Blog

Our team: Dr Polina Ilieva

Posted on 05 September 2019

Once upon a time (7-8 years ago) a tiny girl entered the shelter we managed at that time. She was a vet student and wanted to start working with us. She explained she has no experience whatsoever, but we gave her the opportunity to try, although the other candidates were graduated vets with experience. She was the behind the other vets for just a few days. Very fast Dr Polly won her place and responsibility for our 500, at that time, dogs.

If we have to describe her with one word only, this word would be a „typhoon”! Dr Polly is tireless and hardworking, she is the glue, that turns our staff from just a group of people, into a team!

Talented and never stops to learn and educate herself, it is now clear, that Dr Polly is the heart and the head of our clinic.

Our clinic is the only hope for thousands of stray animals every year. Thousands of dogs and cats owe their lives to Dr Polly’s dedication and golden heart.

Thank you, Doctor!

Photo credit: Ivanka Paterson for Stardust Pictures

Who are we? Eva – the real dog whisperer!

Posted on 10 June 2019

What are the odds that a French weight lifter joins the team in a dog shelter?
If the girl is Eva Fabian Anna Koudor – 100%!

At the beginning, Eva joined our team as a volunteer – quietly she would come, clean some poop, walk some dogs and leave.
Eva and Votan – her adopted from Serbia dog

Very fast we realized that Eva is not only a hard working and honest person, but she also has a sense for the dogs – she works successfully with the difficult ones – shy or aggressive dogs.

Officially Eva is a dog carer – responsible for the patients in the clinic.

But in fact she is much more than this – she is the person who finds the best matches for every new dog and makes the first meetings between the dogs safe and nice.
She also works with the dogs with behavior problems – and very successfully!

Eva is a real jackpot for Animal Rescue Sofia – we are sure that very soon, after she gets some more training, she will become the best dog trainer ever!


But in the meantime – if you come at “The Farm” and meet a smiling tattooed girl, have in mind, that she is here only, because her love for the animals is endless!

Photo credit: Ivanka Patterson for Stardust Pictures

Behind the scenes: from the acceptance till the adoption

Posted on 14 May 2019

We have been working with homeless animals for a long time now. As we managed the very first humane and European dog shelter in Bulgaria, there was no one we could learn from.
From the shelters in Bulgaria we used to learn how NOT to do it and from the shelters abroad – what we must aim.

We had to learn by making mistakes. And we will never stop learning and improving, because we don’t want to have a good shelter for the stray dogs. We want to give them a home, where they could stay for a while, before their real home appears.

Step by step:

Have you ever wondered, what happens when a dog comes to us? Here is the answer – step by step:

Step 1:
The choice:
Which dog to take in?

Every day we receive between 20 and 50 requests for admittance of a dog (or usually – a litter of dogs). We have 18 separated quarantine cubicles and an average stay in it of 30 days, it is more than obvious, that it is impossible to take all animals, we were asked to.

Most people, of course, do not understand that. This is, actually, the most difficult part of our job – interacting with angry, desperate and emotional people. They usually consider, that if they shout loud enough, if they threaten hard enough, or if they cry long enough, a miracle will happen and we’ll find a place for the dogs they found…

When one quarantine area gets free and available for a new dog, usually there are 100 dogs, waiting to take it. And they all are sick or injured.

50 is the average number of new dogs that we usually take each month.  These numbers is not valid during the spring and the autumn, when the baby boom happens. At these seasons  we usually have a litter of puppies in each one of our 18 cubicles and acceptance of injured animals is not possible.

The freed place in the clinic is immediately taken by the most urgent and worst case. Most often these are dogs, hit by cars (which is the reason for the big amount of orthopedic patients we have) or animals with skin conditions (because people are afraid of getting a disease and bald dogs are in a high risk).

Puppies are the biggest per cent of all new coming dogs. Usually we manage to persuade the people, who found the puppies, to keep them, while we vaccinate them (between 1 and a half and 2 months). In case we take fully vaccinated dogs, they can be placed directly in the shelter, not in the clinic. Let’s remind the waiting rate for one place in the clinic is 1 to 100. For the shelter this rate is 1 to 5, which is much more bearable.

When puppies are placed in the clinic and not in a foster home, their quarantine room is occupied for the next 45-60 days. Usually, after the first few weeks, they also must be separated in 2 or 3 cubicles, because of their growth.

