February 23, 2014

Flappy's going home!!!!

Yay! Today Fabienne tells us in her diary some wonderful news. Sweet, gentle Flappy is going to his forever home. Like darling little Jerzy and Francis, the small bulldog, poor Flappy is incontinent. It didn't look as if any of them would ever be able to be adopted.

Gentle Flappy with a friend.

As Fabienne says "Never give up." It's amazing what can happen. It's so heartwarming to know that there are such people in the world, people who have patience and love to spare and who are willing to give a chance dogs who haven't had much luck so far. Darling Flappy has been with us since he was 4 months old - five whole years.

Grateful thanks to everyone who has looked after Flappy so far, and to his new family. To read more about Flappy and about some of our other special dogs - pawless, sightless and the rest. And to be uplifted knowing they went home - read Fabienne's latest diary.

A visit to the Refugio

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A visit to the Refugio 7 and February 8, 2014

It's always great to hear from people who do so much to help us, and it's especially lovely when they write about their first visit to the Refugio. To hear about the impression it makes, the pleasure they take in the dogs and the work.

This is an account of a visit by Erna Oosterbaan, who visited on 7th and 8th of February with my friend Odette, whom I also met at the Refugio, last summer and who looked after me so generously, with Ineke, when I went to Holland for Dog Day later on that year. I apologise for any mistakes in translation, all down to me.

Erna writes

"Odette Ligtenstein and I started about the same time volunteering for ACE . I adopted Jessy ( Samantha ACE ) in August 2011 and Odette adopted Zina ( ACE Rubina ) in October 2011 .
It began with home visits and flight reception and after a while we also joined and strengthened the Aftercare Team.  I have a shelter dog in the house on a regular basis, in addition to the pack that we already have. Odette can not take in a shelter dog, but instead she flies to Malaga several times a gear to pick up dogs and fly back with them, so they can get to their new homes faster.

And then we planned to fly to Spain one day and visit the Refugio together; it was something I had wanted to do for a long time. We should then fly back separately so that we could each take five dogs back.  If you book in advance , you can buy a very cheap Transavia ticket. And the Hotel Carmen in Mijas has reasonable neat and clean rooms.  Although our aim was to visit the Refugio and bring the dogs back, we also secretly enjoyed the beautiful weather on the Friday and lunch on a terrace on the beach.made ​​a very neat and clean room.


From La Cala de Mijas it's about a half hour walk to the Refugio. Easy to do but there are also plenty of taxis in the square, about 6 euros for a ride.

And then, suddenly, we were there. It looked exactly the was we so often had seen it in photographs and videos, yet still a little different than expected. We were able to have the experience we have so often had via the video, that is see a whole half section (about 30 dogs) running to the playing field. Because the Refugio is a long, narrow strip all the various side gates and entrances must be closed before the dogs can be let loose to run down through the Refugio and up onto the field. It's wonderful to see the whole group come running.

We spent over an hour on the field, together with some regular volunteers and interns. There was lots of running and throwing of tennis balls and of course we petted and cuddled lots of dogs. It's so nice too to recognise things and dogs you've seen regularly on the website. Some volunteers don't know the names of all the dogs and that is only to be expected as new dogs arrive almost daily and others are quickly adopted. And some people don't look on the site every day, the way we do.

When all the dogs were back in their places, I went and had a good look round. In the first section the dogs run loose. Among them Peterke ( who is flying on on Sunday with Odette ), Dime, Farid and Thomas (all three already reserved ), Hoy, Uli with her ​​funny little below. And there were Crepe and Suzette who crawled away into a crate. They are still afraid, though they did peek round the corner at me.  Later I recognized Cristal, soooo sweet and a little too fat, but that's good as she's well again. Touching. Beautiful Fred (Wilma has already adopted). So lovely people what a beautiful dog he is, you do not know what you're missing. Waterdog Wannes also thinks it would be nice to get a a snack. My bags were full but were soon completely emptied. It was so sweet to see how the dogs were with each other. It was remarkable. I had thought they might fight about the goodies, so I was very careful how I gave them out, but there was no need to worry. It was all good and I distributed the snacks as fairly as possible.

