… the reason why we need to be faster than the dogcatchers
>>>German version here<<<
interview with Dr. Aurelian Stefan, Craiova, by Eckhard Kretschmer
date: april 15, 2015 – translated by Mareike Bexes on april 23, 2015
Map Of Hope: Nice to meet you Aurelian! I appreciate that you’re willing to take time for this interview. The reader of „mapofhope.de“ wished to get some information about you and your work, so today it’s all about you and your career development, as well as your engagement regarding Romanian stray dogs. We would like to know the current situation of the strays especially from your own viewpoint and if there are any solutions for it.
Why I decided to become veterinarian
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: I was born in Bucharest, I am a Romanian but I spent my holidays with relatives in rural areas. There was a combination of poverty, of pure agricultural work in which always was activity with animals included. That means the people (the poor people) were extremely depending on these animals, which they used to keep on their farm. Horses, cows, every single being was such important for the daily living. All people in the village gave respect to the animals, yes, and we loved them. Every farmer loved his animals, and that’s what influenced me at last in deciding to become a veterinarian when I’d grown up. Since I was a little boy I was delighted by the idea to be a doctor with all of my respect and love for the animals.
But slowly my relatives in the rural areas on the farms died. In our flat and in Bucharest we always had more dogs and cats. My first job was in a veterinary practice for small animals in Bucharest. I spent 4 years of my study working there and although it was just a temporary job, I had to work a lot with animals and I liked it.
The biggest animals shelter of the world
My first right job after my study and academic training was in an animal shelter which had a lot of small animals. There where about 3000 dogs living that time. It was in Pitesti, Smeura, far away form Bucharest, about 150 km. This shelter was run by a German association, a German woman named Ute Langenkamp was the head of it. I was one of the 3 veterinarians in this shelter and, by the way, I was the youngest.
We carried out a neutering project there in Pitesti and surroundings. I think I’ve had carried out over 500 neuterings in 4 months at that time, so I quickly got many experiences in performing neuterings there.
Then I moved to another animal shelter to Cernavoda, where „Save The Dogs“ is placed. Sara Turetta is the head oft this organisation, she’s Italian. I met a veterinarian from America nemd Jeff Young, he’s a very famous vet who makes projects for the strays. To be precise these projects were there to avoid unwanted breeds. I realized: there are far too many dogs but too few forever homes for them. So what to do?
Thew unwanted puppies of dogs and cats need to be avoided. The solution is: neuterings, neuterings, neuterings and to convince people to adopt dogs instead of buying them anywhere.
Jeff invented me to his medical center for animals in the United States to further educate me. I was there in Colorado for 3 months. Then I wanted to go home of course. And what else could I have done as to decrease the overpopulation fo the dogs and cats.
At that time I founded my own veterinary practice with my brother Petrisor, who is veterinarian as well, in Craiova, because we found a huge number of stray dogs there. This veterinary practice „FamilyVet“ offered cheaper prices for the strays. The echo, the success was amazing, all people were delighted. Meanwhile we got 10 employees, actually more.
We carried out neuterings on a range of dogs in Craiova.
The organisation ASNI/RAR
Shortly after the opening of my veterinary practice I met Nancy Janes. Nancy is the head of A.S.N.I. Animal Spay Neuter International/ Romania Animal Rescue (a charity organisation, founded in 2003 in the United States). A.S.N.I. offers help abroad. RAR helps in Romania. One to two times a year we carry out projects abroad, for example in Africa, South America, thus in so-called „third-world-countries“. But I have to point out, the conditions are much worse in some areas in Romania than in a „third-world-country“.
Meanwhile I am medical director, actually the manager of RAR und I coordinate Romania Animal Rescue. The job of RAR is dedicated to the stray dogs, thus the neuterings. The special thing is that we think about the people who keep dogs but don’t want them to neuter, or they cannot neuter them because of a lack of money. We give them informations about neuterings and find solutions. Also for the dogs which live on factory yards, which are half owner-dogs and half strays. We specialize on people who cannot effort enough money to get a neutering for their dogs and on people who doesn’t care about if their dogs are neutered or not. We find solutions for both kind of people to give neuterings to their dogs by carrying these projects out completely free.
