News

1246 leva from Street Salseros & The Dance

Posted on 09 November 2013

It was an incredible dance evening with a lesson by Mony of Street Salseros at The Dance. Over 60 generous, smiling guests raised 1246 leva whilst dancing and having a good time with the tasty treats provided by Los Pachangeros.

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We thank Zory of The Dance for organizing this awesome event and to all the lovely people of the evening who opened up their hearts to the saddest inhabitants of our city – the dogs we care for. Being up to our ears in our work we rarely ever go out and it was something we had never seen in Bulgaria – the evening felt like it was on a little island where the elegant and smiling people live.

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If you are wandering how to brake-up your schematic everyday life – try bringing life to your body and smile at The Dance, we promised ourselves to do it one day  – it turns out that there really is a lot of happiness in dancing, especially when there are so many kind and friendly people around.

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Become a guardian angel, be part of the 60K miracle!

Posted on 08 November 2013

Dear friends of the dogs,
thanks to your incredible support the match-giving fundraiser with 60K International Call Centers has ended with a grand success!!!

ADDITIONAL 39 446 BGN HAVE JOINED THEIR FRIENDS IN THE BANK ACCOUNT!
(Please note that our “money-meter” calculates the funds in Euros, that makes: E 20 228!)

So, this makes our total results up to December 09: 172 935 Euros for the Farm where we can continue to work for the beasts in need, dear friends!!!

You have been absolutely incredible!!! THANK YOU for donating so generously!!! We thank the amazing people behind 60K both for donating and the brilliant idea! You really are guardian-angels!!!

Dear friends of the dogs,

our prayers have been answered. On the day of St. Michael – first among the angels, Animal Rescue Sofia and 60K invite you to take part in an extraordinary event – where there was 1 lev, there will be two.

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The miracle

Have you ever heard of “Matched Giving”? Although it is very popular abroad, here in Bulgaria where Charity id only beginning to evolve, this method of raising donation has not become familiar yet.

The concept of Matched giving is simple: there is a Sponsor Company and many smaller Donors. The Sponsor Company agrees to double every lev donated on a certain account. This way, if you were to donate 10 leva, the Sponsor Company donates 10 more and the supported cause receives a total amount of 20 BGN.

Here is our little miracle:
The amazing team of 60K – one of the leading contact centers in Bulgaria – will support our joint effort by donating through a Match Giving campaign!

60K will DOUBLE every lev donated for a new Animal Rescue Sofia shelter at the campaign bank-account.

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What does this mean? It’s simple: each lev you donate on this bank account will get a buddy lev donated by the people of 60K! We will raise X amount of money and 60K will change the equation to X.2 for the homeless animals in our city!

The initiative starts today and will be active for up to a month, depending on it’s success.

Become an angel

You too can be a guardian angel! You can donate and let your donation be doubled by 60K using the following account:

ProCredit Bank, 26 Todor Alexandrov blvd, Sofia, Bulgaria
SWIFT: PRCBBGSF
IBAN: BG16PRCB92301033111022
BENEFITIARY: A R Sofia

Each lev that you donate on this account will be doubled by 60K!

Please note that only donations received at this bank account will be doubled!

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60K is one of the leading contact centers in Bulgaria, working with clients on 27 languages from all over the world: e-commerce, telecommunications, IT and software developers, entertainment, leisure and travel, finance and insurance, research and etc.

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The company has over 600 young, talented employees who enjoy they work. They are the people who decided to support us in the effort of building a new home and future for hundreds of dogs.

60K on Facebook

Share

Dear friends, even if you are unable to donate a modest sum to the bank account that 60K will double, we ask you:
please, share this idea with your friends and online, help this wonderful initiative reach a maximum number of people!!!

Grattitude

Our HUGE appreciation to 60K for their generosity! We can only hope that more companies would follow their example and be socially responsible and engaged with the most pressing issues of our huge city.
From the thousands of dogs we have not yet been able to help to all of you that will join this campaign – a bow and countless tails wagging!

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*MIRACLE – noun: 1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause; 2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God; 3. a wonder; marvel.

