Tangled mass of neglect we saved off the streets              A lucky pup we found one night on a country road

I have now been living and working in Romania for a number of months...I have shed tears of both pure joy, and also immense sadness at what I have witnessed so far. There are so many wonderful people in this beautiful Country, and because of the callous indifference and lack of empathy for our animal friends by certain members of society, Romanian people in general often get a raw deal, when in fact, there are so many good people out there, striving to change things for the better...always remember this fact!
I have so many stories to tell...heartbreaking images which are seared into my memory. It seems like every other day, my rescue colleagues bring yet another abandoned puppy, or a badly injured dog to my place of work (also my actual home). We have many dogs in our care, and many have been victims of sheer cruelty, or neglect, both wilful and also out of ignorance. If these poor animals could speak, and tell us their tales of woe, it would horrify us...

We have dogs with missing limbs, horrendous spinal injuries, and some are deeply traumatised. It takes many hours of patience, but eventually they come to trust us. This is why I love dogs so much. Their hearts hold no malice, they have no concept of revenge nor retribution, and they learn to love human's even after suffering such abuse and neglect..they truly are 'man's best friend'.

        Poor strays living a lonely & dangerous life                  Strays at a garage forecourt begging for scraps

               Pups found dumped in garbage

              Saved from a harsh life on the streets

I have settled into the daily routine of life here in Romania, which involves taking care of around 200 dogs where I currently live & work. Believe me when I say..lots of poop! It's amazing just how heavy poop is, when lugging large bags of the smelly stuff into the garbage area! This time next year I should have arms & muscles like Arnie! It is hard work, cleaning, feeding, and all associated tasks involved in caring for so many dogs each & every day, but to know the life that they once had, and the love and care they now receive, makes it all worthwhile, especially when they wag their tails on your arrival! Currently, the temperatures are hitting around 40 degrees celcius, which makes the work even harder, but all that matters to me are their happiness, comfort, and welfare, and so every day, it's a never ending cycle of cleaning, feeding, watering, and most important of all..showing love to them all...

                         Happy dogs-It's feeding time!

    Little 'Vlad' Check out his 'teefy fangs'!

Giving up my life in England was a big step, but I have no regrets. I miss friends and family at times, but it's only a 3 hour flight away, and I will be returning every now and then, to see my family, and enjoy the pleasures of reading English newspapers again, whilst munching on my favourite crisps..'Monster Munch' (Can't find them anywhere in Romania!).
Whenever I do feel lonely, I sit on the front porch, and watch my Romanian dog friends, happily playing in the main yard. I never watch TV here in Romania, nor do I miss UK TV to be frank, but my TV is watching the dogs...Better than any program on Sky by a mile! The days are long, and my one day off is usually spent at the Shopping Mall in Bucharest, where I can have some 'me' time, buying lots of ice cream, coffee, and just wandering around for a few hours, without the constant yapping sounds of the dogs...Even though, it is nice to get away for a few hours, even then, I strangely miss them, and their barking, and it's nice to get back to my home, where I am greeted by a cacophany of excited woofers! Best of all (see the Living in Romania page for more details), my own dog 'Bonnie' is there waiting for me, after her epic 1500 miles road journey, thanks to Claudia and the team at Eli Pet Transport, who very kindly brought her here from England. I must also thank the wonderful Jayne Adlington Nicholson, who collected my Bonnie from my Brothers home in the North East, and looked after her for the night, before taking her to the kennels in Retford, ready for the final leg of her long journey here. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for my reunion with my little 'Bon's'...

              Jayne takes good care of my Bonnie and she crys as she waves her goodbye on the Eli Pet van.

