This weekend Vicky and Alex celebrated 4 years as volunteers in Animal Rescue Sofia!
THANK YOU, LADIES!!!
This is what they said about it:
We’ve heard people say they are not able to volunteer in the shelter because they’ll get upset seeing so many dogs behind the bars…We go to the shelter because of these dogs. They don’t need us feeling sorry for them; they need us to be there for them – me, you, he, she, they, we… To caress them, to run with them, to cosher, talk, play with them, to make them feel like they are ours even if it is for only 15 minutes once a week…
Many people do the impossible for these dogs donating money for their health and food, visiting the charity concerts for ARS, buying beautiful thing from the bazar, bringing food. We have always said that although we cannot help with the financial part often we have the time to do it in one different but not less needed way – by socializing and paying attention to them every Sunday. Our names are Alexandra and Victoria, age 26 and 24, and we are addicted to the Farm for 4 years!
We won’t tell you the story of how we learned about Animal Rescue Sofia and how we got to the shelter as it is probably the story of many of you. But what happened after our first steps in Bogrov was the beginning of a new passion! Here we found are second home! The one in which we go back again and again with new strength for 4 years. A place where we can relax mentally from the everyday madness; a place where they greet and accompany us with a smile; a place where we meet different people with various professions but with one common passion – love towards animals, a language that unites us! Here we met many Humans and started friendships which continue today. We experienced a lot, learned even more, welcomed and sent to their new homes thousands of animals! We have built, destroyed, growing up together in this amazing family called the Farm.
At the beginning the volunteers weren’t many. There were no Senior Volunteers – you know those annoying people who meet you in the shelter and tell you what to do, boss you around a little, take out the dogs from the cages and from time to time yell at you for something who knows what and why. The caretakers in the shelter were the ones who gave us dogs for walking – the ones which we choose to walk. After that new volunteers were coming in the shelter and walked the same dogs because they liked them, some of the dogs got out for a walk 2-3 times per day and many more never walked out of the cage. And this is the moment in which we came – for some we were reckless, for others fearless, but for ourselves it seemed completely normal to walk in a cage with 15-20 dogs you dogs you see for a first time and to give them to the other volunteers for walks. We have learned a lot for those years including how dogs react to some actions and movements. What irritates them, what comforts them, what they like and don’t like. We learned it for every dog. They used to be 500, now they are 200. But we learned their names and habits, which needs a sportsman volunteer and who a gentle and patient hand. We were and still are a part of the shelter team and we are proud of that!
And so began our adventure in the canine world which led to a great addiction. To the extent to which every Sunday your car is full with strangers – new volunteers you are taking to the shelter so they can see what it is like to be a volunteer there. You leave the shelter with full car once again. You don’t know all of their names, sometimes you don’t even have the time to ask. You care where to leave them and if it happens they come again then you’ll get to know each other. The stream of people is huge. Every weekend you see new faces. You can’t remember all of them but you do remember the important ones – the ones that come back again and again just like you, the ones that are your breed : )
You start telling people about the shelter, involving your friends, bother them until they come up ready for walks sunday morning. After that you learn more about castration and become it’s fierce supporter. You start bringing dogs for neutering for many of the different areas in Sofia just to help decreasing their population. Then you start naming the dogs, you find some that become your favourite ones, make pictures of them and bother the team to make a post about them in the site. You go to a charity party or two and make even more friends. Then you realize that you can be a foster mom (it happened a little bit late for one of us but it is so satisfying to take care of an animal temporarily and share their most important moments that we recommend it with all of our hearts!). You deep into the canine mentality even more and give all of yourself to make him/her fight their fears away. We have dogs that have gone through a lot – some of them are “just” abandoned in the shelter but some of them have experienced fear and pain and insane mutilation. Dogs that start trembling the moment they hear your footsteps and can’t even look at you afraid what you will do to them – when all you want to do is to caress them and show them what it is like to be loved and cared about. Dogs that need months or even years of work to regain their trust in humans and become ready for adoption. To many of them we helped, to many – we couldn’t – some wounds are too deep 🙁 But we always have tried, all of us – the caretakers, vets and people from the shelter together with the volunteers!
Many faces, names, memories, and smiles.
Many birthdays, cakes, presents, friends, and photos.
Many emotions, tears, laughter, anger, helplessness, and sincere joy.
Many storms, sun, rain, and snow.
Many looks full with impatience, joy, and gratitude.
Many years, many dogs, thousands of wagging tails, one shelter – the Farm!
Because we carried away which is typical for us when we start talking about the good memories in Bogrov we want to finish like this – Come! Try a little from the adventure called the Farm, feel the atmosphere and may be you will feel like all of us, the regular volunteers, do – grateful that there is a place on earth where we can receive so pure, sincere, genuine and life changing love! Who knows – may be You will get addicted too!