 

Step 2:
Entering the clinic

So, the dog to be accepted in the clinic, is chosen. At arrival it goes through a full medical examination – blood samples are taken for a complete blood count and tests for vector and infectous diseases. It is microchipped and registered as owned by Animal Rescue Sofia and living at “The Farm”.

If the dog is injured, we take it to one of the clinics we work with, for X-rays and examination by an orthopeadist.

 

For the adult dogs that have lived outside, the tests for vectorborn diseases, are very often positive. So, after the test is made, a treatment is planned. For the most common ones – Anaplasmosis and Erlichiosis, the treatment takes a month and is relatively cheap; Heartworm takes between 3 and 6 months and costs around 500 Euro. The worst scenario is when the dogs comes out to be positive for Leishmaniosis. This, basically means, that this dog will stay ours forever and will cost a fortune to keep it relatively healthy.

According its condition, each dog gets an individual vaccination plan. Meanwhile, it is dewormed several times and microscope examines of the feces are made regularly, so that we are sure the dog is completely clean of parasites.
At the end, it is spayed or neutered and gets ready to leave the clinic.

Step 3:
Entering the shelter

Usually, after about 30 days in the clinic, the dog can be placed in the shelter and the search of adopters may start. Its place in the clinic will be taken immediately – tens of dogs have been waiting for it. It is time for us to choose the next one.

In the clinic, all dogs live alone. In the shelter, the kennels accommodate 2, 3 or 4 dogs, so we must find the best match for our dog.

During  its stay in the clinic, we have learn a lot about its character, so we look for dogs it would get along with, on theory. On practice, though, it doesn’t work that easy.


In the best scenario, it takes us a few days, to find where to place a new dog.
First we “accidentally” meet them during a walk. If the new dog will be introduced to more dogs, we do it one by one. If all looks ok, they are taken to meet in a dog run. They meet in the dog run for a few days, every time for a longer time. If no problems appear, together they go in the kennel.
Sometimes we try a dog in many kennels, before we find the best match. Sometimes we cannot find it and the dog must stay alone in a kennel for 3.

 

Step 4: At home!

 

How long a dog stays with us, before it gets adopted, varies a lot. If it is considered as an attractive one – breed dogs and lapdogs mainly – soon after the quarantine is over, it gets adopted.
For breedless and large animals it is more difficult, but if they are social and friendly, after some months their person shows up. Puppies are adopted faster than adults.
If there is no interest for adoption for a few months, we send photos and description to our foreign partners, so that they start looking for an adopter as well.

We are often asked what happened, if no one adopts a dog. The answer is – nothing. It will stay at the shelter, walk with the volunteers, dewormed every month and vaccinated every year.

We are open for visitors every day of the week, so candidates are very welcome.
Candidates visit us a few times and if they bond with the chosen dog, they may fulfill a contract and adopt it.

The long journey home is completed. All “our” dogs do not only live in our shelter, but in our hearts as well. When we give them for adoption though, it isn’t a sad moment. The opposite – the more we love a dog, the more we dream to see it leaving and to GO HOME!

This journey is long, difficult and expensive. We couldn’t do it without your support!
But together, we have walked home more than 6 000 animals!
Stay with us, and we will continue saving the world – one dog at a time!

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

A tale for the girl who saved the dog. And the other way round

Posted on 23 April 2019

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a dog. The dog was good and kept its owner’s home.
One day, the owner got angry of something and got rid of the dog. Though, he forgot to take away the chain from the dog’s neck. The dog was a puppy and grew up. But the chain didn’t grow up and made a horrible wound on the dog’s neck.

While the dog was roaming on the streets it met a fairy. The fairy looked at the big wound on the neck; looked at the skinny body of the hungry dog and understood the dog needs help. So, she brought it in “The Farm” shelter.


At “The Farm” the dog got a brand new name – Snowflake! The people there healed Snowflake and loved her.

They taught her to love and trust humans, too!


And one day, the time for Snowflake to leave came. She went in another country – the Country of the Tulips!


Many people at the Country of the Tulips wanted to take Snowflake home.
“Come with us, Snowflake!” they said.
“You will be a princess here – you will not work, but lay on your bed all day long!”.

But Snowflake didn’t go with them. One day a woman came.
“Come with us, Snowflake!” she said.


