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Buster the romanian shepherd


The rescue journey of a romanian shepherd dog.

Currently still abroad and will come to us for rehoming once he has regained full health after his ordeal. 

Size: Very large Mioritic Sheepdog

Sex: Male

Age: 4 years

Neutered: Not yet

Vaccinated: Yes

Microchipped: Yes

Child friendly: Not assessed with children

Dog friendly: Yes, but needs further assessment

Cat friendly: Not assessed with cats

House-trained: No. Never lived indoors.

Location: Near Bucharest Romania - not ready for travel to the UK yet

Dear Paws2Freedomers,


we would like to invite you to be part of Buster’s rescue journey. Buster is one of the most severe cases we have come across. And this is his story of the past 8 weeks …


Buster is a Mioritic Sheepdog. They are large dogs, not dissimilar to Old English Sheepdogs in looks and size. Here at Paws2Freedom we have soft spot for sheepdogs from all over the world and Buster is no exception. We were not planning to take another dog under our wings for quite some time, but when we received this desperate cry for help how could we refuse?


His start in life was a very sad one, where he was kept in a village just outside of Bucharest until one day he was cold heartedly abandoned or maybe he escaped. We will never know for sure. He probably had previously lived the ‘life’ of a chain dog which is a very common fate in Romania for dogs of his breed.

On the day where his luck changed and fate finally looked kindly on him, Buster was seen wandering in a field looking very lost and in a desperate state of neglect. His fur was very badly matted and extremely dirty. A dog who seemed too docile to be healthy and who looked like he had not eaten in far too long a time. In all likelihood Buster had been abandoned a long time ago and was approaching a state of no return. Without help he would have died not long from that fateful day.

A village woman who was collecting vegetables from the field took mercy on Buster and he followed her all the way home, a desperate and lonely soul of a dog sensing a kind heart at last. Sadly when they reached the village the residents got frightened by his size and disgusted by Buster’s state of neglect. They immediately decided to reject him and started shouting, throwing stones, sticks and bottles at him. The woman in her desperation to save the life of Buster asked an older village man to take him over night while she alerted Carmen and asked her for help. Carmen who is currently at her limits with resources and in need of rescue back up for any new dogs she is taking into her care, phoned us straight away and pleaded for help. And how could we say no? So we promised that we would provide what Buster needs in order to regain his full health. And this is how things started to finally look up for Buster.


The next morning we received news from Carmen that she had collected Buster. She said he was easily the largest dog she had ever rescued. And one of the most severely neglected. She told us that he was in a terrible state, but would hopefully survive. More acutely albeit minor compared, there was a big gash above Buster’s eye where a drunkard from the village had hit him with a bottle the day before.


Sadly, against expectations, initially Buster refused any kind food Carmen put in front of him and was very lethargic. This was quite a concern as it indicated some underlying health challenges. To make matters more difficult it was also the weekend and access to vet care was very limited. The first thing Carmen did was to alert her village vet who came to have a look at Buster. Apart from his fur being beyond rescue, they found Buster terribly tick and flea infested; and more worryingly there were all the signs of tick disease present. The vet and Carmen had seen it many times before as it is an only too common disease in Romania. Tick disease (Babesia) was in all likelihood the reason why Buster did not feel hungry, despite his absolutely emaciated condition. Given his state they decided there and then not to wait another day longer to take bloods and wait for the results of a blood test, but to give him an antidote straight away. And long behold, the following morning Buster finally started to eat! Only tin meat at first. Several tiny meals per day. After a few days of regular eating Carmen introduced some dried food too and Buster was ravenous by then. What a wonderful sign of hope! You can imagine how delighted we were. Because of his severe emaciation it was best to tightly control his meals as to not overwhelm his body. This could have done more harm than good. Carmen knows only too well how dogs are often kept in villages and in all likelihood Buster never had good nutrition or knew what it felt like to not to be hungry.


The next step was to tackle his fur! We needed to know what was in and under all this matted mess. The village vet was asked back again and he brought his grooming equipment along. You can see in the pictures the state of Buster’s fur and the absolute shocking bag of bones that he was underneath. It was nothing short of heartbreaking!


