Street dog found: What to do? A guide for animal-loving travelers.
Unlike in Germany, there are a lot of street dogs in many countries like Spain, Greece, Romania. If you find one of them, you might ask yourself: what should I do? We have been traveling around the world for two years and have helped in different animal welfare organizations. Although we are not absolute experts in rescuing dogs, we have gained some experience that we would like to share with you.
Not every “stray” is a street dog!
First of all, you should note that not every free-roaming dog abroad is a street dog. We remember an incident in Romania when we met a cute dog without a collar who spent the whole day with us. At the end of the day a man drove by and told us that it was his and took him away. This shows that a dog without a collar does not necessarily live on the street, but simply runs around freely. Many people let their dogs run around freely, without a collar, in order to provide a more comfortable life for their animals.
We would like to emphasize that we believe that a free-roaming dog is still better than a chain dog. The latter often lead a worse life. But how do you know if a dog is living on the streets and needs help, and most importantly, what do you do then? The ways to help a stray vary greatly and depend on what you are willing to do. Of course, the best thing would be to provide a cuddly home for a distressed animal. But circumstances are not always right to do so. It is important to note that not every dog living on the streets can be placed in a home.
However, we believe that everyone can help, regardless of how much time and money they have. One way is to help at a local shelter or animal hospital. Or you can simply provide a dog with water and food or offer medical help if needed.
But what specifically can I do to help? The most important thing is to show compassion and try to help as much as possible. It’s not always easy, but if we all make a little effort, we can help improve the lives of street dogs.
Here are a few simple tips you can do:
Have food with you.
It doesn’t cost much and can be found in any supermarket, even if it’s not the best food. Distressed dogs are happy to have some brekkies, they are better than an old, rotten kebab from the garbage.
Especially when it’s hot, but also otherwise. If there is no bowl, you can cut open a PET bottle and take the lower part as a substitute! Unfortunately, garbage is often lying around in such countries.
Only if the dog lets you touch him!
If not, let him! Ticks are often a nuisance to dogs and most are grateful if you pick the mean buggers off them.
Dressing minor wounds
Please do not apply thick bandages or plasters! Also please only do this if the dog allows it! You are helpers and should not put yourselves in danger of being bitten. Even if most dogs are really very friendly, they can quickly feel in danger or frightened by such actions. What you can do well is to put zinc ointment on wounds that are oozing or, in the case of fresh wounds, to disinfect them.
For fractures and serious injuries, the only thing that will help is a trip to the vet.
VETs can be found in every country, and the cost of treatment is usually really limited. At the opportunity you can also ask well, how it stands with the possibility of castration.
Animal welfare should ALWAYS be sustainable. That’s why neutering is so incredibly important! An unneutered dog can give birth to 2048 dog babies in only 4 years (in 6 years even 67. 000 babies). If you manage to catch a dog, for example because it has to go to the doctor anyway, have it neutered right away. This prevents unnecessary suffering of subsequent generations.
It is not always possible, but if it is possible, do it! Taking in an animal that has no chance on the streets is always worth the effort. Most of the time, animals are incredibly grateful to have a safe home.
Getting an animal from a breeder has, at least in our opinion, no advantage over getting a puppy from a shelter. And YES! there are puppies from animal welfare.
Some dogs just like to be safe with people. Give them a place nearby where he can sleep or maybe even a little petting.
Can’t I just take a stray to an animal welfare organization?
In many countries there are street dogs that need help. Even though there are animal welfare organizations, many are overcrowded and have limited resources. Therefore, it can be difficult to simply take a found dog there.
Here are some tips that can help:
If possible, observe the situation and give the dog water and food. In some countries there are people who take care of street dogs and feed them.
It can be difficult to assess the situation. If you are unsure, contact an animal welfare organization or shelter to find out if there is an emergency. Small puppies without a mother, in particular, are at higher risk.
If there is an emergency situation, look for a veterinarian or animal welfare organization nearby. Don’t just give the dog water or food and then leave it.
It is important to properly assess the situation and act when necessary. Every dog deserves to be seen and get help. Donations to animal welfare organizations are always appreciated as well. And remember, not only dogs, but many cats need our help as well.
I want to adopt! But is an animal from abroad the safe one?
If you’re thinking about adopting an animal, there are some great animal welfare organizations that can help. However, many people have concerns about organizations abroad, due to bad experiences or reports. However, we want to assure you that there are also trustworthy and reputable animal welfare organizations that care for animals abroad and work to rescue and adopt them.
We personally know of three such organizations that we are happy to recommend:
- Noah’s Ark on Tennerife https://archenoah.de/
- APAL on Crete https://www.apal-kreta.de/
- future4paws in Romania https://www.future4paws.de/
We have personally met these three organizations and can fully recommend them for their work and commitment to animals. If you are thinking about adopting an animal, you should definitely contact them. They will be happy to help you find the right companion!
Remember, adopting a rescued animal not only saves a life, but can greatly enrich your life as well.