Sava's Safe Haven is a registered charity in Romania. Nonprofit association. Our mission is to  rescue , care and rehoming homeless animals.


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A post about why Sava's will never put to sleep a healthy dog.

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 10:45 AM Comments comments ()

Why do we love shy and traumatised dogs?

Along of time we noticed that some of people are very reluctant when hears that in shelter we have dozens dogs waiting by many years and some of them are not available for rehoming, but are happy to live here.

Today I felt to write this post for them.

"We have in shelter some lovely dogs that we know they will never find their homes, but we also know that putting them to sleep due behavior problems is the most bad decision we could ever make and of course we will never make.

But why? Why to put a dog to sleep when her whole trauma is coming from humans?

Lupy is one of the most scared dog from shelter, she bitten seriously us by 3 times.

( One time without reason, one time on vaccination day and one time she bitten to protect her kennel's friend because we wanted to take out her friend and prepare for going to a home, she had no idea what's going on, so she wanted to protect her friend!)

Lupy is a full of energy girl, she likes to play in shelter, she loves her friends, have a great appetite but she will never accept a human touch!

But why? Because of humans!

She lost her trust in humans since a part of her babies was killed in front of her eyes in street, rest of puppies arrived in shelter in same time like Lupy but they was rehomed in good homes after a period from being in shelter.

Maybe she went throught more, but we had no idea, but this is enough to never trust someone again!" 

Pinia, another victim of humans, another shy dog, in shelter..

Pinia is another victim of human abuse, she was in a public shelter when we first noticed her. She had most beautiful eyes, but in these eyes we saw so much sadness! A sadness that can never be forgotten.

She was on the list of dogs that must be put to sleep. So we gave her a chance of a life in our shelter. She is in shelter by over 1 year now and is happy to live here.

She is very afraid of noises and human touch, but she accept people in her kennel and patiently wait in every day to go in playground and play with other dogs.


"I'm crying together the new 6 babies that has been abandoned to the shelter in 2 bags in a car's trunk. They are crying at each human's touch. They are terrified, crying and peeing on themself when someone approch them. What these puppies lived before? How many people abused or beaten them, so they are so terrified? How much time it will takes until they will found trust in people? I have so many questions in my head, really so many without answer. Look how adorable they are, but so scared!" - Oana Sava , July 7th 2017

Today we have answers to our question posted in 2017" How much time it will takes until they will found trust in people?"   for Jason this time will never come! It's over 2 years since he is here and he still don't accept any human touch..  And after all, can someone believe is Jason's fault for being so scared? 

And there are more shy dogs that are in process of being rehabilitation in our shelter.

For some of shy dogs we managed to help them to trust again people. But for some of dogs we know they will never trust people again, but we know they are happy to live here when they wagg their tail every morning we arrive in shelter..

So we can only offer them a nice life and much space and time.

Hope you like our article! We apologize for any grammar mistake but this article is wrote by Romanian volunteers! 

Sava's Safe Haven's Doggy Park

Posted on June 30, 2019 at 6:40 PM Comments comments ()

Some of Sava’s residents have lived at the shelter for over 6 years. These dogs have never been outside shelter in all those years – this NEW PLAYGROUND is for them.

Sava’s aim is to create a little “doggy park” just outside the shelter perimeter, so all traumatised animals and all shelter residents can play and enjoy this huge space and enjoy some much needed freedom to run & be free! This is a great project to help socialise animals, making them easier to rehome. We also hope the playground will make it easier for people to visit the shelter, play with dogs, in an effort to increase the adoption rate of these Romanian dogs.

In past 3 years Savas focused on spay/neutering programs, but in 2019 they are focusing mostly on improving their shelter conditions to encourage more visitors and hopefully more adoptions. This project commenced because of the falling rate of adoptions, which in turn means sadly they can rescue fewer animals.

Shelter will be protected all day and night, not only by the surveillance cameras and alarm, but by a guardian.

Sava's Safe Haven managed to purchase a guardian's cabin that will be placed next to principal door so the shelter is guarded during the night time hours. Some years ago the shelter was broken into during the night and gates stolen, so a night security is much needed and available in future.

Friendly with nature!

All security cameras, alarms and lights are solar-powered.

More than this in autumn season Sava's Safe Haven plan to plant dozens of trees in the playground to have a natural place for our animals.

Please continue to follow our projects and help us so in future we will be able to make much more for our animals and community.

Most frequent questions about adoptions!

Posted on June 3, 2019 at 4:35 PM Comments comments ()

1. How much can we tell you about the dog you want to adopt?

Sometimes rescuers will know a dog's history and sometimes they won’t. However, we are very experienced in assessing a dog's personality and this will be described as accurately as possible but there are NO guarantees. Dogs do tend to blossom in a home situation.

2. Will your potential rescue dog be health checked?

Yes as far as possible. Our Romanian rescuer uses a very trustworthy vet and they have monitored the dog sometimes for months, sometimes for years.. But as with any dog there are NO guarantees. Street life is a hard life.