Fred, such a pretty boy

Odette with Thomas

The puppies, Amado is on the right. They are all so sweet, but I don't remember their names

We would so like a boss of our own

Tucan is joining us on the plane


Cristal, so sweet!

Further up the path there's the laundry room with washers and dryers and there are dogs even there. And more too running around underneath the washing lines.  There's another space with the cutest puppies, including beautiful Amado. Further up there were more kennels, facing each other. Each one filled with 2,3 or 4 dogs. I recognised several -  Hellen and Cyntha ( luckily Hellen has been adopted by the trainees), and Heck, that was called Tony. A brother of our frightened Jessy, who has spent 2.5 years with us. They all need loving homes, who will welcome them into their hearts?

Near the main entrance are the areas where the dogs are kept, just before they are due to fly out. And yes, there were Hercules and Kristof, just arrived from Algeciras. After a good night's sleep they were to fly with me to the Netherlands, after years of waiting for their golden baskets. At the shelter Tucan was there too, and also Madeno and I recognise the little chihuahua Baraco who will go in the cabin, though for the moment he is still in daycare.

Hercules is nearly ready to fly

Madino, also waiting to meet his boss, just one more night!

Tucan will also come with us on the plane.

The next day Odette and I went back to the Refugio. Unfortunately, under conditions that were completely different from the day before. In the morning it was still quite dry but then the rain arrived. And now we see the Refugio in different conditions. All the dogs that are running loosely between the sections are wet and some also rather shivery.

Wet Arek who has just arrived at the Refugio

We saw Arek, who had just arrived. His thick fur completely drenched. I tried to dry him with a towel but it was just too wet. The four puppies I wrote about on this blog before: Pablo (reserved ) , Marco Polo , Lista and Marah, who had just been transferred from their foster family to the Refugio to make room . What they were displaced in the wet spot.

Podenco puppies - Marco Polo, Pablo, Lista and Marah, also just arrived in a wet Refugio

And there was Fabienne with Caretillo in her arms, he'd also been fostered elsewhere. This dog who'd been hurt by a car was left deaf. He hadn't been vaccinated so had had to go to another shelter for a while. Fortunately he has already been reserved.  Once again I went up to have another good look at the other sections and spent a lot of time petting and hugging. I again stuffed my pockets with goodies, which were soon gone. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Salsa were all ready to fly tomorrow with Odette. Peterke was washed by the trainees , but was certainly not fun for we then had to keep him the office to keep him clean, but he took every opportunity to escape again.

My shelter dog Madre Lucila in Odette's lap

And then here was Madre Lucille, who'd been brought from the Algeciras shelter. She was going to fly with Odette tomorrow and then go into foster care with me. I would be at the airport the next day to meet the flight and then take her into my care. While with us her new name will be Loesje; for more information about her look at her ACE name on the site and in the blog with the dogs who are already in care in the Netherlands . I can already say that she really is a sweetheart. Of course I cuddled with Loesje for a long time and found it quite hard when I had to stop because it was time to go and to leave her in the carrying page. Ideally I would have brought her on the plane with me!

Madre Lucila - Loesje -  in the carrier, nearly in Netherlands

Later arrived more new residents arrived at El Refugio: Jack (a Chow-Chow) and two older Cocker ladies, Rose and Evelin. All three just rescued from the killing station. First we had to get them out of the rain and put them in cages. This is something they'll have to get used to. After this we took a taxi to Malaga Airport, where Diane and Miguel were already waiting at check-in with Hercules, Kristof, Tucan and Madino, in their flying carriers. And there was also black Baraco, who was allowed to travel with me in a special bag. He was so good, that little one, I didn't hear a sound out of him and the people on the plane sitting next to me did not even know there was a dog in that bag. When they discovered it they thought it was very nice. One of the two, a student who often flies Malaga, so I told him about ACE and asked if he'd like to sign up as a flight escort. That would certainly be a good thing. Luckily I had some leaflets in my bag, so he will have all the information he needs to sign up. 

