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Paws2Rescue Quarterly Newsletter April – June 2023

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A very warm welcome to our second quarterly newsletter. It’s turning put to be a busy year as we continue to develop existing projects, undertake new ventures and face new challenges. We love to share our work with our supporters, and have collected a selection of highlights from our projects in Romania, Ukraine and Peru. We hope you enjoy reading about how your continued support enables us to make a difference to neglected and abused animals around the world.

April 2023

Visiting Romania

Every time we return to Romania, we brace ourselves for the horrors of the state-run shelter and yet every time, find ourselves newly horrified. This time we met senior Dave. Abandoned by his previous owners, confused and alone, no wonder he had curled himself into a ball, quaking with fear. Our hearts broke. An older dog like Dave stood no chance in the public shelter.. Fast forward a couple of months and, after securing a seat on the Happy Van, Dave has found his forever home – swapping cold, hard concrete for the comfiest spot on the sofa with his wonderful new owners.

And Dave is not our only happy-ever-after senior story. Meet sweet little Roma. At 13 years old, and with an enormous tumour weighing 2.5 kg, her ‘before’ pictures are not for the faint-hearted. This is the reality of what our rescuers in Romania face every day: owners who dump their sick pets on the street. Luckily for Roma, she was rescued in time, and thanks to the generosity of those who heard our call for help, we were able to raise the necessary funds for her life-saving vet treatment. And look at her now, enjoying spending her retirement out and about with Paws2Rescue’s Alison!

Sadly, the cruel practice of chaining dogs continues to prevail in rural areas of Romania. Take this poor boy (pictured left). He is one of the lucky ones we were able to help, but all too often these poor animals live their entire lives tethered in agony from the tightvrope or chain around their necks.

Working in rural communities is a key aspect of our mission, and education is central to this work. We spend so much of our time rescuing the victims of human ignorance, but our true goal is prevention. We want to tackle the root causes of suffering by fostering compassion and care for animals in all the communities we work with. Our neutering campaigns are fundamental to this mission.

Petru Voda Neuter Campaigns

Seeing local children help to deliver leaflets for our neutering campaign was a truly heart -warming sight. By engaging this generation in our programmes, we are normalising the idea of neutering animals in places where this hasn’t always been the case.

Our April neuter campaigns began in the east of Romania, at the beautiful Petru Voda Monastery. Working in such an extremely remote position isn’t straightforward, but the vet team carried out 24 cat and dog neuters – all so very desperately needed in this area. The campaign involved walking uphill through heavily wooded areas carrying all the equipment, and dealing with the threat of snakes and extreme heat too! Paws2Rescue is proud of our partnership with monasteries in Romania.

Vet Scholarships

After travelling south to Bucharest, we were delighted to attend the graduation of our first Paws2Rescue vet scholars. Our partnership with Spiru Haret Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Facultatea de Medicina Veterinara Spiru Haret) is central to our future plans to help animals in Romania. This professional and highly regarded partnership means our scholarships are sought after. We were inundated with applications for our 2023/24 intake of scholars commencing September. One of our four chosen scholars explained in his own words what the sponsorship means to him:

“I am grateful that I receive this scholarship for last year of vet university because for the previous years I had to work nights or weekends to have the financials for supporting my studies. Now I will be able to dedicate that time for practicing more, participating in neutering campaigns and to allocate more time for study so I can become a better vet. Thank you again Alison and Paws2Rescue! Thank you also Madalina for all support! And thank you Spiru Haret for working with Paws2Rescue to provide us with this opportunity!”

Schools’ Programme

Our work in education is not confined to university students. In conjunction with 8 NGOs, we have developed an exciting new education programme for school children. The scheme is designed to foster compassion for animals alongside practical ways to care for them. Education on animal care is vital if animal welfare is to improve in the future. Our new collaboration is a first in Romania, and is our formal entrance into teaching in schools ourselves.

Two recent successful examples were when our vet scholar Mada, took little Tiu into this kindergarten class to teach the children about animal care (bottom right). Also, when this class were taken into the field to learn about caring for both wildlife and pets (top right). They loved it!

Visiting Old Friends

Whenever we visit Romania, we love to pay a call on our rescued pups in their new foster homes. This time we were thrilled to see old boy Star making excellent progress. Although he is still a long way from walking normally, the vet treatment and physio for his paralysis have made a world of difference. The funds were raised during one of our regular Facebook auctions – these are a vital source of fundraising.

Star absolutely loved joining us in Bucharest for a coffee break, practising his lead walking and acclimatising to the sights and sounds of people, all part of his transition back to life again. He is a miracle, he is our Star.

Jilava Neutering Campaign

Our second neuter campaign of the trip celebrated our newly qualified Paws2Rescue vet students’ achievements by putting them straight to work! We headed south of Bucharest to Jilava, and to our new Medical Centre where we brought in the best neuter team for a weekend of helping the community’s animals.

For reasons that are hard to understand, the Romanian government has recently introduced a new law stating that neutering can only be carried out in registered vet clinic premises or neuter vans. This means we are no longer (officially) able to rent school community halls or other premises which makes our new Medical Center even more crucial than ever. Additionally, we can rent the facility to other charities who also want to carry out campaigns.

Brucellosis Research

Our final meeting in Romania was with staff at the Exavet laboratory in Bucharest. Paws2Rescue, in partnership with Spiru Haret Faculty of Medicine and Exavet, is launching a formal brucellosis research project this summer, and we were there to finalise the process and organisation. We hope to play a part in finding preventative measures and treatments for this devastating canine disease.

