We came to live in Bulgaria last August. The children were given strict instructions not to encourage any street dogs as we have enough with our own cats and 4 dogs. However my youngest son witnessed a group of village children throwing stones and firing bb guns at a dog. The dog already had a lopsided head and his face was partially paralised. My son was told by one child that someone had smashed the dogs skull with a large stone. His young heart went out to the dog and he tried to make friends with it. The dog was scared and would have nothing to do with him or any human for that matter. If only things had stayed that way.........
After a while the dog started to go to him then eventually started following him back to the house we were renting and would sleep outside waiting for him.
After a few months we moved into our own house and the dog followed. We tried to shoo him away and he wouldnt go. He then decided he was going to be territorial and bark at everyone who walked past our house. We had local children teasing him, old ladies hitting him with sticks and people firing shotguns at him. They were also shouting at us to keep the dog on a chain even though we did try to explain that he wasnt our dog.
After the dog was shot twice in one day we thought we had no choice but to put him on a chain next to a shed in our garden. We couldnt have him in the house because of our own dogs and he could jump the garden fence.
However due to the odd shape of his head he can slip the tightest collar which then meant he had to be kept in the shed and taken for regular walks. Unfortunately the dog hasnt forgotten who was cruel to him and managed to jump at a girl when my son was walking him. She wasnt bitten but it did give her a scare.
We made the heartbreaking decision that the dog would have to be put down as we couldnt take the chance that he might escape and go for someone also we felt we were being cruel keeping him shut up and he could look out and see our dogs running round the garden.
My husband went to ask the police if they could do anything and was told they didnt do anything with street dogs. One of them did tell him to take the dog to a village 15km away and it would cost 30 lev to have him put down. My husband took the dog early in the morning and we had the terrible job of telling the kids. We were both very upset as he was a young healthy dog but at least I wasnt going to have anyone firing shotguns near my house. Little did I know. The dog turned up at the door three days later, very tired and very hungry. I dont know if he was passed on as a security dog and escaped or how long it took him to find his way back and why he would even want to come back knowing he was going to be locked up. I suppose the answer to that is that even though we couldnt give him the best life, we weren't cruel to him. Anyway later that day I saw a man at our gate and went out to see what he wanted. I was horrified to see he had a handgun. He then started shouting at me. My husband was out at the time and I couldnt understand what he was saying. I was very shaken up and spent the whole night in tears wishing I was back in Scotland.
The outcome is we are now planning to put high fencing around part of the garden so the dog cant escape, and I'm trying harder to learn Bulgarian so if anyone with a handgun is shouting at me, I have some idea of what they are saying.
I know this is a very long story but worth telling if it saves someone else the heartache we have been through. They always say wild animals become a danger when they lose their fear of people. So if you see a street dog that's timid and scared, sometimes its better to leave it that way.