Witness of the Suffering
by Anda Popescu
One simple tram ride in Bucharest made me understand what the word “homeless” really means. One winter day, as the tram stopped at the traffic lights, I saw a small stray dog which was following people as they were trying to cross the street illegally. He followed one crowd up to the middle of the street, then came back with the other ones coming from the opposite side; cars were passing by as it was still green light for them. Then this dog turned around in another direction ( it was a pretty big junction) and followed other people, wagging his tail, stopped in the middle of the street and looked around as if to see where was his human, where was he suppose to go, whom he was supposed to follow. But nobody looked at him, nobody whistled, nobody called his name. And it came to me: homeless means when one is rejected from everywhere, when no direction points to one’s home, when one isn’t called and has no one to follow home. What a terrible feeling!
Over the years, I found so many homeless dogs, so many of them hurt, injured, sick. The lack of proper veterinary care in my hometown drove me insane. I remember the early years, when I had no other animal lover friends to turn to and I was desperately trying to care for such dogs. It then seemed to be a pointless fight; I felt I was doing more wrong than right. I remember trying to save a lot of sick puppies, mange, parvovirus, lice and ticks infested, broken legs…I had no knowledge, no clinic nearby, no money to take them to another town to see a doctor. It was madness. I will never forget the cry of a puppy before dying as well as I will never forget the horrible feeling of helplessness.
I could fill pages with the stray dogs’ stories; I just have to close my eyes and think about all the dogs I tried to help over the years. Every night, before I went to sleep, I prayed to God to take care of the ones I couldn’t; I could see them all in the back of my head. As the list grew bigger, I stopped praying, because it was too overwhelming to think of so many poor dogs that died in vain.