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. How this Dog was ignored to the point portrayed is beyond words for me. Disgusted is all I can come up with. To see this beautiful creature be given the chance to live and be cared for is simply amazing. Thank you very much to the people that saved this life. In many ways, you have likely helped to restore a little faith in humanity. The fact that so many humans walked by this starving, dying animal is really disturbing but the caring shown by the real humans in this story give hope for us all. I am the very proud caregiver of a recused Dog and she is, next to my Wife to be, the very best thing in my life. To witness her transformation from scared, skinny and non-trusting into the finest example of a Pup that the world has ever known has been nothing short of life changing. The message is simple, we as humans have domesticated and irresponsibly allowed Dogs to breed and than turned our backs on them because of the expenses involved. All I ask is that if you can save an Animal, do it. Not just for the animal, but for you. What you will feel is impossible to describe. Just do it….go and rescue an Animal, you will not regret it. They are Beautiful and a better friend you will never find.

    1. We agree! And thank you for your kind words.

    2. Robin Adams · · Reply

      What an absolute astounding message to convey ! AMEN !

    3. God bless all those who cared for this dog

    4. Raymond Albo · · Reply


      Just read your comments regarding this story and couldn’t agree with you more. So glad to hear comments such as yours. It gives me more faith in humanity. I’ve got two dogs that were rescued from their previous living conditions (which were no where near as horrific as this poor dog) and they are the best of friends and what they bring to our family in the form of joy cannot be measured.

    5. Mike,
      What a wonderful set of words you put.
      I totally agree with you.


  2. Mr.M.Newbound · · Reply

    This is a lovely story with a happy ending,sadly a drop in the ocean.
    My Sister has rescued dozens of dogs and cat, just now she has as permanent, and much loved pets, 8 dogs and 6 cats. They all live together quite happily. I mention this because she can afford to employ someone to home-sit the dogs when she needs to be away from home. Most of us are not so lucky.
    I would love to have a rescue animal but I am obliged to be away from home for up to 8-10 weeks a year. I cannot afford the exorbitant kennel and cattery charges,so I cannot take a needy creature into my home. I have always thought that if the animal charity/ rescue that you get your animal from would ‘ kennel’ your pet for a small, reasonable charge for the duration of your absence,many more people would take on a rescue pet. This may be daydreaming but if Dogs Trust or Cats protection,two of my several animal charities, could organize a service like this,in the long run many more animals would be re-homed and loved.

    1. You could sponsor one of our cats or dogs if you wanted 😃

    2. There are other ways you can help out besides adopting. You can foster a dog/cat that has been rescued and is awaiting a new home. This simply involves allowing the dog/cat to stay at your home for a few days or weeks, depending on that animal’s particular situation, while the rescue agency attempts to locate an adopter for that pet. You can donate either funds or materials to a rescue, such as Rudozem Street Dog Rescue. They are doing wonderful work and need all the help they can get. You can volunteer in some capacity. Adopting is not the only means by which you can help improve the lives of animals in need.

      1. Thanks so much, Rob 😘

    3. Adele · · Reply

      Mr. Newbound, I agree with you. I’ve had dogs for 39 years now. My dad always cared for my babies when my husband and I went away for a little while. Now my dad is too sick with cancer. For almost a year now, I’ve been looking for someone to care for my doggies, but finding out how pricey it is to do this. My husband and I will have to just put our plans on hold for, who knows how long. It seems that, not only do animals need help, but we animal lovers do too.

  3. Ann Goodwin · · Reply

    Thank you, I am a 87 year old woman on social security and have 3 rescue dogs. I manage to take good care of them. I feel so sad that there are so many abused uncared for that I cry, so thank you for for your kind heart . Ann

    1. How wonderful, Ann! Good for you xx

  4. Thank you, precious souls, for caring so lovingly for nursing Khalessi and all the other dogs, back to health. You are all amazing and I am truly grateful for everything you do to give these pups a happy and wondrous life! My husband, son and I are the proud owners of two wonderful rescue dogs, Leila and Annabelle. We love them so much. I have had 6 other rescue dogs in my life and they are truly a gift. Thank you again for sharing Khalessi’s story. You love and kindness truly touched my heart.

    1. That’s lovely to hear, Janiece. Good for you!

  5. What a beautiful story!!!!God Bless You!!!!

    1. Matthew Thornton · · Reply

      God had nothing to do with it. I’ve been reading about what GOD has contributed to this world and it is mostly bloodshed and horror. Just look up the the crusades, the inquisition, the slave trade, the list goes on and on….

