Rose – the Romanian Rescue Dog
In September 2015, a 4 year old boy was killed by stray dogs in Bucharest. According to a recent damning report from the Huffington Times, the Romanian government has responded by result proposing a referendum that will allow any stray dog to be put down after 7 days in captivity. In fact, informally, the wholesale killing of stray dogs on the streets has been encouraged by the authorities. The means used are anything but humane.
This has caused outrage amongst animal lovers with the result that 7,000 Romanian rescue dogs were brought to new homes in the UK last year. When Li wrote to me for advice from Belgium, I soon realised how awful the plight of these poor animals is.
Three months ago, Li adopted little Rose, once an adorable puppy but after 8 or 10 years on the streets (& nobody knows exactly how long), her condition was worse than poor. Hopefully, Li’s experience will help others who are minded to help by taking on a rescue dog from Romania or elsewhere overseas to cope with the journey ahead that requires extensive veterinary treatment and patient love and care from the new owner.
Before Rose could be transported to Belgium, she had to have vaccinations for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis and infectious hepatitis as well as flea & worm treatments.
The transport plus the vaccinations cost £300 and the process took over 4 weeks. When she arrived, she was exhausted, emaciated and fearful of her surrounds. After 8 to 10 years on the streets of Bucharest, Rose had long since learnt to avoid human contact!
OTHER COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS
Because many other health issues often emerge after the dog arrives, Rose was kept away from Li’s other dogs and was promptly taken to the veterinary surgery. The first diagnosed – Sarcoptic mange, a common condition in rescue dogs and of course, contagious. Treatment took several weeks but thankfully she recovered.
Tests for demodectic mange and ringworm proved negative but urine tests revealed crystals, a symptom of food intolerances. The result: periodic nausea and diarrhoea. Constant ear irritation and severe itching were proven to be a symptom of an allergic reaction to dustmites.
Dustmites are not only a common cause of ear and skin disorders in pets, they are also the most frequent cause of asthma and eczema especially in infants and young children. As a dog on the street, Rose would not have met dustmite before because they only thrive in temperatures around 22 degrees C, in moist conditions with an ample supply of skin cells for food.
This week, Rose is being introduced to a complete organic raw food diet to alleviate the food intolerance. Meanwhile, she is regularly cleansed with PetalCleanse/D to improve coat condition and to eliminate bacteria and yeast infections without having to endure the stress of weekly bathing. Once per month, she is groomed using Bio-Life MediCleanse Shampoo and Conditioner which are “chemically friendly”, unfragranced antimicrobials.
The dustmite in the home environment are being eliminated by treating soft furnishings with HomeCleanse and the carpets and laundry with FabriCleanse. Over time, Rose may become less sensitive but in the interval, removing the pests and their allergens from the environment is much preferable to further treatments with immune-suppressant drugs that will only weaken an already damaged immune system.
The key word in this process is of course — TIME! We would never wish to deter anyone from taking on a dog in such dire need but it is important to understand that their physical health and psychological well being are a medium term project which will require real dedication from their new owners.
Rose is a rare case in one sense. In spite of the terrible suffering, she has remained a loving, gentle dog who responds to human care. She had not learnt to be aggressive which is often the case in these circumstances. Rose has not yet learnt to play but she loves her new home. For now, all she wants is to be next to Li and the closer the better! She goes everywhere with her and now she is eating well too. For this little dog, there is definitely a happy ending and we wish Li and Rose a long and happy life together.