About us

Since the regime of dictator Nicolai Ceausescu Romania has a problem with stray animals. Farmers were forced to move from their villages to the city to work in factories. They were not allowed to bring their dogs and cats and therefore were left on the street. After the popular uprising in December 1989 Romania became a democratic country. The policy of the government after the revolution began stray dogs and cats are often multiply and they were outlawed by the Romanian government.

Beginning in January 2013, we, through Facebook, came in contact with Dana Puscoci from Bucharest. Through her poignant stories and often terrible pictures how to deal with the stray animals in Romania, we started to sponsor her. By Dana we have come into contact in April 2013 with Anca and Anda in Moreni and Corina and Laura in Bacau.

Both Anca and Anda Corina and Laura as we went sponsors so that they could buy food or could pay the bill from the vet. We sent them packages of medicines and food. In Moreni we helped with the purchase of a piece of land next to Happy Dogs Garden, so the dogs had more space.

The many (chat and email) contacts that were created by this, in October 2013 led to a first visit to Romania. Now we could see the situation in Bucharest, Moreni and Bacau with their own eyes and the hard work that they perform. Also we could see with their own eyes that our support is very landed and is very necessary.

The visit in October 2013 was succeeded by new visit in April 2014 and August 2014. And during each visit shows the need to help the stray animals, the great commitment of the volunteers on site and gratitude for our help.

Through all these contacts and visits we have decided in May 2014 to a private foundation, Stichting Happy Dogs of Romania, to focus on improving the living conditions of stray dogs and cats in Romania and to assist the volunteers as much as possible, through donations, sending food and medicine and the promotion of the strays.

Our team

Carlo Bakker

Function: founder and chairman

In January 2013, through Astrid Westerman, I was first exposed to the distressing situation and living conditions of stray animals in Romania. The first dog, that got my help (and still gets it), was Jeny. A dog, who was stuck in a fence with her hind leg.

One thing led to another and soon Anca in Moreni and Corina and Laura in Bacău also received help in the form of donations for feed and medical costs of stray animals on the spot.

In July 2013, the opportunity came to contribute to the purchase of an allotment garden in Moreni, which bordered on the existing reception location: Happy Dogs Garden. This contribution has meant that Astrid and I traveled to Romania in October 2013 for the first time to view the situation and living conditions of the stray animals with their own eyes. This visit was indeed just after the proclamation of the Euthanasia law of stray animals by the Romanian government.

After the first two visits in October 2013 and April 2014, I set up the Happy Dogs of Romania Foundation to contribute in our way to "promoting the living conditions of stray animals in Romania".

I myself have a so-called part-time dog, called Tosti, who came from Spain in October 2010 as a six-month puppy. 

Since April 2015, Tosti had a boyfriend: Tommie. After his owner died, Tommie (then 13 years old) came to us. It turned out that Tommie had not led a pleasant dog life, but started to become more and more real dog again.

Unfortunately Tommie did not stay with us too long. On December 22, 2016, we put him to sleep. Although his head still wanted, his body and heart did not want anymore. Sleep softly love boyfriend ...

Miranda van Iersel

Function: secretary

Hi, my name is Miranda van Iersel and I also have a big animal heart. As a 'mother' of a 13-year-old dog and a 16-year-old female kitten, I know better than anyone how having animals can enrich your life. For our family, animals around us are indispensable. I would therefore give all the animals a good and warm basket.

How distressing it is to see what is happening around us in the world and how badly animals are sometimes treated.

Hence the establishment of our foundation 'Happy dogs of Romania'. With our foundation we try to recruit as many donors as possible to financially support the good work of the volunteers on the projects. This is very direct help which has a lot of effect.

Are you joining us?

Astrid Westerman

Function: treasurer

My name is Astrid and I live with my husband Freddy and our two (ex-asylum) cats Zoë and Binky. My parents always had cats, so the love and respect for animals was given early.

When I was 22 I started as a volunteer at a cat shelter and not long after that I became active for foreign stray animals through the WorldAsielen Foundation and the Happy Dogs of Romania Foundation.

Every working visit to the projects in Romania is impressive, but the volunteers are always very happy with our (moral) support. They do the hard work every day, therefore my deep respect and commitment to support them from the Netherlands as well as possible.