Have you ever heard of PETA or D.E.L.T.A Rescue? The rise of animal welfare organizations and charities mean that all over the world, more and more people are becoming aware of the unnecessary mistreatment that animals everywhere are being subject to.
Regardless of whether you’ve contributed in a way to prevent animal cruelty or not, we guaranteed you’ll find some solace in this story. It all began with one courageous man, who dreamed of making a positive difference to the animal world.
Where It All Began
Let’s set the scene for where this heartwarming tale began. Some of you may think of Romania and instantly picture Dracula causing terror around the streets of Transylvania, but in reality, it’s so much more than that.
So, why visit this country? Each year, thousands of tourists revel in the natural beauty of a location which holds such a diverse group of nationalities. This may all sound positive, but the country has it’s downsides too.
Out With the New, in With the Old
Believe it or not, there are some countries in this world which aren’t nearly as advanced as the first-world places we’re used to. Indeed, Romania often struggles to keep up with the more developed areas when it comes to farming.
No tractor? No problem. In the land of folklore, Romanian farmers tend to utilize animals to get a great deal of their farming done. While this may seem like a harmless pursuit, welfare experts have been campaigning against it for years, arguing it is a form of torture, particularly on horses.
A Huge Reliance
While most of us would only come into contact with horses if we paid a visit to our local farm, for the Romanians the situation is far more widescale. Due to not having the correct modern equipment, horses get used for a variety of acts.
Not only are these beautiful creatures used by farmers, but for years now they’ve accompanied performers on stage, either dressed in heavy costumes or being required to pull off grueling tasks. As you can probably guess, this is never a pleasant time for the horses. Just think, how would you like it?
The Darker Side
Want to know the most heartbreaking part of this whole thing? A great deal of Romanians simply do not take the feelings of these horses into account, as long as the humans are happy, nothing else matters.
Here are the hard facts. A commonly held technique the Romanians use to keep control of their horses is by wrapping either their front or back legs tightly together in chains, to prevent them from running away. It’s probably not to hard to imagine just how painful this inhumane method is on the creatures.
Doing Their Bit
It gets worse. The sad truth of this is that the tieing up of horse’s hooves has been a commonly known truth for a number of years now. That’s where the welfare groups come into action.
You can find animal activists all over the world. One thing a specific group of them work towards is searching for tied up horses to rescue. One organization, in particular, is continuing to make huge efforts in promoting and initiating positive change.
Four Paws Explained
There are so many animal rights organizations that deserve heartfelt recognition for their fantastic work but one company stands out amongst the rest. Four Paws International strive to create healthier relationships between humans and animals. In other words, put an end to the brutality!
One of the main principles the Four Paws International organization stands for is taking direct action. Lo and behold, this is exactly what happened after a certain man came close to the Danube Delta river in south-east Romania.
One Brave Man
Introducing to you Ovidiu Rosu, the hero of our story. The Four Paws veterinarian was out on one of his missions near the southeastern location when he came across the beginning of one tragic case.
After searching the location near and far to find any animals in danger, it was here that he discovered a small team of horses. What stood out to him? One horse, in particular, seemed to be struggling to keep the pace with the rest.
A Harsh Reality
Ovidiu, while maintaining a fair distance from the group, tried to inspect this one struggling horse as best he could. What he found may astound you, but it’s sadly a common case in the country of Romania.
This horse had obviously managed to escape his brutal owners but faced trouble keeping up with his herd due to the chains wrapped around his front feet. Noticing the problem, Ovidiu didn’t want to waste any time in finding a solution.
Ovidiu knew exactly how the situation looked. A human approaching a group of horses? It was a recipe for disaster, given that one of the members already had a bad experience with mankind.
What was he to do? Of course, Ovidiu had to keep his wits about him – he didn’t want to approach the terrified animals too quickly, in fear of being attacked. The only plausible tactic seemed to involve sedation.
Going to Extreme Measures
Ovidiu may not have been a tranquilizer-pro himself, but luckily someone on site with him was trained in that area. Suddenly, it seemed there was no time for messing around, his team member had to get this show on the road if they wanted to help.
Quicker than you can even say the word ‘aim’ Ovidiu’s partner got as close as he possibly could to the injured horse and…shoot. The tranquilizer had hit, causing the rest of the animals to dart off in fear, while the injured horse stumbled along.
Providing a Helping Hand
Slowly but surely, the horse was beginning to slow down his pace before eventually coming to a total halt. With Ovidiu having no time to waste, he rushed over to his injured patient to inspect the damage.
There was no doubt that the vet was overcome with panic as he approached the animal, he may not have been looking in their direction, but in the back of his mind, a group-of-angry-horses-on-innocent-vet attack was on the cards. Did this make Ovidiu crumble? Absolutely not. He had one specific aim and was letting nothing get in the way of that.
What was the one word that resonated in Ovidiu’s mind as he tried to save this horse’s life? Quick. The sedated animal was clearly a bag of nerves and confusion, so the vet was admanet on making the healing process as rapid as possible. In other words, time was not on this guy’s side.
