Khaleesi’s story – from street to safety

Khaleesi 1Thousands of people have been captivated on Facebook and Twitter by the unfolding story of little Khaleesi, the young dog found wandering on the streets of Bulgaria in an appalling condition.  Happily, her fight for survival on the streets is now over – she is being cared for by Diane and Tony at the Rudozem Street Dog Rescue.

Diane takes up the story….

“On the morning of 12th May 2014, Tony noticed that someone was asking on the RSDR Facebook page if we could help a dog from another town. The animal was in a terrible state – extremely thin and suffering from severe demodex (a parasitic mite which causes the condition known as “mange”).  There was a link to a local news article which was calling for her to be caught and destroyed in case she was diseased.  The pictures of her showed the extent to which she had been mistreated and neglected.

We have seen the abuse that even healthy-looking street dogs suffer – they are routinely kicked, chased off and have things thrown at them.  We could only imagine what this poor dog might be going through.

Why bother rescuing a dog in that state?

Odinb“The majority of comments on our Facebook page have been overwhelmingly supportive – a few have questioned our decision to rescue this dog given her appalling condition.  We can only rely on our experience with any of the animals that we meet.  In this instance, we thought back to a dog who came to us several years ago, a pup from the same town, who we named Odin.  He also had severe demodex, but after a lot of nursing, Odin became a happy, healthy boy and was adopted by one of our team members in Holland.

We felt that, if we could find this dog, we could help her and give her a chance of a happy future.

Locating the dog

“When we set off on the 70 kilometre journey, we only had a rough idea where the dog might be and, since we didn‘t know anyone in the area, Nikolai, who works with us at the shelter, came along to ask for directions and to speak to Bulgarian contacts. While we were driving, Anita our RSDR co-ordinator got busy looking for someone in the area who could help us locate the dog.  We kept in constant touch via text messages and eventually were contacted by two local ladies, Slavena and Meral, who offered to meet us to help find the dog.

Khaleesi 2Two hours later, we arrived at the place where the dog had been reported and waited for Slavena and Meral to arrive.  Before long, I spotted her on the other side of a roundabout.  All I could think about was getting to her and I didn’t even hear Tony shouting at me to take care of the traffic.  As we reached her, Tony called her and she came straight over, cowering as she approached us, but desperate for contact.

What did we find?

“This dog has to be one of the saddest cases we have seen.  She is so thin and has no hair. She is covered in fleas and tick; her ear is torn and her skin so sore. It also looked as though her front leg had healed badly after being broken.

Khaleesi3Tony scooped her up and carried her to the car. If it weren’t for the fact that we were in a busy town with so many people watching, I think I would have broken down and cried. The poor girl had suffered so much and yet was still so loving and trusting.

I phoned Slavena to thank her and let her know that we had found the dog. Meral was already on her way to meet us and arrived just as we got her in the car. We are really grateful to both of them for their help.

Khaleesi 4

Finding a name she deserves

“On the way home, we thought about what to call her. We wanted a name that meant something because we knew that if she was to make it she had to be strong. I decided to call her Khaleesi after the character from “Game of Thrones”.

Pain-relief first, then comfort

“There is no room at the shelter right now so, when we arrived home that evening, we put her in our kitchen where it would also be easier for us to check on her through the night.   Some of the lads who work at the shelter came to the house after work and were visibly upset by her condition, but this didn’t stop them giving her a fuss and reassuring her. By this time, it was 8pm, but they still went back to the shelter to get some meds that we needed for her.

Our first priority was to make her as comfortable as possible.  We gave her a pain-killer and antibiotics, as well as a worm treatment.  Then we bathed her.  She shed a lot of the dead skin during her bath and this will allow the treatment for demodex, ticks and fleas to work more effectively.  Over the next few days, we expect all the dead skin to come off and – with the treatment she is getting – her hair will start to grow back.

