How 1 incredible Romanian rescue dog survived against all the odds

and finally found happiness with an amazing family

Huddled by the side of a busy road in Bistrita, Linda, an abandoned Bulgarian Mountain Dog, and her three 6 week old puppies were clearly starving and struggling to survive when our wonderful volunteer, Miss Eli found them.

We knew we had to help them but how?  This was before we had Happy Tails and good fosterers were, and still are, difficult to find.    Miss Eli’s neighbour had agreed to take the puppies, but not Linda.  It was heart breaking to have to separate them, but our only option for her was going to be the public shelter.

Over the following weeks, with some good food and TLC the puppies Woody, Lottie and Bettie started to recover and homes were found for them in the UK. 

 “Two months after they were first separated we brought Woody to the public shelter to say goodbye to Linda,” says Jayne.  “It was the day he was due to leave for his new home in the UK and it broke my heart to see them licking each other through the cage, knowing that he would be leaving his mum behind.”

Linda had in fact been adopted almost immediately by a German family but, as is often the case in the public shelter, it was taking months to arrange the transport to her new home. 

And so, alone and hungry with little protection from the searing 30-40 degree summer temperatures, Linda waited patiently in the public shelter….

 “But then disaster struck,” continues Jayne.  “Linda developed sticker tumours on her eyes, a particularly nasty disease.  It generally responds very well to chemotherapy, but it wasn’t administered correctly in the public shelter and so, far from getting better, Linda’s condition deteriorated, with more tumours developing on her head and teets.  Sadly her German adoption fell through and then, just as we thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did, with a post op infection making it touch and go for a while for poor Linda.” 


Linda in the PS 1
Desperately ill and in the less than sterile conditions of the public shelter, month after month Linda continued to wait ……


“We had Happy Tails by then and were desperate to get her there to safety, but the public shelter wouldn’t release her to us.  The politics there are a constant source of frustration for us.  We knew we could help her and yet we just couldn’t get her out.  As a last resort, Crina had to apply for authorisation from the mayor for her release.”

Finally, 1 year after she went into the Public Shelter, we celebrated the arrival of Linda at the isolation unit at Happy Tails where our vet immediately set to work; first curing the infection, operating to help her go to the toilet properly after a failed procedure in the PS, and then administering the chemotherapy.   This time, using the correct chemo protocol, over the next three months the tumours reduced in size and then disappeared altogether.” 

With Linda at last fully recovered, 1 Dog at a Time put out a call on Facebook for a special home for a special dog, but the words ‘cancer survivor’ seemed to be a red flag for any potential adopters.   

Linda at Happy Tails
Linda at Happy Tails, 1 1/2 years after we found her, still waiting for someone to love her ……

 Dreams really can come true

 At last 1 ½ years after Linda and her pups were found by the side of the road in Bistrita, a truly amazing couple, Kevin and Alison and their family came forward as potential adopters.  They had been looking for a companion for their X old Labrador/Retriever cross, Roxy when, as Alison explains: 

“We saw Linda’s sad little face on 1 Dog’s website and knew we had to have her.   We couldn’t believe what the poor little mite had been through and wanted to give her a chance of happiness.”   

After a successful home visit, Linda finally arrived in the UK on our November 2016 Freedom Bus and it was love at first sight for Alison, Kevin and Linda. 


Linda meeting Kevin and Alison
A new beginning.  Linda meets her adopters, Alison and Kevin for the first time

“Linda is an absolute sweetheart and has been no trouble at all,” continues Alison.  “Although there was one little incident involving the mysterious disappearance of some spiced buns.  We had left them on the kitchen table when we went out and when we came back they had ALL gone.  We thought she had wolfed the lot, but then we gradually found them secretly stashed around the house; under the table, sofa, cushions…..  One was even discovered two weeks later in my son’s bed!   Bless her, it was probably an after effect of being constantly hungry in the public shelter.   Never knowing if and when she would be fed there, she had hidden the buns in case we ever forgot to feed her – which is never going to happen! 

Linda on the sofa
Linda enjoying a snuggle on the sofa in her new home

 “There were a few health problems resulting from the surgery at the public shelter that our vet managed to clear up, but throughout she’s been incredibly patient.  After everything she’s been through, perhaps understandably her favourite thing is to curl up asleep. 

But this wonderful adoption story of survival against the odds doesn’t end there.   Inspired by this truly amazing dog, Alison and Kevin seem to have developed a bit of thing for Romanian rescue dogs and so, when Linda’s puppies, Bettie and Lottie found themselves up for adoption again, due to a change in their adopters’ personal circumstances, they jumped at the chance to have them as well.   Then, when they heard about Ella, a dog that had suffered terrible abuse in Romania, this incredible family decided to adopt her too. 

Linda with pups and Ella
Ella curled up at the front with Linda and her puppies

So Linda, the dog that refused to die and who had patiently waited for SO long for just the right family to come along is now part of one BIG happy family! 

and another 1 Dog at a Time Happy Ending ……..


Linda, Lottie and Bettie
Linda reunited with her puppies Lottie and Bettie


Our landlord has put Happy Tails up for sale and 1 Dog at a Time Rescue has until September to find the £70,000 purchase price or we could lose it to another buyer. 

So far, we’ve raised £65,000.

We have less than 2 months to find the remaining £5,000


Read about our campaign to rescue Happy Tails: