Throughout 2019, we have had plenty of highlights at Dog Furiendly HQ, but one sparkling moment stood out amongst them all. Welcoming our newest pack member to the family, Romanian Rescue Dog, Minnie.
Since adopting our bundle of fur and fun, we’ve been asked plenty of questions from the community. So we thought we would share our experience with you on adopting a Romanian Rescue Dog.
We’ll dig into the process of adopting a Rommie, things to consider and the saddening situation that currently exists for the stray dogs on the streets of Romania.
Why Adopt a Romanian Rescue?
When you see a dog in need, love has no boundaries. Every dog deserves a loving home regardless of where it’s from. Minnie came to us from a rescue organisation, Broken Paws Second Chances. We found this hard-working non-profit organisation on a UK rescue group on Facebook, calling desperately for people to adopt Romanian Rescues.
We followed them for more information, looked into Minnie’s eyes, read her heart-wrenching story and wanted to do all we could to give her the best life possible.
The stray dog problem in Romania is beyond crisis point and shelters are full. There are very few animal welfare laws, and the shelters are a far cry from the kennels we have here in the UK. Volunteers are doing all they can do find loving homes for dogs across Europe. Many volunteers working alone with little support or financial backing – but they are making a real difference to the lives they save.
How To Find A Reputable Rescue?
Broken Paws Second Chances is a non-profit organisation based on Facebook with a group of over 14,000 members. We did thorough research within the group to find other members who had adopted dogs and asked for references.
Do be careful though, as always, there are people portraying themselves as rescuers when they have no proper rescue set up in a place so always background check if you are thinking of adopting.
Things that we checked with Broken Paws Second Chances, that we recommend you check with any other rescue organisation you’re adopting with:
- Make sure they provide a back-up rescue plan should they need to be re-homed, full support and follow-up for the dog’s life.
- Check they follow DEFRA regulations with regard to vaccinations, flea, tick and worm treatments, passports, microchipping and neutering. Please note, if you’re getting a puppy, you may need to get them neutered/spayed when they’re home.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for references
- Find testimonials from others who have rescued from them
- Check they are using a reputable, registered transport company
Once you’ve done you’re background check, all legitimate rescuers will require you to complete a pre-adoption form and undergo a home check. If your rescuer does not do this, this could suggest that they may not be a reputable rescuer and may even be a scam.
A non-refundable adoption fee will then be payable, which goes towards treatments, passport and transport to the UK. The total fee will vary, ours came to £250 in total.
Adoption Fee and Transport?
Once your pre-adoption form and house-check have been successful they will then start preparing your Romanian rescue dog for travel.
Minnie was all set to come to us six weeks after our house check. Every day waiting for those sweet little paws, felt like a lifetime. Before we knew it, her travel date was upon us and we were buzzing with excitement. Charlie wasn’t quite sure what he was excited about, but his tail was wagging just as much.
The communication from the team at Broken Paws Second Chances was incredible. The majority of them had adopted a Romanian rescue dog and been through the exact same experience with Broken Paws Second Chances. So every time we had a question, it was answered with a prompt response and sprinkle of experience.
The most exciting part was the photos and updates they sent in the meantime. Every photo they sent made us miss and want her home even more, out of the cold and safe in our arms.
What Happened on the Day of Travelling?
On the day they set off in a bus from Romania, the team popped us into a transport chat with all the other super-heroes welcoming a new Rommie to the pack. We were kept fully up to date with what other dogs they were travelling with, what day and time we would expect Minnie to our house and other information on how to help her settle in.
Minnie’s travel took two days in total. Throughout the whole time, we were kept fully up to date and loved seeing everyone’s photos as they each welcomed their new pooch to the pack.
Minnie was finally on UK soil, and as day turned into night and her bus was just around the corner. Together we pulled together a bag of donations for the dogs and treats for the transport staff who worked tirelessly that night to take the dogs to their forever homes.
Introducing Her To Her Forever Home
With a little message pinging to our phone, Minnie was outside. I don’t think I’ve ever got out of the house to meet anyone so quickly. Charlie waited patiently in his bed, not knowing what was going on.
We run outside to greet them with a nice warm cuppa and apt Minnie Mouse cupcakes. Even after a long stressful day of travel, the transport team couldn’t have been more friendly. They carried Minnie out of her kennel in the big bus and passed her to me. Instantly, filled with tears, we were in love. She nestled into my neck, sleepy, confused and nervous we took her inside to her forever home.
Charlie was very excited to meet Minnie. We took them both in the garden to meet in a mutual space and they clicked instantly. Playing together, into the living room and back out into the garden.
It’s true what they say. The smell of a Romanian rescue dog is unlike any other. She was matted, sticky and stinky. After playtime, we popped her straight in the bath for a wash, but her smell and matted, dry coat didn’t improve for weeks after a good diet and further washing.
That night we took Minnie to our bed. She stared at the ceiling in our bedroom for about 5 minutes, then fell straight to sleep in our arms.
Preparing For Your Romanian Rescue
You will need to plan and invest time during this period to socialise, teach and get acquainted with your new dog.
Prepare yourself for the worst, resource guarding, separation anxiety, escaping, fear of new people (growling/reactivity), fear of other dogs (growling/reactivity), bin raiding, stress behaviours, the list goes on.
Many Romanian dogs will have plenty of issues from their scarring past, many past the point of heeling. We prepared for a reactive/nervous dog, we were ready for the graft and hard work that came with it. Fortunately for us, Minnie has the most amazing temperament.
She came to us at the age of 7 months, still young enough to learn and plenty of time to iron out all those things she finds daunting. She coped with settling in a new place remarkably well, and we found that she didn’t need to much time to feel at home.
Other Romanian rescues don’t settle so quickly, so be prepared to give your pooch some space and time. We still had plenty of issues to overcome, particularly around socialising, raiding bins and counter surfing.
Socialising Your Romanian Rescue
The majority of dogs in Romania are very well socialised. Minnie knew the rules of play, which made playtime very fun for Charlie. She idolises Charlie and they make such a great pair of siblings. He’s taught her confidence, while she’s taught him to eat treats quicker.
Minnie’s first walk outdoors a few days later, was very daunting for her. We introduced her to as many social experiences as possible. The sound of road traffic, new dogs, being in a town and of course visiting a dog friendly cafe. All of these things were there to help her transition to her new British life. The second day after doing the same routine, she wasn’t phased by any of it.
Although she had been well socialised and hit it off with Charlie, something freaked her out about bigger dogs. We worked really hard to nip those issues in the bud right on her first outing. A few days after some careful socialising her confidence started shining through.
Now there’s no stopping her, she’s the life and soul of any pawty.
Our Little Dream
We’re forever thankful to Broken Paws Second Chances for giving us the most beautiful bundle of joy. We couldn’t imagine life without her, and we will definitely adopt a Romanian Rescue again in the future.
Of course, we still find little quirks from her Romanian past, even now – for instance, she hides when she meets anyone wearing a hat!
She’s very affectionate, full of personality, and always gives us something to chuckle about. Minnie is a very fast learner, learning new tricks every day.
She’s well-traveled already, from the beauty of Pembrokeshire to the city streets of London visiting dog friendly places. That’s not forgetting her very first dog friendly holiday to Cornwall that took place this Christmas.
To think about her life before breaks our heart, but now she’s safe in the arms of a loving home. With each second she’s here, she’s changing our lives for the better.
Do you have a rescue from outside of the UK? Perhaps you’re thinking about adopting a Romanian rescue? We would love to hear your stories or questions. Comment below or tag us in your stories on social media with #dogfuriendly.