He may have been rushing, but this was in no way impacting the veterinarian’s style of work. His first move involved an old trick he had learned from his first few days on the job, to cover the horse’s eyes with a cloth. Why? It’s any animals instinct to stay still after having their vision blocked. That’s precisely what happened to the horse.
The Harsh Discovery
So, now what? After the horse lay still, Ovidiu got straight into the action and took a good look at the animal’s hooves. We must say, what now stood in front of him wasn’t a sight for the faint-hearted.
One word: chains. Ovidiu was heartbroken to discover that his assumptions had been correct all along. This poor horse’s hooves were covered in metal, wrapped tightly around with chains. What’s even worse, the vet was appalled to find that these chains seemed to be set pretty deep into the animal.
We said it once, and we’ll say it again: Ovidiu had no time to waste. The vet immediately searched through his toolbox before finding the correct equipment to remove the chains.
Minutes had passed, and Ovidiu was well into his life-saving work. What happened next, some may have thought impossible. While the vet was busy working his magic, some of the horses from the group started to (albeit very slowly) approach the man. At this point, all Ovidiu could do was pray the animals realized he was one of the good guys. In fact, all signs seemed to point in that direction.
Worse Than Expected
Success! Ovidiu had managed to complete what he set out to do all along, in liberating this poor horse from its chains. Unfortunately, a shocking discovery meant that things weren’t all peachy for the animal just yet.
What Ovidiu had done was remove the main chains from the horse’s hooves, emphasis on the word ‘main.’ That’s right, upon further inspection, the vet had discovered a series of smaller chains wrapped even more tightly around those fragile hooves. This was worse than Ovidiu could have imagined, it was evident this animal was in constant pain.
Becoming More Serious
Not only was Ovidiu taken aback by the extra, tighter chains which were wrapped around this creature’s hooves – but he was heartbroken to discover what lied beneath them.
The smaller chains had been attached so tightly around the hooves that they had cut a gash into the skin. Ovidiu worried his task had become much more complex than anticipated, but he wasn’t giving up.
The Final Cure
Moments passed, and the sedation slowly began to wear off. As the horse opened its eyes and re-entered consciousness, Ovidiu picked up the pace so as not to frighten the animal too much. Eventually, all chains had been removed.
Once the horse’s hooves became chain-free, the next step was cleaning. Ovidiu wanted to make sure he could help as best he could, so the wounds were carefully tended for. Once completed, the horse was on set for a full recovery – justice was served at last!
A New Awakening
This once-injured horse was no longer! The animal seemed to be given a new lease on life once his cloth was removed. To the horse, this moment seemed like all his dreams were coming true in a matter of minutes.
It was a slow start, simply due to the shock of things, but in a matter of minutes, this animal was back to his happy self. It had been a while since the animal was up and moving, so he needed a little boost to get him on his way.
Watching a Miracle Happen
With a little help from Ovidiu and co, the horse was back on his feet, and better than ever! The sudden realization of freedom hit this horse instantly, he could run free once again.
The team gathered in pride as they watched the horse trot, canter and gallop. We may not have been there, but we imagine watching this all play out was like witnessing a real-life miracle.
Building a Fan Base
Remember when we mentioned before how reluctant the horses were to trust Ovidiu at first – causing him to fear an attack? All of those fears quickly diminished after their fellow pack-member got freed from his chains.
Believe it or not, Ovidiu’s wish for these horses to see his good side came true. There was no running on the horses part after the miracle occurred, they simply stood and watched. Finally, a time where humans and horses could stand together in peace!
Showing His Gratitude
What Ovidiu, and indeed the rest of the team were expecting after the miracle occurred, was that the newly-freed animal would quickly run off to enjoy his freedom. The reality of this story is so much sweeter, though!
What makes this tale so heartwarming, is how after everything, the cured horse decided to stick around. It was as if the horse was taking a minute to find a way to thank the vet, and boy did he come up with an idea!
Thank You Kiss
A brief few moments had passed before the horse eventually plucked up the courage to say thank you to his healer in the most touching way. Approaching Ovidiu, the cameras were quickly switched on to capture the moment.
The horse crept closer and closer to Ovidiu until he was face-to-face with the veterinarian. What did he do? Gave his healer a kiss on the cheek! After that moment, Ovidiu was 100% sure in his assumptions that this horse had seen the good in him, this was his own, very personal ‘thank you’ gift.
One to Remember
During his time working as a veterinarian for the Four Paws organization, Ovidiu had successfully saved several animals in need. This was undoubtedly the first time he had received a thank you of any sort, though!
We can safely say this moment is one the selfless man will never forget. Watching the cured animal run free around the field as he left the site was what reminded Ovidiu why he does his job in the first place. What a rewarding feeling it must have been!
A Powerful Message
If you take anything out of this story, it is clear to see how necessary it is to break down the harsh barriers we put up between animals and humans. The way this horse thanked his rescuer proves that they too, feel and show emotions just like us.
