As always it was a joy to be at El Refugio, to be with Fabienne and Dirk and catch up with everyone there, Diane, Marielle, Denise, Maries and of course Kelly and Veerle. And to meet some of the volunteers. It was an eventful week with many lucky darlings flown off to their new homes. Several on the day I arrived. Eight and two cats the following day. Then more throughout the week.
Finally, on the day I was leaving, we had the drama of poor Lucio, the ginger and white cat, who escaped because the man in charge of security was being a real jobsworth. It could have ended badly, luckily it didn't. You can read the full story here and on the Dutch blog. There are also pictures of him happy in his new home.
While it's a joy to be there, there is also the sadness because there are so many in need of forever homes. When I walk round the sections I find myself overwhelmed. I go from cage to cage, two dogs in one, three in another and so on down the line. All jumping, all calling out, all wanting cuddles and attention. All those beautiful paws poking through the gaps, all those pleading eyes.
The wonderful thing is that so many of them will get loving, forever homes. And that at El Refugio, every dog is loved, cared for and fed. As important, they all get a chance to play for a while up in the big field. They hear kind words and get cuddles, for some this will be the first time they have been treated with respect.
"You can't save all the dogs in the world, but you can save the world for one dog." Every single one of those dogs has already been rescued - from neglect, abuse, fear, pain. So even if they haven't yet been adopted, they are safe now. Loved and respected.
Perhaps for me one of the biggest happinesses is when the long-stayers are adopted. So often in a litter of puppies some will get homes quickly but one or two, for some random and unexplained reason, remain year after year. And not just puppies. The most recent of these long stayers was Sus And on this visit I discovered that Hammy is also reserved. Although not a very long stayer, he had just arrived last year when I was there and I was allowed the privilege of giving him his name. (He was having a great time playing with a squeaky toy that looked like a hamburger!!!)
Next time I am there I hope to have a small computer instead of my useless iPad so will hopefully be able to keep up the blog while away. In the meantime, there will be more stories here on the blog. More rescues. More tales of daily courage, hard work, joy and hope.
Merlijn Noel Caramelleke Tara
Maries flew to Belgium with Bambi, Goliath, Prof and Kailay
In the photo, Dianeke with Bambi and Maries with Prof
Maries with old darling Bambi