Nearly 1,370 miles away, in shelters in Bacau, Romania, dogs and puppies are rescued from the cruellest fate every day.
Some were abandoned, others taken to kill shelters and many injured, some in need of urgent veterinary attention.
While in Romania rescuers pick up these dogs and take them to a place of refuge in rescue shelters across the country, here in Bristol a woman has made it her mission to rescue these animals and find them forever homes in the UK.
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Caroline Prater is a full-time carer who works 40 hours a week, but her passion for rescuing dogs and cats has kept her extremely busy in her down time. She has been rescuing Romanian street dogs since 2012 through her own rescue page called “Caroline’s Caring Across the Continent”.
She has rescued animals from all over Romania and she even goes there about three times a year to help out at the ‘Ville Shelter’, which is run by Maria Manea who, according to Caroline, “dedicates her life to dogs” and only works only with a small team of two others.
From now on, Caroline mainly focuses her attention on Bacau, where the refuge is located. At the ‘Ville Shelter’ there are currently around 600 dogs and puppies that have been rescued either from the streets of Romania or from the dreaded shelters.
Caroline said: “These kill shelters are horrible. So many dogs are starving, the dogs will fight until the fittest wins. The dogs will even eat the dead dogs and when the shelters are overrun, the dogs will be poisoned.
“I’ve heard that some have been injected with gas. It’s just heartbreaking.”
Once rescued by shelters in Romania, Caroline then posts pictures of the dogs and puppies on her Facebook page looking for foster homes or forever here in the UK. Potential adopters can then get in touch either by sending a message directly to the page or by filling out an adoption form available on Caroline’s website.
Before the green light is given to prospective adopters to adopt the dog of their choice, Caroline puts them through their paces to make sure all the rescued Romanian puppies go to the right homes and she reiterates how it’s different – and often difficult – can be to adopt a ‘Rommie’ rescue compared to buying a new puppy or adopting from here in the UK.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when Caroline generally tried to perform home checks on potential owners, Caroline did so virtually in order to verify that each adopted dog had a safe yard to run in and a space to feel safe in. and secure.
As stated on its website, most Romanian dogs have never lived in a home before and will have little training or exposure to human contact. They can be scared and nervous and need lots of time, patience and love to live the happiest, fullest life possible – and Caroline’s work, as well as that of people like the lifeguard and owner of the refuge Maria, is the beginning of this process. .
Caroline said: “Rescue is my passion. I rescued my first dog Murphy from a shelter in Romania and since rescuing him I knew I had to do more to help other dogs in the plight of these cruel deaths, hence why I started my own rescue page – Caroline’s Caring Across the Continent.”
Caroline, who is from Cadbury Heath, has now taken in over 1,500 dogs in the UK – all in loving homes, as well as many cats and says she has to self-fund much of the work she does rescuing as she gets very little time to fundraise due to full-time work.
She said: “I have many rescue dogs myself – 18 in total – including Zoey who has no hind legs. She lost them after being cut by a train.
“I also have four blind dogs. Faith is one of my daughters who was unfortunately found on the street with her eyes gouged out. Yes, it’s barbaric to think that a so-called human being did this and, so that the government gets money to support dogs in Romania, it seems a lot of it doesn’t go to the dogs even now.
“I hope I can spread the word more about the horrors unfolding in a so-called EU country. It is pure evil what these dear animals are enduring.”
Once a potential adopter is given the green light to adopt a Romanian rescue dog from Caroline’s Caring Across the Continent, she keeps them updated on their dog’s progress, adding him to a Facebook Messenger group with other adopters. about a week before the dog arrives. due to a trip from Romania to Bristol.
Using a pet transport service called ‘CHR Pet Transport’, on certain dates (usually about every two weeks) dogs, puppies and sometimes even a cat or two make the grueling journey from Romania to Bristol in van and Eurotunnel and each animal is delivered to their new home by hand.
New owners even receive an itinerary showing their pet’s stop number and what time they can expect it to be ‘delivered’. Caroline is always on hand to offer advice and a checklist of items new owners will need to prepare when their new pet arrives.
Pets even come with their own European Pet Passport, outlining the full list of vaccinations and tests they have undergone before travelling.
Additionally, pets will be microchipped and all owners need to do is register their pet’s microchip number online. Caroline then stays in touch with all adopters to track their progress once they receive their pet and to offer additional guidance on training, behavior, health and more.
If you think you would give a loving forever home to a Romanian rescue dog, or if you would like to help Caroline’s cause, you can contact her through her Facebook page here.
Have you rescued or adopted a foreign dog? We would love to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments below.
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