September 30, 2012

Black Beauty Project ... black is beautiful

We call it the black beauty project because yes, they're black. And of course they are beautiful. But that's the problem. Many people have some sort of prejudice against black animals. With cats maybe it comes from the old tales of witches and black cats. With dogs - who knows. All these ideas will have their roots in myths and folk tales. But there's no foundation to the prejudice. Just look at these gorgeous dogs - they didn't ask to be born black. They certainly didn't ask to be mistreated. They are totally innocent. And loving. And lonely for a home of their own. Can you help?


Monique was brought to our foster mother, Isabelleke. She was a tiny puppy, very weak and sick but her owners didn't want her any more. Isabelleke nursed her and loved her and helped her become the gorgeous healthy girl she is now.  All that this sweet character now lacks now is a loving family. Who could resist her.


Truffel is a lively dog. She's full of fun and loves to play and romp.  She's also happy to just lie calmly at your feet.  Like so many others she was dumped by her owners - hard to understand because she's an easy going dog, ideal for a family. If you make her part of yours she'll be your friend for life.


Johanna was found, weak and emaciated, with her five puppies, neglected and covered with ticks. She's doing well and we're hoping that somewhere a Galgo fan will fall in love with her and give her a caring home. Johanna is sweet and submissive, still somewhat hesitant and shy, due to her past no doubt. But she shows absolutely no sign of aggression. Who will show Johanna that the world can be a loving place, a place that will show her the respect she hasn't known in her four years.  It may take a little patience but you'll soon melt her golden heart.


Staf, or Staffke as he is affectionately called. That's the clue - Staffies are the most friendly and loving dogs when left alone to be the sweet characters they are.  Staffke is only five and was happy with his owner until the economic crisis hit. Staffke's boss was forced to move to a tiny apartment where he couldn't have a dog. Heartbroken he came to us and asked us to find a good home for his companion. Staf needs a boss who is active and understands the breed - he will reward you with loving friendship.

Snack Attack - a brilliant, heartwarming evening.

Yesterday we had our annual BBQ at Snack Attack. At first we were very worried that we'd have to cancel it because of the storm alarm, the red alert. But miracle of miracles, after it had rained all day, really poured with water, suddenly it was dry for several hours just at the right time.  

It was a successful cozy and cool party ... everyone was in good spirits and we could put the disastrous year aside for a while.  Because after the drought, the well drying up, the terrible fire and now floods and flash floods you're more worried than usual ... you imagine all sorts of horrors, you're really not comfortable.

But really, it was a great success. We would therefore like to thank everyone for the help they gave us, the turnout and the support, it was a very successful and joyful evening!

 Nicky's dancing was superb

"Let me entertain you"

 A great turnout - thank you everyone

Fabienne, Dirk, Natasha, Stephen and friends

September 25, 2012

Will you knit a sweater for me?

Will you take part?

Autumn is just beginning but in Spain we are slowly beginning get ready for winter. It can get very cold in the Refugio and then our dogs yearn for some extra warmth. Throughout the year we save up baskets and warm blankets for the cold period and get sweaters and cardigans for the small and vulnerable dogs. This year, unfortunately, we do not have enough hence this appeal - Will You Knit A Sweater For Me?

Can you knit or are you handy with needle and thread? Will you join our knitting / sewing club. Maybe you have some patterns? We are hoping to deliver a big box of Christmas sweaters to Spain. So do you have some needles and balls of wool? Are you ready to get started?

Please sign up via o.v.v.  And here's a great website with some wonderful patterns (as well as some wacky ones!) 

Nelson would love to have a sweater to keep him warm this winter.

September 20, 2012

Golden Baskets .... these precious dogs were adopted in August


... these are the happy dogs whose luck changed in August. They were all adopted into Holland during the month, just some of the thousands saved by A.C.E. and now bringing joy and pleasure every day to their devoted new families. Among them Golfito, who can be seen with his sweet new owner on the Dog Day post 'Field of Dreams' below. And patient Penfold who probably thought his day would never come.  With many thanks, once again, to Ineke for the wonderful collage.

September 19, 2012

Hector - a little dog in a big body

This is Hector. Hector is only a puppy but he's big and strong. As a result people don't always realise that he's just a little dog in a big body with a lot to learn. He likes to jump, he likes to chew things, he wants to clamber onto your lap for a cuddle. In short - he's a typical puppy.

He's sweet. He's affectionate. He's longing for a boss who understands his joyful, playful, headstrong Boxer personality. He needs a boss who will love him to pieces but take a firm hand with him. Who will teach him with patience and kindness and help him become the magnificent character he was born to be.

Hector's details can be found on the ACE website. At present he's in foster care in the Netherlands.

                         Hector with his friend Bombadoneke who is also looking for a loving family

September 16, 2012

Field of Dreams ...

... a dream for the dogs, a dream for everyone involved. This is Dog Day, the day when everyone comes together. Team Spain and Team Holland - a joyful re-union for some, a wonderful first meeting for others. When everyone can see the results of all their hard work, the smiling faces of the adoptive families, the healthy, sparkling eyes of the dogs.

Many had been rescued from filthy overcrowded cages in the killing station, or discovered peering out with fearful puppy eyes from a cardboard box dumped in front of the Refugio. Or rescued from a busy highway or from terrible neglect and cruelty. Now they run free, dashing about, bursting with energy knowing they have that thing they always longed for but thought they'd never know. A loving home.

