December 30, 2012

A Miraculous Breakthrough to Start the New Year

It's something we have been working for, longing for - praying we would get there one day. And then last week it happened. Fabienne wanted to wait until she received the documents before sharing the news with everyone. And now we have them, the signed official documents.

ACE SHIN has signed a contract with the municipality of Malaga, acting on behalf of the Malaga killing station. It allows us to save the maximum dogs possible from the killing station, something we are already doing but with restrictions. Up until now most dogs had only 10 days before they were killed. Now dogs who have a chance of adoption will be given more than 10 days to find a new boss. And ACE SHIN will be able to take the dogs without having to pay any fee, something we have had to do until now. We will all try together to minimise the number of dogs who are killed every year.
Furthermore, and of great importance, Malaga is willing to introduce sterilisation projects and education projects in schools and colleges.  We are hoping that working together will lead to greater cooperation with the goal of giving a chance to animals without hope. To change people's ideas so that they will be willing to sterilise or castrate their dogs. To let children understand how to treat animals. To understand that a dog is for life, not just for a little while. 

It's not easy to change a mentality. Here in Spain, for generations, people haven't seen animals the way we do. They don't mean the same to them as they do to us. All beginnings are difficult but we are happy that we have taken this first step towards each other. The other killing stations didn't want to join in, but to its great credit Malaga has taken the first step. And great credit goes also to Fabienne and all involved in this momentous breakthrough. It's taken years, effort, determination, tears and courage. They never gave up. Thank you a million times.



A Message of Peace for the New Year

Happy families and a message of peace! Gregory Pike, from Colorado, toured America and then for some years was a familiar sight on the streets of Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Residents and visitors alike came to love to see him with his 'family' - Booger, the Rottweiler, Kitty, the American Tabby and Mousey who is in fact a rat. 

It all started when some kids were talking about cartoons where animals of different species are portrayed as friends. The children said it wasn't possible. Gregory Pike took it as a challenge. He had worked with animal rescues and rehabilitation centres for mountain animals and has some experience of animal training. 

Greg rescued Booger from an animal shelter. A little later he discovered a litter of kittens whose mother had died. He found homes for them all except Kitty as Booger had singled her out and believed the little kitten was her puppy.  Booger and Kitty were brought up among a variety of small animals, so when Mousey appeared one day neither the cat or dog turned a hair.  There have, in fact, been several Mouseys.

Greg's ambition was always to start a free animal shelter. His overall motivation, and the reason he continued to bring his animals out to meet the public, was to provide hope and happiness in a messed up world. "Everywhere I brought them, they made people smile, and it just made me feel really good inside," Pike said.It's been a struggle but, he says, "a happy struggle."Booger may well have become one of the most famous animals in the world, with appearances on Animal Planet and the YouTube video, with almost ten million hits. 

In September 2012, Gregory Pike went back to his home town of Telluride, Colorado, to give his animals time to rest. Booger was 12 and Kitty is 11. He still intended to take them out for their morning and evening walks. “My dog earned her last few years to be in her favorite spot,” he says. “She always loved the high altitudes and the cold, so I’m going to go back and stay. I’m happy for what I did, and I’m glad I touched people. I have no regrets.”

Sadly, Booger died at the end of October from kidney and liver failure. She was 13."I think my eyes are drained. It really hurts," said Gregory. "She didn't die in pain at all. She passed away in comfort in Telluride, where she loved to be." Gregory will continue to focus on animals and bringing joy to people but there won't be another dog-cat-rat act. That was a once in a lifetime adventure. Booger will be cremated and her ashes will be scattered on Gold Hill, in Telluride "her favourite place on earth".

December 28, 2012

The coats are so welcome ...

"... The coats are very welcome with the cold at the moment. During the day it's nice and fresh but at night it's really cold. Luckily we have the coats. Thank you so much."

The arrival of the coats ...

Fabienne sent these pictures a couple of weeks ago. Sorry it's taken a while to get them up on the site. And heartfelt thanks to all who spent so much time and effort creating them and donating money. Fabienne wrote ....

.... "We would like to thank everyone who helped with collecting just before Christmas. We will be spoiled with your help for our dogs ... from all of us, a great big thank you!"

Lovely coats to keep our dogs warm ....

.... even more.

And still more wonderful gifts. 

 Lovely new baskets for our dogs

Which  coat is my coat?

It must be Christmas!

It really is Christmas for us.

December 25, 2012




Christmas 2012 is here and the New Year just around the corner. 2012 was a year of tremendous ups and downs. We had many setbacks, but we also had a lot of luck. We have rescued many dogs, changed their world for the better with hard work and determination.

We would like to thank everyone who sympathised with us. Who gave us support, who helped us, no matter how big or how small the contribution. Remember that many small things make a big thing and that together we are strong, together we can do much more that if we were working alone.