We found out that the demand on free neuterings in Romania is huge. Actually we do not have any problems with the dogs, rather than with the people. Dog-problems are human-problems. Dogs breed instinctively, but humans are able to avoid these unwanted breeds, if they want to, if they get informed and of course if they get help.
Map Of Hope: And when hear about it!
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: When they hear about that we are offering it for free. There are for exmaple people who rescued 6, 7, 8 dogs from the street. These dogs are now in their yard or farm, but of course they do not have enough money to let them be neutered. And of course this isn’t a problem. I need to point out that the people simply do not have any idea how to neuter a dog.
Map Of Hope: Why? Doesn’t learn the veterinaries in Romania how to neuter a dog?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Romania contains up to 60% agriculture. That means, 60% of the Romanian population is living in rural areas. In vilages and small cities. There are too less vets, sometimes almost no veterinarians who are able to neuter dogs, or who want to. The people who live there actually haven’t enough possibilites when their dog is getting puppies. Actually there are 3 options: first, kill the puppies immediately after the mommy gave birth to them, for example to toss them in a river or a garbage dump. Second, to keep the puppies, whats definitely not common when they got 10 puppies. Or the last option, to abandon them when they are old enough (about 3 months). And that’s the problem! Stray dogs were primary owner-dogs of people who do not know anything better for them than these 3 options. It is absolutely impossible for the people in a village to keep 10 puppies per year, thats too much. Sometimes they abandon them on a market, far away from home. But these dogs wasn’t neutered, and sometimes the mother-dog is abandoned together with her puppies because shes no longer needed.
There are actually not so much problems: the people do not know it better, they’re not informed. There is no national campaign for the dog-problems, no national programm for informations. There’s only money for it in the big cities. And of course there is a lot of corruption where there is money for it. The money is spent on how the responsibles need it.
But the source of all these dogs has never stopped. Therefore they will kill dogs every year, simply also because of the dogs which will wander from the villages to the citties. That#s for sure. In the villages there are almost no neutered dogs, it’s like an iceberg: we only see the spire, but the huge invisible part of it exists and will appear, when we carry off the spire.
Map Of Hope: That means, even if you catch all the straying dogs in the bigger citties, for example is now happening in Bucharest, other dogs from „outside“, from the villages will come and take over the free resources like food, sleeping places and territories. They will breed again and after 2 years the same problem will be coming arround?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, of course! The „plan“ of the administrative bodies is to kill constantly. But that’s no plan to decrease the problem for the long term. Actually they don’t even have plan to solve the problem for the long term. There is no national plan, no national programme. There isn’t even infrastructure to get the people informed about it. The people aren’t enough informed about the problem so they cannot help to decrease the problem of having too much stray dogs in their country.
Our government doesn’t tell us that dogs are living beings with rights! But the humans need to know that the dogs do have rights in this country. We have an animals protection act in our laws, that isn’t noticed. The administrative bodies supposedly don’t know anything about it. The hope for the dogs is the exclusion of the charities that act prvately active. In my opinion the state does not do anything but killing. Killing, killing, killing, killing, killing, but thats no long term and sustainable plan.
Map Of Hope: Yes, and they killed them already before, without success?
The killings are the nazi-stations of the 21. century
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, of course! But now it has started to panic arround with all these killings, with huge shelters which are in my opinion nothing but nazi- stations of the 21. century. This Mihailesti, this Pallady, they absolutely impringe against the laws. They imrpinge detinitely against dog rights, animals rights, laws. Theres no hope towards the government. They will keep it up constantly, simply because they don’t know it better, but they also dont want it! They want to keep all the same conditions, like now, they don’t want a change.
