Ragnar’s story – from street to safety

1888851_10152460152064264_9081840744981094079_oOnce again this week, the Rowles were faced with the harsh realities of life on the street for dogs in Bulgaria when Tony found this poor boy in the town on Thursday.  Diane tells his story:

“The dog was staggering about, covered in puncture wounds which were full of maggots.  When Tony approached him, the dog tried to bite him out of fear, but eventually Tony managed to him into the cage that we keep in the back of our car for emergencies like this.

Ragnar 3

He tried to bite me so I had no option other than to take my jumper off and cover him with it.  As soon as I picked him up, he sighed with relief and didn’t struggle.

– Tony Rowles


Tony also noticed that the dog had a very noisy chest and phlegm.  The smell from the puncture wounds over his body was terrible.

Tony brought him straight back to our house and we decided to call him Ragnar.  Usually, when we rescue a dog, we ask our supporters for a donation to name him or her.  But, if a dog is in a critical condition, we will name them ourselves in case they don’t make it.  Ragnar will need to be strong if he is going to pull through so we named him after the lead character in the TV series The Vikings.

Our first priority was to clean him up and assess his physical state.  Despite his initial reaction to Tony, once we got him home and in the shower, he was very well behaved.  It was only when we put medicated shampoo on his coat that we realised the full extent of his injuries – even we were shocked by the huge number of maggots that crawled out from his wounds.  Fortunately, we had help from two RSDR supporters Blanka and Virginie who had driven for two days from the Netherlands to Bulgaria to deliver some much needed supplies.

It was important to get his treatment started quickly so we gave him some antibiotics and pain killers.  He ate his first meal which is always a good sign, but was unresponsive when we showed him to his bed, just standing facing the corner of the room.  We left him to recover and he fell asleep, covered up by a blanket.

On Friday, we started to hand feed Ragnar to gain his trust and put his meds in pieces of meat to be sure that he had taken them.  After I’d spent a while talking to him, Ragnar actually got up and stood in front of me. He showed no emotion, but seem to enjoy a gentle stroke.  It’s all progress, even if it’s very slow.

We bathed his wounds again, which he didn’t like very much, but with a little reassurance, he kept still and allowed us to take care of him.  It was good to see that, afterwards, this seemed to have given him a degree of relief.  Thankfully, there was no sign of any more maggots.

After all the years rescuing dogs and cats, Diane and I are still deeply upset by what horrors we see.

– Tony Rowles

For the rest of the day, Ragnar was very quiet and didn’t leave his bed.  He spent a lot time sleeping – after all, this may be the first time that he has ever felt he can let his guard down to sleep because there are constant dangers for a street dog.  It is also difficult for us to understand what is going on with him because we don’t know how he would normally behave.

10444635_10152465336884264_2441133098927075185_nToday, we took Ragnar to the Provet Clinic (where we took Khaleesi when she first arrived).  Even before we go there, the poor boy was having trouble breathing with all the mucus coming out of his nose.  No sooner did we wipe it than it was dripping again.

As always, the vets took great care of Ragnar.  He has serious injuries to his neckand puncture wounds to his face, body and legs.  They gave him an anaesthetic so that they could shave him and put drains into the worst of the wounds.  The poor fellow also has a bacterial ear infection so they prescribed drops to help clear that up.

The vets carried out a full set of blood tests and, surprisingly, the results were promising.  Ragnar is anaemic, which is probably the result of parasites, and he has a slightly elevated white cell count due to infection, but everything else that was checked, such as heartworm, came back negative.

We also had a little boost today – when Tony went to find Ragnar after he had woken up from the anaesthetic, went towards Tony and wagged his tail.  A first tail wag is always a reason to celebrate! 

Ragnar undoubtedly has a long way to go, but he has a much better chance now that he has food, shelter and medical treatment.  We will of course keep you updated on his progress.

Thank you to everyone who has posted comments and messages of support on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.  We cannot do our work without your moral and financial help.”

If you would like to donate towards Ragnar’s medical bills, or simply to help us carry on saving Bulgarian streetdogs like Ragnar, please visit the donation page of our website, or click on the PayPal icon on the top right of this page.  The donation page also gives details of how to send us supplies either direct, via our UK pick-up point or our Amazon wish-list.

We and the dogs will be very grateful – thank you.



  1. Sabina mohammadi · · Reply

    I am in the US . Is there a non profit organization you are linked to in the US? I ask because maybe my company would be able to make a donation. There would need to be a US not for profit company involved though. Otherwise, if I make a donation of supplies with amazon would they automatically ship to you? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sabina

      That is very kind of you. I will check the US situation, but I think it unlikely. But yes, you can order through Amazon and have the items shipped direct to the Shelter in Bulgaria.

      I’ll get back to you – thanks again.

    2. Hi Sabina

      I have checked with the office and we don’t have an affiliation in the US unfortunately. If you would like to send some supplies yourself, you can do that by using our two Amazon wish-lists:

      Wish List No. 1 (These Items will go direct to Bulgaria) http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/4JO3WODGMJRX

      Wish List No. 2 (These Items will be posted to our UK Collection Point and include items which cannot be sent direct to Bulgaria, such as tick and flea treatments). http://www.amazon.co.uk/registry/wishlist/39N72RK5UJDVV

      Please order from http://www.amazon.co.uk to avoid any problems with US customs that we have had in the past with items sent from the US.

      Thank you again for caring and for your support.

      The dogs say woof!

  2. Marc Covitz · · Reply

    How do you think Ragnar got the puncture wounds? Do you think they are from fighting with other dogs or was he stabbed by someone?

    1. It’s difficult to say, but we think probably from dogs or other animals in the forest. Although he has them on his head, body and legs, the worst injuries on his neck where dogs hang on when they’re fighting.

    2. We think it’s most likely that he was attacked by other animals. He is now getting better very quickly.

      Thank you for being concerned.

  3. Pobrecito una vez mas os tengo q felicitar por lo q haceis.
    Encuanto pueda are una donacion para el.

    1. Gracias, Jorge. Es muy amable.

  4. I am very proud of all of you helping these poor dogs!!!

    1. Thank you, Pam. Look out for another post from us later today.

  5. Cheyenne M. · · Reply

    Poor Ragnar! I’m so happy that there are people like you in the world to help dogs in this condition, that you don’t back away from them, like so many do when they see dogs like this.

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    because you’ve got high quality content. If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Mertiso’s tips best adsense alternative

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