This was my first Dog Day and I'm finding it hard to put my feelings into words. They are just completely inadequate to describe the experience and the emotion. The re-unions - with Fabienne and Dirk and so many others. Meeting new friends, formerly known only through emails and the blogs and Facebook. Seeing so many great people with their much loved dogs.

In spite of problems with water, with funding, with the recent danger and devastation of the fire everyone stays strong. Supporting each other, helping each other with one common purpose. To save the dogs, to love them and find them happy and wonderful homes. Dog Day was a dream of a day - the weather was brilliant, everyone had a great time - and all the hard work preparing and setting it up resulted in raising over 9,000 Euros to help towards drilling a new well.

There's a lot more about Dog Day on the ACE Charity Facebook page including stunning photographs far better than the ones I took (displayed here!)

Thank you to everyone. And my special, heartfelt and sincere thanks to Ineke and Rineke who took such great care of me, drove miles to bring me to and from the airport and to their homes and to Dog Day. They welcomed me with such kindness and entertained me so generously. You gave me a wonderful four days and memories for ever.

Relaxing at the cafe. Catching up with friends.

Fabienne with beloved Bombadoneke

 Dirk and friend

 Marjolijn, Rineke, Elvira

 Have we won the lottery? Ineke, Peter, Lizzie, Yazzie and Bono

Jorine with Hardy and Chica, together again at last.

More lottery tickets. Ernst, Marjolijn, Sailor and Rabito

 Beautiful Lisa with her proud young owner

 Neil with gorgeous Golfito

 Grant and Forsyth and companion - putting on a brilliant show

 Nothing like a nice grooming to make a dog feel special

 "Ready for my close up, Mr DeMille" - the photo tent was very popular

A wonderful day but a bit tiring for a chap - time for a little nap.

September 03, 2012

Wonderful people raising money for us ....

Yesterday, in Denmark, they held a car boot sale - and some of our darling dogs came to help too.

The fire that surrounded us - some photographs

The fire is under control today - the damage was interminable. Many people lost their belongings, including their homes. One person died. Many animals - horses, dogs, cats and many more - lost their lives. It's a real tragedy... but we must continue, every day.


(with many thanks to Ineke for the great collage)

September 02, 2012

Fire and Water - Further Update

Sunday 2nd September

Two journalists from Sur, the major English Language newspaper, visited last week. They really did us proud and posted a great article about our terrible water problem. (Thank you so much, Sur). On Friday morning, shortly after the article appeared, a gentleman turned up at the gates of the Refugio with a truck loaded with water. And he told us that whenever we needed more we were just to call him.

Also many Spaniards had put messages on their own Facebook page about the water misery at the Refugio. And that got a lot of things moving. Within the day Fabienne had received phone calls from 152 people wanting to come over and help with the cleaning. Others wanted to come and bring water or bring money to buy water for the cleaning.

On Saturday afternoon the Refugio was so full of water that Dirk didn't know what to do anymore. He had been carrying water all day long and did not know where to put it, there was no space left. His back was killing him. Many Spanish people kept on calling and asked how they could help us. Incredible! We were overwhelmed.

As to the fire. The danger is averted for the moment - we were so lucky this time. But we must ask ourselves seriously, what will we do when it happens again? Because this is normal in Spain, it happens every year. We don't have an evacuation plan ready at hand. We don't even have any fire extinguishers so at the moment we couldn't even put out a small fire. We will contact the fire brigade to see if they can help us draft a fire evacuation plan for the Refugio so that everyone knows what they should do in case of fire.

If we can afford it after we have solved our water problem we really want to get rid of all the plants and weeds next to the Refugio. We can't do that ourselves as this area is full of poisonous spiders big snakes and big rats. If it wasn't for them we would have done the job long ago.  

We'll keep you posted, from Spain and Netherlands. For regular updates, please click on The ACE Facebook page

Fire and Water, an update from Fabienne

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's been too horrible and we are so very lucky to have escaped a terrible catastrophe, a tragedy. We can thank God that we were spared because the tragic stories all around us are heartbreaking, houses are burned, dogs that were left chained up have perished, burnt alive - among them many Mastins. 

People who have no income had their homes, their assets, everything lost - buried under ashes  and debris. Everything reeks of smoke and the beautiful nature all around is destroyed, the ecological reconstruction will take years. It's just so sad, a large great catastrophe. 

Our refugio dogs have been spared, but what fear it has instilled in us. What feelings and thoughts go through your mind as you try to keep a cool head and deal with the situation. Because if the wind had turned - and it was looking as if it would - we would have to evacuate. We were standing by, people were ready to help but still, we wouldn't have been able to extinguish the flames because we are still without water. 

The water problem is still not resolved. We are tackling it on two fronts - with plans, and fundraising, to dig a deeper well and also trying to get the municipality to put us on mains water. But even today, after a night of much anxiety and such great danger, there is no sign of a gesture from them. 

Dear everyone, we fear the night because here and there there are fires that have not been extinguished. The wind has died down a bit and the fierce fires are now raging further away in Ronda and Marbella. Here is everything "they say" under control, let us hope. We will have a rest tomorrow and start again refreshed. Greetings from our dear ones who have had no idea what was happening around them but very restless because they feel everything so much better than us. They are all ok ... happy.