of our trip was to Moldova.
We were desperately trying to search for a little horse that we had seen on a YouTube video, only months before being beaten so badly that he collapsed. Twice before it had been reported that Little Grey horse had been found and rescued by in Romania, but each time it was confirmed this was not the little horse we were searching for. We found out that the horse was within the Moldova region, and we were hoping that by speaking with authorities and to the local people something may lead us to finding and rescuing him.
It became quickly obvious that no one wanted to know, no one was interested and no one wanted to help these crazy group of women searching for one little horse. However that is not the end of it for us, and we are currently researching into ways to take YouTube to court to find the abusers details and ip address.( We will update more when we have news)
Apart from rescuing and saving the lives of Baby bear and co and giving help and relief to hundreds of strays that we encountered, one of the main things that has come out of this trip, is our determination to accomplish more.. The only way that we can achieve this is by buying a van and organising regular aid missions to Romania. The money spent on hiring a car out there would have paid for the petrol we used for the whole trip! Our own van would mean more supplies being distributed to where they are needed, our own van would mean less animals being left behind, our own van would mean these same animals can be transported out of Romania to safety and we would open up this offer to other NGO's and organisations who right now have to pay high transport costs to corporate companies. We, just like you want these animals to escape the brutality that for the majority is common place in their lives. Something that no animal should have to face....
We simply will not give up on any of them, and will do whatever we can to make a difference in as many of these animals lives as we can.
A more detailed report on our Aid Mission to Romania will shortly be available