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The Barking Mad Story

All it took was one dog. One picture. One window into the suffering.


That dog was Pixie.

Pixie lived in a park in Bucharest, with her mum, brother and six other dogs. They were fed, vaccinated and neutered by a woman who wanted to help the park strays. The pack survived the best way they could. Winters were harsh. Their guardian built them a kennel and locals smashed it to pieces.


Then, in 2013, the law changed. All strays were ordered to be rounded up and killed. Pixie, like many others, found herself in a privately-owned shelter. Although safe from the dog catchers, Pixie had lost everything else. Her freedom. Her life. She stopped eating and couldn’t get used to life behind bars.

In desperation, the woman who had cared for Pixie in the park posted Pixie on Facebook asking for someone to take her away from Romania and give her the home she deserved.


Hilary Anderson and Alex Shipp took Pixie into their home in Scotland. And into their hearts.

Unable to stop at just one dog, Hilary rescued Elsa and Kirsty and started a Facebook page to help coordinate rescuing other dogs. Along with a Romanian rescuer, Hilary organised for Tiree, Lewis, Jura and Luca to be pulled from a state kill shelter and found them homes in the UK.


Barking Mad Dog Rescue was born.


Determined to find out more, a visit to Romania was organised. Nothing could have prepared the Barking Mad team for the impact of seeing so many beautiful, affectionate dogs, all desperate for attention, crammed into a small shelter. Many were thin, all were full of ticks and fleas.


The charity mobilised, determined to make a difference.


Before lockdown, our UK team were in Romania several times each year to visit Barking Mad’s own shelters in Constanta and when possible our supported shelter in Calarasi. These trips are resuming now in 2022, alongside volunteer visits who go over to help. Since the charity started, over 2000 dogs have found new homes in the UK and Germany. Barking Mad also feeds around 650 dogs every single day across their network of partner shelters.

See how you can help our shelter dogs here.

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