After such a long and eventful day, Khaleesi settled peacefully on her blanket and slept all night.

Next morning, she greeted me with a lick and allowed me to stroke and reassure her.  She has a good appetite and, despite her abuse and neglect, and the discomfort she is in, she is so happy to be around people and manages to wag her tail.

Khaleesi 1

Where do we go from here?

“What we at first suspected to be a badly-healed broken leg may in fact be a deformity, which is apparent in both front legs.  This could be congenital or the result of malnutrition so we have put her on additional medication for this. Once she is a bit stronger and her skin is giving her less discomfort, we will have her front legs x-rayed and full blood works done.

And it hasn’t taken her long to get used to her surroundings.  She lets us know when she needs the toilet by standing at the door. After she has done her business outside, she quite happily goes back to the kitchen and her bed.

It is early days yet, but it looks so far as though she is on the road to recovery.  We don’t know how long it will take, but we won’t give up on her.

Thank you for your support

“We are very grateful to everyone who helped us yesterday and to everyone who has donated towards Khaleesi’s care and medical treatment.  If you would like to help us to help her, you make a one-off or a regular donation via PayPal or our YouCaring page.

Is Khaleesi up for adoption?

“A number of people have asked whether they can give Khaleesi a home.  When she is fully recovered and has completed all the medical tests, we will then assess her to see whether she is suitable for adoption.  We are very grateful for your interest and will of course update you on her progress.

Khalessi truly is a beautiful girl and fully deserves her name.”

Click here for more information and updates on Khaleesi.




  1. What’ really pathetic here, is that hundred’s maybe thousand’s of humans have ignored the state of the dog before she was rescued.
    Shame on you Bulgaria!

    1. Heather Bea · · Reply

      I quite agree – it is appalling.
      Bulgaria has a terrible name when it comes to animal rights.

      I do hope Khaleesi is still happy and healthy – and thank you everybody who cared for her.

      1. She’s doing great. New pics on Facebook today!

  2. […] gjerne inn på Rudozems hjemmeside for å lese mer om det fantastiske arbeidet de […]

  3. […] To learn more about this amazing dog, read her whole story here! […]

  4. […] Se volete conoscere altre notizie su questo fantastico cane vi invitiamo a visitare il sito dell’associazione che si è prodigata nel suo recupero QUI. […]

  5. I don’t have Paypal. How do a send a donation for Khaleesi?

    1. Hi Ruth, I am so sorry to take so long to reply to you. You can make a donation to our bank account if you would like. Please see here:
      Thank you again.

  6. How this dog was able to survive on his own without anyone noticing is quite heartbreaking — I wish someone spoke out way sooner — shame on those who turned a blind eye — on the other hand, the transformation is incredible — thank God these Rescuers were alerted to this dog, found this dog, intervened — I hope this Rescue keeps up its wonderful, life-saving work … — KEEP SEARCHING OUT stray dogs & cats — KEEP YOUR EYE OUT FOR STRAY ANIMALS, dogs & cats — get your SCANNERS out to search out stray cats & dogs — ensure that such suffering & torture gets cut short by your sacred Rescue team — once again, keep up your wonderful & noble work on behalf of animals, who DESPERATELY need you.

    1. May God have mercy on all those who ignored this dog. It would not bother me to see extreme hardship fall on the hands of those snobs.

  7. After searching google all night i finally got in…

    Ella 19 Join via Paypal –

    1. Thank you so much!

  8. Suzanne Whiting · · Reply

    The work you are doing for these helpless dogs is truly inspirational. I am an Australian and love dogs so much. I can’t imagine the heartbreak you must see every day with these street dogs. There is so much brutality in the world and animals are all too often the forgotten victims, with no rights and all too often, no hope. Thank you for the work you are doing. Khaleesi’s story is such a beautiful one and I’m sure you are doing this every day. The capacity of dogs to forgive and to trust again is a lesson to all of us humans too.

