Desislava Stoyanova has been single-handedly rescuing stray animals in her hometown Plovdiv, in Bulgaria for the last 15 years. So when she found a dog curled up in a ball, inches near death on the side of a motorway, Stoyanova did exactly what she’s done for every other animal she’s found: stepped in and helped.

Covered in open wounds with fur missing in parts and resembling a walking skeleton, the young dog didn’t even have the energy to run away. In spite of her fragility, something in her eyes showed strength and will. This dog was a warrior, and that is why Stoyanova decided to name her, Xena. The question is, would she live up to her name?


Kind Woman Rescues Starving, Injured Dog Who Was Left to Die on the Side of Road

The Road to Recovery

‘’I can’t believe she is alive,” were practically the first words to come out of the vet’s mouth, at the clinic. Xena was quite a large dog and only weighed 30 pounds which, for her build, is unbelievably small. As a result, she couldn’t stand up straight. Her body was also covered in open wounds and sores, which left her weeping any time someone touched her. She didn’t even resemble a dog.

Kind Woman Rescues Starving, Injured Dog Who Was Left to Die on the Side of Road


After a thorough check over, it was confirmed that she had no permanent illness or disease, except mange that is curable – especially for young dogs like Xena who is only around two or three years old.

Nevertheless, she would need long-term treatment in order to cure the infection in addition to the open, bloody wounds on her body, and to get her back to a healthy weight.

Kind Woman Rescues Starving, Injured Dog Who Was Left to Die on the Side of Road

The Journey to Health

Now, things are looking much brighter for this young dog and she is constantly seen wagging her once wilting tail.

“Xena is more than energetic,” Desislava Stoyanova tells One Green Planet. “She runs, she jumps and you can just sense the happiness. She is enjoying her second chance at life. Of course, there’s still a long way to go but with the right food, treatment and lots of love and care, I’m hoping her wounds and her soul will heal.”

She will need to stay at the clinic for another month because her wounds haven’t healed fully. However, the prognosis is looking positive. She’s getting better by the day and that strength and will Stoyanova first saw in her eyes all those months back are still clearly visible. So it seems no name could be more fitting for the warrior-like dog than Xena.

Helping Xena and Others Like Her

Desislava Stoyanova isn’t part of a foundation or organization. She’s just one individual who refuses to ignore suffering and chooses to help needy stray animals in Bulgaria. Using her “Save Me” Facebook page to post stories and ask for help, Stoyanova is doing her best to find stray animals the care they need and a forever home. But she can’t do it all on her own!


Every day is a challenge for her. So many suffering animals need help and a loving home and while she does everything she can to rescue as many as possible, she simply can’t afford to help them all. Xena is just one of hundreds of animals on the streets of Bulgaria in need of help, love and a happy ending. You can be a part of that.

To help Xena with the rest of her treatment and many other disadvantaged animals in Bulgaria, go to Desislava Stoyanova’s “Save Me” Facebook page and learn more.

 All image source: Desislava Stoyanova