Our first large-scale neutering project got underway beginning on the 10th February. It took an awful lot of organizing and a massive thank you must go to all involved – Candy for doing all the running around and organizing the Bulgarian end, Marietta and Didi and David for giving up their time and working flat out 12 hours a day to neuter as many animals as possible, Duncan (Candy’s husband) and Didi’s boyfriend for helping load the vans, friends for helping drive dogs and cats to the clinic and take them back again, Miro the local vet for offering his clinic and helping organise the whole event, Rudozem Street Dog Rescue for their support and help, Clare from SANPI for fundraising and raising awareness in the UK and Rachel from Twitchynoses for getting the website up and running and keeping the facebook page updated.
On Sunday before it got underway Candy’s husband drove the four-hour journey to Sofia to collect the operating tables from the clinic there and then the two vets who were carrying out the operations followed him back. Meanwhile, Candy collected the first lot of 7 cats from the town nearest to her; feral street cats that are being cared for by a local lady.
Then at 8.30am on Monday morning the two vets started to operate. Close to halfway through the first day, we had spayed 2 female dogs and one male dog plus 5 cats. Two more cats were neutered before lunch, a quick break to grab something to eat and then another male dog and another 9 female dogs, bringing the total to 20 by the end of the first day. By the end of the day the vets were operating with the help of head torches and more lights had to be sourced. Candy then drove the 7 cats back to the lady that cares for them. By the end of the first day a dog with possible pneumonia had been found outside the local shop and taken into the clinic to be put on a drip and anti-biotics and one of the pups brought in with a dog that was being spayed was in very bad shape, so Candy had agreed to take both these on as fosters.
Day 2 was an early start with Candy up at 6 am to drive to the shelter for Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (RSDR) to collect the first 25 dogs we were neutering for them. There were also locals bringing animals to be neutered, including one 85-year-old man that brought his much loved 3 cats in to be neutered in a cat carrier made out of a laundry basket. By lunchtime, we had done 7 female cats and 8 female dogs and by the end of the day, we had done 33 animals in total.
Day 3 we neutered 15 bitches, 12 dogs and 4 male cats for RSDR. Also, one female street dog was brought in by a local to be neutered. The team was also joined by David Donaldson, a vet from the Animal Health Trust in the UK, who had flown over for a few days to help out. Conditions were a little more basic than what he is used to but he was a massive asset to the team and had one or two more difficult cases to deal with such as a bitch with a vaginal prolapse.
Day 4 brought more interesting cases with a small terrier type female with a womb infection and a mammary tumor and a large skinny hunting dog that had two inguinal hernias which both had to be operated on and closed.And another 32 animals were neutered in total! All involved were starting to feel the strain and were exhausted from 12 hour days.
Day 5 saw 24 dogs being neutered for RSDR and 5 cats, plus a further 3 cats from the town near Candy and a dog from there, plus a local hunting dog and Karackachan sheepdog from the village where the clinic was.
The final day saw 13 bitches spayed for RSDR, 10 male dogs castrated and 2 female cats done for RSDR. On top of that, we spayed three female dogs for locals (2 of which were in the early stages of pregnancy) and 3 male dogs including one for the local fireman and Valentino (the dog Candy will now foster). Plus one rather aggressive female cat and a male cat with a tumor from Smoylan. The man with the female cat had walked 5 kilometers with his cat in a cardboard box to get the cat neutered, and then after the operation, he walked all the way back.
In 6 days we had managed to neuter a whopping 185 animals and we are immensely proud of what we have achieved and very excited as to the difference we are making and look forward to many more successful neutering campaigns.