Hello and apologies for the very late update. The last few months have been the busiest we have ever had! We always knew that doing our own transport would spread us even thinner but we have transported 69 dogs now since October so it is so worthwhile. Most of these dogs now have forever homes, there are just 5 dogs waiting at Dogs 4 Rescue for their happy ending but they have interest so we are sure this will change soon.
We are so lucky to work with Dogs 4 Rescue, their following and turn over is fantastic. We have also had a lot of enquiries locally for adoption, which is great news, they are mainly from expats who have moved to Bulgaria.
If you have adopted from us then please make sure you join our Facebook group where you can share photographs, experiences and top tips: https://www.facebook.com/groups/755882431423053/
We have also had a few enquires locally from people who want to foster which is great for the dogs as they experience different things and love the attention of being an only dog. If you live in the Dryanovo area and would like to help foster then please get in touch. We are looking for people who will take dogs into town to get used to traffic, practice lead walking and also socialisation with adults and children.
Our new web site has been a tremendous success, dogs are sponsored quickly and adoption enquiries are coming thick and fast. The downside is that we have to say no to many dogs across Bulgaria who are looking for their happy endings but just the two of us simply cannot do more than we are already doing. We still have a lot of work to do within the Dryanovo municipality so having less dogs will enable us to get out more and get more dogs neutered. We have just been allocated 3000 leva from the Municipality budget to neuter dogs over the next two years, not nearly enough but it’s a start. Each dog has to be micro chipped, given rabies vaccines, worming tablets and neutered before release. 3000 leva will not go far as it will cost 110 leva for a female dog and 80 leva for a male dog to do all this. We are still reluctant to release dogs as they are at huge risk of injury or death. We initially did a big neuter and release programme but there are only a handful of dogs on the streets still alive so it is a worry. At present we have identified 55 dogs that need neutering, 40 of these have been dumped near to an abattoir so that will be a huge task.
Sadly the clutch on our van failed on this last trip so this will hinder catching dogs and neutering as our pick up is only licensed to carry 2 dogs at a time. The van is another worry as we hoped it would last another year but it is getting older and isn’t big enough so we need to think about raising money to fund a larger, newer model. We are licensed to carry 20 dogs but our van realistically only fits up to 16 dogs comfortably. Frieda the forever bus has been awesome so these are sad times. We are considering approaching multinational companies and hopefully one might see the advertising potential in Europe of their logo on a vehicle. Providing that we are not hindered by the current political uncertainty in England, on our usual trips we pass through nine European countries twice per month. We have had an informal chat with a friend who manages the local branch of a multinational corporation and he thought the idea has potential.
A new van would also replace our current vehicle when we go out collecting the dogs in the municipality for neutering. We also hope to roll out a free vet check and rabies vaccination programme for the dogs of the older residents in the area, we aim to use this service as an education tool with view to neutering said dogs. We have learnt that most of the abandoned puppies come from villages where neutering is still a very new and widely unheard of practice. We’ll see how that transpires, but in the meantime we will repair our old faithful forever bus.
So on the subject of broken things Emma’s phone has been in and out of use hence not having our usual presence on social media! That is all rectified now thanks to being donated a new phone so we are back on it. Social media is an incredible tool for rehoming and getting the word out about neutering so it is essential. Lets hope the dogs don’t destroy the latest phone!
Brexit…what can we say. It is a huge worry with conflicting information, the UK government doesn’t know what is happening and our state vet is very concerned. If we need to do rabies titration test then there isn’t a Laboratory in Bulgaria so all blood tests would need to go to Bucharest Romania at a cost of 350 Leva/175 Euro per test. Due to the length of transport the blood may not be of good quality by the time it gets there and be rendered useless but we still will have to pay, we would then have to submit another sample. This is obviously a huge worry and may affect us being able to rehome dogs to the UK. Just for instance, from the last four transport trips of the 69 dogs transported only 11 have been taken to Germany so the other 58 dogs would have cost an extra 10,150 euros plus expenses at this end if the blood tests were a requirement. You can see our concerns and how transporting dogs to the UK could potentially become not a viable option. Where that would leave the dogs and us is very uncertain.
Work at home - a lovely lady did a Tombola in London recently raising £500 for the dogs. This is going to be spent on wood to make little cabins for the dogs. One thing we have learned is that dogs like to be shut in at night as they get scared of the Jakals and wild boar. At present we are using woodsheds, Anthony’s workshop and the horses stable to accommodate the dogs at night. This is not a long-term solution so springtime will bring plenty of work for Anthony! We are so grateful to receive this money and will be buying the wood in the next few weeks. We are ready to get it now and Anthony started building a cabin yesterday but today it is snowing!
Boarding – many people ask how we pay our bills. Anthony used to do work with the digger but it wasn’t financially viable as a breakdown is expensive. The digger has an oil leak at the moment and I have just brought what looks like a few rubber bands back from the UK which cost £200! The digger is essential for clearing areas for the dog cabins and general ground maintenance. So we now we have set up dog boarding and are steadily gaining a good reputation. When Kate Lamb did the bike ride she wanted us to do this to make Street Hearts BG sustainable and we are ticking by. We generally have up to 5 dogs at a time and charge 10 leva per dog plus food. So people in Bulgaria please spread the word, dogs have a great time socialising and enjoying our pack walks.
Guest bungalow – we are currently decoration the bungalow and hoping to also gain an income from this for the NGO. We have a couple of bookings this year so once the decorating is done and I have repaired the doggy damaged garden and re seeded the lawn we will start promoting it. After this, the dogs are strictly banned from this area! It really is a beautiful space and has the added bonus of dog lovers being able to spend time with pups! For more information please check out our Facebook page All of our newsletter subscribers receive a 20% discount. Nightly rates are 50 leva/25 Euro for a minimum 2 night stay.. https://www.facebook.com/streetheartsbgguestbungalow/?ref=br_rs
Finally Emma and the dogs were filmed by Channel 5 on arrival at Dogs 4 Rescue earlier this month. It was 10.30pm and Emma was very tired but she managed to do it and the dogs were impeccably behaved. Once we know when this will be aired we will share the details.
Once again thank you for all your support, we need you and we hope that we inspire people with our stories! If you know of anyone looking to adopt, volunteer or sponsor a dog then please point them in our direction.