Four Paws International of course are commended for their work in rapidly finding solutions to bring animals out of their torment, but there are so many more welfare organizations that strive for the same outcome. We hope that one day, the mistreatment of animals stops for good!
The Making of Something Great
We bet you’re now thinking, why haven’t I heard of this tremendous organization before? Four Paws International first opened in Vienna, Austria, back in 1988 by the work of Heli Dungler. Although he is known for so much more these days, Heli’s initial dream simply involved putting a stop to the fashion industry causing animal cruelty for fur.
So, how did he do it? With the help of a few friends, Heli and crew took part in a series of protests which campaigned against the use of animal fur in clothing. For the first time ever in Austria, media reports started to discuss the adverse effects of domestic fur farms. Finally, people were beginning to hear the voices of suffering animals.
Continuing to Work Hard
Fast forward to the nineties, and Heli was already beginning to see some progress. The media reports were a huge step in the right direction, but it gets better. Did you know several lifesaving changes were made to these fur farms, with some getting permanently banned?
Over the years, Dungler has managed to take his organization to the next level. This included demonstrations against brutal horse races, founding projects which train strays into therapy dogs and so much more. Heli was starting to see his dream turn into a reality, but he wasn’t getting comfortable just yet!
An Evident Success
It started as a one-man job, and it exists today as a collective enterprise. That’s right, the Four Paws International group has spread its wings, with offices in over ten different countries. The works of Four Paws have touched the hearts of furry friends all over the globe.
It goes without saying that the campaigns help to raise public awareness of the mistreatment of animals everywhere. It is the dedicated team members of Four Paws that really give these animals a voice.
The Veterinarian’s Tale
From a very young age, Ovidiu Rosu knew he wanted to save both wild animals and the habitats in which they lived. Learning about the tremendous work this man has completed in recent years, makes it evident that this dream of his never altered or died down.
Rosu’s first major decision in making his dream a reality was going to school, and eventually becoming a full-fledged physician. If he wanted to help animals whose lives were in danger, he would need the correct medical skills to do so – it’s as simple as that!
Another Problem Encountered
Another day, another trip to Romania! Ovidiu Rosu headed back to the country to solve another animal welfare-related mission. The veterinarian’s impressive medical services were required once again to save the horses, but this time for a very different reason to the last story.
As one of the oldest nature reserves in all of Romania, Rosu trespassed on some super-historical territory as he began his lifesaving mission towards the Letea Forest. Rosu was informed that here he would come across some wild horses in danger. Upon his journey, Rosu stumbled across his first massive hurdle.
Driving up to the old Romanian forest, Ovidiu was met by some seriously harsh weather conditions. It may have been a little cooler than home, but the vet had bigger problems to worry about. How any horse could survive in such terrible blizzards was beyond this man.
Temperatures as low as 10ºF and heavy winds made life almost unbearable for these poor creatures. With snow situated in every direction they turned; it was hard for the team of horses to even find food. That’s where Ovidiu came in to lend a helping hand.
Going Above and Beyond
In order to succeed in his mission, Ovidiu had to put on a brave face and get on with the task at hand. Along with his trusty team, the vet hopped out of the vehicle and braved the blizzard. With no time to waste, operation get food for these horses was a go.
Ready, set, go! Once Ovidiu had successfully parked the vehicle, he began to unload the goods. Several bales of hay were released from the roof of the car, one by one, onto the snowy ground. It’s safe to say this would’ve been the most food these horses had seen in a long while.
Gaining a Following
The bitter winds were proving relentless, but Ovidiu was only getting started. After several trips to the vehicle and back, the selfless veterinarian was starting to gather up an audience. The resident horses of the Letea Forest watched Ovidiu in hopeful expectancy, as he began to lay down more and more hay bales.
You know that excited feeling you get at a restaurant, when you see the waiter delivering your food to the table? We suspect that’s exactly how these hungry horses felt as they watched the vet bring bales and bales of hay to their chilly, Romanian home. They could hardly contain their excitement as the crowds grew!
As if this man’s efforts weren’t remarkable enough, the story just gets better. The minute Ovidiu laid down a significant number of hale bays in one location, boom! He was onto the next place. We assume it was due to not wanting to disturb the horses too much from their daily lives, that the vet made his efforts short and sweet.
That’s right, once Rosu had given one team of horses their platter of food, he’d rush back to the vehicle. Here, he’d be met by a fellow team member who helped reload the van with more bales, and off he went. It was of paramount importance that no part of the Letea Forest was letting its horses go hungry.
So, did Ovidiu succeed in his mission to save these starving horses? You bet he did! It was recorded that across the ten snow-piled locations the veterinarian traveled to in the Letea Forest region, forty hay bales were successfully delivered. It’s safe to say these horses were eating well that evening!
Sadly, without the help of trusty Four Paws member Ovidiu Rosu, the future of these horses would’ve been uncertain. Since this moment, the video has been placed within a variety of different online platforms to raise awareness for Four Paws International, and how others could get involved in similar missions.