Map Of Hope: And why do they not want to change?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Difficult to say. The people who want to solve the dog problem aren’t specialists, no humans who respect animals. We’re not talking about the humans who love their animals To respect a living being menas to respect their rights, the laws. If the government doesn’t respect the law there is no further hope. In my opinion, that’s because of corruption. They got unqualified people, non-specialists, Power and the ability to make decisions about the country. And that’s what happens in Romania. People, who cannot decide something better than the killings that now happen, and people, who dosn’t want to make better decisions. That’s called corruption, yes.
Map Of Hope: Well, it is fact that politicians are advised and they hear about what they want or what they don’t want. Stefan Eck, member of the european parliament and alderman in Bucharest did say to the acting mayor Sorin Oprescu which way he would like to go regarding these problems in a face to face talk. In his opinion the only solution is to catch the strays, to neuter them und then release them again. Is this statement taken seriously by the people who decide about the problems or is it just said andforgotten to keep other appointments?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: In my opinion it is very clear to see that these people of the EU who want to fight are too optimistic. Probably they won’t achieve anything, but the hope dies at last. I think that it’s not part of interest of our government what the EU has to say. Not before Brussels impends us they will change.
Map Of Hope: How could Brussels impend? Which retributions could they impend with?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: The official Writings and reports of the european parliament have a lot to do with lobbyism, for example the biggest Romanian company is Austrian OMV (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/OMV). This is just an example but if the OMV would say that they want the dog shelters (them which I call nazi- stages of the 21. century) to disappear, otherwise they wouldn’t give further financial investments to Romania, I think then can occure a turnarround. They are lightly forced to make a change with this economical way.
We do have politicians, who appreciate a protection of prison. They are protected by the parliament. It is necessary to make more pressure for the dogs because the dogs do not have any meaning for the people who rule us, and that’s the problem. Maybe economic. But moreover politically across lobbyism, no, I don’t think that this is going to move anything in the right direction.
Map Of Hope: Well, there was one politician in Romania, the former mayor of Hermannstadt, Klaus Iohannis, who know is Romanias president. Back in the days he also said that the killing of stray animals is barbaric. He arranged that in his city these killings are prohibided. Do you have any hope, that Klaus Iohannis, as Romanias president now, could arrange that this prohibition could be everywhere?
A mayor has more power in this issue than our president
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Actually the president doesn’t have any power about it. A mayor has more poweron this issue than our president. For him such problems doesn’t matter. In my point of view it is very improbable that he will talk about this topic in the near future. We got big problems, very big problems. I do not say the dog problem isn’t very big, but please understand that the president has to do other, other, other things to work on. That’s whats also written in the constitution.
Maop Of Hope: That means, the official position that the president was voted for, has nothing to do with straying animals.
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: No, it’s for sure that the president hasn’t anything to do with stra animals. Ok, a signal, he can set a political signal. But we expect other signals for the politics, for the agriculture in this country, but he doesn’t set any signals like this.
Map Of Hope: Which signals are you talking about?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Signals, for which politicians won’t be protected by the parliament anymore, signals that the infrastructur in this country needs to be built faster and further signals for the countrys development. Exactly these signals come very slow from our president, IF they ever come. In my point of view our president is too slowly, but in Romania we don’t want such slowness. The people want it all now. They haven’t patience anymore even with the dogs, too. Such killing stages are here now for 2 years. Theres too much in a country like this.
Map Of Hope: Are the stray dogs impartial a real endangerment? Did you experience for example in your childhood or now with your family any bad things, or dangerous things with stray dogs?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: No, no, no, no! Well I think that there could be about 1% of the strays which are potenitally dangerous. Okay, of course there are cases in which are the dogs the problems, but actually this isn’t common. Of course not. And the first step would be when the administrative bodies could solve these problems. But they didn’t. They killed all of them, no matter if they were friendly oder anxious, if neutered or not, if they were a problem or not. They killed all of them and they keep on trying. And thats a big mistake! It concerned gentle dogs, those which played with children. It was just a very sad situation in which a very gentle dog hasn’t a home but lived on the street. There were such these sad situations. And what did they do? They didn’t promote adoption to improve these situation. They killed them for no reason. They weren’t that dangerous. Well, there were cases.. But the strays never were the problem here.
