Ahhhhhh it’s that time of year again when love is in the air. For the romantics amongst us Valentine’s day is the perfect opportunity to indulge our love of romance with cards, flowers and candlelight dinners. There will, no doubt, be ample opportunity to curl up on the sofa, hankies at the ready, to enjoy a romantic book or TV film about star-crossed lovers destined to die young or be apart forever, but what about our canine friends? Will there be any doggie love stories for us to enjoy? We’ve all heard about those tragic tales of love and devotion where dogs, unable to get over the death of their owner, remain, sometimes for years, at their gravesides grieving for their loss. Here at 1 Dog at a Time Rescue we’ve come across all sorts of amazing tales of how the love and devotion of Romanian dogs has transformed their owners’ lives and some, like those stories shown below, of dogs’ love and devotion to other dogs.
Suri and Bernie
Bernie, a large fluffy mongrel, lived for many years in the grounds of an institution in Romania where a kind-hearted employee used to feed him and his long term companion, Suri. Both dogs, who were gentle and kind, developed a close bond with their friend and looked forward to her daily visits. However, one day the pair returned to their usual meeting place and for the first time after so many years she wasn’t there. She had been sacked and banished from the grounds.
This is when things took a serious turn for the worse for the pair, as the people who ran the institution called in brutal dog catchers to hunt the two dogs down. These people are ruthless and really don’t care how they catch the dogs and often, in the process, inflict terrible injuries.
Inevitably Bernie and Suri were caught and ended up bruised and battered in the public shelter and, even worse, they had been separated and put in cages far apart from each other. Public shelters in Romania, or kill centres as they are also known, are brutal places where alternately searing hot or glacially cold temperatures, precious little food and the dogs’ often untreated wounds mean that only the strong survive. These harsh places are nothing like the rescue centres we’re used here in the UK. No one will come to adopt these dogs and this is where they will stay until their life of almost complete abandonment takes its toll or, if they are fortunate, they are taken in by charities like 1 Dog at a Time Rescue.
Bernie and Suri in their separate cages in the public shelter
Bernie, who was around 8 at the time, found it really hard in the public shelter, with no way to keep himself warm, he was in constant pain with his aching joints and, to add further to his misery, he developed conjunctivitis. His cage was small and his bed a plank of wood. And here he stayed hungry, alone and pining for his mate, Suri.
As always in life there are good people as well as bad and thankfully here was no exception. Our volunteers from 1 Dog at a Time Rescue were allowed into the public shelter once a week to feed and care for the dogs. It’s then that they noticed poor Bernie and through Facebook, an unlikely hero, we managed to find the dream home for Bernie on a Cumbrian farm where he could run free in acres of idyllic rolling countryside.
But what about Suri? Where’s she in all this? Like so many dogs in Romanian public shelters she lay forgotten in her cage on her own bare plank of wood, hungry and grieving for her long lost companion. When we finally heard what had happened and how they had been separated, we told Bernie’s new owner, Carol who agreed to take Suri as well, which goes to show that miracles really can happen!
And today, four years later, as you would expect, Bernie and Suri are still devoted to each other, although Bernie, who is now blind, has to be helped by Suri as she gently guides him around their beautiful little piece of heaven.
This story is dedicated to Carol, who through her own acts of devotion and love, has transformed the lives of two very special dogs. Thank you from all of us at 1 Dog at a Time Rescue and, of course, from Bernie and Suri.
Can You Be A Valentine for A Romanian Dog?
But as the theme of this post is love and devotion there are other doggie heroes and heroines who deserve a mention. Heroes such as Negruta, who we recently found lying next to the frozen body of her constant companion who had sadly died in the frozen temperatures this winter. Negruta is an exceptionally sweet natured dog but, due to the cruelty she has endured, is understandably somewhat timid. She is now safe at Happy Tails, our wonderful rescue centre in Bistrita Nasaud, waiting for her forever home.
Billy and Ashley, two dogs who have spent a life time together, are also now waiting at Happy Tails for their forever home. These gentle and loving dogs enjoy nothing more than being petted and stroked, but if you decide to take them on be prepared for an extra wash in the mornings as they always reward kindness with big licks!
As I am writing this post my own Rommie, Milly lays her head on my lap asking for her dinner or some affection (or both), and my thoughts inevitably turn to the other dogs left behind and forgotten in the Romanian public shelters. We take as many as we can into Happy Tails, so we can rehome them in the UK, but there are so many other dogs waiting for their forever homes and their own little piece of heaven.
1 Dog at a Time Rescue UK
Dedicated to saving abandoned Romanian dogs and finding them loving homes
1 Dog at a Time Rescue is a UK registered charity (number 1167007)