  9. […] Quando chegaram prximos e a chamaram, ela se encolheu toda fazendo xixi com medo de ser maltratada e fustigada, mas ainda assim se aproximou desesperada por contato, segundo contou Diane Rowles, uma das fundadoras do Grupo a em um post em seu blog. […]

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Khaleesi’s story 😀

  10. How can this poor sweet dog have been overlooked for so long? Do people really pass by without helping distressed animals. There’s no excuse when just one phone call alerts an animal charity. I despair of the public. Thank you to all the people involved in her amazing transformation.

  11. people who abuse neglect any animal I HOPE YOU ALL BURN IN HELL!!!!!!!!! god bless these animals and the people who take care of them and save them from a LIFE they did NOT want or were born for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Scrot · · Reply

      Wow… “Burn in Hell” and “God Bless” in the same sentence. Don’t worry, God has plans for those who neglect and/or harm his Creations, especially the helpless ones…

  12. L.A.galumbeck · · Reply

    Your organization is great.What fantastic work you do.
    Your devotion, love and compassion should be contagious.
    Good luck and G-d bless you.

    1. Thank you 😀

  13. What kind of dog is she?

    1. We don’t know – probably many generations of street dog, but many have karacachan genes.

  14. Nanette Valencia · · Reply

    I’m so happy she was rescued and cared for. God bless her. I hate seeing any animal suffer

  15. geofheav · · Reply

    This was a tear jerking happy read at the end of a busy day. My rescued pup is sitting by my chair. When I change rooms so does he. He didn’t suffer but his mother did. He loves us and is better behaved than my kids. He was homed by a process of selection where the foster parents came to visit the Rescue Centre and the puppy chose the humans he wanted to live with

    1. How wonderful for you and him! You’ve done a great thing xx

  16. An ashamed human · · Reply

    when i see things like this it really makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with the human race. Kudos to the animal rescues out there who have to deal with things like this, it cant make loving people easy. The laws on animal abuse need to change and i wonder what the hell makes the human race think that we are a superior when they can just allow this kind of thing to happen. Im so glad this rescue got the chance to show that poor dog that we are not all worthless pieces of shit. Animal cruelty should be treated no differently then human cruelty. Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows they are a more loving and compassionate and forgiving species then we will ever be. Animals should be given rights as they deserve them more then most humans and people who abuse animals should be dealt with way way way more harshly. Animals have pretty much all the same feelings as we do and anyone who thinks otherwise is a complete idiot. Dogs are better humans then we are by far. And to the people who rescued that poor dog you are the only reason i have any faith left in the human race if the world was full of animal lovers it would be a lot better place.

    1. Sadly, there are so many dogs like Khaleesi. If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen that we rescued a tiny pup with similar health problems. She’s doing fine now at the shelter but it is very hard knowing that there are so many more to help.

    2. Rebecca Rose Hirschfield · · Reply

      I say the SAME EXACT THINGS about my marvelous, handsome, bright, goofy and peanut butter-popcorn-smelling and much-missed Furry Son Justice (a shepherd-retriever mix!). I know Justice and Khaleesi would have been fast friends. Justice was abandoned at a vet’s in the Bronx, New York City in 2000 by his former owners (never found out who the sons of bitches were.) Fortunately for my lucky boy, he was only ten months old and was never in the least abused; Khaleesi’s near-death condition horrified me more than that of any severely tortured mammal I’ve ever seen (Holocaust survivors included, sad to say), and I wept. Justice was a prize – and the only true friend I had during about nine years of adult torture in vicious and depraved Manhattan (my faccacta hometown!). He and I enjoyed all sorts of crazy adventures together, from swimming in tandem across ponds to dog Halloween parties to Central Park festivals to very long, satisfying cat naps (pun most definitely intended!). Brutal and heartless Gotham nearly killed me; Justice, a hero, kept me alive. He even emigrated to Britain with me; we intended to stay there with the English love of my life, Justice’s new daddy – but then an immigration disaster which I could not dream of fixing without copious amounts of dosh with which to hire a posh London solicitor intervened, and tragedy forced us back to brutal Gotham. I wound up in a mental hospital, and my Cuntess (I mean, mother) allowed Justice to be anonymously adopted by a wealthy New Jersey family who could offer my Furry Son a lavish lifestyle and a labrador buddy. I still speak to the best photo I ever took of Justice, proudly used as the backdrop to my Facebook page, and ask for his forgiveness all the time. I was in fact a very good and generous and caring Dog Mummy – with a few flaws – and I think he completely forgave me. Because, as you mentioned, he was a DOG, and therefore naturally gifted at saintliness! ; }

