by Anda Popescu, RAR Vet Tech, Leader of small NGO for dogs in Romania

They are everywhere in Romania; doomed to be alive, abandoned and then killed by a law that was never designed to help them or give them a chance to some kind of future. We see them every day on the streets roaming, confused and hungry, moving closer towards their imminent death. More than ever, every stray dog that comes across my path is a dead dog walking. This status was given to them from the moment they were allowed to be born into a world that rejects them instantly. People will say all sorts of things to excuse their lack of responsibility, but all in all, this tragedy was created by the indolence of the authorities and by a series of selfish acts, more or less cruel, or guided by misunderstood compassion or guilt, that allow a new life to be created only to be destroyed…sooner or later, in a more or less of a barbaric way.

When the mass killing law was voted I thought I could not bear to see it applied or to live in my own country, knowing what is happening. For a while, I couldn’t believe someone would actually enforce such a demonic strategy; nine months later, after the peak of the massacre has passed, I find myself living almost the same life I did before, but more aware of the importance of the massive spay/neuter events performed all over Romania. I guess I should be honest and say, although I will never stop fighting for the dogs and for the humane way of solving the stray issue problem, I had to and did find a way to cope with this nightmare. Although I never stopped feeling the horror, the tragedy of it all, my brain created a sort of shield that allows me to register the information and use it, but not completely understand it to the full extent of its atrocity. I instinctively found a way to protect my mind of going insane. To this day, I can’t really understand how I can pass by a dog and think about how long it will be before he is killed and move away. The alternative would be unimaginable, because, despite the authorities’ firm conviction that mass killing is efficient, the streets are filled with new and fertile dogs, who have all the resources and enough territory (left available by exterminating all the old sterilized dogs) to breed.

I guess I am not very original when stating that the politicians have left me voiceless and with an unbearable feeling of helplessness. I guess throughout the world’s history, a lot of people had this exact feeling. Seeing the stupidity, the absurd and the infinite cruelty of this law and can’t do or say anything to stop it is a continuous source of frustration and suffering. Seeing these dogs walking on the streets, rapped in their immediate suffering (pain, heat, hunger) unaware of the bleak breath of their imminent death lurking around them creates a feeling I never wish on anyone: heartache, despair, outrage, choking, insanity.

A very good friend of mine called me one morning, very shaken up by a dream she just had. She was with her husband in a beautiful place, on a holiday. Suddenly she was all alone and found herself trapped in a well, struggling to keep her head above water. She tried to scream for help, but no sounds came out of her throat. She struggled in despair and just about when she was close to giving up, she saw two boys looking down at her. She described the happiness that she felt, seeing there was hope for her to be saved. Then, the reply of one of the boys left her dumb: “Come away, it’s just an ugly yellow dog!”. They stepped away and my friend told me about the most horrific feeling she had ever had: helplessness, fear, despair and complete loneliness. She woke up crying and screaming and said she had never felt so worthless in all her life. We both cried on the phone.