September 30, 2013

More reasons not to give up ....

Gozo. Three months ago he was at El Refugio ... and now he's on holiday

Happy and healthy and loved - as it should be.

Arrival at Schipol - loving families meet their new darlings






September 29, 2013

"Never, never, never, never give in."

That famous quotation is from the great Winston Churchill. It might well be one of the mottos for El Refugio. It's hard. Sometimes it looks too hard. It looks hopeless - so tempting to give up. But we keep on going on. Never, never, never give up. One of the things that lifts our spirits, even if it's only tiny glimmerings of light in a very dark day is to see precious dogs start to heal, to want to live again.

When you take them from the killing station, sick and miserable and just months later see them romping together in a new and loving home. When you see faithful darlings like Sally and Cem begin to recover from terrible experiences, loyal to their bosses to the last. Poor Sally guarding her master's property, even though he'd gone off and left her. Cem, refusing to leave the cemetery where her beloved owner was buried. Still others, like Mr Napoles in the previous post, neglected and ill treated but finally healing and ready for a new happier life. Here, briefly, are some of their stories. Just a handful among thousands.


Yimi. A few hours before that first photograph was taken, he was a happy little dog. A family dog living with his boss. And suddenly, inexplicably both to him and to us, he was no longer wanted. He found himself in the Refugio, his whole world had collapsed. He stopped eating. He stopped drinking. He just stood. He wouldn't even lie down. Everyone was so worried - it got so bad he had to be put on a drip. It's still touch and go, but here's that glimmer of hope. He's now with a foster family and just beginning to drink a little, to eat a tiny morsel. Dear Yimi, keep going. We'll find you a loving home.

Pippy and Cloie, now Myrthe and Merril. Rescued from the killing station where their other sister was lying dead in the cage. Only five months old, they were very sick and it wasn't certain they'd make it. They did. A few months later Myrthe flewoff to Belgium where she was joined by her sister a bit later, once she was strong enough. Now they are both living happily together on a donkey sanctuary with two other ACE dogs and a rescue dog from Greece. And getting stronger by the minute.

                 Playing happily, together forever in their forever home.


In the first picture you see devoted Sally, guarding her family home. Never realising that her family had abandoned her with the house. Every day she patrolled around, went down the road to check, always keeping guard. And then even the house was no longer available, it was repossessed. That's when we managed to persuade her to come with us. She was lost at first but such a lovely dog. And now, now at last she has another home, with a boss who will never let her down. Ever.


Unlike the other poor creatures pictured above, Cem did have a good boss. A boss who loved him and whom he loved in return. But his boss died. Cem was heartbroken. So much so that, after the funeral, he refused to leave. How could he leave his beloved boss who would never have left him? So he stayed, faithful to the last. That made people angry - they didn't want him hanging about. Kinder people fed him but the people from the killing station wanted to grab him. The kind people who were feeding him told us about him and everyone kept an eye on him. And eventually he was persuaded. In the second picture you see him with us, having a little play in Bullie's hammock. We're looking for a super wonderful boss who will help heal Cem's broken heart.

Just four stories among thousands of moving stories that make you angry, sad, heartbroken, despairing and finally happy and hopeful. We just have to keep on keeping on, and we do. Even in the darkest days because of these stories, because there's always that glimmer of hope and the chance of great love for these dogs in new families.

September 28, 2013

Please don't forget Mr Napoles ...

... he's had such a bad time. Now he deserves a new start, a happy life. Sweet little dog, he was found wandering around the harbour in Algeciras in April. Sick, neglected, abandoned, full of misery and in pain, it was thought at first that he was an old dog. While in fact poor little Napoles is only three.

In those three years God knows what torments and fear he had suffered, what hunger and sadness? Who did this to him? He stank from neglect and his festering wounds. His puppy collar - an unbreakable nylon cord - had grown right into his skin. Imagine how much a dog grows from puppyhood to being a full grown dog. With the same harsh cord, embedded in his flesh, which was rotting and putrefying. His long overgrown nails too were festering and broken from his attempts to walk over the years. His sore eyes reflected the terrible pain he was in, they looked about a hundred years old. He barely weighed 8 kg when he should have been 15 kg.

