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The Day We Found a Hoarding Shelter

It was a terrible shock, the first day our team went to investigate stories of starving dogs in a private house in Constanta. 138 dogs (now the official count) crammed in, emaciated and starving had been taken in over years by someone who tried to help, but in the end, hadn't the means to care for them. We have called it the SOS Shelter.

The First Few Days

Nothing could have prepared us for what we found

We immediately sent in food and daily the team worked hard the first weeks to clean, sort accommodation and take the worst cases for veterinary treatment. 

The dogs were starving, and desperate for food. The team gave them all the food they had

The team consisted of Aura, who discovered this hoarding shelter, Gea, and Ion. The dogs needed to stay put, as we were already stretched to the maximum capacity at our shelter, plus we didn't have the means to move 138 dogs. We had to turn this hovel into a liveable shelter.

Gea did not leave empty handed that day. How did she chose? She felt little Ayla chose her

They spent the next few days, along with a wonderful group of local volunteers (friends) at the hoarding shelter and worked so hard all day to clean, provide feeding bowls and troughs and sort out beds. The house owner, Carmen, was just trying to help, but got overwhelmed, however at last her hoarding shelter was starting to feel more homely. She knew every one of her 'babies’ names. 

 A hard few days of very dirty, smelly work, but you can start to see the results

They also added straw for warmth to kennels and beds where needed. Work started to catalogue the dogs. Despite the hardship they have endured, the dogs were friendly and so pleased to get some attention. The atmosphere was so much better as the dogs had full bellies so there was no longer aggression between them.

Amazing what a bit of straw can mean to these poor dogs who had nothing

The 6 puppies were wormed. The adult dogs couldn't yet be vaccinated as there were so many together, it was impossible to tell who has been done and who not. This was the week we started to build pens, so we could start to separate the vulnerable ones.

There were 6 puppies among the 138 SOS Shelter dogs

The following days

The next day, one by one, the worst cases were taken to the vet as it reopened. The state of some of their teeth was appalling, plus some nasty eye infections. 

The dogs in most need were the first to get to the vet

There were many extreme cases like Pitic who is blind in one eye and can see a little out of the other. He is also disabled. He has a very kind sponsor who also has offered him a home. He will be called Thomas. When he has gained some condition, we will get him through to the eye doc in Bucharest.

This boy Pitic (will be called Thomas) is lucky to have a home offer already

We had an overwhelming response to our appeal at this stage, supplies were on their way, and we felt more confident we could get on and give these dogs the help they so desperately needed, following the correct processes, and staying in good terms with Carmen, the home owner. It was starting to come together.

The days following, Aura went to the vet with the pups. All six will travel to rescue in the UK with the generous support of Hart2Hart rescue who will pay all costs involved in their prep and travel. The four older pups have corona virus so are in treatment, other tests negative. The two wee diddies were just 6 weeks old and had their first puppy dp vacc.

These tiny pups are safe now

The show must go on

Our supergirls pushed on. Aura was at the SOS shelter on the 4th day by herself working with the owner. The team still had to contend with their everyday workload. Gea was at our main BMDR Nisipari shelter all day, where we house and care for around 350 dogs. Ion had been left alone to care for the dogs there due to some casual workers quitting. There were several of our dogs leaving the next day to start their new lives, which is always good to see, but this needed taking care of. Romeo is our right-hand man at the shelter and he hasn’t been very well, so unable to help at the moment, which he feels very guilty about. On top of this, the weather had been awful, which meant the well had frozen solid.

Always sad, but of course fantastic to see our dogs start their journey to their forever homes

A little help from our friends

Work continued to go on and the dogs were so much happier and calmer. We had so many offers of help and when the dogs are ready, many will move to UK and German homes and rescues. Despite being so hungry when we found them, so far all tests are negative for nasties. The owner is so happy to have our help and is committed to working with us to rehome the dogs although it is very hard for her.

