Two in One – Travel Reports from Romania, July and August 2019

At the end of July of 2019, our mobile castration station started on a long journey. The Timmy animal welfare foundation from Germany was incredibly impressed with Robin Hood’s work and had decided to donate a mobile ambulance.

The VW Crafter is in very good shape and was already stickered. We decided to modify it a bit with the support of GLG Advertising Texts, who once again did an amazing job.

Our loyal supporter Gabriele Surzitza and Michael Heckelmann joined us on our journey to Romania.

Our goal was once again Reghin, this time driving there with three vehicles, each loaded fully with donations.  It turned out to be a long trip and we wouldn’t reach our goal for quite some time: Heat, traffic jams and the necessity of having to drive slowly with the fully loaded and heavy ambulance lead to us arriving late at night.

Alexandru Acs from Bukarest joined us on the next day and the team was complete.

Unfortunately, this time only two days of staying were planned, both filled with various appointments.

The ambulance was brought to our Romanian colleague in Gornesti, as the license plates had to be changed and sent back to Germany so that the vehicle could be deregistered.

Afterwards, it will be registered in Romania for our new Romanian association: Asociatia Robin Hood Romania, we are still waiting for the final certificate for the association, then we will start. Not only with helping dogs, but also focusing on fur farms and animal transportation in Romania.

The first day was filled with visiting authorities to be allowed to transport the car to our colleague. There was also a lot to discussion about how we will design Robin Hood Romania. Our colleague Sotiria Morariu will supervise the castration campaigns, the next one is already planned for Corunca at Tirgu Mures.

Moreover, she is also going to manage the Romanian Facebook page and much more.

Two days are not a lot of time and so we spent the second day in the animal shelters in Reghin. We want to install more shadow awnings as the temperature is very hot in Transylvania.

A new idea emerges: We will plant lavender, maybe it will help us in our fight against the fleas. Although both animal shelters are debugged regularly, the dogs bathed and provided with anti-flea cream, the fleas lay their eggs in the grass, and after periods of rain, thousands hatch at once and crawl up one’s body.

Unfortunately, I showed an allergic reaction and was almost eaten alive.

Our dear colleague Gabi Surzitza has once again contributed a lot of donations, among other things also large planters for the lavender, which we plan to plant in October (the best time we were told; the plants are luckily extremely cheap in Romania).

My heart always sinks, when I see the dogs, especially long-term residents… the land we want to provide for the dogs is still not approved. The surveyor has yet to come, then we can finally set up fences and build the long-awaited free run zone, in which the dogs can roam freely. We want to let a group live und run there for two days, then it is the next dogs’ turn.

In the afternoon we rode a horse-drawn carriage to a shepherd, but uphill we continued by foot as we did not want to overtax the horse.

In any case, we had a guilty conscience about travelling with a horse-drawn carriage, even though this big horse definitely had no trouble pulling the carriage on the plane road.

The shepherd owns goats and sheep, a donkey, horses, dogs, chickens and much more.

Life there is completely different only a few metres above Reghin.  The shepherds sleep, cook and live there, accompanied by their animals.

An important factor is herd protection. There are wolves in the area, but you never see them and no animals are killed. The animals are also well protected against bears, thanks to the excellently working livestock guardian dogs, who work completely differently from what we pretend to know in Austria.

Robin Hood has already met with Romanian experts and is going to bring this knowledge to Austria.

One of the dogs has an injury on his leg… from a bear attack.

Of the 200 000 sheep in Romania, 100 are killed by wolves throughout Romania.

Many of the pictures for the 2020 calendar were taken up there at the shepherd’s place. In a place, where slowing down is more than an empty word. Sadly, however, most of the sheep and goat, who live their lives in freedom here, without constraint and agony, will end up on ships from the coasts of the Black Sea to the Middle East…

A fact that is little known to most. Robin Hood will try to do more here, at the very least bring attention about this fact to the public.

After two days of hard work and long hours, we drove back home – encountering some obstacles. Gabi’s car broke down and had to be taken back to Reghin. The “Robin Hood – mobile” had enough place to accommodate Gabi and Michael and we made it back home. 🙂

Dogs are constantly delivered to the animal shelters… also this time again: Someone brought two puppies in a bag (not a plastic one,it was made from a tissue mix), driving a big and expensive SUV … One of the dogs had bitten through the bag and almost strangled itself… The man was angry because the dog had destroyed the bag. We saved the little dog with the help of our veterinarian Atilla, who cut the puppy out of the bag in no time… Quickly we gave the puppies some water and they recovered. The mother dog, together with three puppies, remains with the “owner”, he only wants three puppies.

This is where the law comes into play: From now on, we will focus on that a lot more. The obligation to castrate one’s animals has to be controlled by the police. Currently, the police know about nothing or do not want to know anything, nor do the municipalities.

