This page is about the charity and the people behind it. TwitchyNoses came about because those involved wanted a way to help more homeless and injured dogs in Bulgaria and to do their bit in a country that has a terrible stray dog problem and where animals are abused and mistreated on a daily basis.
The charity was the idea of Rachel, who originally moved to Bulgaria in 2006. Immediately upon arriving she was adopted by an old dog and two cats that had been left at the villa Rachel had bought and was renovating. Not long after this a heavily pregnant Border Collie turned up at another building plot Rachel owned and made one of the old barns into her home and had 4 puppies. At only a few weeks old, one of the puppies was poisoned by something toxic on the building site and was rushed to the veterinary university for treatment. Luckily she recovered but Rachel decided it was best for all 4 pups and Mum to join her at the place she was living. In the meantime Rachel had also taken in another 5 month old puppy (clio) found starving and badly beaten in a field. Unfortunately a few months after moving over, the old dog had to be put down as had been badly injured in several fights with other village dogs. When Rachel moved to her new house, the 6 dogs and 2 cats went with her. Two of the border collie pups were eventually taken to the Burgas municipality shelter for re-homing.
In the middle of January 2008, when it was snowy and minus 20, Rachel found a tiny puppy (bobby) on the side of the road late at night.
She took it in and soon it was growing into a massive dog, a part Karakachan (local sheep dog breed). One day not too long after, Rachel found a tiny emaciated kitten hiding under the car in her local town and this ended up going home with her. A few days later a very young kitten was thrown over her wall and that also became part of the ever-growing family.
Then in January 2009 Rachel decided to go and work a ski season in France. She took one dog with her and managed to re-home the Karakachan puppy and the two kittens to an English family in the north of Bulgaria. Rachel arranged for a Scottish couple to house sit and pet sit. Unfortunately this was a mitigated disaster and she returned to find her home had been damaged and one of the dogs and one of the cats stolen.
In the summer of 2011, Rachel and her partner, Pete, visited a couple of shelters and saw first hand the constant requirements for funds for emergency operations for dogs and cats hit by cars or shot or poisoned or beaten and just left to starve or freeze on the street. The shelters struggle to re-home the animals, while more and more in desperate need of help are found on a daily basis. It was decided that the best option was to set up a small charity to try and raise funds and awareness and to distribute funds and supplies where most needed.
Rachel drafted in the help of her father to be treasurer and secretary and the UK contact, as he had experience of being a charity treasurer before and could deal with all the required paperwork for banks and the Inland Revenue.
A constitution, based on the Charity Commission’s example constitution for a small charity, was put into place and the three trustees signed Trustee Declarations and the charity was born in January 2012. TwitchyNoses is a not-for-profit organisation recognised as charitable by HMRC for tax purposes and has set up a dedicated charity bank account in the UK as well as a charity operated PayPal account. There will be full transparency for all donations and accounts will be available following the end of each financial year (and at any time by request) to show how funds were collected and used.
The aim of TwitchyNoses is not only to raise much needed funds for food and veterinary treatment, but also to source anything that can be used to make the dogs and cats’ lives more comfortable such as bedding, materials for housing, toys, feed bowls, dog jackets, collars, leads etc….and also to raise public awareness of the plight of animals in Bulgaria, support local shelters and rescuers, ease the suffering of dogs kept in yards and on chains and very importantly carry out neutering campaigns and promote education on the advantages and need for neutering as well as general welfare and try and re-home as many animals as possible to new loving and permanent homes.
In April 2012 Rachel read about the plight of a female dog and her 14 pups in the isolator at Stara Zagora. She contacted the girl who was trying to rescue them and it was decided TwitchyNoses would try and help save and re-home mum and pups. The funds were raised to do all the necessary tests on the pups and take them to a private shelter. Unfortunately the pups all had Parvo virus and despite our best efforts all but 5 of the pups died. On returning to Bulgaria in May 2012, Rachel & Pete opened their home and garden up to the remaining puppies, as well as a number of other dogs and began fostering over the summer.
After five years of fostering and having helped rehome over 150 dogs (and the odd cat), Rachel and Pete have decided to change the direction TwitchyNoses will work in. The focus will be on neutering programs and providing both practical and financial help to Bulgarians [and others] already rescuing animals, aid already established shelters as well as try and make life a little more pleasant for dogs kept chained or in yards of villages and compounds.