January 31, 2014

Soooooo cute!!!!

Adorable on a stick!

Our oldies are goldies ...

We are so fortunate not only that, provided she can squeeze another one in and sometimes when she can't, Fabienne takes all dogs in need, not just the young, pretty and handsome.

We are doubly fortunate in having such amazing foster parents and adopters who are willing to give our old doggies love and a warm blanket in their advancing years. Even if they may not be with us for as long as a young dog might be, many of them take on a new lease of life once they have a forever home.

We urgently need forever homes for our oldies. At present while we have a group of seven and eight year olds, we also have some sweeties of 9,10 and even 11. Who will give these sweet dogs forever basket? Some of them have never known love, others once had families of their own, only to be thrown out and abandoned. Both situations could break these dogs, yet they remain affectionate, kind and loyal.

Belinda - a sweet nine year old. She is a noble Podenco, wonderful dogs so often abused in Spain.

Buena - a gentle nine-year old GSD with all the lovely characteristics of the breed.

This ten year old little chap is Batic. Why would anyone throw a sweetie like Batic over the wall?

RinTinTin is 10-yearsold as well. He'd love a lap to cuddle into. Soon, please!

Another 10-year-old. Pocoyo. Another one who deserves lots of cuddles.

Cisco, our oldest oldie. Who will give this dear 11-year old care and love in his old age?

January 28, 2014

Laika - heartbreak and hope


This beautiful lady is Laika. She is already in foster care in the Netherlands but we desperately want to find her a loving forever home with a sweet and understanding boss who can help her get over her sadness and anxiety and shower her with love. She will reward you with love and loyalty.

She loved her last boss and her last boss loved her, very much. Laika belonged to a young girl who was a victim of the financial crisis in Spain. The poor young woman had lost everything. She didn't have much to start with - a little house and a small garden. But she lost her job, the bank repossessed the house. She was abandoned by her family and friends - but not by her dogs. She ended up sleeping in her car in the campo, with her five dogs.

She adored her dogs but the situation was untenable. Finally the poor young woman asked us to take Laika - she was so attached to her boss that the other dogs often had problems and she couldn't go on like that.  She left us in tears, crushed with grief at having to say goodbye. 

It would be wonderful for Laika, and to honour her grief stricken boss, if she could now find a loving and sensitive forever home. Laika's sad past means that she can be nervous and anxious on occasion but that can be overcome with patience and understanding. She is such an intelligent dog, a lovely kind character with all the wonderful characteristics of a typical Shepherd. She will tolerate being left alone and will go to sleep in her crate or on the floor. She's fine in the car too. 

Are you looking for a friend for life? Would you like to be the one who will heal her emotional wounds and give Laika all the love and attention she so rightly deserves. Contact ACE in the Netherlands to arrange an informal visit.

Love and loyalty - a beautiful character


January 26, 2014

Update: the abomination that is Mairena

Fabienne writes 

Years ago we sounded the alarm on the killing station at Mairena, Seville among others. You can see it in our documentary, Spanish Dogs in Hell. If you compare the pictures we took then to those taken today, you can see that very little has changed. Nevertheless, there is a difference because now we have more social media. The story has done the rounds of Facebook, Twitter and other media and there will be a reaction. We don't hold out a lot of hope that this will be enough. Some killing stations may close, but then they'll just open again somewhere else. You can be assured of that.

At that time, when we made our documentary, we helped to close the killing station at Puerto Real. The documentary was shown by various animal charities but what happened? What will happen this time? Not much. It's the same people running the killing stations, the same despicable practices and as long as the government backs them they will just continue as they are. While the government continues to support these cruel and abhorrent actions the only thing we can do is to try and get the dogs out - it's a drop in the ocean but at least we can save some lives.

What goes on in Mairena happens in every dog pound. Only with some of them, the slightly more intelligent ones, no one gets to see it except the scum people who work there. It's all skilfully hidden away. However, this time, someone at Mairena had the courage to do something and used a fixed camera to show the world what's going on. 

Seville and all the others are political institutions, government sponsored and covered up.  Slowly but surely there is a shift, but it's happening very, very slowly. At the moment the focus is much more on the people who are sinking into poverty, people who are on the street having lost homes, jobs ... the misery is not yet behind us here, the crisis is heating up - but that too is covered up because that too should be hidden away, not spoken of, like the killing stations. 

We are working together with some shelters from Fuengirola, Malaga, Alhaurin and our refugio at Mijas. Between us are trying to save about 50 dogs. However, they want  € 4O per dog and we are now negotiating to get reduce the price because we think this is too much - €2,000! That much! Yet we seem to be losing the battle, they insist on keeping the price fixed, they say it 's the law.

That's the law! They are letting the animals rot literally and figuratively, they die in an incomprehensible cruel way.  In spite of all this we will do our best and certainly try to rescue a record number of dogs and hope they will be released soon. The puppies are already safe, because they are free of charge. No comment!

