Lucky dog finds home in the states

CHARLOTTE Who would ever imagine that a three legged street dog from Sofia, Bulgaria (yes, the Balkan Eastern European country) would spend his summers on Thompsons Point with his devoted family, Hank and Josie Kaestner?

Its a doggy fairy tale.

Everybody whos ever visited foreign cities such as Sofia, Bucharest, Moscow has almost wept at the sight of homeless, scrawny, sad dogs and cats wandering the streets.

Well, Roo, thats his name, was spotted along a road near Sofia, in a snow bank. He was a puppy with a mangled front leg. The Kaestners daughter, Betsey, and her husband driving by saw him and stopped.

They were reluctant to take the puppy. Both worked, they already had a large dog, Hannah, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, and lived in a small apartment.

But Betsey for weeks gathered food from the dining tables of the British American school where she taught and took it to the puppy. He was always in the same spot on the road.

One day he wasnt. But the next day he was in his usual spot. That was the day Betsey decided to act, she realized how intelligent, brave and bright the puppy was.

Veterinarians are reluctant in those European cities to treat street dogs because their practice is already large from residents own dogs.

But Betsey persuaded one vet. He had to amputate the injured leg.

Enter Hank and Josie who had come from their winter home in Baltimore, MD, to Bulgaria to visit daughter Betsey. They, too, were delighted with Roo.

Nothing to do but take Roo back to the States. But easier said than done! Shots and more shots, a doggy passport, even a letter from a friend of Hanks in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, all in triplicate.

Armed with all of that, Roo went right through U.S. Customs, into his American life.

Roo has a canine companion and mentor, Hannah, the Chesapeake retriever. Hannahs done some traveling herself. Hank took her to Bulgaria because Betsey missed her so much; and of course, she returned home with Betsey.

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