Finally, at 23:30 we landed at Schiphol. When I'm doing the flight care there's usually about 45 to 60 minutes waiting with the adopters before the cages come through the gate. And guess what happened this time ? They were all ready with the special luggage! Just a friendly gentleman who asked if he could help me and that meant I could get quickly to the arrivals gate, where my fellow volunteer,  Erne Beckx, was already waiting with the adopters. Beautiful moments, when all the dogs were allowed out of the cages and were united with their new owners.

I look back on this short visit to the Refugio with great pleasure and satisfaction.  What beautiful work takes place there, with lots of love and devotion. I have so much admiration for Fabienne and Dirk and their team, Paky and her team in Algeciras, Ana and Jesus who are committed to the dogs in Granada, Isabelleke and other women working in shelters in southern Spain. And fortunately there are many volunteers outside Spain as well, mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands. Together, while unfortunately we can not save all the dogs in the world, but still we can save quite a significant number! "

Erna Oosterbaan -Gram

February 21, 2014

Another week of progress and problems ...

Poor old Chaco - so patient and gentle and so badly in need of a home of his own.

On her blog, on 19th February, Ineke relates the week just passed. Even more kittens were dumped, this is happening more and more. They are beautiful cats, with such sweet characters and we hope we can find good homes for them.

Our little Melleke had emergency treatment to try to revive him. We couldn't even find a vein, he was a living skeleton. There's still a long way to go but we hope that the little darling may be saved.

Our Oca had surgery on a massive tumor that we were able to remove. It has all gone well and she is recovering beautifully in the warm clinic. She has made friends with our old Chaco, who was attacked by several dogs this week. He always seems to be a target, is often attacked and hardly defends himself.  

It was a busy week. Lots of problems every day, but a great deal achieved as well. A happy week for that alone. To see some of week in photos, see Ineke's video on the Dutch blog. The captions are in Dutch but you don't really need to understand the words as the pictures tell the story.


Guper is still on the run, the last place he was seen in Zoetermeer. If you can help, please contact Elvira on  06 46386168   The Facebook page has regular updates as has the Dutch blog.

IMPORTANT : If you can help please do it through Elvira and her volunteers. Guper is very frightened. We know where he is but if you chase him or disturb him, he will just get even more spooked and run further and faster and maybe run towards the motorway. So please take advice from Elvira and her team, rather than act on your own. It is vital you do this. Thanks

February 20, 2014


Helping in the office

If I stay very still, they may not notice I'm here

Sweet little face.

Such a darling, with her little black head and little white body.

February 18, 2014

Our driveway's looking better every day ...

The cats' shelter is looking so smart!

Good job, Miguel!

Update Gruper!!!!

I believe he has been sighted but he hasn't been caught. Google translate doesn't allow me to translate with any confidence. Elvira and volunteers are searching and still need help, especially now. They are going to search in the dark.

If you can help or have any news, please contact Elvira on Tel.nummer 06- 46 38 61 68

Or email - ace-elvira@hotmail.com 

Keeping our fingers crossed and praying for little Gruper's safe return. He is so frightened, poor little lamb. Thanks to everyone who is helping. 

No words needed ....

February 16, 2014

Enjoying the sun after the rain ...

Ohh. Lovely and warm.

This is me smiling!

All hot and lovely on my fur!

Basking like a seal in the sun.

I'm pretending these pebbles are a beach.

Yay! It's stopped raining.

February 15, 2014

Guper is missing - please, please help find him.

Important message for anyone in the vicinity of Rotterdam Airport

Our beloved Guper has gone missing.

