At the end of May 2019 we received report from local volunteers about two Samoyeds’ in urgent need of help. Their previous owner was recently imprisoned and bank confiscated his property. Two dogs remained on there and people in the neighborhood were feeding them and bringing them water.
When volunteers first accessed the property they immediately noticed living conditions that were unacceptable, yet unfortunately so common in Cyprus. Water that had turned green, feces and fur everywhere, and tons of flies. The dogs were matted, dirty, and were obviously suffering.
They had to be removed immediately.
Due to the urgency of the situation, Tofu and Percy were offered temporary foster home for few weeks before they could join the Sanctuary. Since our sanctuary is a cage-free environment where dogs are matched to mingle and interact with each other, basic examination, blood test and especially neutering has to be done prior the new dogs entering the sanctuary or at least shortly after.
During examination veterinary estimated them to be about 4 to 5 years old. According to the neighbors these dogs had been living in the cage their entire life. Percy was neutered first, as procedure for male dogs is less intrusive. However during the surgery he started to bleed and just to be safe, it has been decided to not neuter Tofu just yet. Percy recovered after the surgery quite fast without any further complications, which was a great relief to us.
Two weeks later both Samoyeds’ arrived at The Sanctuary. They were more than thrilled with all the space they suddenly got, regular good quality food, and a quiet and friendly environment. They were bathed and groomed before that, which also removed the pain from mats pulling on the skin. Plus, as an extra bonus lots of Nordic friends to play with. They started to learn things that they could not learn being confined to a cage for so many years. For example Percy was fascinated by the radio the first time he heard it.
As wonderful as these stories can turn out to be, dog rescue itself comes with a fair share of unexpected challenges. The most common problem with rescuing female dogs is that their health condition is typically too poor to be neutered right away, which often puts us in risk of having a female in heat in the Sanctuary. This is what happened with Tofu.
Shortly after moving to the sanctuary she went into heat. Two of our foster homes in Cyprus, who in such situations would normally help, were on holidays. We could not find anyone else who could help. Tofu had to stay in the Sanctuary while being in heat, which means implementation of short term management system to avoid complications.
Needless to say that this has been the hardest three weeks for Kiki – the main caretaker in the sanctuary. Not only she had to gradually introduce new dogs to the pack, but also do it while there is a female dog on heat. Even though most of the dogs could not even see her, they certainly could smell her. The fact that all our male dogs are neutered did help. The only problem during this period was caused by sudden hostility towards Tofu by a few females in the sanctuary.
One more week and things will start getting easier: once Tofu finishes her heat, everything will be back to normal and all our girls will be friends again. However, it would really help if more people would step in and help with short term fostering in Cyprus, as well as donations to help build more space for dogs in the sanctuary.
Sometimes it is really hard for us to take dogs in. Sometimes we take them even when we can not take them. Then we hope that people will support them and help us to provide them with the treatment and training they need. When we were asked to help them, honestly, we were not in the position. Now watching them having so much fun, any doubt that we did the right thing is gone. What mattered was that even though the circumstances were not perfect, their lives still got better and they became much happier dogs.
Since Tofu and Percy joined the Sanctuary we have been in contact with Harijeke, one of the administrators of the Facebook Group called Samojeden Groep. Their wonderful members expressed enthusiasm to help and so far fundraised 243 Euros.
That money helped us cover the most immediate expenses such as Percy’s castration, CBC tests and microchips for both and X-rays for Tofu. That is a big help, but we still need 400 Euros to cover: their monthly sponsorship, neutering for Tofu (when she is ready) and vaccinations, as well as passports.
If you wish to support them please visit our sponsorship page to find out how can you help!
One thing we can say with certainty is that five years in the cage did not make them into unsocial dogs (as unfortunately a lot of people expect rescue dogs to be). In fact they are the opposite: happy, friendly with people and dogs, very curious and playful. We try to stay optimistic that people will not just dismiss them as “rescue”dogs, but actually look at their personalities more than at their past.
We will be posting more updates, so stay tuned.