You had to endure things I would love to rewrite.
You were roaming the streets in Brașov, Romania, scraping for food so you could survive.
You were captured and held in a public “shelter” aka a place where they would kill you if no one came to claim you within 14 days.
You got lucky because someone indeed came to claim you, choosing you and a handful of others, while hundreds would remain and likely face their deaths.
You got lucky and were taken to a real shelter where the kind souls caring for you wanted nothing more but to keep you safe, fed, healthy… and then hopefully lose you to a forever home in a country far away.
Shorn, dirty, and fearful. A picture of Ally taken by CareForDogs Romania in their shelter in Brasov, Romania.
They waited for many months and you might have accepted that this kennel would be all you ever see for the remainder of your days.
In fact, there came one day on which you sure hoped you could go back to the peace and familiarity of that kennel.
Instead, people came and put some kind of straps around you. When they led you past the gates of your spartan home, you could not have guessed that this was the last time you would ever see it.
You must have been scared to the bones when they put you and some other dogs in boxes placed in a bigger box with wheels.
Video on the YouTube channel of CareForDogs Romania, the wonderful organization that rescues dogs around Brasov, Romania, and gets them ready for adoption. About 30 seconds in, you can see timid Ally hiding in her kennel… That was months before we adopted her.
Then, this box started moving and you were rattling on for days and nights on end. When your companion dogs started disappearing one by one, every time the box on wheels stopped moving for a moment, your fear might have deepened even more. What cruelty was awaiting you this time?
Unbeknownst to you, your fate at that time was at the mercy of two humans who had seen a reel on Instagram and fallen in love with you.
Two weeks later, on this cold autumn night, in the dark of a gas station parking area, they were waiting for the arrival of a box on wheels, the anticipation growing unbearable.
And then you arrived.
Dennis and Tina smiling despite the anxious wait for the dog transport to finally arrive.
When the van door opened and you were led outside, my heartbeat was threatening to run off the rails. I had never been on a blind date before.
Would we get along? Would you come to trust us? Would we be out of our depths in dealing with your potential traumas?
You froze and wouldn’t move one bit when the kind man tried to make you follow the leash. So he lifted your long, scrawny 30 kg body to his chest and carried you to the trunk of our car. Your long, fluffy fur looked dishevelled, greasy, and it stank challengingly. The trunk door closed and… just like that, you belonged to us now.
Treasure on board.
There we were, communed by fate, driving through the night. I sat on the back seat, feeling your warm breath on the back of my head. I became acutely aware that you were a complete stranger, whose behaviour I knew nothing about, bigger and stronger than what we had anticipated.
The neat little net that separated you from the passenger compartment of the car revealed itself as mere decoration. It would not prevent you from tearing it down in case you panicked, after all being in yet another box with yet other scary humans.
And then you ate a treat right out of my hand. Just like that.
She made it. Still in her transport harness, Ally is lying down for the first time in her new home.
After this fateful night, things weren’t easy. You fell severely sick within days of your arrival and we could do nothing but leave you at a clinic for days. We could have lost you right then. But you are a fighter and you fought to come back to your new home.
It took days before we did not anymore have to run in circles around the sofa to get close to you. It took weeks before you trusted the leash enough to go for a walk. It took months before you stayed on the couch with us for longer than the treats lasted.
You have come a long way and I promise you, I will do all I can to keep you feel safe, fed, healthy… and home.
Happy first forever home day, Ally.
One step closer with every day, since Oct 2nd 2021.
Ally is part of the team. The muse, the work-life-balancer, the fluffiest member of the WHYLD crew.
Prior to falling in love with Ally, I had postponed getting a dog for many years. “I am too busy”, “my lifestyle is not made for a dog”, “one day I will but not today”. That’s what I told myself.
You know what? If you really want something you make it work. You, dear reader, might not be a fan of dogs and maybe you do not understand why having one is such a vital part of my life.
Think of a thing that makes YOU happy beyond what words can describe, one thing that adds a profound quality to your life.
… why postpone it? Make it happen, you owe it to yourself.
If you DO love dogs, I urge you to consider adopting one instead of getting a puppy from a breeder. Hashtag “Adopt, don’t shop!”
There are thousands of overlooked, incredible souls roaming the streets or waiting in a shelter somewhere.
Rescuing a dog is a guaranteed way of receiving an overabundance of love and gratitude. Getting a pup with a rough background to trust you might be one the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.
If you want to know more about the incredible work that CareForDogs Romania does, listen to this WHYLD Podcast episode with their founder, Delia Botea.
photos: CareForDogs Romania, Nicolai Illing & Tina Hewelt