Yesterday afternoon, 14th February, Guper escaped while being handed over at Rotterdam Airport.
Guper is a brown dog, 4 years old and 46 cm high and has a collar on and a lead.

He is a very frightened doggie, so if you see him stay very still and quiet and try to coax him with some kibble. If you try and chase him you will scare him away.

This really is heartbreaking. Guper is one of our long-stayers. A sweet dog who, until now, has always been overlooked. He appeared on this blog on November 16th, in an effort to find him the forever home he so needs and deserves. This is his chance of happiness, poor little fellow. So please, if you are anywhere near the airport, please, please keep a lookout for him.

We are hoping and praying that he is found. Some of you may remember Stefan, another scared doggie, who escaped on arrival, in the midst of the coldest winter. He was missing for weeks and we had secretly given up hope. And he was found - the clever boy had found a barn and shelter. A friendly farmer had spotted him and given him food. We are all praying that Guper, like Stefan, will be found.  I will update here when I hear anything.

The authorities have been alerted. If you have seen Guper, or even better, if you have managed to catch him please phone our representative in the Netherlands, Elvira, on 06-46 38 61 68.

February 14, 2014

The youth of today .....

You often hear people complain about young people today. But there as many fabulous youngsters and not nearly so many difficult and unkind ones as some newspapers would have us believe.  While I have read some reports that say that this young man, Gus Kenworthy, is only doing it for the publicity, I would rather believe that he has a kind heart and loves animals.

Gus is 22 years old and is competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He loves animals and when he found four puppies with their mother, cowering under a tent outside the media centre, he couldn't leave them there. He's tweeted that he is doing everything he can, arranging for them to have their injections. It's reported that he has already found homes for them in the USA.

Even if he does get some good publicity from his actions, what's the harm in that? It's a win-win. It's also worth remembering that to get where he has done in his sport, you have to be hardworking and dedicated. I for one am very grateful to him for his kind and loving action.


February 13, 2014

Our heroes

Our heroes, Miguel and Julian, prepare to do battle with the undergrowth.

Next to El Refugio theres a river, which is mostly stagnant and only occasionally has water in it. However, when the winters are bad and rainy it overflows and causes us misery and suffering. Some years ago we were so badly affected that some dogs even died and all our machinery was destroyed and much more.

In the meantime, there's been an infestation of Canna plants in the river bed and all along our borders. These plants are life threatening for our dogs. And on top of that, should they catch fire it would mean catastrophe. When the forest fires raged in 2012 we only narrowly escaped. For years we've been begging the municipality to remove the Canna and to clear up the river bed, but we are talking to a wall. Fabienne has asked them countless times but got nowhere.

Then suddenly, last week, they came to clear all the undergrowth and rubbish from beneath the electricity poles, to a width of about 10 metres. So we asked them to clean the rest but the answer was 'no'. Not their job, they hadn't been instructed to do more than they were doing - according to European law they have to clean everything under the electricity poles and keep it fireproof. They don’t care about the rest and so the danger remains.

Fabienne visited the municipality again and again found herself talking to a wall. If we had to pay to have the river cleaned it would cost 3500 euro and we simply don't have that amount of money. To buy a machine would cost 1000 euro, crazy! We have now rented one. In the future we hope to have a machine like this ourselves so that we can keep everything under control. 

Now we are busy to clearing the river and the undergrowth ourselves with this special machine. The powers that be don't see the need - they are only dogs, right! The answer of the municipality was that people here have so much problems right now that animals have to stand at the end of the line, as if they have ever stood there at all!

Animals have no value here, so we are taking things into our own hands and cleaning up the river ourselves. It is hard work but certainly worth it! Soon the danger will be gone, we will welcome the warm summer and our dogs will be safe.

Donations towards a machine of our own would be very welcome. Please see the main website for how to donate.

Hard and dirty work but so worth it.

A true foster dog

Thanks to Fabienne for sharing this delightful, sweet picture.

February 09, 2014