Written by Michelle Jones of Colonel Angels Bulgarian Street Dogs
When school teacher Nina Tchouparova decided to go hiking in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria on Sunday morning, little did she know that she would end up carrying out a tiny passenger.
“It was a chance encounter,” Nina said. “I first saw the puppy from the car window, as we had taken the wrong turn. When I saw her sitting on the pavement motionless, lifeless, it was obvious something was wrong.”
Once parked, Nina grabbed a sandwich and went back to where she had just seen the dog. She was still there and she hadn’t moved an inch. “There was a slice of stale bread that had been tossed next to her, yet her gaze was fixated on something invisible far ahead of her, something a living being wouldn’t see,” Nina continued. “The smell of ham and cheese brought her back to our dimension and she dug into the pieces of sandwich I was giving her. The poor pup was merely skin and bone, a shadow holding on to dear life.” (Video clip below shows puppy enjoying a wonderful connection with her rescuer)
This is the reality of the abandoned dogs of Bulgaria. Some are able to scavenge successfully for food, while others become too miserable from the stress of the abandonment to help themselves, and they literally fade away. With very few private or government run shelters or pounds, and a cultural resistance to spay/neuter, it is customary to abandon unwanted dogs and their offspring straight onto the streets, something that rescue charity Colonel Angels Bulgarian Street Dogs is striving hard to address through education and a free spay/neuter program.
Fortunately for this little pup on the pavement, there was help. Ignoring the jeers from teenagers sitting in the cafe nearby, Nina continued to feed the starving dog.
“A road cleaning truck approached with a big hose, and she didn’t even sense it’s presence,” Nina said. “She just kept eating and eating like crazy. The guy with the hose started pointing it toward us and yelling at me to get out of the way. She got scared and weakly tried to escape into the yard behind her, turning around all the while to look at the food she hadn’t yet managed to eat. I threw my coat over her, heard a weak cry of fright from under it and scooped her up. I’d never seen anything as close to a living corpse as this little dog. She looked like a walking skeleton — hollow cheeks, ribs and bones sticking out everywhere, eyes lost and defeated. Looking around at the local people passing her by without even looking at her and pulling their kids away, I knew I was her only chance and I couldn’t let her down. Amazingly, within seconds she seemed to know that she was in safe hands. She hung on hard to dear life. We named her Jana.”
And so Jana went on the hike with Nina carrying her around for more than 3 hours. When they got back to the city, Jana went straight to the vet clinic where tests revealed triple the normal concentration of white blood cells, indicating that she was fighting off a serious infection. She was immediately put on antibiotics with IV fluids and the vets said they had never seen a dog as skinny as her and were amazed that she was still alive at all.
Nina contacted Colonel Angels Bulgarian Street Dogs and was delighted to learn that we would help find Jana a loving home. At only 3 kilograms (6 pounds), she is lighter than a laptop, yet her wagging tail and her ever growing energy levels shows that she is getting better by the day.
The meaning of Jana is “God is gracious” and it’s very apt, seeing that of all the places in the world for Nina to go hiking, a “wrong turn” took her right into the path of this little waif and from now on, she is going to be offered the new life she deserves.
The World’s Biggest Baby Shower Will Help Jana and Thousands of Others
This month, the Harmony Fund is hosting the World’s Biggest Baby Shower to benefit Colonel Angels Bulgarian Street dogs and many other mighty rescue groups all over the world. Sweet Jana will be booked on the next trip to rescue partners in Holland so her new life will begin in the very near future. If you can see it in your heart to help, then this little gift from God and many others we will rescue this spring can begin the next chapters in their lives. Every month, we take in many, many puppies just like Jana and we are counting on the baby shower to bring in the donations we so desperately need. Please visit the World’s Biggest Baby Shower for Animals to make a donation.