Dogs And Your Health: 9 Reasons To Get A Pet

Posted on 22 October 2012

Actually we know way more than 9 reasons to get a dog – we have about 500 gorgeous reason at the Bogrov shelter. Of course, when we say “get a dog” we mean adopt one. There are way too many homeless animals and every adopted one is a life saved.

Our friends from DogTrust have 9 reasons, more connected to your health, to get a dog.

  1. Dog owners make fewer visits to their doctors
  2. Owning a dog can help reduce stress and anxiety
  3. Owning a dog can help reduce blood pressure – a number of studies have shown that pet owners have better cardiac parameters including blood pressure and cholesterol, compared to people without animals. Also, people who have had a heart attack, who have pets live longer than those without through the same experience, but no dog.
  4. Owners who walk their dogs are healthier than non-dog owners – they always have company to workout with during the weekend. A dog is always ready for a walk, run, bike ride or throwing frisbee in the park. And even if you don’t want to work out, you still have to walk your dog.
  5. Dogs can help the development of children with autism and children with learning difficulties – research shows that dogs lower the levels of stress in kids with autism and help them develop their communication skills.
  6. Owning a dog can boost your immune system – recent researches show that kids of families with dogs are less likely to suffer of eczema.
  7. Dog owners are likely to recover quicker from heart attacks.
  8. Dogs can help safeguard against depression
  9. Trained dogs can detect a variety of health conditions – including epileptic fits, cancerous tumours and hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose)

April 4 World Stray Animals Day

Posted on 04 April 2012

April 4 is the day for compassion, care, and action for stray animals worldwide.

Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, was named ambassador for World Stray Animals Day.

We have provided translated these two wonderful article by him on the problem of stray animals.

“World Stray Animals Day: Why This Cause is So Important to Me”

“Solving the Stray and Unwanted Dog Problem”

No need for breedism – a dog is a dog

Posted on 07 March 2012

I remember a remarkable story from last year – we made patheric effort to sneak in one of our shelter pups to be the doggie star of pupular TV Show Lords of the broadcast. We were hoping to make one more step into making breedless dogs more popular as pets in opposition to the common idea that only a pedigree dog can be a good pet. It took a long time to find someone we know in the TV show team, we talked much, made many arrangements and finally – the moment came! 2 people from the staff were sent to chose an appropriate puppy. It took them only one tour round the 120 puppies we offered to come back with a whiney grin: “But they are all mutts!?” And they were gone. Gone, to buy a little husky from a pet shop. A little pedigree baby born only to make money, whose mother lives somewhere in horrible condition and will be bred restlessly until she dies of exhaustion. But, pet shop dogs are a whole different story… I wanted to say something different.

Many Bulgarians make a very specific distinction between dogs that have a breed – suitable to live in a home; and dogs with no breed – OK in the yard or on the street. We do not judge them – it has been too many years of pedigree pets and mongrel chained dogs.

Bogrov offers shelter to 500 dogs that don’t have a home. People who haven’t been here often imagine a wild zoo of black and brown wolves in cages. “Mutts” – they are quickly labeled to no srprise. Whilst people have met many good cockers or labradors few have had a close communication with a stray animal to notice how good it is. The strays remain on their invisible sidewalk patrol, being noticed only if they bark too much or turn a garbage can over.


This here rediculous guy was left at the shelter by his onwers – they said he was impossible to control and will be euthanized if we don’t take him. Being such an amazingly cute one it took only days for someone to like him and take him home. Unfortunately his new onwers underestimated our warnings about him and recently he was returned to us.

No need to say that he quickly found new fans – the family of kind Mariana Stoichkova decided to give him a chance. Only this time we included a special term in their adoption contract. Tey are obliged to work with a dog behaviourist – a proffecional appointed by us – Mr Orlin Milanov, a true dog friend that has voluntarely helped with quite a few of our complicated cases.

And the news are great! Dexter is being very reasonable and behaving perfectly for now. Orlin reports that his new family is doing an excellent job and should have no trouble keeping him in line in the future. Our thanks to him and to Mariana for their serious and responsible work!


And here we introduce you to the Middle-asian Shepherd Johnny. As it often happens in our line of work – Johnny’s owner died and his cruel and irresponcible relatives threw his odg out on the street. A giant dog with chopped off years on the street? It was a matter of days before someone shoots or poisons him in fear.

Since even at the moment we have 3 Bulgarian shepherd dogs at the shelter – we were quite worried. WHo would eant this huge guy? Would he linger in the cages for years because of his size, just like our poor old Baloo?? We were sooo happy when Dimitar Georgiev said he would have him instead of the dog he originally came for!

Today Johnny has his own yard and a family to guard. He will never be chained as it often happened to him in the past. We are so pleased!


And this one here is Gabriel. The husky that got at least 30 e-mails, calls and notes, but only 2 serious inquiries on the spot. Young, healthy and beautiful Gabriel is also too enegretic, easy to excite, full of life and noise – a dog that can’t be rehomed with just anybody.

