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Through the Eyes of a Stray

Bulgarian streets and villages are littered with many astray; we’ve all at some stage looked into the sad eyes of some hapless mutt and wished that we could do more to help. In a moment of melancholy we drop our kebab on the ground and purchase a bottle of mineral water, which we pour into some dirty receptacle whilst the dog swallows up our discarded food in one gulp. At this stage we turn away acknowledging that Bulgaria has a severe stray dog problem that we alone cannot solve. Life for Bulgarian strays is extremely rough, but thanks to animal charities like BSAPP and compassionate members of the public the life of some strays is being radically enhanced.

Tobermory’s Tale

My name is Tobermory Tag, I’m two years old and my Ma used to say I was a German Wirehaired Pointer. That was the time when I had a Ma. We didn’t live with my Dad, he was a bit of a rogue; Ma used to say he was an ‘aristocrat’ and that’s why my real name is something quite posh, German actually, but Ma was not too hot on languages and she could never pronounce it. We lived in a pack and the other dogs were not always nice to us. Some laughed at me and said my name was Heinz because I’m not a pointer, but Ma always told me to ignore them because if we were living in a place called England I would be a pointer. Now I try to avoid the other dogs but I do have one friend, a girlfriend actually and she said she is a Dalmatian – the other dogs laugh at her too. I don’t live with Ma, she went away one day and I think she must have lost her way because she never came back. So I have been living alone in a Bulgarian village close to some rubbish containers. Lots of people come by and I try to make friends with them, but most are not that nice and one guy kicked me last week. I wish I knew what I was doing wrong. Its spring now so I stay up late and I play with Susie, my girlfriend, but some nights are still very cold and I’m not that good at finding food.

The Friendly Lady

Well I wasn’t so good at finding food, but now I have a bowl full. It’s all thanks to this friendly lady who came by the container yesterday. She wasn’t coming to open it up and throw away her rubbish. She actually leant down and stroked me and it felt so nice that I kept running round her legs. She spent a lot of time just holding me, but she didn’t know my name and so she just kept calling me Size Zero. The lady took me to her house and she called her friends at a place called BSAPP. They came over to visit and they stroked me and played with me and then they took me away. I was sad even though they were very nice; I just wanted to stay with the first lady. When we got to the other lady’s house she talked a lot. I think she was trying to explain that everything would be alright. She seemed to be very worried about me so I licked her to tried and tell her I was ok. Her friend came to see me and they still kept calling me Size Zero but I think they were talking about how thin I am. Then they gave me a huge fluffy blanket and my own kennel and they kept popping out to see me and bringing me food. I felt sorry for the lady because she must have been ill her eyes were all watery. I tried to be big and strong for her because she has all this love oozing from her – that’s something we dogs can see – love is a colour and humans can’t see it.

Internet Star

The BSAPP lady took my picture and told me I was going to be an Internet Star and she lifted me up to see my picture on her computer. A few days later the BSAPP lady looked so happy but her eyes were still runny. She told me a man and lady had seen my picture and were coming to visit me. When they came I noticed the new lady had watery eyes too and I wondered if she had caught it from the BSAPP lady and she had lots of love oozing from her so I ran up to her and let her stroke me. She sat down on the grass and I did the same and I kind of nestled into her legs and she felt so comfortable so I climbed onto her lap. We sat for ages and the humans were all talking and then the lady got up to go but she scooped me into her arms and before I knew it I sat in her car and then the man came with a big blonde dog – wow she was cute. They introduced me and told me her name was Totty Rolex. I must have looked puzzled because they explained something about watches and then they told me I was going to have a posh new watch name and they started calling me Tobermory Tag. I was confused at first until we arrived at this enormous house and they called me out of the car and told me this was my new home. I couldn’t believe it this fantastic new place was going to be MY home and I would be fed and cuddled and looked after by these wonderful kind people and well what can I say about the blonde?


The BSAPP is a charity organisation dealing with lots of sad cases like Toby. If you feel you can help in any way please get in touch at

Story and pictures courtesy of Tracey Palmer,