Berta was the first dog that we brought to the US from Russia. Berta lived with a bunch of other dogs on the territory of a hospital in Volgograd. All the dogs were very friendly, and greeted staff every day when they arrived at work. They survived on food scraps that people would give them, and on whatever else they could find on the streets.It didn’t last long. Someone decided that the dogs are a major inconvenience, and called the animal service. The animals service in Russia is not what you may picture when you hear “animal service”. Growing up in Russia, I encountered them on way too many occasions. They would bring the dogs to the pound, and after three days will kill them there (there is often no euthanasia available, so other methods are routinely used); or simply kill them on the spot.
When the dogs heard the shots, they started running. Berta was trying to escape, and ran across the street while other dogs tried to hide near the hospital. All the dogs were killed except for Berta. Trying to run across the busy street, she was hit by a car. Motionless, she was found by a hospital security guard who took her to his shed, and called whoever he could to get help. He didn’t want to keep the dog, or even take her to the vet; but he couldn’t leave her lying there as well, so he decided to take her in for one night only.
Natasha took her without hesitation. Despite huge number of dogs and cats under her care, and not much help, she gave her food and shelter, paid all the medical bills, and nursed Berta back to health. Her broken leg healed, she started eating well, and trusting people once again.
I flew with her here, to the US, in March, and now it’s a new chapter in Berta’s life. A happy one. She has a loving home, and hopefully no memories of her previous miserable life. From now on she will know only love, and knowing it makes me so happy
Angelo was a puppy who desperately tried to survive at the local Volgograd bank. He would count on food that people occasionally brought him and tried to warm up inside the bank building. Every time he got in, he would immediately be kicked out by the staff, and it was a matter of time that he would either freeze to death, or they will call animal services.
Angelo was saved by Natasha, and flew here with me in March, together with Berta and Tyson.
Angelo ( now Spectre ) was adopted by an amazing volunteer, and now lives in a great great great home, and has a friend Mecury! And the awesome part is….I get to see him sometimes when Kaleb brings him to work with him!
MASON AND TYSON (SAM AND MAX)
This is one of my favorite stories! It started on a freezing winter morning when Natasha received a message that two little puppies were freezing outside somewhere in a remote industrial zone. When she found them, they already had frozen paws, and were clinging to each other trying to get warm. We don’t know what happened to them, but we know that they definitely wouldn’t have survived there for long. They were too little to find food for themselves, and they were too weak and too cold. Back in the shelter, they were given food, water, and medical treatment, and they got better and grew stronger, and they stayed together and were inseparable.
When I had a chance to take one of them, Mason (the brown pup), to the US we didn’t think twice. He flew here with me in March and Donna and Laurie found the best home for him. It was a happy end for Tyson ( now Sam )!
Meanwhile his brother stayed in Volgograd. Without his sibling, he was bored, lonely and sad. There was another occasion in April, and we decided to take Mason here as well. We knew that with the amazing help of Donna and Laurie, he will find a good home, but we would have never dreamed that this will be the home where his brother was!
When the wonderful lady heard that Tyson’s brother came here, she opened her heart and her home to him! Now the two pups are cuddling again, but not in a freezing streets without food or water, but on a cozy sofa, surrounded by love!
Be happy little ones, and thank you all who helped this story to come to such a happy end
MARCH, ODRI, SNORK (RITTER)
March, Odri and Snork! This is not your typical rescue story. It started for me about seven months, and only today I can say that it is finally over with a happy end! It took long seven months here, and three years back in Russia for these dogs to finally find their loving homes.
This story is sad, heartwarming and strange, too. Three siblings brought to an outdoor HUGE Moscow shelter when they were still tiny puppies. March and his sisters Odri and Snork. The shelter has about 3,000 dogs, all live in an outdoor kennels, many do not survive the cold Russian winters, or develop chronic medical issues…Dogs are not happy there, they are not treated well at all. It is a jail, and the only joy for these dogs are the wonderful volunteers who come to visit on the weekends. That’s when the dogs may go on walks, or be let out to play. Once a week, and then they are back in their filthy cold kennels.
Many dogs don’t have any visitors at all. There is only so much that a handful of volunteers can do. There are a few of them, and 3,000 dogs.
These volunteers want nothing more but to find homes for the dogs, one dog at a time, and needless to say when a lady from Boston messaged them that she saw pictures of the three siblings and wanted to adopt them, they were so happy. March, Odri and Snork were going to the US!
And here they were! March and Odri flew in first, Snork stayed to wait for her flight a few weeks later. The girls at the shelter arranged everything…flight, pick up at JFK and even drive to Boston. It sounds like a happy end…except it wasn’t.
No dogs were allowed in the condo complex where March and Odri lived now. Plus, there were more than 20 cats living there…so both Odri and March were locked in a closet for a day, and walked only when it was dark. The lady claimed now that she cannot keep the dogs, but she didn’t want to give them away either. Then there was a cat and mouse game, a week filled with phone calls, nervous breakdowns, scheduled meetings where I will wait for hours and she will not show up, me begging her to give me the dogs, and her saying that she doesn’t trust me or anyone else. And all this time I was picturing March and Odri in the closet…and hoping that we can get them out of there soon.
And then we finally met at the Petco parking lot…two terrified dogs on the back seat of her car, and me trying to appear as trsutworthy as possible. I relaxed only when both dogs were safely in my car and we drove away.
When I first heard about these dogs locked in a closet, I messaged Donna at Buddy Dog Humane Society, and her response was quick and short “go get them”. She didn’t ask how old, how sick, how aggressive or not; she just knew that the dogs needed help ❤
I brought March and Odri to BD, and we found a family who wanted them both right away. Happy end, right? Not quite! I don’t know what it was, a trauma from the closet period, or the old one from Russia, but March just was so miserable when he went home with them. This couple was more than wonderful and more than patient, and they tried everything they could…I drove to their house a few times, and the dogs greeted me with tail wagging and let me pet them and play with them. But the second I leave, March will retreat to the attic and take Odri with him. He would hide, not go near his new owner, would try to bite, and actually escaped twice during this tough week. So, I took him back to BD. The family was heartbroken, they really liked March, but for some reason they couldn’t make him happy. Odri is their family member now, and is doing very very well, she has a new sister and is a happy doggie.
March settled at BD, where his sister Snork came a few days later (she was so sad without her siblings, and already had a ticket, and Donna graciously agreed to take her, too). Snork is adorable and very gentle, and she got adopted soon by a wonderful young couple. She is so loved now, she loves going boating and run around, and slowly putting her horrible past behind her.
March stayed…he became a local celebrity. everyone knew March! He would absolutely love some people who come to the shelter, and would not like some others. He could be jumpy and playful as a puppy with some volunteers, and very timid and apprehensive with others. He made some dog friends, too, and would play with them in the playpen for hours. I think he was happy there! People treated him with love, but we all wanted nothing more for him than finding his loving forever home. He doesn’t connect with everyone, and it was not easy to win his affection, so March stayed waiting for his person to come along. I even wondered if he ever gets adopted.
And yesterday March went home! To a wonderful lady who visited him a few times in a shelter, getting to know him, as he was getting to know her. And now March is home, just like his sisters Odri and Snork (now Ritter). And this is their happy end, and the end of their story…well, the beginning of a new one, about happy lives of three siblings from Moscow shelter which I hope they don’t have any memory of anymore.