Map Of Hope: If they wasn’t that dangerous in an impartial way, maybe they were in a subjective way? I mean, maybe for the Romanians the dogs were perceived as dangerous or simply annoying?
Stray dogs were a part of our lifestyle, pure normality
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Well, the majority of the Romanian people was OK with the strays. For us they were part of our lifestyle. It was absolutely normal for us to see them on the street. The administrative bodies reacted completely wrong.
Map Of Hope: What can the people do abroad who are not OK with the situation in Romania now? How can they helf to improve this situation? There are much people who walk by on demonstrations and protests and also sign petitions and so on. Does it make sence anyway?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Actually, quite the contrary. Many petitions include the false fact, that Romania is a country of massacre, but that doesn’t really help the dogs locally. If I were in Germany, if I had two children and if I would see such a petition on the internet I would never visit Romania as a tourist. Simply because I wouldn’t want to frighten my family if we were witnesses of such a massacre.
Map Of Hope: Janusz Wojciechowski, member of the EU- parliament quite recently said: „ Romania is no country for tourists at the moment“. Do you think something like a boycott could change the situation?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: The problem is that Romania got 10x less tourists than Greece. And Greece doesn’t distuingish much from Romania, but the tourists in Greece help much more at the stray dog problems. They come. They precisely see what happens, they understand the problem, they go home and often they donate money the strays they liked. Our Romanian stray dogs do not get attention abroad, simply because we got less tourists. When there are such massacre reports are spreaded in the world, it’s much worse for the strays here. They are left here without any chance. A chance of neutering, a chance of a home, a chance to meet someone who perhaps pay attention to this special dog.
Map Of Hope: You mean, if someone spend his holidays in Romania, for example in Constanta, and see a dog which he „falls in love with“, he could pick it up to adopt them promptly?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: That’s a little too much, but that would be perfect. At least he could look for an animal shelter, a private shelter for the dog via internet. He could talk to the local poeple, maybe give a sponsorship to this dog. But this local animal shelter gets attention abroad. That is very helpfull. The chances fall down, of course because we haven’t enough tourists here, at least that’s my own opinion. That’s likely how marketing works. If those demonstrations revealed „OK, the dogs in Romania need help – we engage for the Romanian stray dogs“ without these terrible pictures, people would understand that these massacres only happen in public shelters and exceptionally on the street. And that it’s very umprobable to become witness of such a massacre. It’s all about marketing now, and in my point of view you need to change these demonstrations and petition lightly, because they appear very strong and terrible and therefore the people get desinclined. Well, like I said it’s my own opinion. I want to be graceful. It’s fine that these people demonstrate, it’s a right that everyone has got. But maybe we need to change it a little.
Map Of Hope: You mean, on the sights shouldn’t be written „there are such horrible dog massacres in Bucharest and ind Mangalia“ and so on, but there should be written „ Help the Romanian stray dogs“?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: No, but there should have been showed pictures of the strays:
„This dog needs you in Romania – do not forget him – he is there and needs you – please engage“.
It’s the same thing and both is right, but people will understand more: Wait, maybe we can do something here. More people who will boycott a country like Romania arent very helpful, like I explained before, and I think that I make it clear to understand that it’s a humans problem. The people need more information und possibilities which we can offer. The dog problem is a human problem. Thats my point of view.
Map Of Hope: A city in which appear permanently rumors of killing dogs is Craiova, particularly the public shelter in Breasta. And on the internet you can often find reports on how many dogs soon will be killed, written by charities, for example „ T61 is ordered again“ (one of the substances, which is used to kill straying animals) or „ There will be 116 dogs killed soon again“ Everytime when this happens, there are so many petitions and call ups for writing to the mayor to stop it and so on. How does it influence the people who work in the town hall, how does it influence the head of the shelters? Does it help or does it harm?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: It doesn’t help, no it goen’t help, but it doesn’t harm, too.
