Отклонения, лирически и прозаически
Amsterdamned
The Windows of the Soul

They say that the eyes are the windows of the soul. During my travels in and around Bulgaria I have seen many souls suffering needlessly. I do not refer to the people, though as everywhere else in the world there are people here living with their own forms of misery, but the seemingly endless population of stray animals. Homeless dogs and cats are just trying to survive here in Bulgaria through each grueling moment in an environment of seemingly unsympathetic apathy. It is plain for all who choose to see that they are suffering in pain and all they want is what all of us want: love, compassion and affection. Someone to simply care for them and in return they offer a type of companionship all too rare among our own kind and almost limitless love.

I have taken in quite a few strays during my three years here in Veliko Tarnovo, but for everyone that I have saved, there are hundreds more that perish from starvation, cold or meet their unfortunate end under the wheels of an automobile. Recently I was walking back from my bank and saw two puppies scrounging amidst broken glass for something to eat on a vacant lot in central Veliko. I called to them and one half-starved puppy only a few weeks old came to me on legs so thin and shaky that they could barely support his thin frame. He was so malnourished that he could barely walk, but its little tail wagged affectionately to me nevertheless. I looked into his little eyes, for the sister had fearfully scampered away evidently having experienced nothing but pain from those of my kind, and knew that I could not leave him to die. I coaxed him into trusting me enough to let me pick him up only to find that when I did so it caused him great pain. So skinny that just to be held was agony. His eyes told me, as eyes in such circumstances always do, that here was one of God's creatures in pain from neglect and malnutrition. People walked past me while I was doing so oblivious to what had brought tears to my eyes and compassion to my heart. Though I leave to return to America in a few weeks, I found that I could not simply look the other way and leave this creature to its probable fate. Over the past few weeks I have witnessed his weak little body and trodden spirit coming back to life and have found this to be more than enough of a reward for my efforts.

Now for the good news! Last week I met some of the dedicated members of an organization called Vier Pfoten (Four Paws) that are starting a pilot program here in Bulgaria that seeks to diminish the amount of suffering of stray pets by decreasing the amount of unwanted births. This organization is comprised of veterinarians and volunteers that employ the CCR method of Catching, Castrating and then Releasing strays so as to diminish the number of any future populations of unwanted animals. These dedicated individuals from many European nations are trying to educate and eradicate a problem that is all too prevalent in Bulgaria. Their non-profit organization has affiliates in 8 European nations and is working hard to help alleviate the misery of strays by decreasing their numbers. At the time of my writing this article they have already operated on some 145 animals! Simple mathematics will tell you that, though there is still a lot more to do, they have made a significant difference in just little over a week!

I implore all my readers that count themselves as animal lovers to find out more about this wonderful organization by visiting their website at www.vier-pfoten.bg for information. If you have always wanted to help with the problem, but weren’t sure how to go about it, then I implore you to give to this organization via their website. Also, if you are interesting in adopting my 5 week old puppy "Rado" or want to board your pet at a good kennel please contact Chris from VT kennels at 0884191536. Rado is a loving German Shepard/Rottweiler mix and has had all his shots.

Yes, the eyes are the windows to the soul. All you have to do is to take the time to look into an animal's eyes and you will see this for yourself. So save a soul and you may find that they will nurture yours in return.

April 2008