While doing the haircut the vet also scanned Buster for a possible microchip and Voila! Buster was chipped. From the chip we learned that Buster was only 4 years old and registered to someone in a neighbouring village who was known to neglect their dogs. Carmen in her own words said that the only reason she would go to see them would be to stick a pitchfork into their butt! So instead, the chip got registered into Carmen’s name and Buster is now legally in her care. Phew!


Given Buster’s emaciated state and him now being a dog without fur, Carmen found a dog padded dog coat to fit Buster which kept him warm during the autumnal days and nights. She also found a large pillow to put into his dog house to prevent pressure points on his joints.


While priority was given to build Buster’s physical strength for a couple of weeks we also planned a visit to a very good clinic in Bucharest for Buster. This posed one small problem... Buster proved too large a dog for Carmen’s car! So she roped in the help of a man who helped before and soon Buster was driven to the vet clinic where they were able to perform all the necessary blood tests, give targeted advice and treatments.


Buster was treated for the gash over his eye and an eye infection. There was also a wound and skin infection on his hindquarters which needed treating. He also had a 4DX blood test which sadly proved positive for heartworm which had been our concern. So we opted for ultrasound and x-rays to see what stage the condition was at. With Buster being such a calm dog and Carmen assisting the vet this could be performed without anaesthesia which would have been detrimental for Buster at this stage. To our utter relief the clinic confirmed that Buster was only stage one and would in all likelihood make a full recovery within 6-12 months. Sadly, at this stage Buster was still far too weak to tolerate any heartworm treatment and we were advised to build him up some more and then decide on which route to take. There is a faster, but more harsh treatment and a longer, but gentler protocol too.


In the following weeks Carmen built up Buster’s strength and slowly he started to heal and look more and more like a normal dog. It was such a delight to see him get stronger.

While he was recovering from his ordeal Buster also showed more of his true character. Originally we had bought a muzzle for Buster as we could not have known how he would react to being examined by a vet. But he was absolutely brilliant at the vet without displaying any signs of aggression whatsoever during all the prodding and poking etc he had to endure. Buster showed no resistance to being walked on a lead either. He was a good traveller in the car too. Buster is not an excessive barker, but he does bark at feeding times or when a stranger enters the yard. Just a normal dog really. He seems eager to make friends with other dogs too. Something Carmen will test at a later stage. But he is already friends with the puppies and adult dogs in the pen next to him and shows no aggression at all. He seems to be a gentle giant.


During the past weeks Buster also received his vaccinations and de-worming treatment. And recently Buster was finally deemed strong enough to start his treatment for heartworm. It was recommended that we opt for the gentler treatment for him as he has been through so much.

So Carmen has started Buster’s treatment protocol on the 16th November. He will be tested again in 6 months time. Everything crossed that by then he will test negative.


This is Buster’s story of the past 8 weeks and it will continue while he is re-gaining his health. Our plan is for Buster to come to us for re-homing once he is ready to travel. So far we had costs of close to 600 Euros for Buster. This includes various vet bills, treatments, vaccinations, haircut, lots of tin and dry food for this small pony sized dog, vitamins and fish oil as well as transport costs. Food and treatment costs will be ongoing, followed by repeat tests, neutering, travel preparation/papers and eventually transport to the UK.


If you would like to be a part of Buster’s journey by sponsoring him a bit, he would truly welcome your help with whatever you are able to give. Any giving would be gratefully received via the button below or alternatively into our charity bank account. Please mark your donation with ref BUSTER so that our Jean can log your kind giving on Buster’s spreadsheet.

If you are a UK taxpayer and would like to help more at no cost to yourself, please consider signing up for Gift Aid. Please contact us for details.


With all our hearts a massive thank you for being by Buster’s side during his journey to a brighter future and a big loving woof-woof & nuzzle to you from this gentle giant of a dog.



We also welcome your giving via BACS or Standing order to our charity bank account


Barclays Bank


43627527 account number

20-50-40 sort code

For international Payments


IBAN GB15 BARC 2050 4043 6275 27

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