What this little doggie went through is simply indescribable.  It's a miracle that he survived at all, and an even greater one that this small creature, who had been so badly used by humans, didn't attack us but was kind and friendly. In her diary, in April this year, Fabienne said " Now it is up to us to make him happy and healthy. Now it up to us to show him respect and real love." She went to say that while he will never forget what happened to him, we can certainly help him to leave it behind him so he can now begin to enjoy a future of kindness and care.

And she and everyone at El Refugio and the foster parents did just that. Now sweet Napoles is ready. He's put on weight, his wounds have healed and his heart is eager for love. For his own family who will love him and cherish him and help wipe out his bad memories. Who will take him home?

  Napoles in April - stinking, miserable, neglected and in pain

His puppy collar was embedded in his neck - I haven't shown the worst pictures

 Look, my paws are healing nicely

 Such a handsome fellow - you'd say a different dog.

Better now. Clean and happy and free from pain.

You love me and I love you back. Right!

I'm ready. Will you take me home with you? Please!

September 22, 2013

Memories of the Summer

Here in England it's cold and grey. It's still September but it feels like the winter already. My mind goes back to Dog Day a couple of weeks ago and to my week at El Refugio in May. Such amazing memories - and such terrible weather! Unseasonable. Such a shame.

But the weather did nothing to spoil the pleasure and excitement of being at La Cala and in Holland with the beloved people and the beloved dogs. I took loads of photographs and haven't yet put them all up, so will add some more now. In the coming weeks I hope to do some more posts on our wonderful Bodequeros and Podenco's - those gorgeous, bright, happy, noble dogs who are so often passed over. And the big ones and the old ones and the black beauties.

So here, for now, are some of the photo's from May.

Let us in! There's always someone trying to get into the office!

Podenco puppies. Butter wouldn't melt ...

... you think! Just look what happens when no one's watching!

Partners in crime.

The arrival of the pooh lorry! The drains get clogged. Need I say more :)

Snug igloo for sheltering from the heat or cold. Does anyone know a good wholesaler?

My beloved little Jerzy ...

... just look at his little face. 

Such a sweet, affectionate little dog.

Sunrise over Butiplaya beach, La Cala

September 14, 2013

Love is in the Air - Eck en Wiel, Netherlands, 2013

Last year the sun shone. This year it was cloudy. It even rained a bit at the end. It didn't matter, it was wonderful. Truly wonderful and heartwarming and moving and emotional. And everything ... to see so many wonderful volunteers, so many adopters, so much love and care for our dogs.

Cakes, food for people and dogs, beautiful jewelry, angel ornaments for dog collars, a photo booth for pet portraits - so many people put so much effort into Dog Day. Between them both the Dutch and Belgian events raised more than €9,000.

Above all it was a wonderful day for reunions - for the beautiful and devoted people from Algeciras, Ronda and La Cala to get together with all the adopters and volunteers. To greet old friends, to find beloved dogs they had last seen as shivering wrecks now rushing happily around the field, full of life and health and so loved. Love was in the air, for people and for dogs.

There are many gorgeous and stunning photographs of the day on Facebook, on Jorine’s wonderful photography site and on the Dutch and Belgian Blogs. Take a look. There are so many wonderful photos and videos so be sure to scroll down and make sure you see them all. They express the joy of the days far more than I can here.

Yummy cakes and jewellery


 So good to see you

 Happy Family

 Sweet Jake

 Lisa meets an old friend

 Can I have a cake please?

 Beautiful dogs, beautiful people

 Wonderful Nens who made it all happen, with Elvira

 Still raining?

Doesn't matter - we're laughing!

Dear Chica

Me too. Cake! I think so!

Centerbakke - probably not the right spelling!

The children had lovely time playing with the dogs

This little Teckel was a great bodyguard

 Yvonne with her Fabienne 

 Our Fabienne with the fabulous Roos

 Fabulous Fabienne with our wonderful new Ambassador, Britt Dekker

Fabienne and Ton with the adorable pug puppies

 A kiss from a sweetie for a sweetie

 Eva with Tula - Tula has only been in her family for a few months

 Beloved Jake, a brother to Eva, Tula and Nova