Let us hope that PACMA (Spanish Party for the Animals ) can close Mairena, that soon there will be one less killing station. How can this happen, how can this go on without punishment. There are no words. We're taking in 16 dogs into our Ace-Shin refuge this week. It's good to see that all the shelters are working together here, no matter how difficult a time we are all having.

Any faults in translation are mine, Clodagh

Peonita has never known a real home

My turn soon?

Workers on the building site found her as a puppy. They fed her and gave her water but when the project was finished, none of them were in a position to give her a home. These kind people didn't do what so many others do. They didn't abandon her, instead they came to us and begged us to look after her. We were happy to look after this sweet creature.

Somehow, despite her gentle character and loving nature, we haven't yet found a forever home for her. She's now nearly four and has been with us since 2010. That's too long. She deserves to have her own boss, her own soft blanket and her golden basket. Can you help? Please look at the videos of this gorgeous girl.

This is Peonita last September, enjoying the freedom of the big field.

Please help these good, kind dogs!

Translation below.

Once again Robin has made ​​a splendid poster you can put in the window or hang somewhere prominent to promote our darling shelter dogs. If you click here you can download and print it.  

We need your help urgently. 


Take a look at our website where you can see many more dogs, all deserving a happy loving home.

The dogs on the poster are already in the Netherlands with temporary foster families. They can be visited there so you can meet them and see if this is the one you'll adopt, see how you get in and, hopefully fall in love.  

Many of these dogs are what we call 'long stayers', good, kind, gentle dogs who for some reason are always overlooked when it comes to adoption. Perhaps they are not very pretty, maybe they are a little sad. All it takes to change their situation is love, the love of a family of their own. 

I have already written about some of these 'special' and long stayers. It breaks our hearts to see them remain in the refuge or foster year after year. Much as we'll be sad to say goodbye, our greatest wish is for them each to find their golden basket. So I will highlight these and some of the others, one by one. Please, have you a corner in  your heart for them?

January 19, 2014

Miracles happen, there really are angels in this world - one is on her way to La Cala, another is waiting in Holland.

Do you remember Dalo? Back in August Fabienne wrote about him in her diary, telling us sad news about this lovely dog. Dalo is one of our long-stayers, he's been with us a long long time, since 2009. He is much loved but somehow has always been overlooked for a golden basket. And then he became ill, so the chance of a loving family seemed out of the question.

But miracles happen.

In Holland, a lady fell in love with Dalo. She wasn't able to fly to fetch him, and Dalo, because of his illness, cannot fly either. An appeal went out. A volunteer came forward. This wonderful lady is driving from Holland all the way to Spain to pick up the sweet dog and take him to his new home. 

Amazing, isn't it. 

Follow the journey to La Cala, stage by stage on the special Facebook page - they set out on 17th and should be at El Refugio this week. Don't miss the photos, they'll be wonderful. Such a happy miracle.

Yes, you beautiful boy. You're going home.

With profound thanks to Dalo's adopter, the wonderful volunteer who's coming out to fetch him and everyone involved, not just now but for all the care and love you've given to Dalo in these long years.

Don't close your eyes - do something!

The photos below are real. They were taken recently in Spain. This is what the killing stations are really like.

This is the reality. This is happening every single day in 2014 in Spain  - a supposedly civilised country. You'd never know it. This is medieval.

These animals are allowed to rot away, literately and figuratively. The people running these places are well paid, it is in their interests to keep things as they are.



Click here to see the video. Please look - then sign the petition. Don't close your eyes.

Translations below each picture

Welcome to the 'refuge' of Mairena.
Without water
Without food
Living in their excrement
Among dead dogs
So hungry some become canibals

No need for words.

I'm fighting to end the abuse in the 'refuge' of Mairena del Aljarafe in Seville.


January 13, 2014

Unconditional love - even until death, and beyond

This bittersweet story reminds me of our own darling Cem, who refused to leave the cemetery where his boss was buried and stayed by his grave, for weeks and weeks. Kind people fed him. Evil people from the killing station wanted to take him. Much as we didn't want to take this loyal darling from his vigil, we had little choice. Cem is now with us and doing well. Here's a picture of this lovely boy, and below that another heartwarming reminder of how lucky we are to have such amazing, loyal, loving and forgiving creatures in our lives.



January 12, 2014

Belated Birthday Greetings


With many apologies for the delay in posting these good wishes.

Jose Feliciano - proof that there's hope for them all.

Many shelters take in only the dogs they know for sure they can re-home. Understandable, but not much help if you don't fit the category. Which is to say that some shelters will only accept little or medium sized dogs who are in good health. They won't take old dogs, dogs with health or mobility problems and certainly not dogs who are deaf or blind.

Luckily Fabienne's policy is quite the opposite. If the dog is in trouble she'll take it in, as long as she can possibly squeeze in one more. The recent intake has included Lai, a beautiful Collie-Cross who is almost blind as well as several dogs who are totally blind - Placido Domingo, Stevie Wonder and others. Then there's Fortuna - one of a long line of handicapped dogs. Poor Fortuna was attacked for no reason by a group of young gypsies who cut off her paw and part of her ear.

