What we do
Rescues: A vast majority of the dogs at our shelter are rescue dogs. We often find and rescue animals that have been hit by cars, or have been abused or neglected in some major way and could not otherwise survive on their own. Incidents of animals having been hit by cars are quite common on the streets of Bucharest, Romania as many individuals simply do not care enough about animals to avoid hitting them, or simply because the driver just could not swerve out of the way in time. Another major category of dogs that need rescuing are puppies. Unfortunately our shelter simply does not have the capacity or resources to rescue every stray puppy we encounter, and there are many! We do, however, attempt to rescue puppies that are in the most urgent need of help: if they are trying to cross the road, or if they live by the side of the railroad or any other very dangerous place. Sometimes – although more rarely – we also come across incidents of animal abuse, and in these cases we always try our hardest to rescue the animal, and work to re-socialize and re-habituate it into normal life.
Sterilization Campaigns: The Nature Association teams up with the mayor of our city to organize massive sterilization campaigns. Since 2004, we have been sterilizing 500 dogs per year throughout weekends events in the spring and summer. These events last from morning till night, and they are sometimes weekend long campaigns where we can sterilize as many as 60 animals per day. These campaigns are open to all pet owners in our municipality, as well as to anyone who brings in a stray that they care for. We also work hard to educate people on the importance of spaying/neutering their animal, and we try to spread the message that sterilizations are the only answer to the stray animal problem in Romania, and not euthanisation.
Trap-Neuter-Release Campaigns: On top of our city-hall-sponsored sterilization campaigns, we also have an ongoing TNR campaign aimed at sterilizing 100% of the dogs in our area of Popesti-Leordeni, just outside Bucharest. Over the years, we have caught hundreds of dogs, sterilized them, and re-introduced them into their original homes. This campaign is proving very effective; over 90% of the dogs in our area are sterilized, and the suburb of Popesti-Leordeni has seen a marked decrease in the number of strays since our shelter began its work.
- Re-homing: One of the main goals our shelter has is to get animals re-homed into happy and loving families. Adopting from a shelter, and not buying from a pet store, is so important because you have the opportunity to rescue an animal in need rather than perpetuate the cruelty of keeping an animal in a small enclosed space and on display. Because a majority of our dogs are strays and therefore not pure breeds, we do not have a very good adoption market in Romania. For this reason, and because we have found a wider variety of animal lovers abroad, we adopt dogs mainly internationally. We are fortunate enough to work with a great organization called Dogs Adoption Nederlands, and they are responsible for adopting roughly 100 of our dogs per year to families in Holland! We have also adopted to Ireland, Italy, and Norway, and we hope to work with many more countries in the future. If you are interested in adopting from us, you can find more adoption info here, as well as our dogs for adoption photos.
Animal Welfare Education: Many Romanian children are desensitized to the sight of stray dogs on the street, and they are made to feel frightened of touching a stray by their parents/guardians, and they therefore develop a negative association and fear of stray dogs well into their adulthood. This fear is perpetuated by constantly circulated horror stories of people having been viciously bitten by stray dogs on the street, and it is no wonder that children and adults alike view street dogs in a negative light. The Nature Association targets young people and tries to change this misconception and dissolve the misguided impression that all street dogs are dirty, diseased, and dangerous. We visit schools and give talks to students educating them on the value of an animal life, and the respect and love an animal deserves from a human. We hope to educate the young in order to eventually rid the nation of this negative mentality toward street dogs, and at the same time end animal cruelty once and for all.
Workshops: In a continued effort to educate people on the invaluable benefit of owning an animal, we organize workshops on various animal welfare related issues. We try and get the local community involved in any activity, talk, or convention we hear about that is related to animals in order to inform and educate them on various issues. We also hold these workshops in an effort to get people interested in matters concerning animals, and turn the whole topic of stray animals from a negative subject – as it sadly stands today – into a fun and exciting one where the local community has the tools, information and motivation necessary to make a difference.