I come to this site hoping to get some acute help for my little private rescue for dogs and cats.
I am a pensioner living in Bulgaria with my wife, 11 dogs, 4 cats and a tame magpie.
When we came to Bulgaria from Great Britain for the sunny climate, warm sea and cheap properties, we brought with just one Golden Retriever. The first week in the new country brought us an alive skeleton of a little dog in a corner of our large garden. She only had fur left on her head, the rest of her naked body was covered by scars and wounds. As tiny and exhausted as she was she was ready to protect her life from any human being which she demonstrated by showing her teeth and growling.
Horrified by her state and not knowing what to do but somehow guessing that the British way to call animal rescue centre will be futile, we didn't call anywhere for help but offered her food. She swallowed an amount of soup, bread and tinned meat of almost her own body weight. She never left the garden after that, of course. After three days she followed us everywhere licking our heels on her way.
That was how we got our new Bulgarian "family” started.
The number of stray dogs and cats that we saw running around was astonishing.
Bulgaria is the poorest country of the EU, and in the crisis of the 1990th when millions of people learnt what the poverty and hunger are, thousands of dogs were thrown out onto the streets and fields.
Recently a lot of efforts were made by EU organisations, volunteers and private sponsors to diminish this ecological catastrophe, no-kill policy shelters and castration centres were built, but the problem is still here.
Our first adopted little mongrel had demodecoses which took a long, expensive treatment to cure. The vet clinic was located next to a local shelter. One nice day behind the metallic mesh in the crowd of barking mix-bred residents I noticed a gorgeous yellow Labrador Retriever, extremely friendly and as sweet in this special way only Labs can be. Her skin under the patched fur was in so many bites and wounds after other dogs' claws and teeth that it was difficult to stroke her without hurting but she didn't mind at all.
That was the second adopted fur child of ours. Much later we learnt that she used to be a guide dog for blind people, highly trained – but left by an unknown moron tied up to the fence of the shelter.
The first thing she did coming to ours was finding two newly born, still blind, puppies crying out their lungs under the huge stairs in our garden. They were starved, cold and definitely abandoned by their mother.
We had to fed them from the bottle every two ours day and night. Tiny brother and sister grew up like on the yeast. When they opened their dark blue, very attentive eyes, it took only a moment for them to inhale deeply and go to each other throats. They never started the bitching after that.
Then another skeleton came – a gun dog with a dozen of bullets under her face skin. It was not someone's mistake on the hunt because the bullets where plastic, made for entertainment air weapon. Somebody entertained himself well.
A little black Dachshund, 3 months old, we found on the empty beach at a small resort in October, where she drunk the salty water from the sea. All tourists had left and nobody could share a sausage with her anymore, but hungry gold jackals started their the autumn raids through the nightly streets to clear the town of all weak, sick or old breathing beings. It was out of the question to leave her there to die.
Then the whole thing put on speed. We met suffering animals everywhere we went. A few dogs simply showed up and stayed, and puppies were dumped to our gates.
Our first adopted kitten, a tiny black beauty with delicate white décor,
abandoned by it's mother, was half-living-half-dying in the yard of an elderly couple who had too much work in their household and too many cats around the house. I thought it was comatose but when I took it to my chest the poor little thing started to purr.
The second kitten was yelling desperately in a closed communal rubbish container. Tiny and underfed, with huge beautiful eyes, she begged to be taken up, and then it was evident she had an acute diarrhoea.
The third one came to live with it's mother in our garden in the autumn. The kitten was still half blind. When the weather got freezing and a snow storm was predicted it's mother disappeared.
The fourth one was starving in a local shelter where the cat room for some strange reason was supposed to be closed and the cats sent back on the street. He needed proper soft food but there were no facilities or personnel to provide for that.
The fifth kitten was thrown away in a plastic bag together with it's siblings and was found in the field by our dogs during a walk. Only one was still alive and the dogs happily attacked it.
The last for now – the eleventh – pup, about 8 month old, I extracted from a swamp by the water well, where he was stuck in the mud, being slowly sucked into it in the cold November rein. It took a month of vet treatment to cure him of three life threthening illnesses which are almost unknown now in the west Europe. At the end of a week with bloody diarrhoea a couple of sharp shreds of wood and plastic came out of his long-suffering guts. He had tried to eat everything while starving.
We are told often enough by friends and relatives we are nuts because it's impossible to rescue all of these poor beggars running around.
We very probably are. But if it is impossible to help all of them without owning an oil well in the back yard, it is definitely possible just to take what life sends directly, personally to us.
If one of the sufferers crosses your way begging for help or is dying on your doorstep and you are not on your last penny what is the choice? Step over? Pass them over to the concentration camps named 'shelters'? Even in the best ones of them puppies have almost no chances to survive and there are times when their little lifeless bodies are dug down by dozens.
If every one 0f us could help just one homeless animal there wouldn't be millions of them around and no need to speak about impossibility to help them.
Well then, what will we do ? Because they won't stop coming.
We have a lot of green space, and friends wanting to work with us. There is the chance to organize a process of adoption for animals into the West Europe.
Why I am asking for help today and what must be done for now if animal lovers on this web site would like to support our efforts?
For now these dogs and cats are living in and at our house as a big happy family, deeply loved, well fed, have warm sleeping accommodation, often including our own beds, and literally unlimited green space to run and sniff around outside of our garden. And that's is the problem of ours. One of the biggest. The band of 11 four-legged rogues shouldn't run around unsupervised. The walk in the evening through the empty rural world with us is safe, but in the day it's dangerous for everybody. Country people, especially children, most of them terrified of dogs, herds of cows and sheep, free range poultry. The roads and a highway behind. Alas, the old mesh fence and the soil under it are nothing for dogs claws, and every day they happily let themselves out.
Unfortunately, to build a reliable fence around half an acre is out of our means. Up to now we have been woefully practising the darning, gluing and patching the fence every other day for five years.
We have also reached our capacity for now. There are limits how many filthy dogs one can wash and dry every cold rainy day; how many freezing dogs in winter can a family let into a sitting room and two bedrooms. If any more dogs and cats arrive - it seems they will, moreover, they will come sick and exhausted, in need of veterinary and extra food we have trouble.
The solution seems to be to covert an old derelict outbuilding into a dog refuge. That will give good space for newcomers. It would also provide dry cover for some cats in the winter. A big fenced of yard will keep the inhabitants form rambling around and making the village feel insecure.
We have got an estimate which says:
Fencing in of 2oo m2 £1500.-
Concrete yard £1000.-
Water and electricity works £1200.-
The good thing is, that building work is cheaper than in the UK
That should give acceptable accommodation for another 10 dogs and several cats. Any additional funds would help with vet-bills and food.
The next step will be to arrange for your “costumers” to be adopted to good homes, but that comes a little later.