For an extra cost the dogs can be tested for vector borne diseases through a 4DX blood test.

3. Will a rescue dog be clean in the house?

Yes - if you train it! Some seem to know from the outset, others need to be shown. It is no different from having a new puppy.

4. How much does it cost to bring a dog over and what has to be done?

A dog or cat must be neutered prior to adoption; In most cases, it has been done already. Required vaccinations, worming, flea treatments and an international pet passport are also included in the adoption fee. The standard adoption fee is £150.00 (this may vary in some rare cases i.e. animals requiring specific treatment prior to transport, etc.) Transport to the UK varies from £180.00 to £250.00 depending on where you live. (e.g. South Mimms is £180.00). We use a private pet transport company for our animals that are very efficient, caring, and run the DEFRA approved Traces scheme. This means the animal omits a 48 hour quarantine in kennels and that the quarantine can be conducted within your home and garden (this must be the address you provided to us and on the Traces documents). DEFRA may arrange to visit you to check that all details of animal at your residence are correct. Final costs can be confirmed with a member of our team - please complete the "Contact Us" form and we will endeavour to respond within 24 hours.

5. What should I expect from my rescue dog to start with?

There's not any one answer to this. The first days the dog needs to have some quiet time in a quiet space. For most of them this will be their first time in a house. Some feel quite at home within a matter of hours but for some the first two days can be quite traumatic. Within a week though, it should seem like a different dog! Many younger dogs seem to experience a real puppy phase. This is where equal mixtures of patience, stimulation and consistency come in. A dog is an addition to the family. Give them time and give them your heart and you'll be rewarded hundreds of times over!

Rescue dogs may take up to 6 months to fully bond with their new adopters and fully settle.

                                                                     6. Can I let my dog off a lead out walking?

Your dog has to stay in the house for two days when it first arrives. If you dog is very timid and scared please invest in dog a harness as this is the most secure way of exercising as a harness cannot be slipped. If you don’t wish to use a harness, a slip lead should be used. Some dogs are fine and when in a safe place, can be let off the lead without a problem. But please make sure they have bonded with you and come when called before letting them off, and don’t take any risks. If you are with another dog who is off the lead, they will tend to copy them.

7. Will I need to change anything in my house?

Asides from checking suitability as a rescue home, a home check will also check that you have a secure garden, this is essential. Rescue dogs can take time to understand boundaries. Fences need to be intact and high enough that they can’t jump over them. Walking with a harness is the most secure way of exercising as a harness cannot be slipped. If you don’t wish to use a harness a slip lead should be used.

Some people use a child gate in the house to confine a dog to the kitchen, or stop it going upstairs. This can help some dogs initially but it's good for a rescue dog to have a quiet place to retreat to. It is unlikely to like a crate, but if you wish to try it in one, you must make sure it is plenty big enough for it to move around in. 

8. How do I change the Microchip details? 

This is very important. The details should be changed immediately through Petlog. You will need to have your pet’s Microchip number which will be in the Pet Passport.

9. Will my dog know its name?

No, the name is purely to help the shelter. If you don’t like the name, a dog will usually learn it’s new name within 2-3 days or less! Try not to pick more than two syllables though.

Suggested books to read

The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell

Read more useful tips on our website " A letter from your adopted dog"

A letter from your adopted dog...

Posted on June 3, 2019 at 4:30 PM Comments comments ()

I have finally found you! I have waited so long to be part of your family.

                              However I will need your help during these first weeks, as I will no doubt be feeling sad and frightened. I have been at the shelter for so many months!

I have just lost my home again. At the Sava's Safe Haven shelter I had got used to the smells, sounds, and the other dogs some of whom became my friends. I will also miss my care giver & the volunteers who spent time with me. I will now be in a new world and have different routines to learn. Some of my friends have never had a home. But, I can do this. This is my job for the first few weeks I am with you.

Give me at least two weeks for us to get to know each other and for me to feel like I am truly at home. Please do not venture out with me on busy streets and areas with lots of dogs and people my first week. It might overwhelm me and I will get scared.

Picture me as an empty bucket. I am a bucket that holds stress. I added to the bucket with each of the changes I mentioned. It takes weeks for some of the stress hormones to leave my body. Add to all that stress, the fact that I was not socialized well as a puppy which means I may not have learned the necessary skills to adjust to new things. My bucket is already nearly full! If it overflows I might overreact to events and growl, snap, or bite. Please do not worry if I do not sleep in the new bed you gave me right away or want to go for walks. I have not had a bed and the new sounds might frighten me. And please do not yell at me or punish me in a negative way, as I might become more fearful. And if I chew on something I am not supposed to it is because I do not understand so give me something else to focus on and chew that is acceptable.

Please help me progress but do not rush me or push me into doing things.

Let me briefly meet your other pets, one at a time.

