April 27, 2014

Why don't you notice me?

This beautiful sweet and charming little guy is Macho.  Together with his three brothers and a sister he was found cowering in a corner of a cell in the dreadful killing station, huddled together comforting and supporting each other. It was heartbreaking, we couldn't leave them there.

We find it incomprehensible that he's still with us after a whole year.  Macho is social with other dogs and loves humans. He's not one to push himself forward but if you are offering hugs and cuddles he'll always be eager to have them - he'll take his turn though, showing what a great guy he is.

He will come running to you and watch you intently with his beautiful warm eyes, as if he's begging for his very own warm home, because he does deserve it too. He's such a gentle soul and so grateful to be at the Refugio while he waits quietly for his own boss without making a fuss. We so want someone to come along and fall for the charms of this wonderful dog.

You can click here to see his video.                              


April 22, 2014

We won the Spanish lottery ...

... this is how it feels for one of our marvellous adopters, Celine, and her family. She writes ...

Joshua has been with us for eight months now. Before that he was at the killing station for a long time before Fabienne found him and took him away from there.  A thousand thank Fabienne , you've saved our dear Joshi ! ! On the ACE website it was love at first sight.

In actual fact, it all happened very quickly once we'd made our decision. Joshua was scheduled to be on a flight within two weeks. Anxiously we drove our family to Eindhoven to pick up our new buddy. Within an hour of arriving we were sitting back in the car with Joshi, his new name. He crawled into the car, jumped on my lap and fell asleep all the way to  Apeldorn he was so exhausted from the trip and the trauma of his life so far.

Fabienne with Joshua and Ana in the background

Fatigue that has lasted weeks ! Poor creature really had a great need of a lot of sleep, to get used to this new world where he found himself. Staying in his bench was difficult for him too. We were just next door but the panic set is in as soon as we closed the door. Finally we left the door open and the problem was solved.  Later on we replaced the bench with a delightful plush basket.

                                                                  Joshi at El Refugio

Joshi arrives at the airport

Right from the beginning Joshi was a very happy and friendly little dog. However, on the first day we thought that he was deaf because he didn't respond. Fortunately, after a few days we found the he would respond to us a little when we gave him attention or called him, but for the most part was really passive and inert. He had no idea what to do with a bone and did not play. He has learned all this in recent months. Slowly he began to live and he began to hold up his beautiful curly tail. He adapted amazingly quickly to his new life in a family with children, rabbit and cat. When he gets food, the cat first takes a few pieces. Joshi is one meter away waiting patiently until it's his  'turn ' . The children are doing great and their bond is growing every day. Romping in the garden and cuddling on the couch.

Two days a week he goes to grandma and grandpa and their dog Bobby. That's always party time ... everyone loves him ! And the dogs are so happy when they see each other ! A thank you to my father and mother, because she takes such good care of our dog and she is so fond of him. Because they have not chosen a dog from Spain itself, but with a lot of love they take him in on the days that we are not there .

Romping in the garden

The only difficulty seemed to be at the beginning, when we had to leave him alone but we worked on that. Now he is fine if he has to stay, he lies quietly on his pillow with his nose in my slipper (which is his comforter.) We are very pleased with the way everything has gone. We have a lot of respect and gratitude for the people who put their heart and soul into the dogs in need. Thanks to you, Joshi's world has been saved and we have a fantastic dog!

Sincerely, Celine Sombroek

Joshi and Bobby - party time!

April 20, 2014

Home at Last

     Fifty one lucky and deserving darlings were adopted into Holland in March. This does not include those adopted by wonderful people in Belgium, Spain, Austria and other European countries.

     Among this happy band you can see brave Madre Lucila, who defended her babies and kept them safe, and Cavalier and Carbona, our beloved 'long stayers'. Now home at last.


April 19, 2014

Love changes everything ...

Many of our dogs are wary and frightened when we rescue them. Many more are indeed badly traumatised and terrified. Sometimes we know something of the abuse they have suffered, others times we can only guess the terrible experiences they have undergone.

Thanks to the immense patience and devotion of those involved - the staff and volunteers at El Refugio, loving foster parents and adopters - so many of these innocent creatures learn to trust humans again and learn to leave their unhappy past behind.

Pictured Olivia in the Refugio and on arrival at Schipol.
Olivia is one such sweetheart. Her new boss writes to say that  Olivia is thriving, getting better every day. When she compares Olivia now to the way she was when she arrived, there's a world of difference. At the beginning she was so frightened she could only tremble and hide in her bench. No one knew what had happened to her to affect her so badly.

Today, the bench is stored in the cupboard and Olivia has her own bed and she's happy to run around in the fields outside.  She's still afraid of loud noises and fearful of unknown people. But with a calm patient approach she's already come a long way. She fully trusts her boss now and if she can she crawls up on the sofa and lies against her.

The three cats in the house have become her friends and today her boss had a wonderful, unexpected surprise when she found Olivia sleeping in her basket with a kitten. All in all : a frightened fearful dog to a playful has become a sweet bundle of cuddles! The fear will probably never go away completely but as it is, it's really great.

Happy Olivia in her forever home.


Who said Staffies were dangerous and vicious? I don't think so.

Yes, black is beautiful ...

This is Genta.

Look at her beautiful soft coat ...

... and her sweet little face. 

Now all she needs is a loving forever home.

April 13, 2014

A big, big thank you to our wonderful friends in Austria

We would never manage without our devoted volunteers. Their hearts are so big and they work so tirelessly to raise money for ACE. 

Here you can see Karin and her friends and fellow supporters in Austria, selling goods at a flea market to raise money for our dogs.