For this reason we beleive he is an exceptionally lucky tog to have found Kalina and George Tashevi! People who proved they are serious and responcible, people who would work hard and do their best to help him become a pet. It is not his fault after all, that his original owners only chose him for his looks, ignoring the strong will and abundance of energy that is typical to the northern breeds. Good luck to you, dear George and Kalina!!!

Yes, it really is more than great that more and more people are adopting breedless dogs. Dogs who were born homeless instead of dogs who were bred for proffit. But in the same time it is very difficult for us to understand some comments like: “You wouldn’t adopt if it had no breed!” or “Got a husky for free and is now even bragging!”

Do we really need this racism, people!? Just as we don’t want people to judge a dog because it has no breed, we don’t want the dogs to be judged because they do have it! A dog is a dog. And it has no clue what color it is, what shape his body has, or wether his grandma has beauty medals. It just knows that it wants to love and be loved back – that is all, nothing more and nothing less.

Gabriel, Dexter and Johnny were simly lucky to be born in a body that is easier to notice. This doesn’t mean that they were less miserable, unhappy, lonely, abandoned or suffering without their wonderful adoptive parents. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have any problems and everything about them is in pink roses. Having a breed is not enough.

And this certainly does NOT mean that the people who adopted them are “snobs” or “pretentious” or whatever else comes into the minds of people who think they can make such judgements. Wether they had a dog like this in the past or had seen and liked one who belonged to someone else – does it really matter??? A life is saved! Happines has come round!

Be proud and happy dearest people who adopt! No matter if you have opened your heart to a dog or a cat, to a breedless or a pedigree animal in need. Life is life and it has as much value no matter what the body that carries it looks like. And you have saved it, you you have leant a hart to an unwanted, lonely creature. Be blessed!

Why Adopt An Elderly Dog

Posted on 23 February 2012

When they finally decide to adopt, most people want babies. They are sweet and playful, and we are used to shops and breeders selling only puppies. The idea of take an adult is somehow unnatural.

With age, the chances for adoption decrease, not to say that void. Truth is people just do not know the number of advantages of adopting an old dog. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers 10 reasons to do so.

Truth is  with each day reduces adoption chances for the old dogs reduce. So if you want to adopt, consider the above.

Bird feeders

Posted on 09 February 2012

The cold weather combined with so much snow and ice is not only unpleasant for the birds, but also dangerous for their lives.  A large part of their food supplies is covered with a thick layer of ice and snow.  The unfortunate ones, who remain around us during the winter, have adapted to the bad conditions – you can see them everywhere, bristled up and looking like feather balls.  Some birds can slow down their metabolism by lowering the amount of food they require. Despite that however, the severe winter takes its own from birds by killing many with hunger and bitter frost.

A home-made feeder, by Ina Guencheva

Bird’s feeding racks are easy to assemble – you can make a rack from any empty plastic bottle, or buy one from big pet and flower shops. The seeds and the couple of lumps of fat are probably the only thing in your backyard that the birds can find during the hard times of cold winter. Make the racks a few – you won’t believe how many birds may gather only at your place. The source of food would be like abundance from heaven for the tiny creatures – titmice, sparrows, finches, and even the bigger visitors like blackbirds, magpies and jays. Especially the finches and blackbirds, which move in nocks, may populate the surrounding trees starving, and empty the racks one by one.

Don’t forget the water! Although there’s plenty of snow around, all sources of water are frozen, you should pour warm (but not hot) water in shallow bowls at least twice a day so the tiny creatures can drink before it has frozen.

It is a good strategy to fill up the feeding racks a couple of hours before sunset, so that the energy that birds would gather from food would help them during the night. Still, if a whole company of titmice lines up on your window sill and look at you with a questioning sight – don’t make them wait.

A day with no food can kill small birds since their rapid metabolism makes them choose between food and death. When such a small creature should produce warmth in an environment whose temperature is altogether 30 degrees lower than its own, calories are being burnt without being able to save any.

The last will and testament of an extemely distiguished dog

Posted on 10 December 2011

by Eugene O’Neil

I, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O’NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to all those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and — But if I should list all those who have loved me, it would force my Master to write a book.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over-lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-bye, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me. It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life.

What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those my fellow Dalmatians who are devote Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris [lovely nymphs], beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one’s Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleep in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best. One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: “Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved”. No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.

Photos Venelin Iliev

Why Neutering Cats is Important

Posted on 20 October 2011

We often talk about how important it is to spay/neuter both stray dogs and your own. So now we will give you some good reasons to spay/neuter your cat.

Just as in the case whit dogs spay/neutering is the most effective way to control the population of homeless cats. Here are some facts provided by Cats Protection, a leading UK NGO that helps about 193 000 cats annually.

