This fall, Estonian freestyle skiing star Kelly Sildaru's heart sank after she found six puppies and their mother dog on the grounds of a hotel in Turkey. Concerned about the dogs' future, Sildaru decided to undertake the difficult process of bringing them to Estonia.
"I was on holiday in Turkey and to my dismay, there was a stray mother dog with six puppies at the resort, who were of course really nice and sweet. I'm also such a crazy animal person, so of course I went to feed them and play with them." Sildaru said on ETV show "Ringvaade."
"I wanted to take them home right away, but I realized that wasn't possible. It's a very complicated process. On the last day I was there, at the same resort, I saw how some local men were abusing another dog really cruelly," she said, adding that for her, that set off alarm bells.
Sildaru felt that the dogs could not just be left there to fend for themselves. "Otherwise, you just don't know what might happen to them. Some local people also said that other puppies from the same mother dog had probably been poisoned last year," Sildaru said.
Concerned about their potential fate, Sildaru did not have the heart to leave the dogs behind to find out. So, she began looking into the complex process of transporting them to Estonia, before making the decision to do just that.
"Rabies vaccines can only be given when they are three months old. Then you have to wait a month, take some kind of blood samples and send it to a lab somewhere. From the moment the blood sample is taken, they have to be quarantined for another three months. Then all the paperwork has to be sorted out," said Sildaru.
To start with, Sildaru sent the dogs to a local shelter in Turkey, while preparations were made for them to travel to Estonia. Unfortunately however, they became ill. "I don't know if they got it from the shelter or if they were already sick when they were taken there," Sildaru explained.
The dogs were infected with canine parvovirus and unfortunately not all of them survived. "That was the saddest and most difficult thing about it. /.../ Unfortunately, only two of the puppies recovered," said Sildaru.
The remaining two dogs are now in the Turkish animal clinic, waiting for their trip to Estonia. Their rabies vaccine have been administered and blood samples will be taken some time around December 20. Sildaru is communicating with the clinic herself and taking care of the bills for their treatment.
"My heart just wouldn't let me leave them there," Sildaru said. The dogs are expected to finally arrive in Estonia at the end of March. "One of the puppies and the mother have a home, but the other puppy is still looking for an owner," she added.
Editor: Michael Cole