Joanna fulfilled her mission four years ago when she took in a hedgehog who was caged with another male hedgehog in bad condition. If kept together, male hedgehogs will fight like other males. Banjan needs care because he lost his ear during a fight with his previous owner and became infected with fleas and mites.
During the months of caring for him back to health, Joanna and her partner Rory fell in love with saving animals. Her work with furry, feathered and scaly animals has benefited several of her local rescue organisations, including Animal Rescue in Doolittle and Freshfield Animal Rescue in the UK. The pair adopted several pets in need, including birds, ducks, cats and dogs, and made some grooming mistakes along the way!
The well-being of pets is never far from them. During a trip to Bulgaria, the couple brought dog food to feed the large number of homeless people they saw. Their souvenir is a skinny street dog they rescued from a busy highway. He later joined the UK with a British foster family in Bulgaria working with Doolittle’s Animal Rescue to keep him in satisfactory health. It is known that Shook is now in good health and is enjoying himself with his new family.
While there is a lot of love and happiness in saving and caring for animals, it also comes with some heartbreak. Joanna and Rory’s newest foster carer brings it all.
They heard about Migoi from a Bulgarian family, and they raised Shuck as he recovered from his homeless life. Still a puppy, Migoi suffered appalling, unspeakable abuse. In the cold outdoors, he was tethered to a short chain as a “watchdog”. When rescued, he was stunted by malnutrition and lack of exercise, beaten by his cruel master, and had his ears and eyesight stolen.
Migoi is cared for by a Bulgarian woman named Maxime, an experienced caregiver who took care of more than 40 dogs last year. A family in the UK was lining up to adopt him, but while waiting for his transfer, they suddenly changed their minds, saying he was “too ugly”.
Joanna and Rory didn’t hesitate to offer to put him in foster care. They knew it would be a challenge to get him back to health and learn to care for a blind dog, but they also knew they could give him the love he deserved.
While some dogs are just nervous about humans after being abused, Migoi is ready to be loved! Joanna told iHeartDogs, “He was the cutest boy though and absolutely fell in love with people.”
Joanna and Rory do their best to give Migoi the confidence to move around their house even though he can’t see anything. They succeeded in helping keep him safe and got him the medical attention he needed, but there were other challenges they faced that they didn’t expect, and weren’t sure how to resolve. Luckily, another family member was ready to step in to help.
“Every time we took Migoi to the vet, we took Shuck. Their bond became so strong that he became Migoi’s companion dog, keeping him calm.”
“Migoi will always be with us, there’s no doubt about that. We’re really bad at caring and can’t imagine sending our little boy away! We hope the surgery saves one of his eyes, which should help Boost his confidence. Once he’s ready, we plan to take him on a backpacking trip in Europe with Shook.”
“We strongly believe that Migoi should be able to live like any other dog, that he should be able to roam freely and play with other dogs. If he addresses his confidence issues and teaches him how to deal with obstacles, he will be that dog.”
“We don’t think that his blindness should limit him in any way as it shouldn’t limit any other blind dog… If Migoi can do it, any dog can do it. Of course it’s harder and takes more time and vigilance to keep him safe, but that’s our job as his parents.”
“Our boy came a really long way within just a few months and he still has a long way to go, but we will support him every step on the way.”
Follow Migoi’s progress as he continues his new, happy life on Instagram.