So grateful for the food donations, which arrived by the pallet load

Donated food arrived from Germany and more is on the way, for which BMDR have paid the £830 carriage. Gea was delighted on the first delivery day: 

“We started the day well. We received food from the group 'Hundepaten E.V. from Danny Josenhans from Germany. Danke!! We then went to the vet with more dogs, who got baths, and a night at the 'vet-hotel'. This will do so much good for their skin"

So much calmer and happier with full bellies, soft beds and a clean environment

The following week another shipment arrives from Germany thanks to Sylke, who Max Wolfa and Carola's team organised the transport for. All have gone above and beyond to help this situation. 

Two dogs were spayed thanks to Hobo Dogs. Zuza and her brother Benji, two 10 month old pups are both waiting for homes. Felicia, another old wee girl needs a home.

More dogs at the vets, some of these already have home offers

Progress at the end of the first week

Aura cooked for them as it was still quite cold. We also found out there was so much more top notch food on the way too from our dear friends in Germany, tonnes and tonnes - enough to last until our aid run in May! Deci Dex is a friend of Aura’s. He works at her foster shelter, and made a plan for the new pens at the SOS shelter. Gea and Ion knew a good place for discount materials so this week, they ordered what was needed.

Fresh, hot food, as it was still bitterly cold. Pen plan and building materials

The following week consisted of taking more dogs to the vet, more sorting, lots of cleaning and analyses done for some oldies. There are so many beautiful souls. All are becoming better by the day with good food and appropriate care.

Future plans and needs

Great news is that at this point, we raised some great funds for the SOS Dogs which includes a huge chunk from our dear German friends. Our own brilliant and lovely vet, Dr T will go to the SOS shelter when our volunteer team is there to help. He will chip and vaccinate 50 dogs. A kind Bucharest vet will go mid month to neuter 20 dogs free of charge, as they should be strong enough by then. Wow!  We have also had quite a few home offers. Vet bills and meds will take up the biggest chunk of the donated money and after some marathon vet days we will soon need more. One dog so far already has heartworm for which the treatment alone is around £300 and there are bound to be more. Little Ema for example, has anaplasmosis. Tinks has had a perfusion after low reading on her blood analysis.

Ema and Tinks

Gea has been tirelessly going back and forth between this SOS Shelter, our own shelter, taking out dogs from the public shelter, getting supplies, and the vets. On top of this she has been sending pictures and videos to us of every stage, and every vet visit. But she says she knows it's all worth it, because thanks to YOU GUYS OUT THERE, our supporters, when she sees the vast improvement in dogs like Ayla, it keeps her going:

"Bonus photos with Ayla, the dog that I took home from S.O.S shelter !”

The next update will be from our visit to Romania, about how this SOS Shelter has progressed and an introduction to some of these friendly, gorgeous souls, who will soon be up for adoption.

How can you help?


There are various fundraisers going on (run by fabulous volunteers) to support the extra burden of these 138 dogs, on top of our 700 dogs we already feed every day.

Why not join in? Perk is - many have fantastic prizes:

We run regular auctions and raffles, join our facebook groups: Barking Mad Auction Corner and Barking Mad Prize Scratchcards and Raffles to win, or treat yourself, or a loved one to many super items. There is currently a whopper of a luxury dog hamper on offer.

BMDR Grub Club - you can join for just £1 per week. This is a wonderful group of regular donors that gives us a dependable income we can rely on, needed more than ever since stepping in to help this SOS Shelter. Bonus; there is a monthly draw to win 1 week’s worth of cash. So if 150 people sign-up, you are in for the chance to win £150 every month!


You could also simply donate:

Text: Text BMDR18 £ followed by the amount you want to donate up to £10 to 70070 eg. BMDR18£10 (max 3 texts per day)

Bank details: Sort 52-21-30 Acc. number 26807629


Or think about adopting one of our many friendly dogs. More information here.

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