Povestea maratonului de sterilizări de vara trecută, în cuvintele prietenilor noştri din Finlanda:
Our association here in Finland, Kodittomien koirien ystavat, had been cooperating with the Romanian association Animal Life for almost a year – rehoming their dogs and helping them financially whenever we could. I had personally visited Romania several times so I knew what I could expect, however this was the first time I would actually got to follow a Spayathlon from up close.
We arrived in Sibiu and were as always warmly welcomed by the members of Animal Life – people that put their heart and soul rescuing these animals that no-one else cares for. I have always admired their ability to do fulltime jobs and running a shelter at the same time. They have no spare time, no holidays and no money; whatever extra they have goes to the dogs. I truly adore these people!
The Spayathlon took place Sunday and Monday – the last day in May and first in June. In the morning we were all gathering outside the hotel we were staying at, the veterinary team from Bucharest had arrived the night before. After a quick introduction we drove to the clinic of Dan Gheoca, a very kind man who helps the volunteers in Animal Life a lot. He had generously offered to let the Spayathlon take place in his clinic.
The vet team immediately started working and the first dogs arrived at ten o’clock. Animal Life had done a lot of advertising in the newspapers and they were expecting a lot of people. And a lot of people came, and when there was a small break they neutered some of the dogs from the shelter. I have never seen a vet clinic so hectic yet so organized. Everybody knew their position and everybody were invited to help, even if it was just small things like shaving a dog before the surgery or keeping them warm afterwards.
We finished off the first day at about 6 PM and I have never been as exhausted in my life. The volunteers of Animal Life were also tired and one of the veterinarians, Dr. Aurelian, made a joke about why it was always the volunteers being the most tired although the veterinarians do the hardest part of the job. We had a good laugh and we all agreed that was the case.
The next day would be even more special. The World Woof Tour was coming to town to film the Spayathlon and the evening before we were all supposed to go out for dinner. However, Joanne and Oscar the dog decided to stay at the hotel because they were tired, which is understandable since it was their 13th country visited in two weeks! Instead, we met with Livia from Bucharest and her partner. They were guiding Joanne and the filming crew during their stay in Romania. We had a pleasant evening although we almost fell asleep at the dining table.
The next morning while sitting at the breakfast table I hear the sound of paws marching down the stairs. Yes, it was Oscar. He took his place under a table while Joanne and the camera man ate, but I’m sure he was given one or two treats during the time. Later we all met outside the hotel. Joanne wanted to film at Animal Life’s shelter first and afterwards we went to the Spayathlon. They interviewed Dr. Aurelian and got some great shots of the surgeries. Joanne was clearly enjoying herself and the good company of the vets, but the camera man seemed somewhat dizzy watching a neutering process so up close.
After Joanne, Oscar and the rest of the crew left we continued our day. Again we weren’t finished until after 6 PM and the result from two days work was astonishing: 111 dogs and cats neutered! I could hardly believe my ears.
As a foreigner in Romania, you are always prepared for the worst, but I have to say this Spayathlon was one of my happiest memories from Romania. To see all people come together and work like mad for little or no pay, and all the owners who were so worried about their beloved dogs and grateful to Animal Life and the veterinarians for sterilizing their pet, thus giving it a better life. Some owners donated as much as they could spare – and even if it was only equivalent of 3 dollars it was a lovely gesture. Many of them left with tears in their eyes, hugging their pets as if they were never to let go.
You could tell by the way Dr. Aurelian and the rest of the veterinary team was working that they were very experienced. Not many of the rest of us could keep up with their pace and yet they treated each dog as an individual and with great compassion, and it was heart-warming to see how they some times took a minute to cuddle with the dogs. I have nothing but great respect for these people.
Thank you so much Romania Animal Rescue for the work you are doing, it really does make a difference! And thank you all donors who make Spayathlons like these possible. Through this synopsis, I wish I can convey you some of the joy, happiness and gratefulness we all experienced during these days and above all: the compassion we feel for the animals in this land of suffering.
Kodittomien koirien ystavat