**ANGEL – noun: a person who performs a mission of God or acts as if sent by God.

***ARCHANGEL – noun: chief or principal angel.

An INSANITY session for our dogs

Posted on 03 November 2013

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260BGN for the making of an ARSofia shelter were raised by the guests of coach Ivan Germanov at the Charity Insanity workout held at Arena Vitosha! A few words from Ivan to all the lovely participants who didn’t spare any energy and enthusiasm in this intensive effort:

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“I am very happy to tell you that the charity training at Vitosha Dance&Sport Arena has been more than successful! Over 20 daring sports-people came to our event, raising twice than what I was expecting – 260 BGN. Nice! This comes to tell us that the hearts of the participants are twice bigger than I dared to hope. I thank everyone for coming!

A donation box will be present at Vitosha dance hall, so that everyone may chip in at a better time. I thank you all again for making me believe. Regards!”

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And we thank Ivan for being such an awesome person!

A Halloween Party + Concert at BACK STAGE

Posted on 02 November 2013

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7414 BGN were raised by 460 guests at the amazing Charity Halloween Concert for the purchase of a place to turn into a shelter for the ARS dogs and cats!!!

Huge thanks to hosts Radio Café and Back Stage for the organization and hospitality; to the amazing musicians for the fabulous concert; to all of you who came, supported our work and made a huge donation altogether!

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In a time when everything is divided in Bulgaria and people have nothing but hate for each other, it is a huge joy for us to see the friends of animals united in the common cause. Love WILL save the world, we know it and are happy to have met you!

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Friends, your generosity is absolutely amazing, there are no words to express our gratitude…
We wish you great happiness!

Special regards to the volunteers who worked whilst we were all having fun: Jasmina, Sofia, Martha, Anelia, Victoria and Alexandra.

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– – – – – – – –

WHO:

RADIO CAFÉ and CLUB BACKSTAGE proudly present: P.I.F, JEREMY?, VANYA SHTEREVA, LOCO, MILA ROBERT, SHAKERMAKER and a charitable concert for the sake of ANIMAL RESCUE SOFIA.

WHAT:

It will be a Halloween charity party with great Bulgarian musicians in help of the ARSofia animals.

As you know, we must leave the Bogrov shelter along with our dogs by the end of this year. For that purpose we must raise the money to buy a new place to continue saving lives. Come, bring your friends, your help is of the upmost importance!

The party has a charity ticket of 10BGN that will go to the ARSofia.

We will have t-shirts, mugs, calendars and plenty of beautiful stuff for sale – all for the dogs, of course!

DRESS CODE:

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With COSTUMES, of course!

The three most original costumes will get special rewards, please think carefully – it will be a severe competition!

WHEN:

On Halloween eve – 31.10.2013, after 19:30 (the live music starts after 10)

WHERE:

At the BACK STAGE club
Just next to the musical theatre
100 Levski blvd, 1527 Sofia

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YOU ARE VERY WELCOME, FRIENDS!!!

1000 leva from the kids at the Anglo-American School!

Posted on 29 October 2013

Huge thanks to the teachers and students at the Anglo-American School in Sofia for their help. 1000 BGN more for our dogs were collected these past few months by the kids at the school!

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Stella went to meet the kids along with two of our most prominent good-will ambassadors – Grado & Penny – the poodles. They are often helping out the poor souls at the Bogrov shelter, making it possible to talk both to people who like and dislike dogs.

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One of the many fabulous fund-raising ideas that the AAS teachers put to work is the so-called “Stotinki Wars”. A few big jars are divided between the classes – each one is labeled. Then, each class is encouraged to put stotinki into the jars of the other classes, the goal being that your class should have the least possible amount of donations. The emptiest jar wins – a brilliant idea!

We are grateful to the wonderful staff at the AAS-Sofia for making sure their pupils grow up to be reasonable, compassionate and responsible people.

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Regarding the cases of rabies in the Netherlands

Posted on 24 October 2013

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In relation to the cases of dogs with rabies in Holland we state the following:

ALL our dogs travel in good health, carefully and fully vaccinated in according to all EU requirements, along with the requirements of the sending and receiving country. Accordingly – the dogs that leave the Bogrov shelter are vaccinated for rabies minimum 21 days before the date of departure.

