Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sushi - Story of a Romanian Street Dog

I first learned about Sushi whilst reading a comment her Mum, Deborah left on a local Facebook dog page about her. After reading that snippet of what this beautiful dog had been through, I couldn't get her out of my head. So I contacted her Mum and we arranged a special photo-shoot. Since then, Deborah and I have become good friends, and it happens that my beautiful Willow’s journey began because of that photo-shoot!

Sushi is special. It will be her one year Gotchya Day this Saturday. Here’s her story, written by Deborah. 

Sitting, as I do every day for at least an hour, with Sushi curled in my lap, it becomes difficult to imagine her life before she came to me. When I do think about where she came from and what she has most likely been through, it makes me feel physically sick.

Sushi was a street dog in Romania. She comes from Craiova where she lived for about five and a half years. From her behaviour, it’s likely that she lived near hedgerows and fields and spent a fair amount of time hunting anything she could. It’s also likely that children have hurt her in the past, that men in dark clothing have scared the hell out of her, that someone used water to scare her or hurt her and that women have been kinder than anyone else.

Since I adopted Sushi through K9 Angels via ELI Transport, I have learned so much about this tiny bundle of fur and attitude. I fell in love with her face online back in November 2013 and secured her passage on one of the vans that runs every week, shipping as many dogs and cats out of that hellhole as they can.

Week in, week out, teams of volunteers in Romania and throughout Europe work to bring these animals to a place of safety. A place where they don’t have to live in fear. Where they have a chance to find a home.

And in January 2014, Sushi was one of them. She had her front left leg removed sometime in October 2013. That’s how she came to be in the shelter. Not a public shelter, thankfully, as she would most likely have been killed there. She came to a private shelter where people fight an uphill battle every day to help as many as they can.

With no national neutering or spaying going on and a dodgy black market for the prolific dog catchers, the fate of many street dogs and cats in Romania is beyond most people’s experience.

It’s difficult when you live in the UK to understand the sheer cruelty that is inflicted – not on a small scale – but on a national and sanctioned level, in Romania. These animals do not stand a chance. They are left to breed due to the revenue they generate for the dog catchers. Once rounded up into shelters they are starved to death, they are beaten to death, they are tortured to death. None of this is exaggeration.

For a more direct and immediate understanding of exactly what is going on in Romania, right now, have a look here, here and here. It’s not for the faint hearted. It’s a long, bitter, complicated story, wrapped up in the legacy of Ceausescu, corruption and outright cruelty. If you can bear to read about it, please do. It will explain just why people like K9 Angels are breaking themselves to help as many dogs as possible to escape.

Sushi must have been terrified when she was knocked down by that car. Whoever hit her left her for dead in the street. Confused, afraid and helpless, she caught the eye of some kind soul who reported her to the private shelter where she ended up. They fixed her up, operated on her to remove her leg and kept her alive until she could make the journey to me.

This is her shortly after she had her leg removed.

 When we met Sushi from the van in which she had travelled for two days straight, she was a bundle of filth, grime and confusion. She resembled a small fox. She smelled like she had been sitting in faeces. And she was beautiful.

A long journey home and, once over the initial shock of it all, we both started to fall in love with each other. She is eager to please yet hilariously opinionated. She wants to be cuddled at all times of the day but at night is quite happy to be left alone thanks very much. She claimed the sofa for her own almost immediately and quickly established her own routine.

It goes like this: a good, straight 10 hours sleep at night, followed by a spot of breakfast and a three hour nap in the morning. Then comes the first walk of the day. Not the beach, thanks, Sushi doesn’t like the sea at ALL, so we walk through fields and hedgerows. Here is where she is in her element. She skips up hills like a three legged mountain goat. Her leg never stops her going where she wants to go and if she slips and falls on her face, she just gets right back up again. After about 45 minutes she needs to stop and rest so that’s how long her walks are. Two of those a day and plenty of loving in between.

Sushi is lying beside me now, as she has for the past almost twelve months, and she is comfortable and warm and well fed and safe. She is loved and loving, free from those who want to hurt her and is soaking up all the love she has never had.

She has taught me a lot already about unconditional love, about forgiveness and about enjoying every single minute of every single day, no matter what you’ve been through.
Sushi is, of course, the most special dog that has ever lived. She’s my dog. I adore her with every fibre of my being. She is beautiful and clever and stubborn and naughty and fun loving and forgiving. She is everything I could ever want in pup form and I cannot believe I’m so lucky to have met her. Her fate could have been so very different.

I am grateful that she chose me with her chocolate button eyes all the way from Romania. And, as for her past, Sushi and I try not to focus on that. It’s time for Sushi and all the dogs and cats who escape Romania every week to look forward to a life of love, of biscuits and of being treated the way all animals should be treated.

For more information on how to adopt from Romania, please see here. I promise you won’t regret it.

Deborah Henderson is a freelance writer and crazy animal adorer. You can find more out about her at and


  1. What a beautiful story,thank you for sharing,xx Rachel and Speedy

    1. She's been through a lot, but is the happiest little thing now :) Thanks for stopping by!


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