Rehoming a Bulgarian rescue dog – the adopters’ stories

So you’ve found the Rudozem Street Dog Rescue, you’ve fallen in love with one of our dogs and decided to adopt.  Then you’ve gone through our adoption process and received your adoption papers. Now all that’s left is to wait for your new arrival.  Here is how three of our adopters found themselves anticipating the arrival of their dog.

How do adopters choose their dog?

Shamal Dixon-Bryant is eagerly awaiting her RSDR dog Erol:

Erol when he first arrived at the RSDR shelter

Erol when he first arrived at the RSDR shelter

After falling in love with every dog on the RSDR website, I narrowed the search down to about 9 dogs, then 6, then 3.  I could not choose because I had a different reason for loving all of them!  So after tears, heartache and trying to bully the hubby into all three, we decided to put the names in a tub and pick at random.  When I pulled out the first name, I just knew it wasn’t where my heart was, so I picked again and had the same feeling with the second name, so I knew that Erol was the one!!!  I then had huge feelings of  guilt over the other two, but it still felt like Erol was right.

For some adopters, it’s important that they find a dog who will fit with their family and lifestyle.  Brenda Walls who is adopting Yoshi explains how she decided he was the dog for her:

We needed a dog that was good around cats and small children.  Yoshi was one of the dogs who had been kept at the Rowles’ house for a while, around cats and children.  Diane [Rowles] was certain that he would be just fine in a similar environment.  When we saw the picture of Yoshi on the couch with cats on him…..we knew he would fit right in.

Yoshi 2

Yoshi is a great cat pillow.

From finding a dog to meeting them

One lucky adopter was able to adopt a cat in just two hours, but had already gone through the approval process when she adopted two of our dogs.  Most of the time, it will take about three weeks from our initial email and telephone contact through the home-check to final approval. The home check can usually be done fairly quickly, but we rely on a network of volunteers so it depends who is available to visit the adopter and when. To keep costs as low as possible, we wait until we have a sufficient number of dogs and cats for the journey to their forever homes.  The animals travel with a DEFRA-approved transport company so that we can be sure that they will pass all border controls without a hitch and that they will be well looked after on the trip.  Paula McMullan adopted Ella Rose in March 2014:

053 cropped

Paula with Ella Rose

We found Ella Rose at the end of January and finally met her at the end of March. We didn’t mind the wait because we knew she was the dog for us and that we would have all the time in the world to get to know her when she arrived. We also knew that the RSDR teams in the UK and Bulgaria were working very hard to make sure the dogs and cats all arrived with the correct paperwork.

What do adopters think about while they are waiting?

Some adopters already have pets so they will need to choose a dog who will be able to cope with a ready-made pack.  Shamal has obviously given this a lot of thought:

Once we’d made the decision, I just wanted him home here, with us, NOW!  The wait seemed so long, but, we had the inspection of our house to hopefully get through, which we obviously did, yay!  Then I had a few small worries.  What if my dog now who is hugely pampered and spoilt, didn’t like him?  What if he didn’t like the cats and couldn’t ever come off the lead (after reading about dogs who had escaped)?  But those fears quickly died down and were replaced with, ‘I can do this, I’ve had dogs all my life and rescue dogs at that.’  So, in the meantime we have got a travel cage, dog beds, bowls, collar, lead and tag for our new baby.

Shamal has also decided to rename Erol.  When he arrives in the UK, the name in his passport will be Echo.

What practical steps do adopters take while they are waiting?

Brenda says that they are already “dog people” and therefore already have a good idea of what they will need to do to be ready for Yoshi’s arrival:

Yoshi is now looking forward to his forever home

Yoshi is now looking forward to his forever home

We took the time to make a plan for bringing Yoshi home.  What we do with our existing dog, Pedro? Where will Yoshi’s crate go? Bowls? etc. We are talking to the kids daily about what it will be like when he comes home and how he will need to relax for a bit etc… Will we walk both dogs together or separate for a couple of weeks? We made vet appointments for a check up and then one for his neuter thus giving our vet a heads up. We also added him to our boarding kennel for any future holiday plans we may have. To prepare Pedro, we have done a round of training with him because he is also a rescue and has some issues still from his other life.  We wanted the most well behaved dog we could have for Yoshi’s arrival.


Ella Rose now enjoys playing tug – a lot!

For Paula, it was a question of deciding what to buy new and what to use of her previous dog’s things:

We said goodbye to our last dog Lucy almost two years ago and we had to think carefully about what to buy new for Ella Rose because we were still upset about losing Lucy.  In the end, it was quite cathartic to get out her bed and to wash it in readiness for ER’s arrival.  We bought a new collar and a lunge lead for ER, but it’s now a nice thought that Lucy’s things are being used again.

With just a few days to go…

When the dogs and cats leave the Shelter, we give their families regular updates on their progress because we know that it is a worrying, yet exciting time for our adopters.  As Paula explains, it can be quite emotional:

I was getting into a lift at work when the text came through to say that Ella Rose was on her way.  I let out a huge sob in front of half a dozen people as the lift doors closed!

Yoshi 3Brenda is already thinking about the best way to get Yoshi home given that they have a 2.5 hour drive home from where Yoshi will be dropped by the transport company.  She has joined our RSDR Adopters Facebook group and received advice and support from existing RSDR adopters on how to transport Yoshi to make him feel secure after the long trip in the van from Bulgaria.

For Shamal’s family too the anticipation is growing:

Erol 1

Erol will be known as Echo when he arrives in the UK.

Echo has left his place of security and is coming home.  I am beyond excited to love him, look after him, pamper and spoil him.  However, I know that it may not be easy for him and we’re all preparing ourselves to give him the space and solitude he may need for as long as he needs it.  The kids know to let him come to them, not rush him, I’m hoping that I can be as restrained as I’ve told them they must be!!!  Hurry up Echo, we want you with us!

It won’t be long now – the dogs and cats have left and are on their way.



  1. Anmare · · Reply

    I still wanted to tell you some of my thoughts but never got around to it so I’ll add them here.

    Our household has been in a state of excitement like no other for the last few weeks. My hubby loves telling people that our “celebrity” dog comes from Bulgaria. People have asked us why Bulgaria, like everyone else I thought these dogs need homes so desperately. I was introduced by my friend Zarich and just knew instantaneously … how great to be able to help a dog that would otherwise have nowhere else but the streets.

    So I also searched the photos for weeks on end with a list getting longer and longer until one day Tony posted a video of new pups up for adoption and the one with the pointy white tail hovering in the background caught my eye, Tanwen. She just got herself stuck straight in my heart immediately. She has such a gentle face on all the photos and videos.

    I immediately mailed hoping I could get her by the end of April but the next trip was only end of May. I had to choice but to wait, agonising to say the least.

    And tomorrow she finally moves in! We are hitting the road at 7:30 to be there at 9 to get our baby. Her bed, special toys, treats, special food bowls and food, all ready and waiting.

    I’ve been without a dog for 3 years now, the first time EVER in my life that I’ve been without a dog this long. I can’t wait to have that space filled again. Tomorrow she walks into into our lives, she’s already in my heart.

    Thank you Tony and Diane for your selfless work to give us the privilege of adopting these beautiful dogs.

    1. What lovely thoughts, Anmaré. We look forward to hearing how you get on tomorrow. Good luck and thank you for giving Tanwen a future and wonderful life with you.

  2. Keechy · · Reply

    Great post!

  3. I need a password sooo bad for this site…

    Ella 19 Join via Paypal –

    if you have any please email me at xxxadult56 [at]

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