We are in touch with ALL the organizations that accept and re-home animals for us in Holland, we have the following information: none of our animals have been affected or anything of the sort; the colleagues are calling EVERY single adopter who has taken in any of our dogs in the last 12 months for information and support.

Regards for d-r Ilieva

Posted on 05 October 2013

A big hug to our young veterinarian doctor Ilieva for successfully finishing a clinical pathology course at the Central Veterinary Clinic!

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Being a vet in a shelter is very heavy work that has little to do with working in a typical private clinic. Despite her young age d-r Polina Ilieva has proven to be a very serious and hard-working doctor in the very first weeks of our acquaintance when she started her internship under d-r Stankova. We are happy to have vets who are so devoted on our team and we hope they will become more and more qualified in time.

Sunny for the ARSofia shelter

Posted on 03 October 2013

They say that the state of existence makes up the mind. But we think that a position in life is something more than just a reflection of the daily struggles, it is a choice as well. Just as we have seen people with barely any resources turn the world around to do something for someone; we’ve also seen people who have all the money in the world and would never move a finger for anyone.

They also say that Good never dies. We have no choice, but to hope that it’s true, because otherwise the pain would be unbearable.

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This summer a sunny girl became a distant star. 25-year old Stanislava Asenova, or just Sunny, was killed by a drunk driver in the street. She is no longer here to shine her smile and enthusiasm on us.

But Sunny’s family doesn’t want (and shouldn’t) to say goodbye forever. They are firmly decided to continue her optimism and kindness, using the horrible tragedy to make something good out of it, something kind, something that will last, something their kind daughter, sister, friend would have liked…

The sunny people came to us at the end of the summer. They walked the dogs, gave them many hugs from Sunny, brought food for the babies and… left 1020BGN for them. We were astounded. Not because we don’t think the Good are among us. But because we had never met people who could turn their grief into something positive, not pile up anger and aggression as most of us would do. They want to do good in the name of their dear girl.

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It was the end of the summer when they came and we still had many uncertainties ahead of us. Half of the donation was given to d-r Ilieva – to buy medicines for our clinic, the other half was put away “for the shelter”. Now that our fundraising campaign has begun the second half of Sunny’s donation for our doggies has been transferred to the account of “the new place”. We know her good energy will help us, just like she did herself.

We love Sunny” is an initiative that wants to bring more Good into this world. We thank Sunny’s family and all her friends for their kind help. We thank them because they remind us how little is certain in this word and how much we can do for the others if we don’t close our eyes and hearts to their needs.

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It is another sunny day today!

To keep the streets dog free – we need mandatory neutering of the yard animals

Posted on 13 September 2013

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The Romanian parliament voted for the euthanasia of stray dogs after 14 days in a municipal shelter. The decision comes after a 4-year old boy was mulled by dogs in a yard 1,5 kilometers away from a city park at the country’s capital. The tragic event was announced as a stay-dog attack by the police press-release and the incident was widely (and wildly) covered in all Romanian media.

Using the “dog card” for yet another time, the former mayor of Bucurest and current president Busesku wins the love of the masses with the politically inadequate “people are above dogs!” As a mayor Busesku already destroyed tens of thousands of dogs (including all that were neutered) in the city. Today, of course, there are twice as many dogs in the streets of Bucurest, but you should see those people voting for such a “decisive and brave politician”.

The well-played set of bloody laws that both president and prime-minister played is no coincidence. The same changes were voted back in 2011, but the Constitutional court of Romania ruled them as unconstitutional and they were dropped in the beginning of 2012. Today, they are written in the blood of a 4-year old child and seem untouchable.

Just like in Bulgaria, the Romanian state has no official data on the number of dogs owned. But, the statistics show that every year approximately 5 000 000 puppies are being born in the yards, courtyards and farmyards all over the country. ½ of them are destroyed by the mother’s owners at an early age, an insignificant number are rehomed and the rest are being dumped at the outskirts or in the closest settlement. It is the ones that survive who make the general, constantly stocked population of stray animals in the country.

