Why She’d Walk Through Fire for Romanian Dogs

It’s 5 am and Norica Prigoana wakes with a burning throat and runny nose that no amount of tea and tissue can control. She sits up in bed and tries to ignore the  body aches that ripple from the top of her head to the soles of her feet. Norica shuffles around the kitchen, preparing breakfast for 18 dogs and cats who are yawning and beginning to come to life. A couple of the animals lie patiently in their beds, paralyzed and unable to greet Norica with anything more than a tender look. Their shoulders still wiggle and you can almost sense the phantom wags of their tails. Each of them knows that food is coming and the sheer surprise of having regular meals has not yet worn off.

The day begins for 18 rescued souls at Norica's home

Once the pack at home are fed and cared for, Norica slides a coat over her arms and glances over at her husband Cristian who is putting on his boots. Without a word, the two head out to begin their rounds feeding stray dogs and caring for the 50 or so lucky ones who are now safe at the couple’s small rescue center. And though fever begins to swell inside her body, Norica would walk through fire to get to the dogs who need her. She and Cristian begin lifting enormous sacks of kibble onto their shoulders and disappear down the street.

One of Many Rescuers Who Would Walk Through Fire

Norica and Cristian are among the cluster of good people who are holding a thin line between the unwanted dogs in Romania and the authorities who vow to kill them. After a dreadful tragedy earlier this month in which an unattended 4-year-old boy was killed by a dog, there has been a swell of politicians elbowing one another to get in front of television camera and declare their support for a massive ‘extermination’ campaign for dogs. And while the same exercise 20 years ago had no true impact on the population of street dogs that simply rebound, there is a thirst for justice here and the science of humane stray control has simply fallen to the floor.

Many of the dogs that Norica has rescued come from the public shelter. Not just in Romania, but in many parts of the Balkans, these centers are notorious for what goes on inside as the dogs seem to suffer in one of two ways. Either they land in a shelter where food and water are withheld until the dogs are weak enough to be easily killed or they linger in a barren facility in which their most basic needs go unanswered.

Norica comforts dogs at the public shelter where she delivers food and supplies each week

“The dogs are stressed and desperate to be free,” Norica explains. “Many of them are imprisoned for almost two years in the public hell. They have never been in more miserable conditions where the winter is colder than outside. If they could talk, you would be horrified to know the truth behind these iron doors.”

Food and a dog house are supplied to this dog at the public shelter thanks to Nora, but she knows that is hardly enough.

Finding Hope in the Smallest Things

Under the banner Hope for Animals, Norica alone has pulled 160 dogs from this one shelter and taken them to her own shelter for complete physical and emotional recovery before placing them up for adoption, mostly internationally. Yet she’s now been given two months notice to leave the land where her own shelter sits, and despite promise from the municipality to help her find a new space, it now appears she’s on her own.

“Norica has had 15 operations to try to correct her poorly hip, foot and leg,” says supporter Debbie Evans. “She should not be lifting or spending so long on her feet, but as she says to me, ‘these Angels are my life, and I can never not go to them.’”

“She is an inspiration,” Debbie continues. “The seriousness of her situation, with her shelter under the threat of being evicted by the owner, her fear of having no other premises to move to, is causing her to lose weight rapidly. Despite pleas to the mayor and city hall, she is regarded as ‘crazy’, to want to help these dogs that bring no money in.”

New Mission: “Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” – Robert Ingersoll

A flurry of support is beginning to take shape for not only Norica and Cristian, but for many others just like them who maneuver over obstacles three-stories-high. There is particular emphasis on preparing animals for the impact of winter on the streets and in sub-standard shelters. To learn more about efforts to help, click here.


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright4 years ago

Green stars to everyone who has posted in support of Norica and Cristian......wish I could send you each individual green stars...............

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright4 years ago

God Bless You Norica and Cristian.....thank you for being the voices for the forgotten and invisible victims of the evilness in sub~humans. As so many others have posted, you are truly angels and inspirations for those of us who aspire to be more and do more.

As someone else posted, you are a wonderful ray of light {and hope} in deep and dark Romania. The world is watching what happens there and we will be with you, in thought and spirit, standing together to help you fight this fight for the voiceless.....

May God continue to watch over you and bless you and your charges.

Kay martin
Kay M4 years ago

Thank you Laura for a great article about great people doing noble deeds in such terrible conditions. and thanks to the 222 care 2 members that have commented on this article I enjoyed reading all of them. keep the information coming.....period.

Kittie K.
Kittie K.4 years ago

What I want to know is why Romanian politicians aren't doing more ensure preventing the lax supervision of the children. Like impose harsher punishments for leaving your children unattended. Dogs are animals, they don't discern between right and wrong, so they shouldn't punish the entire stray population for something that can be easily prevented by watching your children more closely. Why not instead increase awareness and neuter any strays they find and put them up for adoption instead of putting them down?

Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters4 years ago

Yes, Norica and Cristian you are true dog lovers and make many sacrifices to save the neglected ones. You are special people.

Kathleen R.
Kathleen R4 years ago

Norica and Cristian you are heroes and angels. Thank you for all you do.

Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

Blessings to Norica and Cristian! Just read on C2NN the Dogs of Romania have been granted a reprieve until Sept. 25. Thanks to all who have been working on this. We can't give up!!! The Dogs of Romania need Us. Sign every petition you can, tell your friends, have your friends tell their friends. Thank you CARE2 :)

scarlett g.
.4 years ago

BLESSED PEOPLE!! With all the aid the U.S offers others, perhaps some FUNDING to this couple would be a GODSEND!!!