“At home I have a little sad princess and if you come with me, you will not lie down all day long, but you will be busy to cheer my princess and help her!


Snowflake didn’t wait any more – she jumped and went to her new home!
When the little sad princess saw Snowflake, she smiled.

She wasn’t sad anymore.
“Dear Snowflake”, said Princess Sophie. Now, when we are together, I will no longer be sad”.

And it is just as it happened – Sophie and Snowflake stayed together and their story was known as the story of the girl, who saved the dog. And the other way round!

Help! Heartworm!

Posted on 20 March 2019
Spring is here!

Flowers are blossoming, trees are turning green! Birds are coming back!
Mosquitos are coming back as well.

Mosquitos carry a parasite, called microfilaria. When a dog is bitten, the microfilaria migrates toward its heart and lungs. There it turns into dirofilaria. The dog is sick, it has heart worm.

In 2018 16.9% of the dogs, that came into  “The Farm”, were sick with heart worm.


                                                                       Tutu

The treatment is individual, according the stage of the disease, the damage of the heart it has made and the whole condition of the dog. In most cases it is a month of premidication, which prepares the body of the dog, followed by Immiticide (Immitacide) injection (usually two times in a period of a month).

This is the most dangerous period of the treatment – the dead dirofilarias may clog the blood vessel and cause heart or brain attack.

Tutu
The treatment is risky and extremely expensive – we pay per ampule of Immiticide 50 euro. And it is for 10 kg, which means a 30 kilos dog needs 6 ampules – two times X 3 ampules.


We have many patients with heart worm at all times in different stages of treatment. Right now there are 3 dogs, who’s pre-medication is over and as soon as possible they must get Immiticide.

For them, we will ask for your help – the amount is impossible to collect without you!

                                                               Tutu

Tutu came to our clinic for a surgery only – she had a large tumor on her leg.
Our vets successfully removed the tumor, but meanwhile the test showed she had heart worm as well.

Atanas 
Atanas also came here for a different reason – he was in need of orthopedic help. Now, when his leg is fixed, he has one more battle to win -the one with the  heartworm.
Nitro
The elderly Nitro is the last dog in this group. He came recently and is very vital and sweet dog.

For the 3 of them we need to buy 12 ampules of the medicine. Tutu will need 2X3, Atanas 2X2 and Nitro – 2X1.

1200 BGN is what Tutu, Atanas and Nitro need to end with the heart worms. We don’t have such amounts.

Would you help us to help them?
Would you donate?

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

Thank you!

Let us introduce you: Atanas

Posted on 06 March 2019

It was the day of Saint Atanas. A day cold and windy.
The “perfect”day to abandon an unwanted dog. A dog injured. A dog faithful. A dog that would stay at the middle of nowhere, where you’ve left him, and wait for you, until the merciful Death end his suffering…

Although the ex-owner thought so it wasn’t how the story went.

Even after the betrayal of his owner, Atanas, as we named him, hasn’t lost his faith in humanity. He was so relieved  to follow us, like he was thinking:
“Oh, finally! I have been waiting for you so long!”.


Atanas is under the care of our vets since that day. He is a gentle and grateful dog.
His leg was healed, his life was saved, because “The Farm” is the place where animals without anyone by their side get  a chance for a second life!

We are a charity – we don’t receive any money from the Municipality, the Government or the EU.
Everything we do is due to you, dear friend!

To support our work, please, make a donation! Together we help!

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

 

Celebrating stupidity

Posted on 14 January 2019

Some say that Christmas is the most sacred of all holidays – time for humility and generosity, time for redemption.
And yet – there was one, celebrating with a gun on his hand.
There was a human being, who joined the fireworks with a fire arm.
Shooting to kill. Celebrating…

This is Shtastlivka. It means “Lucky” in Bulgarian. She was brought to our clinic on the Christmas eve, bleeding and in shock. She was shot. Twice.

Both her front paws are literally smashed by the bullets – the shooter was very, very close to her when he pulled the trigger.

 

Shtastlivka got lucky. She was found by caring people, who would prefer to be late for  the family dinner than to leave her helpless.
Our Dr Ilieva also preferred to skip the celebrating and to save a life instead.

Different people celebrate different things in different ways. Yesterday we were celebrating – after two surgeries and difficult rehab, Shtastlivka made her first steps!