Map Of Hope: Whats your knowledge of this public shelter? Is it crowded or is there a current endangerment that the dogs could be killed?
Yes, it’s possible that there could be carried out killings in Breasta right now
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, there is an endangerment. I need to drift up a little. Well, we Romania Animal Rescue (RAR) and the local charity carried out over 12.000 neuterings in Craiova und surroundings. I think they do not have as much dogs to kill. The dogs aren’t too much.
Map Of Hope: How often are there killings?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Depending. In spring and in summer they will kill more often because there are more dogs. At this time they give birth to puppies and the number of strays grow, but of course in winter the number decreases. But: my topic is we need to be faster than the dog catchers. We need to carry out more neuterings, give more information to more people. Like I explained, the dog problem is a human problem. The people shouldn’t left their dogs on the street, thats important, important, important, because it is more helpful for the dogs. A normal dog gets for sure about 10 puppies a year. That means 10 dogs, that could possibly end in Breasta. But when I neuter this female dog today, I rescue 10 puppies.
Map Of Hope: Exactly, and this is only the beginning of the pyramid, because these puppis would get puppies again somedays.
Dr Aurelian Stefan: Yes, only the beginning of the pyramid. And it’s worth it! One neutering costs 25 – 30 euros. How much does it cost to save these 10 puppies from the public shelter, to treat them, to vaccinate them and of course to neuter them? After their rescue we need adoptants for them and chips, how much do the possible resulted puppies? Instead of 25 euros at least 1000,- euros, that could have been avoided by neutering the mother dog.
Map Of Hope: Can you estimate in percent how much of the dogs which are living in the city of your animal practice are neutered?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: 99% of the stray dogs are not neutered! They are all new dogs! Almost all dogs which are living on the street today aren’t neutered. They killed all of the dogs which we had neutered.
Map Of Hope: That means, all of these „new dogs“ are already descendants?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Of course!
Map Of Hope: And this is what happens to Bucharest after 1 oder 2 years too?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: I need to point out something: I see dogs which obviously were abandoned. They are totally confused, they don’t know the street life. These dogs are not neutered. They are new dogs. The problem of Bucharest is, that they will fastly kill the dogs and we come to the situation that we perhaps get the same situation. But the numger of the dogs which need to be killed wont decrease because the source wouldn’t have been stopped by neutering early enough. Same takes effect on Craiova. Therefore we do not only work in Craiova, Romania Animal Rescue works everywhere where help is needed. But of course we haven’t enough money to neuter the whole country. At least in Craiova already over 12.000 dogs were neutered. That’s important, and I’m delighted that we did it. Because these dogs would have given birth to many thousands other puppies. It would have been a catastrophy. Im glad, we already rescued so many of them, but I’m sad too, that they killed so much of them.
Map Of Hope: You go to farms an rural areas as well as to small cities, too, or to cities in which there are no veterinarians for neuterings.
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: We don’t only go to cities in which there are no vets, but rather to communities, where animal charities haven’t enough money to neuter. They simply cannot effort money to pay for more dogs than they have rescued, but they want the dogs to be neutered.
Map Of Hope: Well, those who request help from you aren’t public shelters, rather private shelters?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Right, they’re private shelters. And these private shelters are the managers of the local neutering projects. They do advertisment, they find a place, we bring the team of vets of about 2 – 6 veterinarians. Our team is very experienced and our most important priority is to keep the dogs safety and health. We offer free neuterings for the local animal ritghs acitivists.
Map Of Hope: And these animal rights acitivists can offer the rooms and the employees for assistance?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, the volunteers. There are always volunteers at the place.