Back in the UK

Returning home, we found the country preparing for King Charles’ coronation, including our team member, Cefn, and Marlow getting ready to keep the royal family and the public safe.

We also had promises to keep to the nuns at Petru Voda. Despite very limited resources, they care for the animals abandoned in the forest and so, thanks to the generous donations made by our supporters, we were delighted to be able to send them much-needed supplies.

Floods in Kherson

In Ukraine, further disaster struck when the dam at Kherson was breached. Devastating flooding meant that thousands of animals were at risk. Our partner shelter in Ukraine jumped in to action and began rescuing the many, many pets and strays from flooded areas, driving them two hours to safety using whatever means they could from cars, to bicycles and wheelbarrows. Over 100 animals were rescued in total, some of whom have since been reunited with their families. Without your generous donations, we would not have been able to help so many, and without the cages which we sent by lorry from the UK – again donated by our supporters – such a rescue could never have happened. We would like to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated.

Tick Season

With tick season upon us, sights like the ones below left on stray dogs are unfortunately common. We try to help as many as we can. A single preventative tick treatment is jut £5 and with every donation, we can ensure that a dog will not suffer this summer, or be at risk of the potentially fatal tick-borne disease babesiosis.

Paws in the Park

Back in the UK, our team was keeping busy. One again, Paws2Rescue ran the “Fastest Recall” event at Paws In The Park in the South East, helping us to raise donations and new support. We met so many incredible dogs and fantastic owners. It really made a wonderful weekend spending our time chatting to them all too. The winners were so proud of their rosettes too!

House of Lords

Meanwhile, our founder, Alison Standbridge took part in a debate in the House of Lords on the infectious disease brucellosis. Surrounded by vets and national organisations, Alison presented on behalf of UK rescues and spent the day debating a variety of issues concerning this dreadful disease.

June 2023

In Memory of Martin Humphery

On a beautiful day in June, Alison joined many other animal rights supporters at Burgh House in Hampstead to celebrate the life of Martin Humphery, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 93.

Martin was a passionate advocate of animal rights and a staunch friend of Paws2Rescue as well as a personal friend and mentor to our founder, Alison. Along with his amazing wife of 66 years, Angela, he visited Romania with us in 2018 to see our work at first hand (pictured right).

Joined by our patron, Ricky Gervais, and representatives from Nowzad, All Dogs Matter, Greyhound Rescue and the Born Free Foundation as well as Martin’s family and friends, Alison spent the day reflecting on Martin’s tireless campaigning spirit and his boundless compassion. He was a true friend to Paws2Rescue and will be terribly missed.

Our New Vet Clinic

The start of June brought the exciting news of our new vet clinic opening in the rural area of Beius, an area lacking in much of the infrastructure we take for granted here in the UK.

This is our 4th vet clinic in Romania and we are excited that the community and animals will benefit for years to come. We are in the process of buying all the essential medical supplies and have already mobilised our neutering van to begin improving the lives of pets and strays in the area.

The Sanctuary

After two years of hard work, our Sanctuary in western Romania is almost complete! Weeks of rain meant a slight delay with the septic tank and drainage installation, but the small team redoubled their efforts to get us back on track. and with the arrival of our new, bespoke kennels, the dream of a safe space for traumatised animals is one step closer to becoming a reality. Thank you to all our supporters who participated in the fundraising auction or sponsored a kennel.

Cyclone in Peru

When the cyclone hit Peru on June 19th, our team didn’t hesitate to dig through the rubble. Despite the devastating trauma of uncovering the bodies of those who died, they rescued 77 animals that would otherwise have perished. The lack of space meant these animals were squeezed into corridors and every available nook and cranny, but they knew they were safe.

Thanks to our supporters’ kind donations, and the help of the local police who were desperate to feed every animal they found, we were able to distribute food to displaced animals.

An Adopter’s Story

While the core of our work involves saving animals overseas, there are a few lucky dogs who we do adopt into homes here in the UK. We have the most amazing family of adopters that we keep in daily contact with – literally thousands – via our social media group, where we discuss anything and everything. In June, a few members were asking about whether to take on a second dog, so we wanted to share just one of the lovely stories from one of our adopters when she recently welcomed her second dog – little Ralph:

“Adopting little Ralph has been the best thing we ever did! We had a few reservations as Edie has always been a very nervous dog but Ralph has been the complete opposite. Before he arrived we were worried about whether they would get on as Edie is 35kg and Ralph when he arrived was only about 6kg! We needn’t have worried though as they are the best of friends. If Ralph wants the toy that Edie is playing with Edie lets him have it, if he wants the treat she has been given she lets him have it. She is so kind to him and he has given her a new lease of life! They have found their own unique way of playing where Edie lies on the floor so that they are equal size to play “bitey facey”. Ralph does “zoomies” all round the house and garden and Edie gets so excited and just waits for him to whizz past and tries to stop him. They are complete opposites in looks and personality but they couldn’t get on any better, they were actually made for each other and we adore them.”

Ada and Rita

Remember this little pup from our last newsletter? Rescued from the harshest conditions, she had zero chance of surviving as a stray. Well, the amazing news is that someone fell in love with her, and she travelled to the UK at the end of June – with her sister too! Look how Ada and Rita’s lives have transformed!

And finally….

The whole team is thrilled to be able to round off our second quarterly newsletter with the news that we have been awarded the accolade of ‘Most inspiring animal association in Europe.’

But of course we would be nothing without our supporters. so once again, we would like to thank you for your generosity and continued support. On behalf of Alison and the team,

Thank you!