We feel grateful and blessed, for being able to help dogs like Shtastlivka!
And the reason we can is YOU!
Thank you for supporting our work!
Only together we can create miracles!

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Posted on 16 October 2018

We have seen many miracles throughout the years and one thing we know for sure – if there is love in the heart, everything is possible!

Please, imagine the situation.

During the summer, there aren’t many adopters.
Yet, there are even more animals in need – puppies, kittens, injured or sick animals. At one point we realized there are 260 dogs and more than 40 kittens in “The Farm” The maximum capacity of our place is 200 dogs and 5 cats. Every dog or cat over this number means, that all our animals live worse than they deserve.

During the summer, there aren’t many donors.
Yet, the need of medicines, dog food and utilities are even bigger, because of the increased number of animals.

Did you manage to imagine it? 300 animals who depend on us for everything. Imagine our despair for not being able to provide what they need.

Now imagine a phone call. Darina from Ador Barador was willing to help us fundraise. SOHO – an art coworking space in the heart of Sofia – were also there for us.

And this is how it started – the good will of a few people, an amazing place, gathered many of our friends – most of them we didn’t know before, but all of them – friends indeed!

So many people and dogs came to Soho and bought the amazing scarfs, bags, hairbands and dog scarfs!


Now imagine something else – the atmosphere, the mood, the laughter! The generosity, the love!

The efforts of these amazing people and the generosity of the visitors raised 3427 levs! An amount that will feed our dogs for a whole month!


Thank you, dear friends! Amazing wondermakers! You have helped us in a very difficult moment and proved that a friend in need is a friend indeed!

The great migration of nations

Posted on 17 April 2018

Another day in the shelter, yet – it is a special day,a day one can compare with a holiday.

Adult dogs are leaving! For some of them years have passed, before we manage to put their names in the “travel list”.

For others we have never expected to find new homes, because their age, behavior or look.

And this is precisely why the joy is so big now! No more empty words!
Ladies and gentlemen we introduce you the new German citizens:

Victoria is with us since a puppy. And since that time she was shy and modest. Our dog trainer has been working with her for months, before Victoria started trusting people. It worth it – finally Victoria’s new life has started!

 

Lassy was a loved pet for 8 years. And this why it is so much it is so much harder for him make a new start and for us – to help him in this task. Well, we worried in vain – Lassy’s chance came fast!

Berry is one of our orthopedic cases. After a meeting with a car, she was accepted in “The Farm” with priority. Lovable and joyful doggie, she didn’t wait too long.

Johny is a sweet hunting- mix dog, who got lucky to be found by a person, who cares. He was included in our waiting list, the person who found him fostered him, until a place in the Farm be becomes available and a few months later he came here. Luckily, on the very first possible moment, he got his ticket to Germany.

Maria is adorable dog – her wagging tale speaks all the time! Yet, she is middle aged, middle size, not that attractive, so we expected her to stay here long time.
No. She was the very first to get adopted, and we already got her photos in a home of her own!

It is the third chance for Freya, as she already was a pet, then abandoned on the street from where we took her. The second time she was adopted for more than a year and came back again (it was not her fault). We are sure her third chance, in Germany, will be the luck of her life!

Ben was the favorite boy of the staff in our clinic. Sadness and happiness together in one photo – Dessy says goodbye!

And Germany says hallo!

We find it surprising that Suzy didn’t find home in Bulgaria – she is the preferred here small size. Yet, after some times she spent in waiting, she decided to start learning German.

Jimmy boy! He is indeed one of the sweetest guys! He was brought for medical treatment from the people in his neighborhood and because he was so nice, we decided not to bring him back, after the treatment was over. And it looks we were right – Jimmy is a German already!

Radostina came to us from the Municipal dog shelter. We do our best to help rehoming dogs from there every time when possible. Radostinka has perfect behavior, health and is young, but even such, no one chose her in Bulgaria.

Shira got the bad luck award of last year. Her mother and her 6 siblings were fostered by a nice family, while they get vaccinated. Just a few days, before they come at the shelter, Shira fell and broke her leg. One by one, her siblings got adopted. Shira had an orthopedic surgery. Then even her mother was adopted – in Holland. Shira was recovering after the surgery. Unfortunately, when she got ready for adoption – she was no longer a puppy and lesser people would put their eyes on her.

