North East charity rescues puppies left for dead in a dustbin in Romania
Dogs starved and mistreated abroad are finding a new home in this country thanks to the commitment of a small, independent charity run by two women from the Northeast. PETER BARRON Reports
The AS puppies Madi, Otis, Teddy and Georgie get to know each other again while playing in the sun on the idyllic English village green, hard to imagine what they have been through in their short lives.
Born last November, they were found by a police officer, sunk in a grocery bag in an ice-cold trash can in Romania, three with their tails cut off.
They starved to death, but thanks to the efforts of animal lovers in the northeast who work with rescuers in Romania, the dogs have found loving homes in this country after a four-day journey on the road more than 1,700 miles.
They arrived here in April and it was a joyful scene last week when they were reunited in the quaint village of Newby, home of Carol Hewett, chairman of Dogs in Distress, a small, independent charity in the northeast.
“It’s amazing to see her so loved and happy,” says Carol. “The need to find a home is limitless and this is a real success story.”
Jenny Laidler, who works with Carol for the charity, drove out of her house in Guisborough to see her again and she, too, is moved to tears.
“There is so much inhumanity in the world and we do it out of love for animals. It’s worth seeing her so happy, ”she says.
Carol and Jenny met through the world of dog rescue and founded Dogs in Distress 11 years ago. Carol is the proud owner of Rufus, a “puggle” – a cross between a pug and a beagle – and Jenny has a 16-year-old ex-racing greyhound named Lucy and Katie, a Romanian rescue dog.
Since Dogs in Distress was introduced, it has re-housed nearly 100 dogs and provided emergency treatment, grooming, and temporary housing to many others until long-term care can be found.
The charity also financially supports other rescue groups to keep healthy dogs from being destroyed and offers neutering. In the past few years, Dogs in Distress has also helped save around 20 dogs from various Eastern European countries.
The rescue of Madi, Otis, Teddy and Georgie began when Jenny contacted a group in Romania that she could trust via Facebook. The four puppies were taken in by animal lover Daniela Mihaela in a Romanian town called Targu Neamt.
Daniela has dedicated her life to rescuing strays who are caught by dog trappers and who are often starved or mistreated. She keeps them in makeshift nursing homes until a home can be found and, thanks to the connection with Jenny, arrangements have been made for Madi, Otis, Teddy and Georgie to travel to England on the road. The other two puppies of the litter were also found: Daisy now lives in Cannock in Staffordshire, while Kima was housed in Germany.
It costs Dogs in Distress £ 350 to ship any dog to England, plus vet fees. To find a new home, the charity is posting posters in veterinary practices and pet stores and making an appeal on social media. Visits are then made to potential owners, home checks are carried out, and the dogs are given a two-week trial visit prior to official adoption.
The result of the recent rescue is that the four adorable pups have now been adopted by families in the northeast. Madi lives with Nicci Knight, her partner Maaz Rahman and their children in Newby near Middlesbrough; Otis is with the Elliott family in Hutton Rudby; Teddy’s new owners are the Thomas family in Stokesley; and Georgie moved to the seaside to be with Graham Duncan at Redcar.
“We just couldn’t resist when we saw the picture of Teddy,” says Mama Natalie Thomas. “We immediately felt sorry for him because he had wobbly legs and sad little eyes. It’s nice to see them all together again, to have found a beautiful home and to enjoy the life they deserve. ”
Meanwhile, there are big plans for Madi, who has settled in well in Newby. She is so meek that she is considered an ideal candidate for a therapy dog.
Nicci is the Operations Manager at Zizu’s Nursery in Middlesbrough and Madi works with her to interact with the children. Visits to hospitals and nursing homes are also planned.
“She is perfect for the role because she is very calm, loves people, is very fluffy and enjoys being petted,” says Nicci. “She always enjoys going to kindergarten – the kids love her and she loves the kids, so we want to build on that.”
There could hardly be a stronger contrast: the dogs that starved in a garbage can less than a year ago are now surrounded by more love than they could ever need.
If you would like to support Dogs in Distress or are considering becoming a volunteer, email [email protected] or call 07864 054008.