Thousands of people have been captivated on Facebook and Twitter by the unfolding story of little Khaleesi, the young dog found wandering on the streets of Bulgaria in an appalling condition. Happily, her fight for survival on the streets is now over – she is being cared for by Diane and Tony at the Rudozem Street Dog Rescue.
Diane takes up the story….
“On the morning of 12th May 2014, Tony noticed that someone was asking on the RSDR Facebook page if we could help a dog from another town. The animal was in a terrible state – extremely thin and suffering from severe demodex (a parasitic mite which causes the condition known as “mange”). There was a link to a local news article which was calling for her to be caught and destroyed in case she was diseased. The pictures of her showed the extent to which she had been mistreated and neglected.
We have seen the abuse that even healthy-looking street dogs suffer – they are routinely kicked, chased off and have things thrown at them. We could only imagine what this poor dog might be going through.
Why bother rescuing a dog in that state?
“The majority of comments on our Facebook page have been overwhelmingly supportive – a few have questioned our decision to rescue this dog given her appalling condition. We can only rely on our experience with any of the animals that we meet. In this instance, we thought back to a dog who came to us several years ago, a pup from the same town, who we named Odin. He also had severe demodex, but after a lot of nursing, Odin became a happy, healthy boy and was adopted by one of our team members in Holland.
We felt that, if we could find this dog, we could help her and give her a chance of a happy future.
Locating the dog
“When we set off on the 70 kilometre journey, we only had a rough idea where the dog might be and, since we didn‘t know anyone in the area, Nikolai, who works with us at the shelter, came along to ask for directions and to speak to Bulgarian contacts. While we were driving, Anita our RSDR co-ordinator got busy looking for someone in the area who could help us locate the dog. We kept in constant touch via text messages and eventually were contacted by two local ladies, Slavena and Meral, who offered to meet us to help find the dog.
Two hours later, we arrived at the place where the dog had been reported and waited for Slavena and Meral to arrive. Before long, I spotted her on the other side of a roundabout. All I could think about was getting to her and I didn’t even hear Tony shouting at me to take care of the traffic. As we reached her, Tony called her and she came straight over, cowering as she approached us, but desperate for contact.
What did we find?
“This dog has to be one of the saddest cases we have seen. She is so thin and has no hair. She is covered in fleas and tick; her ear is torn and her skin so sore. It also looked as though her front leg had healed badly after being broken.
Tony scooped her up and carried her to the car. If it weren’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.
I phoned Slavena to thank her and let her know that we had found the dog. Meral was already on her way to meet us and arrived just as we got her in the car. We are really grateful to both of them for they help.
Finding a name she deserves
“On the way home, we thought about what to call her. We wanted a name that meant something 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”.
Pain-relief first, then comfort
“There is no room at the shelter right now so, when we arrived home that evening, we put her in our kitchen where it would also be easier for us to check on her through the night. Some of the lads who work at the shelter came to the house after work and were visibly upset by her condition, but this didn’t stop them giving her a fuss and reassuring her. By this time, it was 8pm, but they still went back to the shelter to get some meds that we needed for her.
Our first priority was to make her as comfortable as possible. We gave her a pain-killer and antibiotics, as well as a worm treatment. Then we bathed her. She shed a lot of the dead skin during her bath and this will allow the treatment for demodex, ticks and fleas to work more effectively. Over the next few days, we expect all the dead skin to come off and – with the treatment she is getting – her hair will start to grow back.
After such a long and eventful day, Khaleesi settled peacefully on her blanket and slept all night.
Next morning, she greeted me with a lick and allowed me to stroke and reassure her. She 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.
Where do we go from here?
“What we at first suspected to be a badly-healed broken leg may in fact be a deformity, which is apparent in both front legs. This could be congenital or the result of malnutrition so we have put her on additional medication for this. Once she is a bit stronger and her skin is giving her less discomfort, we will have her front legs x-rayed and full blood works done.
And it hasn’t taken her long to get used to her surroundings. 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.
It is early days yet, but it looks so far as though she is on the road to recovery. We don’t know how long it will take, but we won’t give up on her.
Thank you for your support
“We are very grateful to everyone who helped us yesterday and to everyone who has donated towards Khaleesi’s care and medical treatment. If you would like to help us to help her, you make a one-off or a regular donation via PayPal or our YouCaring page.
“A number of people have asked whether they can give Khaleesi a home. When she is fully recovered and has completed all the medical tests, we will then assess her to see whether she is suitable for adoption. We are very grateful for your interest and will of course update you on her progress.
Khalessi truly is a beautiful girl and fully deserves her name.”