Finally, she got her chance!

Bagra’s case is similar – she had demodex, when she was a puppy, and then, when she was healthy, no one wanted her her – black large dog, not even a puppy.
It didn’t matter – in Germany Bagra is closer to her home than ever!

Aurora is the 13th warrior on this transport – she hasn’t got a long story to tell. She was found on the street as a puppy, waited in a foster home, but had the bad luck to grow too much and too dark.

And this is it – on Friday the 13th, 13 dogs have started a new life! Good we are not supersticios!

Last, but not least – another good news! For a second time, on the way back our van went through Austria to collect the donations our good friends from Stibis Hundeparadies got for us! More than 1600 kilograms of good quality salami’s for dogs!
We use it to give pills in it, to train the dogs and most importantly – for the animals who cannot eat dry food!
Thank you, dear Sandra, for your generosity!

The forgotten dogs

Posted on 13 March 2018

„I have moved to live in Varna and my dogs are left in the villa. Just unchain them, or they will starve to death”.

These are Bucky and Murgash, when we went to take them, after receiving this note.

Bucky is 8 years old. He has heartworm. He used to guard the villa. He used to eat every weekend and go for walks every time he manages to tore the chain. 3-4 times for these 8 years.

He used to be great guardian dog. Guarded the villa. When the thieves came, he started barking. In vain, because no one heard him. But the thieves wanted him to shut up. Started beating him with a metal pipe. He was chained. Couldn’t escape nor protect himself.

The weekend came, along came the owner. He saw the bleeding dog and the robbed house and solved the problem. Solved it by taking Murgash and chaining him to another tree.

So, Mury became the guardian dog, because Bucky was afraid of strangers. Years passed.

Bucky and Mury used to live in the villa. They used to eat every weekend. They used to go for walks every time they managed to tore the chain.
Until one day their owner left and forgot them.

This is the story of Bucky and Mury. But it can also be the story of all these dogs, tied and left somewhere to “guard”.
Unloved. Forgotten. Alone.

Bucky and Mury are no longer alone and forgotten. They are now in “The Farm”.
Thank you for not forgetting us! Your donations are the only way dogs like Bucky and Mury get a second chance!

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

Olympia and the loneliness

Posted on 25 February 2018

She is so amazingly friendly and cuddling that we couldn’t believe in the pain she goes through.

She is so grateful and happy every time she feels we enter, as if the reason is not injections and manipulations.

 

Olympia was someone’s pet, but when she stared losing her vision, instead of taking her to a vet, her owner left her.

She is huge, completely blind and disoriented, but looks so disconsolate that broke our hearts. Taking her from the Municipal dog pound in Kardjali wasn’t logical or wise, but was the only one our hearts could bare.

It has been a week since Olympia became one of our dogs, but the mutual amazement hasn’t stopped yet.

We still wonder how is it possible that this huge teddy bear could be so nice – we don’t even need a leash while the vets manipulate her. If there is one hand to cuddle her, Olympia doesn’t move anything but her tail.

And she still doesn’t believe that there are cuddles and hugs for her and every time is amazed and grateful.

And while we are getting used to each other, Olympia receives the best care possible. Her ophthalmologist is Maria Savova DVM, from Nova Vet clinic.

Unfortunately, her vision cannot be saved, but we are trying to reduce the high pressure in the eyes, which causes horrid pain. If this doesn’t work, we will have to operate her.

Meanwhile the vets in “The Farm” found out she also suffers anaplasmosis and started treatment.

Olympia will be fine. She is not afraid of the pain and the darkness. Her only fear is loneliness. And we will not leave her! As long as you are there for us, we will be there for Olympia and dogs like her!

If you want to help us to help them, please donate.

FIBank; 37 Dragan Tzankov blvd, Sofia, BG; SWIFT: FINV BG SF

IBAN BGN: BG07FINV91501215999954; IBAN EUR: BG50FINV91501215999956

BENEFICIARY: A R Sofia Foundation; 23 James Bourchier blvd, Sofia, BG

SMS DMS DOG НА 17 777

1 лев дарение за абонати на vivacom, telenor и m-tel (няма ДДС)

For the animal hoarders and their victims – the animals

Posted on 24 January 2018

Sorry, only available in Bulgarian