When Beth moved to Veles, Macedonia in 2016 to work as an English teacher, it was difficult for her to know exactly what to expect. It was her first time outside of the tourist hot spots of Eastern Europe, and she was immediately taken aback by the number of stray animals she encountered from day one.
She knew she wanted to help in some way, so after doing a little research she came across Saving Macedonian Strays – a UK registered non-profit charity organization committed to helping the overwhelming number of strays living on the streets of Macedonia and was quickly welcomed into the SMS family.
At the height of winter in Macedonia, it is not rare for temperatures to drop into negative digits. One evening while walking home, beth was passing by a local pub when she noticed a poor, neglected and clearly ill dog sleeping in a trembled ball outside. “She trembled heavily, had crusty eyes and a snotty nose; she growled and snarled when I approached her and could hardly get up on to her feet.”
Beth thought to herself, “If I leave this poor dog here, she will surely die.”
Beth was about to contact SMS, when the founder, Maggie, reached out to Beth in that very moment pleading that she, “please take a dog that was seen outside the local pub, there is no room at the shelter for her and she will die on the streets”.
It was meant to be.
Less than an hour later, the pub dog snarling and snapping her teeth through a muzzle, arrived safe and sound to Beth’s apartment. Half afraid and half filled with sorrow for this abandoned and neglected dog, Beth closely watched over her all night.
Beth began to worry that maybe this poor dog had seen too many hard times and may never be able to fully recover and trust humans again. But, to Beth’s surprise, after dinner the following night, the dog scuttled over to her and gently placed her paws right on her leg – “she looked up at me through those crusty eyes and stretched out her legs and back. I dared to stroke her head, she leaned into me. I named her Peanut.”
Beth soon learned that Peanut had been on the streets for a couple of years now, had contracted Distemper and nearly died struggling to fight it during the harsh winter before her rescue. The same organization that Beth was in contact with had previously tried to help Peanut, but with the overwhelming number of strays needing help every single day and the limited amount of resources, all odds were stacked firmly against her. In fact, peanut was in such despair that the organization actually made the call to euthanize her. Peanut is still with us today because the organization ran out of the medicine needed to perform the procedure.
Beth knew she would be making her way back home to the UK soon where it was almost impossible for her to bring Peanut because they didn’t allow pets where she lived. “I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing Peanut again. Where would she go?”
That’s when Beth’s father stepped up. It didn’t take long to convince her father to take on a new housemate. And it didn’t stop there. Peanut would became the face of her father’s political campaign; joining him on the campaign trail and appearing in party appeals and newsletters. A local celebrity!
Who would have thought the trembling, crusty and putrid-smelling dog who lived outside the pub would become the mascot of a British political campaign?
Well – Beth did. Because of Beth’s kindness, along with the help from Saving Macedonian Strays, she was able to give Peanut the most precious gift of all- a second chance at life.
“This is only one of so many heart-warming stories of lives turned right-side-up thanks to the SMS team, generous supporters and welcoming families with open arms. I would like to take this opportunity not only to implore people to ADOPT, DON’T SHOP, but to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. Thank you.” [Beth to MyPet.net]
If you would like to make a donation to Saving Macedonian Strays, you can do so through PayPal to Info@savingmacedonianstrays.org.uk
or by visiting them on Facebook at