    2. I Agree with you. !!

      1. I agree with DHD.

  6. Adele · · Reply

    OMG! What a beautiful story of rescue! I’m an animal lover and own 2 dogs one of which is a rescue dog as well. My daughter found him roaming the streets just after hurricane Sandy here in New Jersey. Max was very traumatized when he came to my family, but with great care and lots of love he is so happy and growing very healthy. I don’t even want to think about the possibility that someone played a part in Khaleesi’s former horrible state. It rages me just thinking of this possibility. Thanks to caring and loving people with humane hearts like yours that Khaleesi is looking like she was never dying. I looked at her from the moment I saw the first picture when she was so sick and I wanted to pick her up and care for her myself. Of course, I know I would have had to take her to the Vet so they could do for her what I couldn’t. She looks beautiful! Bless her mended heart.

  7. krammig · · Reply

    Writing to you from Australia, I somehow ended up on after clicking a link to see how that poor poor dog was saved.
    I am a 62 year old guy and I must say this was bringing a tear to my eyes. I just cannot fathom how humanity can just let this take place and that no one stepped in to help this very lonely soul of a creature.

    You are wonderful people. This story goes some way to restoring ones faith knowing that there are people like you out there who care. Just so so sad. But with a very happy ending.

    Khaleesi has her life and dignity back thanks to you. She clearly is indebted and in love with you and hopefully inside she has healed and has forgotten that terrible time.

    You saved a soul on that day. Although I am not particularly religious, I will say God Bless You for doing so.


  8. Lorrie · · Reply

    Khaleesi’s story brought tears to my eyes!! I have 5 rescue dogs, although none came from conditions this bad. But I do have one pit bull mix that I rescued as a stray when he was about 4ish years old. I was going to foster him for 2 weeks… I’ve now had him 4 years, and wouldn’t give him up for anything. Dogs touch my soul like no human can, & a part of me loves them, like I will never love anyone else. Thank you so much for rescuing Khaleesi, she truly is a blessing, and a beauty!!

  9. I was in shock when I saw the first photo of Khaleesi! I truly could not believe my eyes! I am 61 years of age, and I was raised in the USA with top breed German SHepherds my entire life! We were taught while growing up in my home to love and care for our beloved dogs and other pets! I was lucky to have a father who provided us a great life, and our pets also had great lives! Since I was married in 1988, I got my first German SHepherd in 1993 and I saved him from a kennel. He had been returned by a couple with a child who lived in a city in an apartment building where you should never have a dog like this! I went to this kennel and saw him for one minute and wanted him immediately. I was purchasing a house in this town, and was going to be able to have him there and be on 8 acres of land free! When he came to live with us, he had a brand ne beautiful bed from LLBean, and so many toys, he did not know what the heck was going on, but he loved it. I know he missed the people he had been with…but the life he had before, I had heard that it was not good! Tied out in a parking lot where city kids threw rocks at him, and poked him with sticks. He was three when we got him, and he forever after that lived the life of a KING! He went from crap to GOLD! I cannot tell you how much I think you are so great at doing your jobs over there, at saving these dogs on the streets! What you did for this beautiful girl Khaleesi is such a dream story! It is truly amazing! My heart hurt for her so much when I saw the first few photo’s. Then you could see with all the love and care, how she literally came back to life! She is so beautiful and doing great! She must love just being loved by you all! How she let that man just coddle her, she was about to just give up at that point! I have loved dogs my entire life. They are many times better then people! To me they never let you down! They are pure of heart with loyalty and love! I praise you for all the hard work and care you did for Khaleesi! Khaleesi, lots of love from the USA, from Massachusetts and my fur babies Boru and Gracie!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Suzan xx

  10. What a tremendous story of compassion. As I progressed through the photos I kept wondering if the dog would ever get a happy trusting look in it’s eye again. They are amazing creatures and my life has a void after 14 years of having two Labrador retrievers. They were my world and I couldn’t imagine the satisfaction of bringing one from the brink of death like this.
    And while it is cruel to ignore the suffering of street dogs, it is equally bad to turn a blind eye to things like the Yulin Dog Meat Festival coming up in a few days. I know everyone reading this would go and save these dogs personally if they could. I just can’t fathom how a person can be so disconnected from compassion to not just kill and eat a dog, but to torture them in inconceivable ways to make the “meat taste better.”
    Your organization helps restore a little faith in humanity. Thank you for your efforts.

