Did you ever find yourself wondering why most dogs on our website look the same? Why all the dogs - small or large - seem have the same scraggy look, sad face and pulled-back ears?
It's because almost all of them have suffered the same fate. They were all unwanted pups born to raped mothers. Unloved, abandoned or forgotten. Whatever their story, they all endured pain and suffering at some point in their lives. That's what makes them all look the same.
The same fate was about to befall the 36 dogs that Nea' Nicu* left behind when he died, back in 2011. I was in California when a woman from Ploiesti - a city one hour north of Bucharest - contacted me with a plea for help.
Her neighbor had died that week and while she could do nothing more for him, she was determined to help the 36 adult dogs and puppies that he left behind.
And with the deceased's nephew threatening to throw them out in the streets when he moved in his uncle's house, the fate of the dogs looked grimmer by the day.
I did what I always do.
I called Dr. Aurelian and begged him to help them. Before I knew it, he was driving to Ploiesti and when he got there he found 36 clones.
36 dogs who looked almost the same - malnourished, scraggy and afraid. Many of them had parasites and none of them had been handled before and were afraid of humans. Over the course of several weeks, all dogs had been vaccinated, dewormed, and eventually spayed and neutered.
But they couldn't stay at the old property much longer because the new owner was due to move in any moment. So before the vet treatments even finished, we started to arrange for them to be taken to a foster home in neighboring Hungary. As all dogs grew up together with very little human contact, they only had each other so we tried to find them adoptive families as close to one another as possible. If you think it's hard to place one dog for adoption, imagine what it was like to place 36 of them.
After countless telephone calls and desperate appeals for adoption made by friends, contacts and partner NGOs, 35 clones had found new adoptive families in Austria. One of them stayed behind in Hungary as he got attached to the foster family.
So every time you see, hear or read about a stray or abandoned dog, remember that's the sad face of many. Thousands of others share his sad fate, waiting silently to be found. To be rescued. To be loved.
*some names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of the people featured