Always try to introduce me to your other pets (for the first time) - somewhere away from your home. It is not a good idea to introduce me to your other pets in their home. They might get aggressive with me as it is their home first. A local park or similar would be a great place to introduce us. If I am nervous about them inside my new home, let me get used to them through a barrier like a baby gate. When I calm down, then let us be together with you right there to keep me safe.

Put me on a leash and show me around our home. Let me sniff and look. Let’s do this together without your other pets. Then they can come in the house.

I expect to be kept away from some areas of our home until I can show you that I can be trusted not to chew on your furniture or your clothes, or use the inside of our house as a toilet. 

Don’t let me outside on my own or off leash

I have lived at the shelter for a very long time & it will take me some time to realize that you are my new family & this is my new home. You can get a 20-foot leash: good for training the "come" command. When we go for walks, please don’t let me off the leash until we bond & I want to stay safely near you. Please don’t let me outside on my own because I don’t realize that the shelter isn’t just around the corner & I may be tempted to find it!

Give me a place that is all my own where I can rest in peace and know I am safe.

Please make a house rule that when I am in my “special place” no one is to bother me and other animals are to be kept away. I will appreciate it if you make my place comfortable and quiet, and give me something to do while I am there, like toys and something to chew. This would be a good place to feed me until I am comfortable around others in the family while I eat.


I am not used to being in such a confined space & crating is not something I’m likely to enjoy. Please allow me to settle into my surroundings without being crated. If you need to separate me, you can use a baby gate which is a healthier confinement alternative. Make sure that I can't get my head/paws caught in gate, can't chew through or knock down the gate or jump the gate.

Feed me what I am used to eating for a few weeks before gradually changing my diet.

The stress of changing homes again may make my tummy unhappy with new foods. At the shelter I got dry food which I’m used to. Of course a little tinned food mixed in will be a treat for me & I’m sure I’ll enjoy many more tasty foods as I gradually settle into my new diet. A healthy natural diet without a lot of chemicals and fillers is better for me. 

Start right away with the routines I must follow.

Take me out to potty using the same door each time and taking me to the same spot outside. Do this often so that I can quickly learn where to go and so that I won’t have accidents in our house. But I might have one or two at the beginning. Start right away showing me house routines like where I will sleep at night and what I should do when you are eating dinner. Please tell me how good I am when I do what you want. I need positive reinforcement not negative reinforcement.

Show your children how to play politely with me and always be there to make sure we are being polite with each other.

Dogs like me who’ve grown up at the shelter, or spent time on the streets usually aren’t used to being around children. Closely supervise children around me at all times & don’t let children near me when I’m eating. Sometimes I can get too excited or too tired and forget my manners, just like children can. Please supervise us both and separate us if either of us gets out of hand.

Let me stay home for the first two weeks I am here so that I do not have to meet new people and dogs, or deal with new places and activities.

I know you want to share me with family and friends, but that will have to wait. I first need to feel relaxed and fully at home with you, willing to engage with you, both when I want and when you want me to. Until then, please do nothing to add to my stress. If strangers of any age come to visit, please explain that they will have to leave me alone for now. And please tell your friends not to bring their head in front of my face or place their hand over my head. It might scare me. Once I can trust that I will remain safe, introductions to other people and animals should be done slowly, allowing me to make the choices about whether or not to interact.

When you do have to leave me at home please start doing it gradually so I get used to you being away from me, like maybe an hour then two.

If I am shy you may have to introduce me gradually to every new person, animal, and place with which I come in contact. People can gently toss small treats to me (I would suggest something yummy like small pieces of boiled chicken). You can tell children that I am like a stranger from another country who does not understand your language, doesn't know how you do things, needs help understanding the rules of this new place, and that you are teaching all of this to me. It will be a while before they can play with me. If I begin to show signs of stress, either quietly remove whatever triggered my behavior, or take me far enough away to allow me to relax. Please wait for me to do so. Stand quietly with me: do not pet me or try too hard to comfort me. I might misinterpret this as praise for acting frightened. Talking quietly to me and remaining calm will convey to me that all is well and that I can relax.

Vet check up

It is a good idea to take me to your veterinarian within the first couple of weeks to get me checked over. I have flown a long way and now in a different environment so I want to be a healthy dog. Please do not be surprised if your veterinarian finds something that Sava's Safe Haven did not. Sava's Safe Haven is limited right now by what they can and cannot do with the clinic facilities that they have. Older dogs may have arthritis or skin issues or dental issues. Sava's safe Haven will send a health certificate stating I am in good health and vaccinations are up to date when I leave.

                                                                             Take me to a training class

And more importantly take me to a positive reinforcement training class that will not scare me or that use choke chain or pinch collars. I need to build trust and confidence. I don’t want to be scared anymore.

Be patient! Remember that I want to do what is right: I just don’t always know how.

                    If you have problems with my behavior, or you are unsure of anything, please ask for help.

With your help, I can do this! I can stay with you for the rest of my life.