  11. Bless you people and Khaleesi. I was almost in tears when I saw the initial picture of her. I’m happy she is now doing well and will have a chance at a good life. I have a rescue pit boxer at the time and she is sweeter than sugar. I live in NYC it is very expensive to care for and treat my girl.

  12. Meeghan · · Reply

    You humans are amazing, thank you so much for being there for these animals!

  13. This is an amazing story. I am so happy she is getting better. The amazing part is that I had a dog that looked the SAME as Khaleesi. She was named Cara, and passed away recently at the age of 15. It would make me SOOOOO happy to be able to adopt Khaleesi. However, we live in America, not Russia.

    1. Thanks, Rikki. Yes, we only rehome to the UK, Netherlands and Belgium at the moment so keep your fingers crossed that one day she finds her forever home x

  14. this is an incredible and emotional story. you are 2 fantastic people.
    God Bless you for what you are doing for these animals.
    Jean Marc from Los Angeles

    1. Thank you, Jean Marc 😃

  15. Debbie · · Reply

    God Bless You For Helping Bring Life To This Gift Of A Dog From Heaven Above. I Sat here with tears running down my face. How can people be so ugly to do that to an animal.

  16. Dana Boulware · · Reply

    I’m sitting here after reading Khaleesi’s story and seeing her transformation with tears running down my face and I want to say to all of you who were willing to give her a chance at life “Thank you and God Bless you and help you save more dogs”. I would adopt her in a heartbeat but I’m in the US. I’m sure as sick and thin as she was there are many who would have euthanized her, but thank God for whatever spark you saw in her eyes or the grace of God that made you take her in and feed her and get her the treatment she needed. I’m so glad she survived and is thriving!

  17. God Bless Angels like you….Bittersweet with a sweet ending…Thank You

  18. Travis in tx · · Reply

    You all are very kind & caring people for helping save these dogs. Thank you!

  19. How wonderful to read a story like this, thank you goodhearted persons for caring for these poor animals, when there are so many humans lacking empathy and compassion. I have rescues also and my heart breaks each time I read of abuse and brutality against innocent animals. People like you restore my faith once more in the human race. Thank you, thank you many times over.

  20. Sickening and repulsive but at the same time wonderful to see how you folks, full of Love, came and brought back this great dog from the brink of death. These kinds of stories help renew my faith in humans. Thank God for you folks having such good and loving hearts!

  21. kumiko · · Reply

    I find it very surprising that you can even neglect a poor dog to this extent, to the point that even looking at Khaleesi is heartbreaking, even me as a 14 yr old feels for her for her, how can those people even turn a blind eye to her, do they not find that disturbing?!

    1. Sadly, things are different in Bulgaria where street dogs and cats are frequently neglected and mistreated.

  22. frances mccrindle · · Reply

    I just want to say this world needs more people like you that do this kind of work because takes a very strong heart…thank you from Newfoundland,Canada

    1. Thank you for your kind words, France’s.

  23. Khaleesi’s story is very heart warming. Thank you for posting it. We rescued a dog we call Sadie a few years ago. She wasn’t in as bad a shape as Khaleesi, but Sadie’s ribs were showing and she was starving for attention, too. She looks a lot like Khaleesi now and is a happy dog. Her owners, who lived across from us, moved and left four starving dogs behind. One disappeared, a neighbor took one, and my husband and I took Bo and Sadie. We fed them and tried to get a home for them (They needed to be together) but they are large dogs and no one would take them. Bo had heart worms and Sadie had lyme disease. We had the choice to spend around $600 to cure Bo or have him put to sleep. He deserved a chance for a good life, and so the choice was simple. Sadie was cured of her lyme disease and now they are two happy dogs who love to dig. Our large back yard looks as if gophers live there!

  24. mike nunez · · Reply

    A great story, a movie should be made of this dog.

  25. abricca · · Reply

    Wow you do incredible work! May she live a long and happy life. Khaleesi looks JUST like our beautiful dog Koda. I so wish we could have her. I’m donating to your cause – well done. The world needs more people like you ❤

  26. Susan · · Reply

    How she survived as long as she did is in itself shows hear heart. You folks were so wonderful to care. I know you care for her deeply and she returns that love in her own way. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Susan x

  27. rick roma · · Reply

    God Bless you wonderful people.

