Stray Dogs

Bulgaria is a beautiful country,the scenery is breathtaking, fields of poppies and sunflowers, roadsides lined with wildflowers, vast green pine forests, hills and valleys that take your breath away, rivers, lakes and streams flowing in all directions, it truly is a beautiful country except for one thing…….stray dogs!
I have never seen so many stray dogs (and cats) roaming the streets, sometimes in packs. Wherever you drive there are dogs wondering on the roads or hanging round petrol stations looking for food. Whenever we go into Vidin, they are either laying on the pavements or asleep in the bushes or hovering near the cafes. A lot of them have green tags on their ears and I’ve been told that those with tags,have been neutered/castrated and been treated for flees,etc. Its a sad sight to see and really does pull on the heart strings. One day, when we were in Vidin, a dog kept following us around, everywhere we sat, he would find a spot a few feet away and just lay there, dozing but keeping an eye on us and if we moved away he would follow us and then lay down near us when we stopped. He had such a sad face and I really struggled not to take him home with me. We already have 2 of our own dogs so, if we were to take in a stray, we would have to consider the affects it might have on them, but when you see stray dogs, I can’t help but feel, one more dogs wont hurt, but sometimes you just have to walk away. To be honest half of these strays do look relatively heathy. They don’t look undernourished or dehydrated and , dare I say without being shot down in flames, they do look fairly contented, but there are also those that are in a poor state, very undernourished and extremely sad. I’ve come to the conclusion ( rightly or wrongly), that the healthier ones must have either lived on the streets since they were pups or are strays from strays and it’s all they have ever known, hence that’s why they have managed to survive and the dogs that are malnourished and in a really poor state, are the ones that have been abandoned. Either way it’s a heartbreaking sight to see and one that I struggle with.
Only the other day, again in Vidin, we had just come out of a supermarket and I was putting our trolley back, when I spotted a puppy, no more than about 8-10 weeks old, laying under the trolleys. Someone had kindly left a handful of dried puppy food on the floor for it but the pup didn’t seem interested in the food. He was in a very sorry state, dehydrated, quite thin and weak. I didn’t know what to do, take him home or leave him. So many things run through your mind when faced with that sort of situation and the reality is that you can’t save them all,so I walked away.
We started driving home but I was so upset about leaving the pup we ended up turning round. We went back to the trolley park but I couldn’t see him so we drove around the car park and waste area around it but still no luck,but then I spotted something moving slightly under the trolleys, it was the pup. I tried for ages to coax him out but he just wouldn’t come and I couldn’t reach him as he was in the centre of 4 rows of trolleys. People kept looking at me as if I was a crazy woman but nobody helped. No matter what I did I couldn’t get anywhere close to reaching the pup, in the end sadly and feeling extremely guilty, this time i had no option but to walk away.
Since that day I have thought about that poor pup and prayed that he has survived and maybe he would have if only I hadn’t walked away in the beginning….but ‘if only’ won’t change a thing except next time I won’t hesitate. I can’t save them all but even if I save one, its one less stray on the street. I know there are a lot of people in Bulgaria, individuals, vets, rescue centres etc,that are doing all they can to help these poor strays and they are doing an amazing job under the circumstances. This is a problem worldwide not just here in Bulgaria and sometimes you have no choice but to learn to live with it but that’s not to say you can’t do something to help ease it a little, even if its just something as small as giving food to a stray.


  1. Anne

    THIS IS EXACTLY what we’re struggling with at the moment. A friend of ours adopted a kitten from the Animal Friends Foundation in Burgas, who really seem to be looking after the strays and broken cats and dogs that are brought in. I have since started following them on Facebook here:
    and although some of the stories reduce me to tears, there also the happier stories about the animals that are adopted.

    It’s also very easy to donate to them via PayPal here, which for us already owning three pussycats (two from another village one from a tree near here) is about the only thing that we can do to help.

    Having said that there is a very thin, extremely chatty cat that keeps sauntering into the garden that we might have to take on…so we are in a very similar position to you on that front.

    Thanks for sharing xx

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