  17. Michiael · · Reply

    Hell this brought tears to my eyes.

    1. She’s very healthy and happy now, Michiael, so now we just need her to find her forever home 😃

  18. What a terrible sight Khaleesi was in the beginning of her journey to rescue, and what a remarkable recovery – a very moving story. I volunteer for a dog rescue organization in Canada, and I encourage all others to get involved in similar organizations where you live. As you can see from Khaleesi’s story the reward is well worth it. I can tell you first hand the vet bills and other costs are astronomical, so if you can’t volunteer please donate whatever you can. The rescued dogs will love you for it. I also want to say to people that they should be looking for their pets from rescue shelters instead of pet stores and kennels, etc. Many, many dogs need a loving home, and they are extremely eager to love you back for years to come.

    Kudos to the Bulgarian dog rescue organization RSDR – keep up the amazing work you do.

  19. It breaks my heart to see a dog in this condition! How anyone could abuse or ignore this poor animal is beyond me! I have 3 dogs, all rescues, and they are my and my wife’s children now! Absolutely the most loving, loyal souls in all the world!

    1. You’ll be pleased to know that Khaleesi is going great. She’s still with us but happy and healthy. We just hope that she finds her forever home one day.

  20. I was homeless, lost all my entire llife to the garbage, they threw my entire life away. My pixtures, my mothers and pets ashes, all my furniture, my entire life. I was forced to surrender my dog. I will never forgive myself for having to surrender her, and my cat. I chose them in this life. If there is a Rainbow Bridge, I JUST PRAY they forgive me and wait, accept me.
    I miss them so much I just want to die.
    I am flat broke, about to become homeless again and am ready to surrender my life and go live on an Animal sanctuary and take care of Animals forever. We humans SUCK.

    1. Susan, we hope and pray that things come good for you again really soon xx

    2. I hope you are doing okay. Please don’t feel as though this is your fault. I’m sure you did the best you could, and I really hope people can help you get back to where you were!

    3. Rebecca Rose Hirschfield · · Reply

      Please see my comment about my Furry Son Justice above. And if you are anywhere near Boston, Massachusetts, kindly feel welcome to stay with me and my dear friend and roommate in our lovely vintage 1905 flat! There’s plenty of room. Dean (my roommate) and I met when we were both homeless and living at a crummy youth hostel, very ironically branded The Friend Street Hostel – but unsurprisngly run by an ex-US marine/savage by the name of Matt Caskey (who short-shrifted his enslaved employees as often as possible, and thought Tang was a nutritious morning beverage – and then kicked us out because of my “unpatriotic” anti-Amerikanism.) If Dean’s father and my long-deceased dad hadn’t done well for themselves, we’d both have died in the gutter just like Khaleesi a very long time ago – and in the exact same condition, because this is Amerika, Land of Fascist-capitalist plutocracy (the polar opposite of a social democracy, and the lone exception to social democracy in the Western world!). My belongings have also been scattered to the four winds. Please email me or phone me if you are able:, or [001] 276 492 5424! I’m Rebecca Rose, and most people are NOT human ( = inhumane)! ; }

  21. Glenn Church · · Reply


  22. Jennifer BRUNER · · Reply

    Yes, I am sure these people that abuse animals and are so inhumane WILL burn in Hell!
    It makes me beyond angry and upset. Does not say too much about their country.
    God Bless the people that do this work at Rudozem Street Dog Rescue. I could never thank you enough or admire you more.
    As soon as possible I intend to make a financial donation. Unfortunately being in Australia it is hard to be more hands on.
    Bless you.

