The Prankster is currently on holiday. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Do not read this blog if you expect it to be about parking.
Readers may find the following disturbing.
When the team arrived at this shelter the dogs were so hungry they were fighting each other to eat their own faeces. The team knew what to expect but this was still very harrowing to watch and affected the team deeply. Although food is provided there is not great understanding of animal behaviour so a few dominant dogs get all the food, while the weaker ones get little or nothing. The team are on site with the long term goal of improving education and welfare practices. However, the immediate needs were to source food for the dogs.
Food was provided as quickly as possible in sufficient quantities that all the dogs could eat. Some of the dogs were so weak that although they were obviously starving they made no attempt to get food because they knew they would be attacked by the other dogs. These weaker dogs were removed and allowed to eat on their own. The dogs were triaged and dogs in immediate need were removed and taken to get medical care. Others will be removed tomorrow. It was difficult to leave them behind, but there is only so much the team can cope with at one time.
Longer term the goal is to remove as many dogs as possible to other shelters so that the number of dogs in this shelter is manageable, to find homes for as many dogs as possible, and to educate and improve conditions.
Today we came back to rescue more dogs. There was food left in the shelter which was a good sign. However the pens had not been cleaned out and were covered in faeces, and the dogs did not have any water. We watered the dogs (who were desperate) and took as many as we could cope with. Our local vet was busy today and could not see any extra dogs, so the dogs were housed in temporary shelters until they could be treated and introduced into the rescue shelter.
Most of the dogs we took appeared to have shut down. They were just skin and bones. Despite that three puppies ignored the wet food we gave them - it turned out they did not know what it was. When they found out, it was devoured in a matter of seconds.
By the end of the day there was a noticeable change. The dogs had started to come to life and were incredibly loving and desperate for affection, despite the terrible ordeal they had been through.
Sadly there is one dog who may not make it through the night. She appears to have given up and is not taking food or water. She has been given medical treatment and loving support, which is all that can be done in the circumstances.
Tomorrow we will return to the public shelter again and make sure the pens are clean and the dogs watered and fed. The local authorities are helping publicise the situation and we hope to be able to organise a rota of local people to visit the shelter on a regular basis to do this work. We also hope to reduce the dog numbers over time so that the food available is sufficient for their care. The local private rescue is now nearly full, but it achieves a good turnover of dogs for adoption so spaces will become free.
Unexpected change. When we returned to the public shelter there was a massive improvement. The shelter is staffed on a rota and the man in charge today was much more on the ball. All the pens were clean, the dogs had plenty of water, and there was actually food left uneaten in the troughs. The dogs already seem happier, although this is obviously a relative term!
This is a huge turnaround.
The man was also much more compassionate in his handling of the dogs than the previous people we met.
We have singled out two more dogs to take on Monday
Back at the private shelter the poorly dog survived the night and looks to be getting stronger. The other rescued dogs were happy to see us return and were wagging their tails and pressing up against the bars for cuddles.
The next steps are to complete their treatments, get them socialised, and then put them up for adoption. The shelter has a good turnaround of dogs and several are leaving this week for their new homes. The more recent arrivals will probably need a month or two to recover from their starvation and address any other medial problems before they are fit for adoption.
The rest of the day was spent photographing and filming dogs so they could be put on the web site for adoption.
We also visited a potential site for purchasing land for a permanent shelter (the current land is only rented). This would then become a site where people could come out for a holiday, spend some time helping with the dogs and other time exploring Romania. This would assist with the shelter becoming self-financing over the long term.
The Barking Prankster