           Yay! 1500 miles later my Bonnie arrives

                      Yes-I cried like a baby! :)

                                                                 Garbage dump puppies

Although we see instances of neglect, cruelty, and utter heartbreak for all involved, we will never give up in our resolve to try to do what we can, and although we can't save them all, for the lives that we do save, that is our reward. Only recently, Gabi (my work colleague) was told by a local gypsy of a little black dog who had 3 puppies in tow, and was living on a garbage dump, close to where we live. We prepared our 'puppy catching kit' of fresh water and food, and I grabbed my rucksack and a big dose of 'hope', praying that we could catch them.
The most frustrating part of rescuing stray dogs is that many are very coy, and although they will often come close, knowing that they will receive a meal, they stay just out of reach, and if we try to grab them, they run away into the fields. A result of past cruelty, and the methods used by the dog catchers, who show no kindness, and capture them with nets and poles with no regard for their welfare.

So off we went, me on my pedal bike, and Gabi on her rollerskates! As we approached the dump, we saw a female dog with a tiny puppy standing perilously close to the road! I jumped off my bike, and thankfully neither the Momma dog nor the puppy tried to run away...Gabi stretched out her hand, and Momma and puppy greeted her with love, knowing that they were finally safe. Gabi had previously checked the very same spot earlier in the day, looking for the original black dog, and there was no sign of anything, and so it was obvious that this poor dog and her babies had been callously dumped shortly before our arrival...

We scoured the area, and amongst the festering piles of rubbish, discarded beer bottles, and filth, were 3 more tiny babies. I picked them up, and immediately gave them water and a little food. In the scorching 36 degrees heat, they would not have survived for much longer, and the traffic never slows down. (We often see poor babies (and larger dogs) lying dead on the roads, their bodies left to rot). As I scooped the puppies into my rucksack, Gabi picked up Momma, and I pedalled as fast as I could back home with Gabi cradling Momma in her arms....

The dogs were placed in a secure room, with fresh water and food, and are now in our care. Hopefully, they will find loving new homes once rehabilitated, vaccinated, and are ready. This is what makes all the tears worthwhile, the endless sleepless nights, the work, the emotions that we endure...

Even if certain people are not animal lovers like we are, I will never be able to comprehend the mindset of people who are able to callously discard a Mother and her 4 tiny babies, in a rubbish dump of all places, without any food or water, and destined to either die a lingering death, or face a harsh life living as another Romanian stray...

                                             'Moustache' the stray dog who lives in a field...

Every night before bedtime, my ritual includes feeding the stray dogs that live in the fields. One in particular we call 'Moustache', a collie type dog, and although he has a deep fear of people, he knows that I come to feed him, and so he waits for me. Yesterday, he even let me stroke and pat his head! A milestone!
If only he knew that my intention is to gain his total trust, so I can bring him gently into our home, where he will never again have to contend with the dangerous traffic, or dog catchers...
However 'Moustache' is not just another poor stray..but a puppy saviour too!!

Late last night, as I went outside to feed 'Moustache', I rustled his bag of food in anticipation..hoping to see his head popping out of the bushes..but not a sound! I headed to his favourite feeding spot, and the reason for his absence became clear...Lying mere inches from the main road, on the grass verge...5 tiny puppies, days old, callously dumped in a green plastic bag!! Luckily, they were all huddled together fast asleep, as had they crawled a few inches more, they would have been killed by traffic. I immediately shouted out to 'Tudor', our helper, and together we scooped the pups into a basket, to take inside. As we scooped the babies into our arms, I suddenly heard the distinctive cries of yet another abandoned baby. Puppy number 6 had strayed from the main group...very luckily the opposite way to traffic, and he had fallen down the grass embankment into the bushes. Thank God I heard his cries! And thank God for 'Moustache'!!

This is the most joyful aspect of my work, and also the saddest. These abandoned babies should be with their Mother, and she will desperately miss them, having been cruelly taken away from her so soon after giving birth. Instead of a simple spay procedure, with would eliminate unwanted babies, many people simply choose to discard animals, in the most cruellest fashion. A life so worthless, discarded on the grassy verge by a busy road, is sadly almost an everyday occurrence for so many of us here in Romania. And it is us who have to pick up the pieces, caring for so many abandoned babies throughout the night, feeding, cleaning, and doing what their natural Mothers should be able to do. If only people would neuter-spay their pets...

