This is probably about one of the most difficult and upsetting cases that I have ever had to deal with. We first bumped into Ana with her anxious looking family on the way back from our walk one day. Ana was straining at the lead, barring her teeth at me, threatening to bite my head off. A member of her family picked her up to comfort her. They had heard that I lived in the area and they had been trying to track me down, because they thought that it would help Ana to talk to me. Tessa wasn’t very keen, she is such an alarmist, because when I actually approached Ana, she was frightened of me. Yes me … the big, scary Shorkie!
Tessa finally saw sense and invited the whole family back for a cup of tea, whilst Ana and I chatted in the garden. It turned out that six year old Ana has recently been rescued from the streets of Romania.
Romania has a huge stray dog problem, as of June 2015 about 300,000 of them and their Government is not very sympathetic towards them. Instead of organising a spaying and neutering program, dog catchers go out on the street and hurt dogs by hitting them with metal bars. Look away now if you are of a sensitive disposition.
We found out that the Homeless dogs crisis started during Ceausescu’s dictatorship, when houses with gardens and fences were destroyed and replaced with apartments with very small rooms. So people were forced to keep their dogs on the streets, where they repopulated into the stray dog crisis Romania is faced with today.
Ana said she was one of six puppies literally born in a gutter in Bucharest.
They had to learn to look after themselves pretty quickly because one day their Mother went to find food and never came back.
Ana and her brothers and sisters had to learn to defend themselves as they were picked on by other dogs which is why she is so aggressive when she sees other dogs approach her. She instinctively feels the need to defend herself. Whilst living as a stray, she was involved in many fights with other dogs, hit by a car, which is why she walks with a slight limp as she never had any veterinary care at the time. Fortunately for Ana, she was found by a dog rescue charity following her struggle to find food and she had become as emaciated as this little one below.
The charity gave Ana love, nourishing food and nursed her back to health. Ana says she will never forget how kind they were to her at the charity, best of all she was adopted by a loving family in Jersey. Ana feels she is very lucky to finally have a family of her very own, although she is still haunted by memories from her previous life in Romania.
Ana and I have become friends. She is a lovely girl who will overcome her understandable aggression towards other dogs, but it will take time.
If you think you can provide someone like Ana with a loving home, there are charities around that would appreciate your help like Hope for Romanian Strays.