Romanian rescues are one of a kind. We think they’re great. We think they’re fun. We love them. If you should decide to adopt or foster a Romanian rescue with Pawprints, we’ll be made up, truly!
But, it’s important that you understand a few things first. (Yes, even if you’ve rescued other dogs from other countries before). We want you to know what you may be getting yourself into. We think the juice is worth the squeeze, but, we’re biased!
The welfare conditions in Romania are next level shocking. When our volunteers visit Romania and see the conditions dogs are forced to try and survive in, it is not an exaggeration to say what we see, is the stuff of nightmares.
Dogs are frequently, beaten, kicked, hit, burnt, hung, downed and otherwise treated in a manner most would consider to be torture. They also have to contend with homelessness, a harsher climate and the real possibility they will starve to death.
Being looked after by the state isn’t much of a step up from being a street dog, in fact, it probably would be considered by most as just another type of awful. The conditions can be so unsuitable that dogs fight, frequently to the death. Cannibalism due to lack of food is common. This being after having been caught by the dog catcher with such force, bone breaks are common, and the trauma of this event, lifelong.
So, now a bit about TRAUMA.
I’m sure you will agree, any sentient being would not go through experiences like that and come out the other side unchanged or unmarked by the experience, both physically and mentally.
Traumatic events are defined as events that are powerfully upsetting. These events produce effects that intrude upon someone’s daily life, creating a major threat to a person’s psychological and/or physical wellbeing. A traumatic event may be the result of a person’s actions, or it could be caused by an accident. Either way, the effects are very similar.
Not all dogs rescued from Romania are traumatised, far from it, but, we want you to be forewarned and forearmed so that you are prepared for the typical behaviours that this can present as. Think of it this way, your dog has been brought up in the school of hard knocks and has had to develop its own skills to survive, it doesn’t know any other way to live.
Part of introducing a Pawprints dog into your life is having the ability to show your new family member there is an easier way to exist. The first few weeks, sometimes months, can be quite intense. These dogs may never have lived indoors before, they may never have had routine, or comfort, or warmth. They have sometimes had to (literally) fight for their lives. They have sometimes only experienced cruelty and neglect from humans.
It is important to bear all of this in mind. Often your dogs will be wary of you, regardless of how loving and warm you are. It isn’t personal, they’re reacting to what they’ve had to learn about humans. Dogs don’t “appreciate” things, they don’t understand intent. For example, you might absolutely be DYING to give them a big hug, but to a dog fresh from Romania, they may react in fear at you putting your arms around their neck/body, associating it with the dog catchers pole or being aggressively manhandled by shelter workers, and they could snap, leaving you injured, and both of your scared!
The most important thing to do is be prepared to take things SLOWLY, at a snail’s pace. Be ready that your dog may not want to come out of its crate for a long while. It may not trust you for weeks and weeks. It may hate going outside. It may howl and cry. It may bark….a lot. It may guard any item it prizes highly, a comfortable bed, a soft toy, a blanket, a treat.
They’ve often not had nice things, and when they did, they would have to fight to defend and keep them. So, as mean as it sounds, introducing creature comforts slowly is advisable, even if you really want to spoil them to show how much they are now loved.
Below is a list of some of the typical behaviours your new Pawprints dog may demonstrate. If you’re not sure how to address these, we recommend you make us aware of this prior to adoption or foster.
Our home checks are designed to help us find the right dog for your level of experience and home life, it isn’t a test, if you’re not confident with something or not sure how you would proceed, you should say so.
- Resource guarding
- Separation Anxiety
- House soiling
- Demanding Attention
- Snatching at food
- Running off
- Fear of new people (growling/reactivity)
- Fear of other dogs (growling/reactivity)
- Counter surfing
- Bin Raiding
- Not liking a lead being put on
- Pulling on the lead or not wanting to move when the lead is on
- Stress behaviours (Chewing / Shredding)
It’s also really important to bear in mind that these dogs may never have lived in a home environment before, so that can cause behaviours to manifest that had not been witnessed in their previous environments when being assessed.
We don’t say this to put you off, not at all, but to prepare you, so that if some of these things happen, you are forearmed and know that there are people and advice available that can help.
We’ve got thousands of people that have had these issues and come out the other side. We think it is worth it, and so do lots of our adopters and fosters that have come before you, just ask them.