Map Of Hope: Are the rooms and the equipment in those private shelters generally suitable to carry out such mass neuterings?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes we have to work in a tent and sometimes in an a cities office, hall or warehouse. But thats a minimum standard that a veterinarian doesn’t want to work in. He wants to neuter under improved conditions. A good place would be a mobile practice. At the moment we are trying to get money for a neuter-car, a former rescue van that will be used for neuterings. For the long terms it would make sence to have a reconstructed trailer, that could be a big mobile animal practice. But just for the moment we need to get the car, then we are able to work with it – in it. A bigger animal practice is also needed to help out on catastrophies, for example if there would happen something terrible to a big animal medical practice we are able to go there much faster to rescue injured animals and treat them directly in our mobile practice. But that costs money, very much money. But we need to keep on we cannot surrender. We need to dream because dreams are such important. Without them we couldn’t create anything.
Map Of Hope: Is it possible to change the (maybe young) Romanians mind regarding the animalson the street? Do you think they’re open-minded for it?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, thats pretty clear to see. Romania is a country that almost lost all of hope. A country with citizens who do not believe that it could turn better. Many people lost their hope. With our projects, with our mobile veterinarian practices we can bring hope for so many animals. Of course, one charity isn’t enough for such a big country, but it’s a beginning. We need to begin. There are already cities in Romania that have a neuter- cars. Pitesti for exmaple, where there is the big shelter, has a neuter- car. And they’re satisfied with it. But that’s just an example. There are a lot of cities that need help like this, and much more animals that need this help. A neutered dog has definitely a new status in a family or on a farm of its owner. There is no danger of breeding. It’s also more umprobably that this dog will be abandoned somedays. This dog will be loved. The love for the animals occures from only 2 sites. First from the heart itself and second from the education that will come by the time. If the people will change their attitude towards the animals, maybe when they do not decide to even love them, but rather respect them, then the big change is coming. There’s a big difference between love and respect. Sometimes respect is much better than love. Sometimes bad things can come from love. But in my opinion respecting each other is more valuable than love.
Map Of Hope: And how do the humans learn to give respect to the animals?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Simply by getting informed.
Map Of Hope: Are there any special projects or is it just an idea for the moment?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, we manage a project with children. I got little books for them, we almost printed 17.000 and we distribute them to municipals that are interested, for exaple schools, villages, orphanages. That’s very important.
Map Of Hope: And what can we read in those books?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: You can read examples and informations, references how to treat a dog. There is explained what’s meant by neutering the strays, what is meant by vaccinations and there are informations about the dogs rights, of the animal rights in general, for example about food and water, species appropriate keeping. All of these thing are readable in those books. They learn from it. For example; if we carry out a neutering project in a village, the whole village visites us regularly. And the people ask what we are doing there and why we are doing this. Then they decide to let their own dogs be neutered and ask questions. They’ll get to know that it’s completely free and that their dogs are still healthy. They learn that there are less illnesses and the male dogs are much relaxter. And they ascertain: there is someone who takes care of the stray dogs and cats. Sometimes we are asked to treat an animal that has a tumour for years, or we are ask to give advices how to treat this animal. Throughout our projects, we can change something in the now living society, in the minicipals, or in a village for example. The change is there, but it’s a huge mess of work.
Map Of Hope: Well, actually the prospective veterinarians must have been educated for expecially those things at the University in Bucharest. Does it happen?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Definitely not.
Map Of Hope: Where are possibilites to educate themselves if they are interested in working at such important projects? Where can they learn to carry out for example the minimal invasive method of operating on animals?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Actually those veterinarians are very rare to find. I am lightly disappointed of the current fully trained vets. It’s a difficult job that we have to do. There aren’t a lot of veterinarians who want to work like this. But there is still hope. But it should have been distinctly more veterinarians who shouldn’t ave a problem with those jobs.
Map Of Hope: Those veterinarians who were trained in your Veterinary Training Camp, I think they were about 10 or meanwhile lightly more, do they still work their jobs out? Are they still doing what they’ve learned in your camp?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Some of them surrendered, some of them emigrated. And I#m very proud of some of them who work for animal welfare charities in their cities. That’s life. Usually the associations suggest us some vets and we accept them, if they want to engage at the place. If we can find those veterinarians we are willing to train qualify them. Some of the veterinarians who visited us were from abroad, they wanted to be further educated. I’ve trained veterinarians from the USA, Germany; England and other countries. Our trainings are free for those vets who want to take our knowledge back home.