  28. So was she ever adopted?

    1. No, she’s still at the shelter, waiting…😞

      1. abricca · ·

        We want her very very much. When I saw her after photo I thought someone took my dog. She looks EXACTLY like my male dog, Koda. He even has a K name and the same black dimple on the side of his cheek she does. I’ll link a photo We’d take her and her companion do if it is at all possible for me to get them to the U.S. We have a wonderful yard and she has friends waiting here! I would probably need to fundraise to get them here, but I very much want them both if you felt that was possible. Let me know. Go see Koda at our Falcon Farms page:

      2. abricca · ·

        Here’s a picture of Khalessi’s twin Koda from the other day. They should be together!

      3. Oh, my gosh, I’m sure you could get her adopted out if you advertise that she’s still available! I saw her story a long time ago and it just recently came back across my facebook news feed, but I had just assumed she would have been adopted out with all of the attention her story has gotten. I’m sure if you started a campaign you would get her adopted almost immediately! If abricca started a GoFundMe to help with transportation fees and whatnot, I know a lot of people would donate (I definitely would). At the very least make sure you’re updating the end of the articles about her with the date and stating she’s still available, because most people are just going to assume she’s been adopted.

      4. abricca · ·

        Stacy, thank you so much – what a kind post. I did email them and they are not adopting out of the country because they can’t vet other locales for safe havens, and I understand the extreme need to find her a proper home. But should that change (the locale situation) I would be very interested. I agree with her having a proper home! We literally have Khalessi’s twin (male) dog here and we would be very happy to accept her bunk mate as well. But yes, I’d have to fundraise the costs, which I’d give to the shelter directly and allow them to pay the fees, keeping any overage for the shelter. Thanks for your kindness ♥

  29. Treyce Montoya's Blog · · Reply

    God bless you for all you do. We must be the voices for those who cannot speak.

  30. Helene White · · Reply

    This story both broke my heart and gave me hope for the kindness and faith in some of my fellow human beings. I would love to send my heartfelt love to those who have been directly responsible for the rehabilitation of this remarkable dog. May you be blessed forever!

    1. Thank you for your kind words x

  31. roland belanger Stratford ..Ontario. Canada · · Reply

    I looked at the photos and tears flooded my keyboard. God bless you

  32. Gelliescent Az · · Reply

    God Bless all of you for caring for these animals. God is keeping score. I wish a ‘blessed’ life for all of you, and your endeavors. You are all every special angel’s on this earth.


  34. You guys are absolutely amazing!! You are a shining beacon and set the bar for the rest of us to aspire to. God bless you all!

    1. Thank you for your kind words x

  35. […] might have been a congenital problem, the result of malnutrition, or a mixture of both.  When we rescued Khaleesi, her front legs looked quite deformed.  With proper nutrition and support from bandages, her legs […]

  36. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this story. YOU ALL ARE ANGELS!!! MAY GOD BLESS YOU!!!! I don’t have the words to say how beautiful you all are for doing what you do! Taking these helpless sweet animals in. They don’t have anyone but you. THANK GOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!

    1. We just do what we can in difficult circumstances sometimes, Rawuel, but thank you.

  37. Dan Fighter · · Reply

    The sad thing here is that many people in that country are not much better off than that poor dog. Hunger and poverty are everywhere. So to look down on them is not right either. If your family was starving, one could easily look past an animals suffering. Here in the U.S. , there is plenty to be ashamed of. I have owned an animal feed mill for years and have watched many well intentioned animal owners starve their animals. Anyone, with no training or education, can obtain an animal and until that animal has suffered sometimes to death, there is nothing a person can do. Thanks for letting me vent, lol. I will now go back to saving my corner of the world.

    1. Dan, this is an EU country where poverty and hunger isn’t everywhere. The EU pours in money to develop infrastructure and bring up living standards. Individual municipalities even receive money for animal welfare which just disappears – it certainly doesn’t get spent on neutering and education. Until there is a European standard for animal welfare, there is no incentive to address the problem. And to deliberately destroy an animal’s feet is not the result of poverty and hunger, but an unpleasant human characteristic that exists everywhere.

  38. Laura Arlene Mellish · · Reply

    Its people like you I wish the world was full of.

  39. […] her story with someone who might be interested in adopting her. You can read more about her on the RSDR blog or donate to RSDR if you […]

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