The numbers are almost identical with what we have here in Bulgaria – a sociological research by Gallup from the end of last year shows that from 2 400 000 owned animals (both cats and dogs) 80% are being cared for outside the house, and 50% of the owners of female watchdogs admit to abandoning their puppies out in the street at least once. In the same time the number of neutered animals is low (17%) and it is mostly within the “apartment dog population” which is no important contributor to the stray dog problem.

Despite the obvious, the term “watch dogs” or “yard dogs” as the main source of new stray animals is being completely overlooked in both countries. Each spring and autumn season the yards spew thousands of unwanted puppies; closed down construction sites and depos get rid of their guard-dogs; villa owners chase away the animals for the winter. Neither Romania, nor Bulgaria control the dog owners of yard dogs and the few sanctions only apply to urban area owners. Registration is virtually non-existent.

To top this all the stray dog population programs are dumped on the political will and budget of the municipalities – most of which poor and often corrupt. Mayors prefer to invest in radical, lucrative and non-durable methods that bring immediate public approval and votes. The choice is between exterminating and the even cheaper dumping of animals in neighboring municipalities – the long-term solution simply requires too much effort. And a working Spay/Neuter program is by no means exhausted with the simple neutering of the existing stray dog population.

Just as 50 years ago we had to be taught to wash our hands by the then socialist state, today it is crucial to change the culture of dog ownership. People need to learn about neutering and deworming, they need to know where they can do it cheaply or for free. We just need a little control, nothing more – the abandoning of animals was already forbidden in 2008, by law, but since then there hasn’t been a single person fined by it. As the responsibility for this is tossed around between the Ministry of Agriculture, the Police and the Municipalities nothing is done to solve the issue. Instead, when there is a more severe case of a dog bite the most radical and unfounded opinions are widely distributed through the media, causing mass hysteria and putting emotions in the center of a simple, practical problem.

Yes, the Romanian experience is really very important to us. We need to carefully look at Romania’s last two decades and NOT do anything like them if we really want our stray dog problem solved. In some strange set of circumstances this happens to be one of the few things we have gone ahead of our neighbors. This is an obvious fact to anyone who has been to Romanian cities lately.

It can be said that the local populations in Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Russe have been taken into hand as the municipal workers finally turn to the owners of yard dogs and begin to worry about the neighboring cities dumping dogs in their territory. Sofia and Russe are already offering free neutering to owned animals, you can barely see a dog in Plovdiv, and Burgas even boasts their own animal police unit in the municipal police which monitors registration.

However, steps in the right directions will remain only steps until we create a National strategy to solve the problem. It must include education and control of animal owners and be monitored on a state, not a municipal level, uniting the efforts to target both street populations and the animals in the yards.

Bulgaria has already shown, although with great difficulty, we can work adequately to solve the problem. In 5 years of comparatively good work Sofia has 3 times less animals living outside permanently. Just to illustrate this – at the end of his twice as expensive and ineffective dog culling program Mayor Sofianski “boasted” about 30 000 dogs in the street.

Populism is a big thing, but in the last few months the Bulgarian public has indicated that we’ve had enough of it. We are not cruel people either – as strange as this might seem, the very fact that so many animals are being released outside and not destroyed points out that our compatriots are just a step away from keeping their animals in a civilized manner. We only need to show them how and make it available.

Stella Racheva, Sofia 12.09.2013, TRUD

August 15 – September 15 – No admittance of new animals

Posted on 16 August 2013

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Dear friends, as you know – our contract at the Bogrov shelter ends this year.

We began working on this issue from the spring of last year, and have gone through an unbelievable amount of options. Starting at the idea to contract the municipality for a plot of land and build our own shelter on it (we had already made the architectural plan before the procedure was stopped by the municipal council on complaints by the regional mayor); going through the idea of contracting a run-down building from the municipality that we can renovate for our work (where we either had to work with a tiny number of dogs or keep them in unsuitable conditions); and getting to the wild notion that just a few months before the deadline, we must look for a suitable place to purchase for the work of ARSofia (here, as you can imagine – the big problem is money…)

The prolonging is due to the fact that we had to face crazy situations at every single step we made in the process – including having to file reports for an intentional delay of our papers at the Sofia city court… There have been obstructions at EVERY single step to be made, at EVERY single institution. But this is not new to us – in three and a half years we have already learnt that this is the Bulgarian reality and we just have to keep moving no matter what.