Also spaying and neutering has a number of benefits for your domestic cat’s health. Some more info from

Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Spaying a female cat provides the following health benefits:

  • Decreased risk of mammary gland tumors
  • Decreased risk of ovarian cancer
  • Decreased risk of uterine cancer
  • Decreased risk of pyometria (uterine infection following birth of kittens)
  • Three to five years longer life span

Neutering a male cat provides the following health benefits:

  • Decreased risk of prostate disease
  • Decreased risk of prostate cancer
  • Risk of testicular cancer eliminated
  • Three to five years longer life spa

Neutering is important

Posted on 07 September 2011

Recently in a private conversation:

“Animal Rescue Sofia, I am so disappointed with you! I did believe in your cause and I did support you, but now I find out that you neuter all dogs that go through you! Shame on you!”

No, we are not ashamed. Actually we are proud! We are so proud we put a counter with the dogs we’ve helped get adopted and we’ve sprayed and neutered at our clinic. We are proud because one of our main missions is to reduce the stray dog population in Sofia and neutering is the only effective, humane and legal way to do this.

And this is not our opinion alone. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises spaying/neutering as the only effective method for reducing the number of homeless dogs. Increasing the number of sprayed and neutered cats and dogs is a main goal for every respectable animal rights and rescue organisation.

Cesar Millan is by far the most famous dog specialist in the world at the moment. He is among the most influential and convinced ambassadors of neutering. In 2007 he and his wife start the Millan Foundation that has promoting spraying/neutering and its importance among its main goals.

Take a look at a video by the foundation.

We will never get tired of repeating

It is important because:

Female dogs start giving birth after six months of age, cats – after the fourth month. One female dog could give birth to 4 to 8 puppies twice a year and when they reach six months they are ready to become sexually active too. So when a couple of unnutered dogs meet on the street this could lead to:

12 stray dogs in an year;
67 – in two years;
367 – in three
66,088 in six years.

As for you own pet:

  • Your female dog will live a longer, healthier life. Dog spaying before her first heat reduces your female dog’s chances of uterine infections and breast cancer. Breast cancer is fatal in about 50% of unspayed female dogs.
  • Your female will never go into heat, avoiding having to clean up blood stains on your furniture and carpeting.
  • Your male dog will also benefit from neutering. If neutering is completed before 6 months of age, you greatly reduce your dog’s risk of testicular cancer and a variety of prostate problems.
  • Neutering will lessen a male dog’s urge to roam. While some breeds are known for their wandering nature, neutering will lessen that urge and prevent injury from car accidents or fights with other dogs.
  • Neutering promotes better behaviour in male dogs. An intact male dog still has the urge to mount and mark his territory. Once neutered, these desires are greatly reduced, if not eliminated.
  • Dog spaying/neutering is cost effective. While spaying or neutering can be costly, it is not nearly as expensive as caring for an expectant female and the puppies that later arrive. Many cities and counties also have reduced licensing fees for dogs that are neutered.
  • Neutering does not make your dog fat. Many people use the excuse that spaying or neutering their dog will make them fat. Too much food and not enough exercise is what makes your dog fat. So long as you monitor your dog’s food intake and ensure proper exercise, they should maintain a healthy body weight.
  • By spaying your female dog you avoid having the neighbourhood stray male dogs hanging out around your home while your female is in heat. (from

To sum up spraying and neutering help curb the number of homeless animals, prevents suffering and it is good for the health of your own dog. It is the part of being a responsible pet owner and we will never get tired of repeating this.

You are welcome to spray or neuter dogs and cats for free at the shelter in Bogrov. You can also donate for our clinic and the spray/neutering programme.

Why spay/neuter

Posted on 17 February 2010

Why neutering is important

Most of the people in Bulgaria hesitate to neuter their pet, fearing that it’s painful or even degrading to the animal.

What is neutering

Spaying is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of female dogs and neutering is the surgical removal of a male dog’s testicles. Both operations are performed while the dog is under anesthesia. Your veterinarian may want to keep your dog under observation for anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. Certain procedures will require that you bring the dog back in a week to ten days for suture removal. Continue Reading

Preparing pets for a new baby

Posted on 14 February 2010

Congratulations, you’re expecting a baby! If your family already includes a pet, you’ll need to help that first “baby” adjust to the new one you’ll soon bring home. You can help your pet cope with this big change in much the same way parents help children understand that a new brother or sister will be joining the family.

By following the tips below, you can ease your pet’s stress, help her welcome your new baby, and ensure that your pet stays where she belongs—with you and your growing family. Continue Reading

Introducing your new cat to your other pets

Posted on 14 February 2010

Wouldn’t if all it took to introduce a new cat to your resident pet were a brief handshake and a couple of “HELLO, My Name Is…” name-tags? Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, which means you’ll need to have some realistic expectations from the outset. What are realistic expectations? First, it’s recognizing and accepting that your pets may never be best buddies but will usually come to at least tolerate each other. Second, it’s understanding the need to move slowly during the introduction process to increase your chances for success. Continue Reading

Introducing your new dog to your resident dog

Posted on 14 February 2010

Animals that live in groups, like dogs, establish a social structure within the group called a dominance hierarchy. This dominance hierarchy serves to maintain order, reduce conflict and promote cooperation among pack members. Dogs also establish territories, which they may defend against intruders or rivals. This social and territorial nature affects their behavior when a new dog is introduced to their household.

Continue Reading