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Adopting a street dog while traveling (balkan)

Stray dogs adopt

Jorg and I are great animal friends. At home in Breda, we have 2 cats Ami and Koda, who now live temporarily with Ernst and Nanda. Super sweet people who look after our cats and where we can leave them with an easy mind. Every animal we meet we want to stroke and give attention to. We had just spent a month on the road when we came across 5 puppies in Montenegro in the mountain area. All alone without parents in an area with no houses or shops. We stopped to pet these enthusiastic little dogs. Written May 2022 by Lisa. 

They were 4 small puppies at first. They looked thin so we gave them some food and drink. They were so sweet and enthusiastic, our hearts broke at the thought of these little dogs being here all alone. It was October and it was starting to get pretty cold in the ski area where they were.  

2 hours later, a 5th doggie arrived, which is now Vi. We messaged some shelters for dogs in Montenegro but most were full. We also got in touch via Instagram with an organisation from Belgium @stray_aid_montenegro. They help street dogs find a new owner in the Netherlands and Belgium. They too were full, and told us that taking in a dog costs a lot of money. They have to go to a host family in Montenegro who charge 50 euros per month, per dog, for care. This is because the dogs have to get a passport with the right injections.  And 2 months after all the injections a titer test to see if the injections have done enough and if there are any other diseases present. After 2 to 3 weeks you get the results of this and then you have to wait another 3 months until you can bring the dog to the Netherlands/Belgium. So there is a lot involved for such an organisation.  

We decided to spend a night there to think about what we were going to do. It was very cold and so we decided to make a campfire for the dogs and ourselves to warm up by. We did notice some locals stopping and giving the doggies some food like bread or a pan of leftovers. This did us good that at least there were people looking after them. Late in the evening, a man stopped at a stream house we were next to, where a man worked who could tell us that the dogs had no owner and that he gave them some food from time to time.  

Stray dogsWhen he arrived, four of the doggies went to him to see if he had something to eat and one stayed with us, which was Vi. She stayed all evening and when we went to sleep she slept under the bus. Later in the night, the other little dogs also slept under the bus. It was a very cold night.  The next morning, we still didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t leave them behind but 5 puppies are too many to take on our trip. We decided to put 2 of them in the bus to see how they reacted. One panicked and jumped right out. Vi stayed still. Here we decided to take her with us. We went for a test drive to see how she reacted to car driving. Jorg and I both had to cry because we were so doubtful about what was right for the dog. We could offer her a better life but took her away from her siblings. And the other little dogs we left behind, we felt it was a very difficult decision.  

Vi stray dogBut it went well. Vi stayed still and stiffened from all the excitement. We drove quietly away from the place where we had found them. Jorg and I were silent, it was so unreal that we suddenly had a little dog. Vi had to spit up a few times in the car. From the excitement of her first car ride. After half an hour, we stopped on the side of the road to let her out. I lifted her out of the car and put her in the grass but she still remained frozen. So sad, she had so many new impressions that she didn’t know what to do. after that, we drove her to a pet shop to buy a leash and some food. Walking with the leash she actually did quite well right away. Here she also loosened up a bit more and we saw the happy little puppy again that we saw when we found her. We decided to drive to a campsite to get used to each other quietly. During this week, she blossomed into the happy and playful puppy we know now.