This is an area where we are going to increasingly intervene, as not the actual strays turn into a “problem”, but rather the dogs that procreate uncontrolled and whos puppies are then “disposed of”.

At this point, a big thank you to Gabi Surzitza but also a huge thank you to Michael Heckelmann, who had taken days of leave to accompany us. He was the one who drove the ambulance and also was of great help on site. Together with Gabi, he took care of the dogs and also bathed and cleaned them – Thank you! 🙂

Just two weeks later

and we started our trip again. Government appointments were due and had to be done at this time… why? We will soon report more concerning this topic.

This time, Gabi and I were on the road. On one hand, Gabi had to get her car from Romania, a familiar mechanic had brought it back to life and on the other hand, we also brought a lot of donations again.

I stayed for six days this time because it is difficult for me to travel with six dogs at home…

Gabi’s car was fine and she started her journey home the next day… but not for long… her car released another giant cloud of smoke and stopped working… Desperately she called me… Luckily my Romanian is good enough to tell the workers at the animal shelters what has happened and they sent a recovery truck to poor Gabi, who had to wait in the burning sun for two and a half hours. Again, the same mechanic came and tried to find the problem with the car and after some time found the culprit – a porous tube.

Thus, Gabi stayed for another day and we took the time to look for a chinchilla farm, of which there are many in Romania. Thanks to my rudimentary Romanian knowledge, we were allowed to enter the farm and even take some pictures there.

This first meeting will be the start of a new campaign in Romania. More about that in the future.

On the next day, Gabi once again started her journey home, both of us trembling as to whether the car would last this time, but everything went smoothly.

By this time, my colleague Alexandru Acs from Bukarest had already arrived by train.

With him and Sotiria, we had planned another work meeting for Robin Hood Romania.

Countless visits at local authorities and a lot of waiting in poorly ventilated offices and corridors, having to get stamps here and there… kafkaesque, just like at home. But the whole thing turned out to be worthwhile, more about that in the future as well. 🙂

Again, it was extremely hot in Romania and together with the workers, we tried to provide continuous access to water for all 400 dogs. Also, more water troughs have to be bought, because the dogs empty the existing ones to quickly.

And we plant trees in front of the enclosures, which will serve as shade-givers.

Our dear Lidia, owner of the Fiducia animal shelter, worries me a lot. She is already very weak, constantly feeling dizzy and she can not spend as much time at the shelter anymore as she would like to.

I pray every day that she gets better again and has a few more beautiful years to see the positive changes. I hope so much that my prayers are answered.

Alex and I also wanted to visit a wolf expert, because we want to bring the knowledge about herd protection and wolves in general to Austria.

4,5 hours for a distance of 180km on a road full of potholes. 🙂 That was too much, even for the “Robin Hood Mobile” and a loud bang made our faces turn pale. No, not this car as well…

But luckily, it was just an air intake hose whose hose clip had lost its grip on the bumpy road… Thank god.

We met with a representative of the Wolf Life Project, an organisation that also works with and in the government. He wants to help us to protect the wolves in Austria with appropriate educational work.

By the way, there are thousands of wolves in Romania… he has been working on the project for 12 years and was only able to see a wolf twice…

In the evening of our last day, we wanted to visit Lidia at her home to say goodbye and bring some cake, but a small cat thwarted our plans. Whenever Alex and I come to the shelter, we bring something with us.

Unfortunately no presents, but always animals that we find close to the shelter. Once a dog who was chained behind a dumpster with a heavy chain, once a poor female dog, disposed of in the winter months… This time we see a small something scurrying through the tall grass, not far from the shelter. We searched for it and found a tiny, hurt cat… The injuries were quite old, flies had laid thousands of eggs into the wounds of the poor animal.

Quickly we started our way back to the shelter, Saturday evening, our dutiful animal attendant Vasilica, who is always there, even sleeps in the shelter, was sitting there with a visiting friend… but he instantaneously prepared a warm bath for the cat, called the vet, who was attending a wedding at this point… We looked after the animal and gave it food and water. I called two dear acquaintances of mine, one of them is a veterinarian, and they decided to take in the kitten and fight for its life, as a seemingly never-ending diarrhoea drained the strength of the little cat. But the kitten made it through!

I always find it a pity, that I can’t describe all the experiences, impressions and feelings to you in the smallest details… that you are unable to experience it yourself.

Also the warmth and good nature of many Romanians, the beauty of the country.

In spite of everything…

Romania is going to remain one of our main projects, but we will focus more on “safe heavens”, those are zones for dogs in nature, on the enforcement of the castration law, on our castration campaigns with the mobile ambulance Timmy 2. (Timmy 1 is working for the Timmy Animal Welfare Association in Bucharest, at this point once again a huge thank you for the donation of this car! 🙂 )

And we will also start campaigns on the topic of animal transport and fur.

As you know, Robin Hood is on the road a lot, next up is Greenland once again and the workload is never decreasing.

But we can only do all of that with your support! THANK YOU!

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