August 31, 2012

In spite of all our difficulties ...

... there are so many heart-warming moments. So many happy endings. We mustn't forget these while we strive to give each precious dog the happy ending it deserves. So here, to keep up our spirits and make us smile is a wonderful picture of little Isabelita - now called Cookie. Just look at that happy, smiling little face - and the joyful faces of her new owners. Wonderful.

August 30, 2012

Double Catastrophe - no water, now fire ...

(Translated from the Dutch blog, with thanks to Ineke for posting it)

Dear people - we are still without water and now a terrible fire has broken out.  One of our volunteers must evacuate her house - she has 25 of our dogs in her care and Dirk and Fabienne are on their way to rescue them  ... everyone is standing by and ready ... is this fire going to spread to El Refugio too?

Fabienne will first drive past the refugio to see where the fire is located. The river running alongside the refugio is dry, is full of  drying plants and trees. It's a dangerous situation. Everyone is now ready to help ... please let it not be true ....... let in not spread. I'll keep you informed.

For minute by minute updates please see the Facebook page

August 27, 2012

Water Update

The situation has not improved. No rain. We are so grateful for the many donations but still need a permanent solution.

Every day Fabienne and Dirk and their helpers take the empty bottles back home and fill them up again from their taps so that the dear ones can have fresh drinking water.

But just imagine ... running the Refugio, going to the killing stations to save what dogs they can, taking more dogs to the airport so they can fly away to their forever homes. All this takes a supreme effort.

It's exhausting at the best of times and this isn't the best of times. Imagine, after these long and stressful days this extra work, not only filling all those bottles but also transporting them back and distributing them around the Refuge.

We pray for a solution. 

Dirk with the mammoth task of filling ....

.... all those bottles

With a little help ...

.... from his friends

August 24, 2012

Miracles Happen - Yuko reunited with his owner

Sad, grieving and filthy - Yuko when we rescued him

Do you remember Yuko?  I wrote about him in my original 'The halt and the lame' post on July 21st. He's an eight year old cocker spaniel who'd been dumped by his 'owner' and then brought to the killing station. As you can see from the pictures he came to us filthy, scared and grieving. Grieving for his family. Not understanding how this could happen. He couldn't settle, he was so sad. So sad.

And then. A phone call. The lady was in tears. Had we, perhaps, taken in a black cocker spaniel? She and her husband had divorced. Her husband had taken the dog - and then the dog had disappeared.  She lived in Cordoba and had been looking for Yuko for months. He wasn't in any of the killing stations there or in her area.

Such happiness - Yuko and his owner reunited

Was the little black Yuko we'd taken in her dog? Her precious Yuko?  He was! Their reunion had everyone in tears. It was so moving. Their happiness was so great. It's horrible that people use a dog as an emotional weapon, horrible that his poor lady and her family had to suffer. That Yuko had to suffer. But it's all right now. This is one wonderful happy ending. Yuko is home!

A happy family!

August 23, 2012


Does anyone have any photos of Laurel taken when she was at El Refugio or at Malaga Airport or on arrival at the airport at Brussels? Here are two pictures of Laurel now - her new name is Chica. If you have any photos Jorine would be so grateful if you would send them to her - the address is She is really crazy about Chica/Laurel, she loves her to pieces and wants to discover everything that has been written about her and any photos of her before she was adopted.

    Thank you so much. It will make Jorine very happy.

August 18, 2012

Despite all the problems ... this is why we do it!

It's always a struggle. But in the past few weeks we've had more than our fair share of difficulties - even more than usual. Fabienne's illness. Now the catastrophe with the water. And always, always a constant stream of dogs in mortal danger. In the killing stations. Risking death on the road. Starving in the streets. Dumped at our gates.

So it's always heartening to see dogs whom we rescued in the most dire and dreadful conditions. Who came to us in the most dreadful state - dirty, terrified, sick, injured, fearful, unable to trust humans  - to see these sweet souls find loving families who take them into their hearts and who will cherish them forever.

So despite all our difficulties we have much to be grateful for. So many generous donors, so many people rallying round to help - in El Refugio, in La Cala, in Holland, Belgium - everywhere. And so many wonderful families offering homes and foster homes to our precious dogs. These are the lovely lucky ones who were adopted in July.  Among them sweet Flup, who came to Fabienne in a dream, and dear Reina Sofia, so weak she gave up before she got to the gates and just lay by the cat's house where we found her.

So many happy dogs. So much to be grateful for. Much thanks to Ineke for the brilliant collage.

5 of 7

Brilliant News!

A wonderful company BIMEX BV from Rosmalen, Holland, has donated the industrial submersible pump we so badly need. And they are also bearing the costs of transport to El Refugio.

We’re back in business! Still a lot to do. We still need rain and more. Until everything’s sorted we are having to buy water on a daily basis.

Our grateful thanks to BIMEX. Such generosity. So lovely to find a business with such a big heart. I hope they will have the most amazing success. They deserve it.

Many thanks to Vivienne who has arranged for this wonderful gift.

From all our dogs - thank you thank you thank you X

August 15, 2012


This is an urgent appeal.  

Disaster threatens our beloved refuge and our precious dogs.  All winter we were praying for rain.  All summer as it got hotter and hotter we carried on praying.  It remained dry as the desert.  Yesterday the water turned brown and then gave out.  Dirk heroically climbed down into the well.  Nothing. No water. Just mud.

We do not have mains water. We are not connected to the town's water supply. There are tankers that supply water - they want €150 for 10,000 litres. That is barely enough to keep us going for one day. The dogs need to drink, we need to keep them cool in this heat in the little paddling pools. We have to wash them, there's the laundry - so much laundry every day.

The clinic needs a good supply of water so the vets can treat the sick dogs. Not forgetting the water needed to clean - every day our army of workers students and helpers have to hose down the cages and the common parts to keep the refuge spotless, to make sure our dogs stay clean and healthy.

Who can help? Please, anyone who can offer donations, practical help, ideas. Anything.  I can't stress how critical this is. Without water our dogs will die

August 11, 2012

Fabienne is in hospital ...

A message from Maries Van Den Plas

Fabienne was taken to hospital two days ago. She is gravely ill and has great difficulty breathing. I phoned the hospital and today, Friday; she was slightly better but she has to stay for at least a few more days with heavy medication and oxygen.

I am going to visit her on Sunday and would be very grateful if as many people as possible could send emails for me to bring to the clinic so she can see how much we all care for her, and how much we want to help. I would suggest that you send me an email for the attention of Fabienne. I will print them and can give them to her when I see her.

I know we will all be thinking of Fabienne and Dirk in these difficult days and will want to support  them as much as we can. Fabienne will be missing all her dogs and shelter dogs and it will be hard for her not to be with them.

Kind regards


(With apologies for any fault in translation - Clodagh)

August 04, 2012

Lovely English Volunteers take our dogs for walkies ...

Our dogs got some extra help today.  Tayia and Danni Malyon, who are from Hertfordshire, came along to take some of our darlings out for walkies in the big field. Everyone had a great time.

Tayia and Danni with two happy dogs

One for the album

Running free ...

... it feels so good to be out in the air

... having fun ...

... exploring

Time to go home.

August 03, 2012

You may have heard that there are some games taking place in London ...

.... not to be outdone, here are some animal athletes in contention for medals!