Hollie was just a pup when she was hit by a car and left by the roadside. For days, she lay at the side of the road, hungry and in pain. Her back legs had been paralyzed in the accident and she was left all alone by the side of the road until Yana Stamova found her and stepped in to help this poor injured dog.
A Chance for Hollie
Yana took Hollie to the veterinary clinic straight away. It was determined that it was too late for surgery because Hollie been left for several days after the accident and there was little the vet could do to help. If someone had taken just a moment to stop and help the suffering animal, Hollie’s condition could have been much better, however, medicine and physiotherapy were the only options now.
For the first few months, Hollie’s condition looked positive. The inflammation in her legs was getting better, but after a period of time, she stopped improving. Her legs were in a bad state and the trauma had also damaged her excretory organs. It soon became apparent that Hollie would need a wheelchair. She didn’t let her damaged legs hold her back, though. Instead, she took advantage the two wheels and did what she loved doing – running.
When Hollie was taken for walks in her new wheelchair, people thought it would be more humane to have her euthanized. Her rescuer said she would have considered it if Hollie was miserable in pain, but she wasn’t. In fact, she said, “She has more will to live than anyone else.”
Home Sweet Home
The Animal Friends Foundation Burgas helped Yana find a home for Hollie. She was first re-homed in the UK. But, before long, Hollie’s new guardian found she couldn’t handle looking after a disabled dog and Hollie was sent back to the shelter.
It took a while before anyone showed any interest in caring for Hollie, then, by a stroke of luck, a special home for retired dogs in France got in touch and asked if they could keep Hollie and look after her. The foundation couldn’t afford to pay for the transport to take Hollie to France as they only survive on limited funds and could not front the cost of airfare. Thankfully, one of the dedicated workers at the Animal Friends Foundation Burgas paid the fee with her own money. Hollie left Bulgaria for her new home in France.
Finally, after all this time, Hollie had found a loving and long lasting home. The people at the dogs retirement home in France adored her. They took her for long walks in her wheelchair, played with her and cuddled her. Hollie was in bliss. She loved her new home and her new companions unconditionally. Despite the fact that she would never get to use her her hind legs, Hollie didn’t mope around feeling sorry for herself. She cherished every moment of her life.
Although Hollie had finally received the love and attention she always deserved, sadly it was not enough to stave off the growing infection in her legs. The severe inflammation in Hollie’s hind legs came back and it was discovered that her leg was dying due to her poor circulation. She was given antibiotics, but they didn’t work as her glands were too infected. Because of her weakened immune system, her skin was thinning and she was struggling to fight off other infections as well. Sadly, this all proved too much and Hollie died in the spring of 2014.
Paw Prints on the Heart
Some stories have happy endings. Others don’t. Hollie’s whole life was a challenge and a fight for survival. But in the end, she will always be remembered as a symbol of strength and hope and courage. Her suffering body may not be here anymore, but her spirit is still very much alive and here with us today. You can still see her running like the wind with the help of her two wheels. It doesn’t matter what life throws at them, animals make the most out of their situation and fight to the very end. We’ve got to admire that.
After Hollie’s death, the French owners at the retirement home for dogs sent some memories of Hollie. Amongst them were two key rings. One of them was given to Radostina, a volunteer at the Animal Friends Foundation Burgas. The other was given to Yana Stamova, the one who found Hollie at the beginning. These people were all brought together because of their connection to Hollie and her memory will forever be a reminder of how important giving every individual animal a chance can be.
There are thousands of dogs, in Bulgaria, that share the same struggles as Hollie. We must support the extraordinary work of foundations, like the Animal Friends Foundation Burgas, Animal Rescue Sofia, and the others than help animals on the streets. If you can, look into donating to these amazing organizations.
Right now, the Animal Friends Foundation Burgas – one of the leading animal shelters in Bulgaria – is desperate to create a bigger and better rescue shelter for needy animals. While they would like to take in all the sick, hungry and injured animals in Bulgaria, they currently do not have room to house them all. You can find all the information about the rescue center here.