At RSDR we are always thinking about ways we can improve the lives of the dogs and cats in Bulgaria.
In the short-term we know our focus needs to be on getting as many adoptions as possible. This is so we can make space to renovate the three parts of the shelter that need gutting, plastering (walls and floors), drainage and separate pens built. We currently have over 200 animals at the shelter, and to start these renovations we need to get that figure down by at least half.
We are also working on the new perimeter fence and the builder has started construction of the base.
Work is continuing on the gates, and the new exercise yard fencing that will repair the damage from the storm.
However, in the longer term RSDR has even broader and bigger goals!
We would like to implement an education programme in the Rudozem area, giving talks about the street dogs to local schools. Unfortunately we have been unable to gain permission for this so far, and don’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves until the shelter is structurally up to EU standards, but we are hoping this will change in the future as we consult further with the municipality at the appropriate time.
We would also love to establish a clinic to start a spay and neuter programme to reduce the dog population in the area. Once the shelter is up to EU standards we aim to get started on this scheme. This would, of course, be done in conjunction with local vets in Rudozem, giving them the required training in the latest spay and neuter methods, and an approved, dedicated clinic to work from.
A lot of locals in the Rudozem area are very poor, so they cannot afford to spay and neuter their own dogs. There is currently no vet in Rudozem that can spay bitches, which means there is the added cost of a 5 hour drive to Plovdiv. So we plan to also offer to spay and neuter people’s own dogs, reducing the number of unwanted litters, and fostering an attitude of partnership and care within the local community.
Dogs Trust have been a great help to us by providing their spay and neuter brochures in both Bulgarian and English, so that we can offer these to the locals.
As well as helping the Rudozem dogs, our future work should also improve the health, safety and welfare of the people living here. There would be less street dogs, and those that remained would be vaccinated and treated for parasites.
Animal welfare in Bulgaria, and particularly that of the street dogs, has now become a focus of world attention. The Rudozem municipality can only benefit by working with and supporting a registered foundation such as RSDR.
We realise we cannot alter ingrained attitudes overnight, but perceptions are already slowly changing just by people knowing about RSDR and seeing what we do. Puppies that used to be beaten, shot, or abandoned to starve, are now been left outside our shelter in boxes, or given to us. We aim to lead by example, to keep on doing what we do, to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’.
If you would like to help us with our shelter renovations to get us one step closer to all of our goals, then please donate at www.streetdogrescue.com/shelterrenovations.htm.