In order to not complicate the already difficult situation even further – we need to seriously reduce the number of dogs that we have living permanently in the shelter. As you know – august is vacation time for most of our European partners, rehoming trips are scarce, but in the same time the influx remains the same. Again, we are put in the situation to have to refuse admittance to a large number of angry people.

We understand the tension and worry of all the people who are trying to find a solution for their animals, but we cannot be miracle-makers. One single shelter cannot help all the dogs out there. It is very difficult and nerve-racking both to us and to the people who seek help from us.

We kindly ask you to understand that we have a duty to the dogs we have already admitted to the shelter and cannot compromise their health and safety by endlessly stuffing new animals in, without being certain of the future we can provide for them.

We are not the kind of people who wait for everything to go from bad to worse and scream “our 500 dogs have nowhere to go!” So we must take precautions and we believe that anyone who has made the effort to understand the situation will agree with us. What is more – we do have a huge amount of animals that need us just as much.

We continue to work as hard as we can, to rehome and help as many animals as possible. But who will be there to help them tomorrow if we fail to provide for the future of this organization today?

Thank you for your kindness and support!

P.S. Don’t be afraid – the ones who want to work will work. And we are ones who want to work and will continue to do so, no matter what. For that – we must thank you – the people that make this organization what it is – a citizen’s, non-governmental organization. Made by people, financed by people and ran by people.

However much we feel like saying “damn you, bloody government, it is your work we are doing, give us that bloody place to work” – we know that after all, the key to everything we manage to achieve is that we are not a part of the government machine. Do not worry – it might be hard, it might be hard as hell, but things will work out. Because the decision, after all, is not up to the government, it is up to us. It is us who are that civil society everyone in Bulgaria is crying crocodile tears over. We prove it every single day, and will continue to prove it in the future.

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Dog Behavior International Course – Sofia 2013, July 16-19

Posted on 05 August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

A short report

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We are often skeptical about experts from western countries when it comes to solving our stray-dog problems, because we are aware how different our realities are, but also the people’s mentalities, pet-ownership traditions and etc. But in the case of Steve Goward we have a person with a huge professional experience and one that has been built in countries all over the world. Including places that make Bulgaria’s problems look ridiculous.

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The seminar was of real value – it is impressive to see people who can deliver a new point of view to hard-core dog-people such as ourselves and our colleagues with no pretense, but in the same time with a deep understanding.

We thank all our colleagues who joined us with a real enthusiasm and a great mood! We did have a hard time in the summer heat and managed to demonstrate the famous Bulgarian non-punctuality, but Steve and Ally showed full understanding – after all, we were all there for the dogs.

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We are happy and proud with the success of this meeting, we are very happy to have worked with colleagues who know the importance of being up to date with the latest in dog ethology. To our regret, as usual, most of the municipal representatives showed little interest. But we are very happy to see more and more people willing to work professionally and with a profound knowledge in dogs.

Our warmest appreciation to Steve, Ally and Dogs Trust for this wonderful opportunity. We can say with a satisfaction that we have been putting our new knowledge to work already. We wish our old and new friends from the Seminar great success and many rescued dogs!

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Invitation

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Dear animal welfare workers,
We kindly invite you to take part in a Dogs Trust International course on Dog Behaviour.

Held over four days the course will include many activities which then you can put to use in your own daily work with dogs, making it easier to handle dogs, assess and correct their behavior.

The seminar is specifically aimed at animal welfare workers who deal with dogs in distress on a daily basis – shelter workers, veterinary personnel, CNVR assistants, and other professional animal rescue workers.

This will be the perfect opportunity to meet other proffecionals and share your knowledge. Delegates travelling long distances from Sofia will be provided with accommodation for the duration of the workshop.

The seminar is divided in two segments:

  • Theoretical part (July 16 and 17): Do’s and Dont’s of positive reinforcement – the Dogs Trust experience. Takes place in the ATM Hotel conference room;
  • Practical part (July 18 and 19): Working with dogs in the field. Takes place in the Bogrov shelter, hosted by Animal Rescue Sofia.