Map Of Hope: Do you have still contact to them and hear about their successes d so on?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: If they have success, of course! Did you hear from Botosani? A vet who was trained in our camp helps out in Botosani. The people there are very delighted about it. There is a vet in Bistrita, too, one another in Baia Mare. Unfortunately there aren’t many of them, because there aren’t not a lot of vets who want to engage.
Map Of Hope: If there were more financial support from abroad to train more veterinarians in your camp, would there have been more further educated vets? Or is the problem rather that the humans do not have the respect for straying animals? What’s the problem?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Money is always important, that’s what I need to admit. But I would appreciate if we had more candidates. That would be awesome. Porjects always need money for support, but it’s not only the money that’s missing.
Map Of Hope: Which possibilities are there for foreigners to support your project „Romania Animal Rescue“? What can they do to help you? What kind of help do you need?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Our work consists of a square: We got tje neutering project, the project of the „Homeless Animals Hospital, we also got the Veterinary Traning Camp as well as we got our educational project in which we spread these brochures. Of course foreigners can donate money, but they can also travel through Romania on a volunteer basis. They can promote us to make us known.
Map Of Hope: Do they need any previous knowledge or skills to help you locally in Romania?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: No! We actually need people who can carry a dog from A to B, a special training isn’t needed here.
Map Of Hope: Could you please tell us something about the Homeless Animal Hospital?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Homeless Animal Hospital is a project which we make out in our vet practices. There are a huge number of persons who want to let their dogs be treatened by us, or who found a dog on the street. So, dogs that aren’t their own dogs. These are dogs, that have problems and the humans did notice it, for example broen legs… And there are also people who are overchallenged with the strays which they already rescued. They ask for a cheaper or a free treatening.
Sometimes everyone needs help, doesn’t matter if you are a human odr an animal. There will also be a point on which you need help as a human. That’s what happens to the dogs and cats, too.
There is a moment in which a guardian angel is more needed than before
This is what we want to be at the Homeless Animal Hospital. Guardian angel may be a cifficult word, but we want to help at the point when help is needed. Romania Animal Rescue covers a big part of the costs that occure here. We as a team take over a big part of the costs, too.
Map Of Hope: That means, Familyvet and Homeless Animal Hospital consists of the same team and the same building, right?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: That’s right. Homeless Animal Hospital is a project of the RAR, that is in our practice and is supported through further donaters. Unfortunately there aren’t as many donaters as needed, but it doesn’t really matter. Our team carries out this job with their fully heart. We do not expect to get money for our work, of course we help the animals. That’s our destination. Our major priority is to help the animals. When the animal got help, we can see if we are able to cover our costs or not. Help is much more important than money.
The idea is, to be there for the animals when help is needed
Map Of Hope: Aurelian, do you still have dogs at home?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: Yes, I got a female dog that was found by my wife. Her name is Tina and she is already for 2 years our pet. She is a former stray.
Map Of Hope: What about your family life? Are you okay to „live for the animals“? Are your relatives missing you?
Dr. Aurelian Stefan: No! I’m okay with it! I try to not slight my family and I try to spend time with my family. And I do! But sometimes it’s very less time. This week for example; from wednesday to friday I’m constantly in our veterinarian practice. On saturday we carry out neuterings in Teccuci, 200 km away from home. But then we have another project in a village only 40 km away from home. It’s like a round trip. The animals are very important for us. Therefore our destination is to reduce and avoid animal suffering via neuterings. That’s our major priority.
Map Of Hope: I appreciate for your time and patience to give this interview. I wish a huge success for your projects, thank you for your engagement!
Copyright of the pictures by Dr. Aurelian Stefan. You can use them via the source (mapofhope.de) together with the text without individual licence. Another usage is subject to the photographer and Dr. Aurelian Stefan.