Minor Key Setters
The Little Boy Who Changed his Stars
Isn’t it weird how sometimes things happen that nudge your life off course - force you to see things differently - alter your focus, outlook and priorities?
That life changing moment happened to our family after losing our beloved Irish Setter, Tinker. We were looking for a companion for his brother, Spider who was lost without him but rather than looking for a puppy, felt we’d like to give something back to the breed we loved so much by adopting a rescue Setter.
By sheer chance, while researching online, we came upon a picture of Bowie, a
wonky faced working Setter looking for a chance of a new life.
Pictures below, show Bowie when he arrived on Day 1 and sitting proud after a year in our family.
We contacted a lady called Saša Gabor. A determined and passionate force of nature, living in Croatia, who’s mission in life is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome abandoned and abused Setters throughout the Balkans. She told us Bowie had been in a pound in Serbia for a year with no enquiries or interest.
In fact, Bowie was one of Saša’s many rescues – around 3-4 years old, found roaming the streets and bearing the physical and emotional scars of a lifetime of neglect and abuse at the hands of hunters.
This little boy was that gust that blew our family’s ship into uncharted waters and steered us to the unexplored territory of adopting from abroad.
The reality of the horrors these gentle creatures endure hit us like a brick when Bowie joined our family. It was the first time we had experienced an animal being so grateful. Grateful for affection, grateful to eat, grateful for being able to sleep safely, grateful for being dried when he had been out in the rain, grateful for not being battered .... how heart-breaking for any living being to have to be grateful for that.
It is common practice that these little working Setters are severely mistreated across mainland Europe. They are bred in masses and used for hunting. If they are not good enough, they are often killed or purposefully abandoned in remote locations.
We got to know Saša very well throughout the process of bringing Bowie over. We are honoured and humbled that she considers us her friends. To us, she is our family and always will be.
Over the years, 3 more of Saša’s Angels found their way home to our family. Dota (aka Dotbags) – a working Setter who had been discarded to a kill shelter in Croatia as a very young dog because of an infection in her leg, blew in like a screaming hurricane of energy with the sole purpose, or so it seemed, to achieve world domination. Then along came Mel – the most beautiful English Springer, who had been in the same pound in Serbia as Bowie. After 2 years with no interest, Saša couldn’t bear to see him rot in kennels and took him into her home. After some months of rehabilitation with her, he came to join the gang and is the kindest and most charismatic little guy you could ever wish to meet. Our newest addition to the pack is little Mojo, another unwanted English Setter who loves everyone and hasn't a bad bone in his body. To say, these 4 gave our Spider a new lease of life is an understatement to say the least and although he is sadly no longer with us, we are forever grateful that his calm and steady influence helped shape them into the balanced and happy family members that they are.
Now to the important bit. Saša uses her own money to fund the care of ALL of these dogs. She does not profit from money from adoptions and ploughs every donation back into the care for those who desperately need her help. At this time, she has 22 dogs in her care in kennels not including her own. Kennel fees are in the region of £45-50 per month per dog. This does not include medical fees. She ensures the dogs are tested, vaccinated and neutered/spayed and funds the costs for the paperwork to enable them to travel.
We are passionate in helping to raise funds for Saša. Through your PayPal account, you can send a contribution direct to Saša by clicking here. We also accept donations from anybody who may wish to contribute to this most worthwhile cause via firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations will be sent directly to Saša where they will go towards ongoing kennel costs, food and medical bills. Literally every single penny counts and any donation, no matter how small, will be gratefully received.
Our personalised dog treat bowls are another way, you can contribute and are available to order through the website.
Occasionally, we may ask for a £5 donation to enter a raffle for a lyric bowl of your choice. All the profit from these competitions will go to Saša and her dogs.
If you are interested in sponsoring one of Saša’s dogs on a regular basis, please visit her Facebook Page ‘Rufus Setter Rescue’. Here, you will also find details of dogs available for adoption.
Saša has several dogs in foster here in the UK. These dogs are living in private households with knowledgeable and dedicated carers who are giving them all the love they deserve until their forever homes can be found.
Finally, please come and visit Bowie’s Instagram Page 'bowieinburham' which tells the story of how one little boy changed his stars which led to 2 more lost souls finding their way home. When you are nothing more than an accessory – exposed to untold cruelty and treated with no respect, dignity or kindness for years, it’s easy to lose hope. Bowie’s Instagram is a celebration of life - a chronicle of love, joy, friendship and hope. But most of all hope, for the hundreds like him who have yet to find their way home.