                                         'Moustache' the stray dog - I caught him...yay!!!

The stray dog who lives in the field (see above), is now no longer a stray. Late last night as I went outside to feed him and the others, after long weeks of gaining his trust, I knelt down on all fours, approached him, and instead of running away as he so often would do, he let me stroke him.


All it took was 10 minutes of patiently sitting there stroking him, and he let me gently pick him up in my arms, whereby I brought him home. Bewildered by the sights and smells of all the other dogs, both myself and Tudor (our helper-assistant) watched on as Moustache got used to his new surroundings. This is what I love about rescue...a dog who has never been stroked, never been spoken to in kindness, shunned by society, and was most likely another dumped puppy, who unlike so many others, managed to survive despite the harshest of winters, and at a guess I would say he is now around 6 years of age. Learning to survive on scraps, drinking the foulest water, and never knowing a human's love and kindness until now...a testament to the loyalty and love of the species. A totally feral animal, who began to trust someone who cared and who provided food and water.

And never again will our lovely Moustache have to endure a harsh winter sleeping outside in the freezing snow..never again will he go hungry or thirsty, and finally, he will receive what all our dogs in our care do...

love...The relief as I finally cradled him in my arms was indescribable, and as I write these words, my tears flow like a childs, such is my joy at finally rescuing him...yay!

                                                                The Sewer Pipe Stray

One day, as my dear friend and fellow rescuer Chris Ellis gave me a lift home, I spotted a stray dog in the nearby field. As we stopped the car to take a closer look, we saw 5 stray dogs. These are the dogs that live in the field (one is the girlfriend of Moustache), who we feed every night. However, they run and hide as they are very wary of humans. One in particular caught our eye. A black and white pointer type dog who looked very young, and very skinny. As me and Chris looked around we noticed a drainage-sewer pipe, and as we peered inside we saw this poor dog cowering inside.
Next day I returned with a big bag of food, and water. I promised Chris that I would do everything I could to capture this poor mite, and so I was prepared to do what I did with Moustache...to return daily and gain this dogs trust...
The day after, me and Tudor returned to the sewer pipe and it was raining heavily and very cold. The previous night, all I could think of was this poor dog, cowering in his hiding place, so alone, scared, cold...
As we knelt down to peer inside, there he was, deep inside the pipe. It was too tight a squeeze to climb inside, and dangerous due to pieces of broken glass and discarded rubbish lying inside. We threw him some food, and tried coaxing him out, but he was terrified. Tudor ended up at one end of the pipe with me at the other, spanning the country road. Suddenly he bolted out of his hiding place, and I panicked as he ran towards the road, as traffic sped by. I stood by the road to stop him running, and Tudor crept up behind him....
Finally safe in our arms!!
No sooner was he in our arms, he relaxed, knowing he was finally safe. We took him back to the shelter, where he was given a comfy warm blanket, and a bed to lie in. He will never have to lie alone in a stinking sewer-drainage pipe, and never go hungry or cold again. Today as me and Tudor tended to the many dogs in our care, when we went to feed and water our latest arrival, we opened the door and his little tail wagged...Brought tears to my eyes! Despite the cruelty that we see, despite the pain, it's all worth it when another dog is saved...
So as we strive on a daily basis to take care of all our babies here in Romania, and the ones that we continue to save, I personally wish to thank all you lovely people..those who follow my journey, who share, who support, who simply show their appreciation for the work that we do. Your support means the World to us, as often it feels like we are alone, and it's a never ending battle to save the dogs. Although I rarely ask for any donations, if anyone would like to help us, and support our work, please visit the 'Donations' page on this website.
Alternatively, you can donate via paypal. The email address for donations is [email protected]
Should you wish, you can also donate to Norton Animal Rescue via paypal at [email protected]

Thank you for continuing to support the work being done by ALL Romanian rescue workers, and all those involved. Knowing that we are not alone, and to know that although this World can be such a cruel place, there are many people striving to save lives, and who will always continue to do so, and it is this that gives us the strength to carry on.
Thank You All...Gary Edwards.