ANIMAL RESCUE SOFIA
Animal Rescue Sofia
Animal Rescue Sofia is a Bulgarian organization dedicated to addressing the issue of homeless dogs and cats. With the help of thousands of people, we have established the "Ferma" shelter, where 200 dogs receive medical care and attention 365 days a year. We are always open to visitors and adopters. We strive to find loving homes for as many animals as possible, seeking homes both within Bulgaria and abroad. On average, we rehome around 70 dogs from the streets of Sofia each month. We aim to help the maximum number of dogs and cats in need, limited only by the resources at our disposal. Almost every day, we take on cases of dogs and cats that have been run over, abused, or harmed by humans or their environment. We work using the "Neuter and Return" method, which is the only humane and legal approach for reducing the population of stray dogs in Bulgaria. Animal Rescue Sofia is entirely and solely sustained by donations, with no budget from the municipality, the government, or foreign organizations. For rehoming outside Bulgaria, we partner with shelters and activists in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Our colleagues abroad assist us by finding good families for the dogs and cats we rescue from the streets of Sofia. We are fortunate to have dozens of people come to the shelter to help every week - volunteers provide invaluable assistance to the dogs by walking and socializing with them. Thanks to them, the dogs at the shelter improve their contact with humans and build a solid bond of trust.
The history of Animal Rescue Sofia is a story of a few friends who, without experience or financial backing but with immense determination, created an organization for animal protection. It sounds easy now, but back in 2010, it was different – people helping animals were seen as crazy individuals, wandering around with buckets of trash between the apartment blocks…
We were different – young and enthusiastic to work, to change the world for dogs in Sofia, and gradually, for dogs across Bulgaria – one dog at a time!
OUR SHELTER „THE FARM”
After three years of experience in Bogrov, our contract with the municipality came to an end. It was time for a big change, for another plunge into the deep. With the help of thousands of donors, in just 86 days, we raised nearly a quarter of a million leva to purchase our own property, which we would transform into the first private shelter in Sofia. Now, we are here, at our “Ferma,” building shoulder to shoulder with our volunteers and donors, alongside our two hundred canine residents, the best place to aid animals in need!
MUNICIPAL SHELTER „BOGOROV”
We started as volunteers at the municipal shelter in Seslavtsi (with a capacity of about 200 dogs). When we heard about the opening of a new municipal shelter with a capacity of 500 dogs, we were shocked. How would we manage – taking dogs into foster homes for treatment, vaccinating them, finding adopters? How could we possibly be of help to so many dogs, squeezing it into our spare time or from our convenient office workplaces? And then, a wiser person said to us, “If you want to help the dogs, you need to be where they are. Not at home, not at work, but at the shelter.”
Thus, the newly-formed organization took over the leadership of the new municipal shelter. And it became the first shelter welcoming hundreds of volunteers, a place where people brought their children to spend cheerful weekends. This not only changed “Bogrov,” but also other organizations and shelters, and most importantly – it changed the mindset of the media and society…
Despite being selective about future adopters and not giving a dog to just anyone, every year we manage to find homes for around 850 homeless animals! Our dogs await their Bulgarian adopters at the shelter. And while we work to make adoption a more popular and desired choice here, we also search for adopters abroad. To reach our partners in Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany, our van travels several times a month, carrying the selected puppies.
The thousands of dogs we have rescued from the streets of Sofia and placed in homes constitute a significant portion of the overall reduction in the city’s dog population, and we take pride in our good work!
Even finding new homes isn’t as crucial for the homeless dog population as preventing abandonment and the birth of unwanted litters. In 7 years of work, we have managed to neuter/spay 10,000 dogs.
Our veterinarians save the lives of dogs and cats daily (sometimes even rabbits, goats, or crows), who have been victims of accidents or human violence – poisoned, shot, run over, acid-attacked, or abused, alongside the sick ones. Every day, 20 homeless or abandoned dogs receive assistance and care in our clinic. For orthopedic surgeries, we rely on external veterinarians, but 90% of all necessary procedures for our dogs are performed by us.
A better future lies in the hands of our children, their children. The beginning of any change is in people’s attitudes and thinking. We not only teach children and young people responsible attitudes towards animals, but we ourselves never stop learning.
The Dream of the Ranch
It’s as if by chance, we also acquired a different kind of animals – mistreated and sick horses. In Bulgaria, there is no place where such horses and donkeys can live out the rest of their days with dignity. We dream of creating “The Ranch” – a sanctuary for mistreated horses and farm animals. And until that happens, we will continue to care for our first horses, pigs, goats, and… sheep.