Week 21 Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (Bulgaria)

Below is a summary of what I knew about Bulgaria last week:

  1. It is somewhere in Europe and the capital is Sofia.
  2. There is a womble named after it.


I know a bit more this week:

  1. It has a population of 7.4 million people and the world’s oldest known golden treasure was dicovered there. (In the Varna Necropolis in 1972, the items date back to over 4000 years B.C.E)
  2. All the wombles are actually named after places, but Great Uncle Bulgaria came first…

The Wombles of Wimbledon all choose their own names out of Great Uncle Bulgaria’s atlas. Some of them spend a long time looking for a name that suits them, while others just close their eyes and point, and hope for the best!

The Wombles’ names



3. There are some very kind hearted people running a dog shelter who, 2 years ago this month, rescued a dog in a horrible state of mange and malnutrition.  They called her Khaleesi after the warrior queen from Game of Thrones.

I thank the animal news website The Dodo  for sharing this story, and so many others.

Khaleesi’s story

Story: On the morning of the 12th May(2014), Tony noticed that someone had posted on the RSDR fan page asking if we could help a dog in another town. The dog was in a terrible state being extremely thin and with severe demodex. There was a link to a news article showing pictures of her and they were asking if someone could catch her and put her to sleep as people were worried that she was diseased.

We know the abuse that even a healthy looking street dog will suffer, getting kicked, chased off and having things thrown at them, so we could imagine what might be happening to this poor dog.  We set off on the 70 km journey only knowing a rough area where she might be.  Two hours later we arrived in the area where the dog was. I suddenly spotted her on the other side of a roundabout and set off towards her whilst Tony was shouting at me because I was oblivious to the traffic. LOL.

Tony called the dog and she came straight over to him. She was cowering as she approached but she was just so desperate for contact. She has to be one of the saddest cases we have seen. She was so thin and had no hair. She was covered in fleas and tick, her ear was torn and her skin was so sore. It also appeared as if a front leg had been broken and healed badly. Tony just picked her up and carried her to the car. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were in a busy town with so many people watching, I think I would have broken down and cried. The poor girl had suffered so much and yet was still so loving and trusting.

On the way home we were thinking of a name for her. We wanted a name that meant something but every name that came to mind, we had already had. We were then thinking of strong female figures because we knew that if she was to make it she had to be strong. I decided to call her Khaleesi after the character from “Game of Thrones”.

We arrived home with her at six that evening. There is no room at the shelter and we wanted to be able to keep checking on her through the night so we took her to the house and put her in the kitchen.

She was given pain meds and antibiotics, wormed, bathed and had a treatment for demodex, ticks and fleas. A lot of the dead skin came off during her bath. Over the next few days it should all come off and then with the treatment she is getting, her hair will start to grow back. She then settled peacefully on her blanket and slept. She was quiet and slept all night.

Khaleesi has a good appetite and despite her abuse and neglect and the discomfort she is in, she is so happy to be around people and manages to wag her tail. She seems to have a deformity in both front legs which could be congenital or through malnutrition so she has extra meds for this. Once she is a bit stronger and in less discomfort from her skin, she will have her front legs x rayed and also full blood works done.

She truly is a beautiful girl. She lets us know when she needs the toilet by standing at the door. After she has done her business outside, she quite happily goes back to the kitchen and her bed.

Under the care of these wonderful people, this gorgeous girl was transformed.

Great Uncle Bulgaria would be proud. 


He would be very upset by the less kind people who hurt animals though.


Rudozem Street Dog Rescue

Bulgaria has many street dogs who are often subjected to the most horrendous cruelty. They are kicked, beaten and shot on a regular basis for no other reason than that it provides certain individuals with amusement.  Many of these dogs are injured, in pain, or starving and in the winter there is a high chance that they will freeze to death.  The

Since moving to Bulgaria in 2007, we have rescued many of these dogs.  We sometimes have as many as 200 dogs and cats at the RSDR shelter.

We have adoption teams in other countries and whenever possible, we find loving homes for our dogs. Some have suffered so much abuse that they are unsuitable for adoption and stay with us as permanent residents. Apart from the dogs that we do take in, we try and keep a check on others that are still on the streets or living in the forests, making sure that they are fed and if possible treated for parasites.


Normal people can achieve extraordinary things…

In August 2007, the Rowles family – Diane and Tony Rowles and their 4 children, 4 dogs and 2 cats decided to make the move to Bulgaria to have a more peaceful life from the busy lifestyle in the UK.  The Rowles bought a family property in the outskirts of Rudozem.

After living in Bulgaria for a few months, the family saw the plight of the street dogs and started feeding and caring for them.  They were shocked by the locals reactions and abuse towards the street dogs. They would see dogs being kicked and spat on, having stones thrown at them and some of the dogs that fed and cared for would be deliberately killed.  They continued to feed the dogs on the streets when they could out of their own money.

In September 2007, their youngest son Luke, befriended a street dog named Ranger, and the dog started following him.  Ranger became the family’s first rescue dog when a man was trying to shoot him.
In following months other  street dogs went home to the Rowles family.

With the continuing number of street dogs needing to be fed on the streets, it was getting harder not to do something, so Rudozem Street Dog Rescue was formed in 2008 and  charity status was applied for.


What can you do today, to make the world kinder?