We wish you a cosy and warm Christmas and New Year too, with your four-legged friends and with your human friends and family. And we hope that next year we will make even more dogs happy and save them from dreadful situations and places where they are not welcome.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013!
Ton, Fabienne, Dirk, all dogs and everyone at ACE SHIN


December 22, 2012

More Christmas presents - this one is so very special

 Bombadonneke - home at last

There are so many dogs at El Refugio, they are all special. So it has to be an exceptional little creature that stands out among all the other lovely creatures. For me, that little dog was Bombadonneke - a sweet fat little Bodequero.  I noticed her first because she was in a run with several other dogs and they were all tormenting her. She was so desperate to escape that, little pudding though she was, she somehow managed to squeeze herself under the wire and get out into the big enclosure. That evening Fabienne took her home with her, she could see that Bomba needed some extra care.

The reason for Bomba's portly figure became evident some months later. (And also probably explained why she was the object of such attention in the pen). Little Bomba was pregnant although we'd been told that she had been sterilised. Very late one night, when Fabienne had taken her with her to the airport, Bomba became very ill. An emergency Cesaerean revealed a very large, and sadly dead, puppy.

Luckily our sweet little Bomba recovered. Fabienne put her on a diet of green beans. She lost 6 kilos. At great personal cost, because she loved her so much, Fabienne sent her to foster care in Holland. She knew this was Bombadonneke's best chance of finding a forever home. I was so happy when I went to Holland in September and got to see her again.

And now the brilliant news. After a couple of false starts Bomba is home. This week, in her diary, Fabienne told us about the happy ending. Our Bomba now has her forever home. Her new owners adore her and she adores them.

Before the Green Bean Diet

About to set out for Holland

Reunited with Fabienne on Dog Day - Holland September 2012

A precious new addition to the family

December 18, 2012

The best Christmas presents ever .....

... for the dogs, after abuse, neglect and trauma - first rescue by the loving team at ACE and now the longed for forever home. For the adopters - a new friend, an addition to the family. For everyone who works so hard in Spain and Holland and throughout Europe, the reward of knowing that more beautiful souls will live out their lives in happiness.

These dear creatures are the lucky ones who went to new homes in Holland in November. Thank you is so inadequate. Nevertheless - thank you all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not forgetting the brilliant volunteers and donors who flew to escort them or gave money to enable us to buy the tickets.

December 16, 2012

The Black Beauty Project - black is beautiful

The superstition is rooted in the past, a past long gone. However, it persists. Otherwise the gorgeous black cats and dogs that end up in rescue centres would be as easily re-homed as those of other colours. Unfortunately some people are still reluctant to offer a home to a black animal.

Just yesterday, in London's famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, among maybe twenty cats in the public viewing area, at least two thirds of those I saw were black, or black and white. And of all the dogs I met, all but two were Staffies - but that's another story.

So we continue the Black Beauty Project. Highlighting some of these sweet and gentle souls, all longing for a new home and equally as deserving as their white, cream, brown, tan, beige, golden and tri-colour companions.  Fortunately there are still many people who see beyond the colour to the beauty.  

When Johanna arrived, her puppies were almost dead. We didn't hold up much hope, but with loving  care and vigilance they recovered and thrived. Sam, Mats, Annelies and Lianda are now healthy and charming little dogs. Their mum, Johanna, has found her golden basket in Holland. Now it's their turn. And it's time too, for the other lovely dogs on this post.





Simbad - discarded in a hedge, nothing but skin and bone, this beautiful Galgo is putting on weight and will soon be ready for a loving family who appreciates this wonderful breed.

Koen - we call him. He came to us without even that, filthy, miserable and terrified. We will do everything we can to help this sweet Perro de Aqua become the dog he was born to be and to find him a great home.

Peque - sitting condemned to death in the killing station at Cadiz. Luckily were able to grab him out of there. His luck has changed once, we'd like to make it change again and find him a forever home where this sweetheart can be happy and loved.

Kalinka - used and abused for breeding she was rescued by a little boy who was unable to keep her. He brought her to us and begged us to save this gentle Staffie. She's now safe with us.

December 02, 2012

The misery of the Podenco ...

... the luckier dogs are saved, like the sweet little creatures in the loving care of Paky (see last post). But there's so much misery, among dogs and humans too who are suffering so badly in this dreadful economic climate. Nevertheless, there's one breed of dog who suffers even when times are good. The Podenco, a noble hunting breed. Used and abused. Thrown away without a thought - and bad as that is, it's a far better fate than some of the torture inflicted on these unfortunates.

Here are some photos sent by Fabienne - sadly this starving dog is just one among so many. Happily we found him and he's now safe in El Refugio. And we hope that with time and care he'll recover and will find his golden basket.

Happy little dogs, waiting to go home

Fabienne sent these charming pictures of a nest of dogs at home with Paky, one of our much loved and hard working foster mums. It's difficult to tell just how many dogs there are as, large and small, they seem content to nestle together. In later pictures you'll notice a couple of relaxed cats - just one big happy family. Don't you just love those little fat tummies!