Please note that the course will be held in English and does not include a translator.
The seminar and trainings will be kindly hosted by Animal Rescue Sofia.

Dogs Trust

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Dogs Trust is UK’s largest dog welfare charity. Formerly known as the National Canine Defense League, the organization was founded in 1891.

The charity rehabilitates and finds new homes for dogs which have been abandoned or given up by their owners. It also runs microchipping and neutering schemes in the United Kingdom and abroad, in order to reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and stray dogs put to sleep by other organizations.

Dogs Trust has 18 rehoming centers across the UK, and its first International rehoming center opened in November 2009 in Dublin. The organization has a brilliant rehoming record of over 16 000 dogs per year.

The Dogs Trust are known for their slogans: “A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas” and “Dogs Trust Never Put a Healthy Dog Down”.

Speaker

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Steve Goward (Animal behaviourist)

Steve works as the Deputy Head of Canine Behaviour & Training at Dog’s Trust. His career started as a canine carer at the DT Shrewsbury centre 10 years ago. Steve continues to study canine behaviour in order to help dogs that are struggling to cope, both in the kennel environment and once they go to new homes.

Steve enjoys sharing his expertise on subjects including stereotypical behaviours, learning sets, dog aggression & learning theory. He has led training workshops for a number of Dogs Trust’s partner organisations overseas and spoken at the International Companion Animal Welfare Conference, as well as seminars for the Scottish Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the National Dog Technical Support Group.

Previous experience

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This is the second Dogs Trust Educational Seminar to take place in Sofia. In September 2011 Animal Rescue Sofia hosted a Dogs Trust International Training Seminar for Animal Welfare representatives with the topic of educating school children on responsible dog ownership.

During the 2 days of the seminar Dogs Trust speakers Alison Russell and Hollie Sevenoaks covered every topic on child education on animal welfare in schools and outside. The delegates also had the opportunity to see a real live lesson, hosted by the 201 “St. Cyril and Methody” elementary school.

How to apply for participation

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To register for the seminar download THIS FORM, fill it in and send it to office@arsofia.com by June 19.

The training course has a capacity for 25 people. Participants will be chosen on account of the topics covered in the seminar and their daily experience with dogs.

The doggies will get food from our friends at Chicopee for another 3 months!!!

Posted on 26 June 2013

As you know, our 500 doggies have been receiving 300 kilos of dry food from our friends at Chicopee every month since February:

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This month, along with the 300 kilos of food that were brought to us, the Chicopee car brought good news to the shelter – Mr. Anton Antonov and his colleagues will continue their donation for another 3 months!

Contrary to what most people expect – it is the summer months that are most difficult for us at the shelter, not the winter. Although the expenses and troubles do grow in proportion with the temperature plunge – our winter doggies are not easily forgotten. The people that love them think of them every time they shiver in the cold wind; when they open the trash bin lid, heavy with snow; when the see the ones still out in the street, trying to find little warmth closer to people, being chased away…

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But in the summer, we humans are rather less capable of compassion – who wants to think of pain and sadness when it is such a lovely sunny day outside?  So, in the summer we must make it with half of what we usually find – donations, adoptions and volunteers are scarce in the hot days of Sofia. We still remember that first summer at the shelter 3 years ago, when no one had heard of us. Then, a special Person who would never have her dogs go hungry turned every piece of jewelry she had in her family into food and medications for the shelter dogs… Today things are different. Today, our dogs have friends!

Here is Anton from Chicopee – bringing this month’s donation – 300 kilograms of kibble:

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And this is just a tiny bit of the 500 hungry throats that manage to gulp down 300 kilograms of dry dog food on a good day:

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The thanks for this donation go to Anton and his Canadian colleagues. Anton told them about our work and together – they made the decision to spend their advertisement budget for something that matters – helping us feed the 500 hungry doggies at the shelter.

We tell them a huge – BRAVO! by clicking a Like on THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Bon appetite, doggies! You will never starve again now that you have friends who care for you!