Animal rescue volunteer Sylvia Stoycheva: We have the obligation to spread our love and expect nothing in return

Photo: catshomesf

Sylvia Stoycheva, volunteer in a wildlife rescue campaign helps wild animals caught in the “traps” of the city. She has made her dream come true - a successful career in the world of fashion and the media. But some years ago she left the “vanity fair” and turned her efforts to another one of her youthful endeavours – to run an artistic café where friends and like-minded enthusiasts get together. She says that “when you save one animal it never stops there, you want to save a second and a third animal…”

“We have the obligation to spread our love and expect nothing in return. To my mind love is helping, understanding. We ought to treat animals as members of our society. Every animal on this planet has a role to play, even the animals we do not like. These are important things we rarely sit down and think about. The people from the wild animal clinic are among my closest friends. They have helped me see how many animals there are that are suffering because people just don’t care. We often destroy their homes without even thinking about it, and we just leave them to die. The patients are most often small squirrels which have fallen out of the branches of trees that have been felled.”

People don’t usually stop to think how dangerous different plastic and Plexiglass barriers are for animals because they confuse them. We put up such barriers in all kinds of places as if animals just don’t exist. As a result of our urban selfishness birds fly into the mirror glass of windows of tall buildings and they die. Sylvia adds that the biggest danger to animals in the city are cars:

“I have rescued a pigeon hit by a car. It was hurt and afraid and it escaped into a shop nearby. I closed the door and asked the people there not to be afraid, but to try and catch the bird and put it into a cardboard box. They gave me a strange look but did as I asked. I then took the bird to the clinic. That was how my friendship with the volunteers who help animals began. We also rescued a bat which was hanging from a wire in Sofia in an odd way. I have tried to be of help by organizing charity campaigns. I want to help children understand why it is important to care for the world around, not to be selfish. If this idea is taught at school they will be more responsible when they grow up.”

Sylvia says she often hears people say it is a waste of time to take care of stray animals when there are so many children and elderly people in need. To that she answers with the words of French writer, poet and politician Alphonse Marie Louis de Lamartine: We cannot have two hearts, one for the animals and one for men. In cruelty towards the former and cruelty to the latter there is no difference but in the victim.

“If you are the kind of person who has love to give you will love the whole world. That is why I take part in many charity campaigns mostly targeted at children. Not long ago we raised money to furnish homes for orphans. Together with photographer Vili Kaymakanova-Nozharova we organized an exhibition and auctions as part of the “Making a difference” campaign. With the money raised over the years we bought a pediatric ambulance for Pirogov emergency hospital in 2018. There was not a single ambulance in Bulgaria for the transportation of babies in an incubator and small children. We wanted to help specialized emergency medical services save the lives of the youngest children.”

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