Spotlight on...HumAnimal Balkans Charity - Maria`s Story

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Please have a read of Maria’s story below and how Prince has become the newest member of their family thanks to the work and dedication of the HumAnimal BALKANS charity.

Maria is keen to support the work that the charity does so last week she baked some goodies for our office treats table and in return for partaking in her delicious baking, we donated to the ‘jar’ to raise funds for HumAnimal BALKANS.

On Monday 17th February 2020 Maria was able to send across £35 to them which guaranteed a month of proper veterinarian care, food and a roof over their head for TWO dogs, or contributed to help paying the recent bill for £3,000 for parvo treatment already given to puppies rescued in December, who otherwise would be dead now.

Prince and HumAnimal BALKANS.

Having my own dog was one of my biggest dreams for the last several years. I grew up in a family, where there was always a lot of animals around and we had a soft spot for German Shepherds. I think that was the biggest challenge for me once I moved to the UK to face how difficult it is to find a house to rent with a landlord who would be OK with your furry family members.

Over the last years we were able to get two cats, Kylie and not so long ago, Storm. As much as we love them, it created a new obstacle – would it be possible to get a dog who gets along with a very grumpy and protective of her territory old lady and a bit crazy and always full of energy youngster? We were advised to get a puppy, in order to allow the cats to show the dog who is the boss. We considered taking a dog from a shelter, but we were aware it may be sometimes risky, as they are often traumatised and need a calm environment without other animals around. Yet, we did not know how wrong we were.

Late November I was checking a website with dogs and I came across a picture of Prince – a 10-year-old, deaf dog, who quite literally stole my heart. I couldn’t explain why I got so crazy about him – he looked nothing like a German Shepherd, but I just knew he is the one. Then I found in the description that he was living in a foster home with 11 cats and 2 other dogs – and that was the last piece of information we needed. I got in contact with HumAnimal BALKANS, a dog adoption, non-profit organisation who rescued him. I got to know his full story: he lived in Bosnia, but unfortunately, once his owner died, her husband just threw Prince away, thinking he was just an old dog who wouldn’t last long anyway. Prince was sleeping in front of his old house for weeks, without being given any food or water and not able to understand what really happened. Luckily enough, one day he was spotted by a volunteer who posted his picture on Facebook.

Then, HumAnimal BALKANS came across his story and organised help – he was taken to a pension, then a foster home, where he received all the veterinarian help he needed and in couple of months was able to be moved to the UK.

One of the amazing things HumAnimal BALKANS does is that they rely on foster homes in the UK, therefore all the animals are saved from another traumatic experience of being put in crowded shelter. Prince was given a foster home in Macclesfield, run by an amazing lady, who made sure he got not only a roof over his head and proper food needed to gain healthy weight, but also lots and lots of attention and endless love. It is entirely thanks to the astonishing work of all the charity’s volunteers and his foster mum, their dedication and a big heart, that Prince did not lose trust in humankind completely.

To be perfectly honest, he was a really lucky one – most of the animals in their care come from killing centres in Balkan countries, where without their help, they would be still living in horrifying conditions, given just a couple of weeks before being put to sleep. In the UK’s homes they are given a chance to live a normal life again and learn there are still people who love them and look after them.

HumAnimal BALKANS organisation not only rescues animals from killing centres and streets (so far counted in hundreds!), but also legally challenges abuse in shelters and raises public awareness. They have already successfully closed (working together with other organisations) several concentration camp-style kill shelters. It is a truly astonishing work, if you consider they rely solely on donations!

The adoption process was straight forward, however, the volunteers did check carefully if my family and I would be able to provide a healthy and steady environment for Prince. We had to fill in a questionnaire, go through a house inspection and clarify every aspect of his future daily life. Even if for some it may seems like a lot of fuss, we also benefited from this process. For example, we knew from the beginning that his biggest passion are regular, long walks, therefore, we had enough time to organise a dog walker to cover when we are at work even before we got Prince.

Another great thing about this charity is that they do full medical screening – so we knew straight away what problems we might be dealing with. It is extremely important, especially with an older dog, to be aware and to make an honest decision can you look after the dog or not.

We were not sure how to introduce Prince to our cats, especially because the 17-year-old Kylie is usually not very keen on any new family additions. We were assured though that this amazing chap is a very rare exception - a dog who quite literally loves cats. The very same day Prince arrived, he just laid down in the middle of a living room, keen on saying a little ‘hello’ to completely puzzled cats and fully respecting whatever boundaries they set. He has been with us for almost two months now and the whole ‘animal chemistry’ is just amazing – Kylie learnt that he is not any kind of threat, quite on contrary – he resolves any fights arising between the two cats and, if needed, protects her with his very own body. When we come home from walks, Storm, the young one, is usually already waiting downstairs to lick Prince’s nose as to say ‘hello’. It is just like Prince was the missing piece of puzzle – assuring Kylie she is safe and putting Storm in place if he tries to be too boisterous.

Besides being deaf (what turned out to be quite a blessing during New Year’s Eve) he is a super-healthy dog, fully house trained, keen on meeting new people and other dogs and fanatical about his walks. He gets adores his dog walker and other companions, such as little puppy, Pablo. It’s quite interesting how much he changed our daily life – regardless of the weather, he makes sure we get at least three hours of exercise every day, what in my case, struggling with some health issues, is actually the best thing that could happen to me. Last but not least, he truly turned our new house into a home.

If you would like to read more about the work of HumAnimal BALKANS or to make a donation or adopt a dog, then take a look here. (video showing what Pozega really does)