    1. We appreciate any support at all. Liking and sharing our Facebook and Twitter posts also helps s lot xx

  23. I don’t know how that beautiful puppy got to be in such poor shape , but there is surely a place in heaven for those who helped her and that great looking Red Head make a great team !

  24. What an ugly world it can be ~ and what a beautiful world it can be = all at the same time. I am SO encouraged to see in recent years, countries that previously had little to no real animal compassion/rescue efforts. The thing is: we as human are the stewards of this earth. And part of that includes the animals. Not only it is the right thing to do, to help animals, it is the right thing to do for our own souls. It shows strength of character, builds more character, is an example for others, makes us more aware of what we do in our own lives, and ultimately spreads a kind of love that expands exponentially.

    Bless you all for your efforts ~ You are part of the solution in this world. And it is making a far wider difference than just your own backyard – It is an example for the world. Social media DOES have a good purpose – and this is one of the things right here. Good changes have started – and it’s spreading!

    1. Thank you for your kind words xx

  25. Carolyn Murdock · · Reply

    This story about Khaleesi made me cry. What a precious dog. I wish she were mine. I do not live in Bulgaria though. I am in North Carolina in the US. Please always take care of this little girl. I want to keep up with her life. She is wonderful.

    1. And she’s doing great, Carolyn. We post updates on her on our Facebook and Twitter pages 😃

  26. P. Grimes · · Reply

    Khaleesi’s story was very moving. I am so glad you folks were there to rescue her. She looks so healthy and happy now. What a transformation. I sent this story to my son and his wife Jolene. Jolene works in animal rescue and should find this story of great interest.

    1. Thank you so much. She is very happy at the shelter but we are hoping that she’ll find her forever home one day.

      1. Rebecca Rose Hirschfield · ·

        Just out of curiosity: What are your criteria for finding Khaleesi her furever home? I’d have thought that by now the whole world would be fighting tooth and nail to adopt her (as occurred with my quite similarly “choice” rescue dog, Justice)! ; }

      2. We can only rehome to the UK, Netherlands and Belgium so our target adopter group is limited. This is because we have experienced and established support groups in these countries if adopters have issues they need help with.

  27. Khaleesi’s story is almost a miracle and the people who helped her are the angels. But what does it say about all those who ignored her plight? Surely compassion for suffering creatures doesn’t have to be taught!

  28. Thank God for khaleesis rescue thank you for caring God will reward you someday .I have three dogs That i love and care for very much there are such a blessing to me and for khaleesis she is very special a will to live its great that you give her the time and love to recooperate God bless you all Rex t/

  29. Thank you for the kind caring heart felt people out there in the world, how great thou art, who love and care for OUR animals global wide. Getting involved is more precious than standing on the sidelines. Step up to the plate for a home run, then count your blessings you did, for the reward inlife is not what you didn’t do, but what you did do. Your memories are ahead of you too look back with honesty pride we are the kind of people we have become. XOX’s to those who care to have these memories we each did our very best.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Barbara x

  30. Suzanne Rosenorn · · Reply

    These rescuers are truely angels. I’m so happy this dog was found before it was too late. Animal lovers everywhere are rejoicing in her recovery!

  31. wow. this made me cry.
    i love people who do these kinds of things
    this is the kind of person i want to be ❤

  32. JOHN DAVID HAYNES SR. · · Reply

    You people will have a place at God’s table.

  33. What a sad story, glad it had a happy ending for Khalezzi. I hope she gets the most wonderful forever home ever. She deserves it.

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