The last week I've taken responsibility for two Albanian stray dogs. One (Lunar Luddy) was living on the street for years, she has an extraordinary personality and plenty of friends, however she is partly blind and recently I found her bleeding on the street twice.
The first time I was open to keeping her but she seemed committed to her road and locals to her. She had a week at the vet, then a few nights in my apartment, whilst I had a little kennel made for her.
The first night she was back on the street I went to pay her final vets bill and ended up adopting a puppy (Toby Tiger) who had been found alone on the beach (Friday pm), the following Thursday I found Luddy outside my apartment in a state again. This time it is well understood she will not be going back on the street so is staying at The Vet Hospital in Tirana for a month, then will join Toby Tiger once it is safe in terms of his immune system - he only had one vaccine so far. Toby has taken part in nearly all the private therapy sessions I've run since he moved in, in the past border collies have helped move things along from time to time, hence a long term aim I have had for SA&T includes having rescue animals at the therapy sites. This is sooner than expected but feels very right.
The situation for dogs in Albania is not good. Whilst waiting for the vet, a few of us moved her box / kennel and in that time someone had thrown an empty soda can at her - a bleeding dog in pain! It remained on her stomach since she couldn't move. That was in less than 15 minutes that we had our backs turned.
I am keeping a tally of the general costs, the veterinary care in Albania is very reasonable compared to the prices we are used to in the U.K. As a small step to the therapy dog aspect of SA&T I am opening up for people to sponsor some of the care of these two dogs. If I have more than is needed it will go to more of this work. You can also donate directly to animal shelters in Albania or even have a stray chipped, passported and delivered to you, a friend for life.
For Lunar or Toby please use paypal: paypal.me/leeasimmons with their name as the reference and the thing you would like to contribute to. If you email me to let me know you did this that would be great. I'm not doing a fundraiser here and am perfectly happy to pay for these two myself, but I have been asked to do this (you know who you are) and decided to open the door gently, see how it feels and what happens.
Vet 1, collection from the street: 1500 lek
seven days hotel and treatment: 8000 lek
harness and lead: approx 3000 lek
Vet 2, collection 1000 lek
30 days vet hotel: 24000 lek
Toys and treats: 2500 lek
Salami sticks during month one: TBC
Travel crate: TBC
Vet 1, 3 vaccines, passport, chip: free (thank you Tierhilfe shelter for taking him in)
Training cage / cubby hole: 12000 lek
Food bowel (with floor grip!): 2000 lek
Collar: 700 lek
Lead: 1500 lek
2 ricebones: 420 lek
16 salami snacks: 60 lek
Chewy bone: 300 lek
Toy - green ball: 750 lek
Toy bone for teeth: 1000 lek
Chewy bone: 230 lek
Travel crate: TBC
Basket / bed: 5100
1000 lek is around 8 Euro and 7 GBP. I have put 1000 Euro into SA&T's dog fund to get us started and will keep a log of money in, out and any left over will of course go to dogs. I might miss some things as am quite used to throwing dog food and treats in my shopping basket for those on the street, but am interested to keep a 'dog log' for myself as well as to be transparent for those who might look at this in the future. I'll do this for the first year then review it.
Thanks for your help, support and encouragement. For the naysayers, 'those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it', good, constructive advice is always welcome of course. I will list dog rescue services in Albania below soon, I want to ask the vets who they recommend and how to donate.
These services are very much needed in Albania so I am sure your support to strays without names will go a long way.
Animal Rescue Albania is a good place to start.
Tierhilfe is another good one
I will add more photos and video along the way.
Tobes is asleep on a cushion as I type :-)