Fiona is a member of our VIP (Very Important Paws) Team, and chances are, if you’ve ordered from Poppy’s Picnic, her warming Welsh tones will have called you to follow up and see how you’re getting on. Having never imagined having a pet before adopting her Romanian rescue dog, Mabel, Fiona has gone on to adopt another rescue, Clover. In this blog, Fiona shares her experience adopting from Pawprints to Freedom for the second time and what it means to have both her furry best friends in her life.
Hello Poppy’s Pals,
You may have remembered my blog series last November about my much adored Romanian rescue dog, Mabel from the charity ‘Pawprints To Freedom’. Since having Mabel, my life has completely changed for the better, I now have a furry best friend who brings joy to me every day. She’s doing well and her favourite thing to do is rolling about in the garden.
We first heard about Pawprints To Freedom through my daughter, Luci, who is involved with the rescue and has just had her fourth rescue dog herself, called Mickey. No one wanted to adopt Mickey because he sadly has only one eye due to the rough conditions he lived through. Luci already cares for a blind dog so you could say she is familiar with looking after dogs with eye problems - Mickey is in good hands!
Her pack of dogs are always together, having fun play fighting and chasing balls. It’s clear that we can make such a difference to the lives of these rescues. There are always so many dogs needing adopters on the Pawprints To Freedom’s Facebook page, and after a few months of having Mabel with me, I began to think that she could do with a best friend as well.
Last June, I decided to adopt another dog. It was so difficult to pick one from the dozens that are needing a safe and loving home, but one little dog caught my eye. It was so heartbreaking to see how frightened and vulnerable she looked in the photo that something in me told me I had to apply and adopt her.
Her name is Clover.
The process is very simple and I didn’t need a home check as I had already had one for Mabel so all I had to do was put in my application and wait. My admin, Jean was extremely helpful and kept in touch, giving me regular updates before Clover was ready to travel on the 27th of August.
We were put in a ‘van chat’ on Whatsapp as they send out two vans at a time with around 15 dogs on each van so the prospective adopters can talk with each other and get updates on the progress of the dogs and where each drop would take place. It can also be frustrating due to hold ups or traffic problems or in our case, when one van completely missed its time slot for the train through the Channel Tunnel, which set them back hours. Clover was supposed to arrive at 3.30pm on Saturday 31st August and by mid afternoon on the Saturday - it became clear that the itinerary was not going to plan! The vans also have to stop to let the dogs out for meals and toilet breaks, so it all takes time.
The van eventually turned up at 9.30pm on Sunday, 1st of September. Clover was the last drop, so she must have wondered what was going on as gradually, one by one, all the dogs were disappearing after being dropped off.
Then, came the problem. She is absolutely terrified of having a lead on, which made it hard for the driver to get her out of the van as she was screaming and cowering in her cage. It was emotional to see, so I eventually went back into the house to get a blanket and we wrapped her in that, to bring her in. I have found out since that she was chained up for years, and therefore was scared to trust anyone who held her.
When I first gave her some Poppy’s Picnic raw dog food, Clover wolfed it down as if it were her last meal! Most stray dogs in Romania are always starving and although the girls who work in the rescue shelters are always trying to raise money for basic things like food, water buckets, bedding and medical bills, there never seems to be enough to go round.
I completely admire these people who work tirelessly to rescue these dogs. I learned that there are so many stray dogs in Romania that they are regarded almost like vermin and are actually shot at, sometimes. Dogs found on the streets are usually taken to public shelters and are thrown into cramped concrete pens which imaginably would be boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter, with no bedding to pad their bones. What’s worse, is that some of the shelters are ‘kill shelters’ where the dogs caught are given merely 30 days to be adopted and if not, are put to sleep. The shelters announce a ‘kill list’ every month and it is these dogs that the Pawprints to Freedom team are frantic to find fosterers and adopters for.
Clover has been with us for nearly a week now and every day is a blessing. However, I have tried to get a lead on her to take her out for a walk but she goes completely ballistic every time I try, so I am resigned to this being a long job, which will require a lot of time and patience. It is so sad that there is an amazing world out there that Clover has yet to see and she doesn’t realise it, but I’ve made it my mission to ensure she feels at ease in her new home and she knows how much we all love her, including Mabel!
For more information on all the hard work that the rescue does, please visit the Pawprints To Freedom Facebook page and if you can give a dog a loving home, especially the ‘oldies’ then you can either adopt of foster. Otherwise, anything you can contribute, whether it be food, bedding or money, will help these amazing people from ‘Pawprints To Freedom’ hugely. They are totally reliant on members raising enough cash to keep them going, from month to month and work tirelessly to help these poor dogs.
My life is so much better with Mabel and Clover because they give me a sense of purpose too. I’m in awe of how much Mabel has blossomed since the day she arrived, and I look forward to taking good care of Clover.
Fiona, Mabel and of course... Clover! x
Click below to read my four part blog series about how I met my first Romanian rescue, Mabel:
If you have your own experience of adopting, we’d love to hear it. Please post on our Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.