These are just some of the unfortunate dogs who's fortune changed when we rescued them. Many of our special dogs, which is what we call them, find happy, loving homes. Below is a translation of the letter sent by Trix,  Jose Feliciano's new delighted owner.

"It's all going well with Jose Feliciano. He's an affectionate little fellow who knows what he wants. He is indeed very old, he no longer has any hair on his back, he's almost blind and his hearing is poor. But that hasn't stopped him finding his way around here and getting attached to his new owner. 

When he arrived he immediately found the food and then went to explore the house, as if he had a map in his head. Since then he knows exactly where to find everything, even though he's blind. The other dogs are impressed and treat him with respect. At night he sleeps with them and they keep him warm. Though once, when another dog tried to take his bone, they got a rude awakening. Blind or not, Jose won't allow anyone to take his bone.  Since then they know to leave him alone when he's with his bone!

Jose has his own routine. He takes a tour around the house and then finds his bowl full of goodies. Then he goes into the garden for a little walk and when he get's back is ready for a little lie down with his bone. He sleeps a lot in his bench. I am really happy with Jose and it feels as if he was always here. And when he crawls to me and snuggles up and puts his head on my arms and falls asleep I am completely lost. When I see how Jose still enjoys his old age I am very grateful to ACE-Shin for their commitment to old and disabled dogs. I would also like to thank ACE-Shin very much for the careful guidance during the adoption process."

I have a lovely warm coat to cover my back.

This is my bone. My very own bone. No one else's bone.

Look at me now, I'm such a lucky fellow.

January 07, 2014

Nobody wants me ...

... this is what happens when a tidy house is more important than a faithful companion. It's always the poor little dogs who suffer - too young, too old, too smelly, too expensive, too sick. Thanks again go to Fabienne for sending it.

Don't come in here ...

With thanks to Fabienne.

January 05, 2014

60 Happy Dogs and 1 Happy Cat

Thanks go once again to Ineke for her splendid collage. Here are the darling souls adopted into the Netherlands in December, among them some whom you will have read about on Fabienne's diary and on this blog and the other blogs - for instance Koke, Jose Feliciano, Bartje and Mr Napoles. Christmas joy for loving families. Devoted people who will care for these fortunate dogs for years to come. Because they know that a dog is not just for Christmas but for all of its life. Their reward - a lifetime of unconditional love and loyalty. With thanks to everyone concerned in making this happen.

January 04, 2014

New Year at El Refugio

Many thanks to Ineke for the compilation. So lovely to see all those familiar faces. 

Our beautiful, lost and lonely Bodegueros and Podencos

These happy Christmas pictures sent by Fabienne hide a sad truth. And she makes this appeal. Of all the wonderful dogs in our care, there are two breeds that so often get overlooked. To make it worse, we have a larger proportions of these charmers than of any other breeds. This in spite of the fact that both breeds are are intelligent, loving, loyal and great with children and other dogs. Why? Who knows!

Perhaps it's because people are not familiar with these breeds. It's so worth getting to know them. The Podenco is a noble, hunting dog that adapts wonderfully to family life. They are bright, loving and adorable, loving hugs and cuddles and eager to please and love you. Bodegueros were once bred to chase and kill rats in the bodegas - the wine cellars. They are not Jack Russells, even thought they look a little similar. And they don't have some of the more difficult Jack Russell attributes. Instead they are happy little clowns. Funny, endearing, loving - great fun to have around.

These are working breeds so there are hundreds and thousands of them in Southern Spain. Neither dogs nor bitches are sterilised and castrated. The hunters and farmers don't believe in it. Instead they allow them to breed litter after litter of puppies. They choose the best and dump the others. Even those they keep are expected to hunt well, if they don't they are at worst mutilated and hung from trees, at best abandoned and left to fend for themselves, with many ending up in the killing stations. Luckily we are able to rescue some, though not enough.

In these pictures you see our poor Duardo. He did have a home once but his owners dumped him and he's pining away. He's already lost half his body weight and is in urgent need of a home. His situation becomes more desperate every day. I will post again when I know the name of the other little dog, the small Podenco so you can look him up on the website as well.

Duardo with his friend the Podenco, who has already been with us a long time.

Sad times. Sad eyes.

Poor little Duardo has let himself go completely.

Three among the many Bodegueros and Podenco's in our care.

Please think about this fellow and the hundreds of other Podenco's in El Refugio.

Duardo's case is really urgent. Look at those sad, despairing eyes.

'We try to cheer them up, but with no result' says Fabienne.

Please let this be the last Christmas they have to spend in the Refugio.

Please help us! May we both have loving forever homes soon. 

Tom in Denmark

Dear Tom has found his golden basket in Denmark with his new family. Helle sent these lovely pictures for Packy, who looked after him in Algeciras. She says he's a very sweet and easy dog who gets on well with the other dog and cats in the family. He loves the ocean and also enjoys his food, very much.

This is the life!

Tom loves the ocean.

Tom is good friends with his new brother.

What a lovely picture - warm, loved, deservedly spoilt.