It was during this time that I discovered something new about myself: I am very motivated and determined. Over the next few years, the endurance to fight injustice became one of my most powerful attributes. I was always a bit of a rebel at high school but as time passed, I created (and followed) my own set of rules and values.
From the very beginning, my strategy was quality over quantity. This is why the first kennels we built were fully insulated, following a respected British model, even thought we received numerous protests from some locals (including some charities) who disagreed with our intention to make our ROLDA dogs comfortable. I pushed on and moved ahead on the path I considered right. ROLDA is the first Romanian charity to build the only modern shelter for stray dogs in the whole of Romania. It has remained the best for almost 10 years, and others have followed in our footsteps.
The stray population is huge in Romania, estimated to approx 2.5 million dogs. As much as I would love to, I am aware that ROLDA can’t save them all. But, we can change society, educate people, rescue as many dogs as we have the budget for – and do it responsibly! This is the only way we can set an example.
In 2007, ROLDA started the partnership with the largest steel producer from Europe. As a result, we built a modern shelter capable of housing up to 700 dogs and a veterinary clinic, which currently need equipment. I am very proud of our achievements so far, but am aware that there is much still to do. One day, when I am old and grey, I want to be able to look back, with a dog by my side and know that I did everything I could to help.
My top qualities are certainly endurance and resilience. The main challenges I have faced have been either having to deal with indifference, or battling to get the funds needed. It is said that the road to success is more beautiful than success itself and this is true: every small victory puts a big smile on my face. I have extremely enjoyed building the charity ROLDA and I hope you can be a part of it too (click here to see how you can help).
To give a short answer to the question I started with: “If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be? The answer is ‘myself’. Maybe with a few changes if I had my time again. Maybe a little more confidence in myself. But I would like to be myself living this, often difficult, life which is animal rescue. A life made possible by each of you who trust and support ROLDA’s work in Romania.
ROLDA started as a small group with a very modest website. We had no budget and some vet bill debts when this beautiful dream started. The key to success is the passion to do what you are meant to do. I was born to do this, it’s as simple as that.
On behalf of myself and the thousands of dogs we have saved over the years, the thousands of dogs we will save in the future, and myself, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.