With a big, warm thanks from Fabienne and everyone at ACE and happy tail wags from the dogs. We appreciate your love and support so much.

Thank you all so much.

April 12, 2014

The odds were stacked against her ...

She has a wonky ear, she is a Podenco and she was terrified. So she didn't have a chance at the killing station. She wouldn't get even a few days reprieve. They didn't see her noble character, her intensely beautiful green eyes. To them she was worthless.

Not to us.  We don't care about wonky ears. We love Podencos. As as for her terror, well given her experience of humans so far this was completely understandable. But we had time, that is something we can give our darlings. Time and patience and care and respect. As you will see from the photographs sweet Jody has blossomed.

Now we need a lovely person, a wonderful new owner to carry on this worthwhile work. To love and cherish this delightful, magnificent dog. She is still young, she's only two and a half. She's kind and sweet and eager to learn.  We badly want to find her someone who will transform her past and help her be the devoted and loving dog she was born to be.

Not a wonky ear. A distinctive ear.

I like being petted now.

I love the students. They play with me.


Here is a video of Jody when she arrived at El Refugio. She was very scared, but in spite of her fears she allowed our students to pet her a little. For more, please see her page on the website.

A big hello from all of us ...

Soaking up the rays!


Winter. Free at last - no more heavy chain.

Me too. Safe now.

Relaxing by the gate.

Golden girl.

Cool new coat.


All mine!

What do you mean getting a tan? I already have a tan.


Playing with Marielle.

Cuddles with Marielle.

We love Marielle.

Such a handsome Podenco.

My blanket.

I'm not really worried, it's the way my face is.

This is a nice basket - but I'm hoping for a golden one.

Time for the field? Please, let it be time for the field!

Precious Peonita


I am a happy dog. I love the people who care for me. But I would love my very own boss.

You can see her on the front of our website, our precious Peonita. Four years old and already with us nearly that amount of time. Peonita was only a small puppy when she was abandoned on a building site. The workers were kind, they gave her food and looked out for her. But once the construction was finished they had to leave.

Peonita had stolen their hearts but none of them was in a position to give her a home. So they came to us and begged us to take her. Their final act of kindness. The sweet girl has been with us ever since. She is a lovely dog but comes into that category that don't stand out from the crowd. Her gentle character and sociability are too often overlooked.

She so deserves that one loving boss, the loving home, the warm golden basket. Who will take this darling girl? Will it be you?


This is me, playing with my ball in the field.


And here I am with all my friends in the Refugio.

Sometimes we go to the beach - we love that.

There are some more films of me as well. This is me as a puppy and and there's more of me on the beach and in the field with Bavo.

April 06, 2014

The Black Beauty Project - Lucky, Congo, Stevie, Wina and Casimiro

If you scroll down and read the post below this one, you'll see that these two posts are highlighting our black beauties. So many people ignore black dogs, and cats too, when they are looking for an animal to adopt. Such a pity that superstition stops these darling creatures finding their forever homes.

Please read the post before this one, which has more information, including a link to an article exploring why black beauties have such a hard time. Read the stories of three of our lovely dogs who are currently in foster care in the Netherlands. And now read the stories of Lucky, Congo, Stevie, Wina and Casimiro, all still with us in Spain. 



Lucky was indeed lucky, hence his name. Some people found this young, black guy in the mountains above Elviria, not far from our refuge in La Cala. They took him home with them and brought him to the vet for his vaccinations and kept him for a few days. However, they already own a dog, have a very small apartment and not much money so they couldn't keep Lucky, much as they wanted to. Their first act of kindness was to rescue and care for Lucky; their final act of kindness was to bring this lovely dog to us, to ensure that he would be safe.

Lucky is an intelligent dog with a sweet character, very loyal and curious. He's a cross-Galgo, which is seen is his elegant body shape and long slender legs. It's a pleasure to watch him move. Lucky is still very young, two and a half, and will be easy to teach as he's so bright and curious. He'll make a fantastic family pet. 

For more information about Lucky, please quote his name and the reference number (5534) and email Denise Lansdale - lansdaledenise@yahoo.co.uk

Here's a video of Lucky on YouTube


Congo is five already and he's been with us for four years. Time is passing by and he needs a family of his own, it's way overdue. Lovely Congo was bought by his bosses when he was a little puppy. But small puppies grow up and soon they didn't find him cute any more. This we see over and over again. Puppies given as presents for the Feast of Kings, or for birthdays or Christmas. But then they get bored with the toy or realise it's not a toy and needs to be looked after. So then they dump the poor creature.

This is what happened with Congo. So criminal as he's a great dog - wonderful with people and with other dogs. You will see from the videos just how affectionate and people-orientated his is. Now all he needs is a nice family on whom he can lavish all his affection and love. We can guarantee that you'll never regret taking this darling into your family.

For more information about Congo, please quote his name and the reference number (2659) and email Denise Lansdale - lansdaledenise@yahoo.co.uk

Congo on YouTube
More Congo on YouTube



Adorable Stevie had the cards stacked against him - at 11 he's one of our oldies and he is also blind.  Nevertheless we're determined to find him a loving home where he can live in comfort in his older years. He's the most affectionate dog ever - so rewarding.

Stevie was brought to us by an English gentleman who found him wandering around alone on the streets. He had the kindness to bring Stevie to us, rather than leave him to be picked up by the people from the killing station. Stevie had a chip but his former owner appears to have gone back to his own country, heartlessly leaving this old, blind dog to his fate.

Stevie may be blind but don't let that put you off - you'd be missing a treasure of a dog. If you cuddle him he's in heaven, it's sheer bliss for him. He puts his little head in your lap and wants to be with you so badly. He is longing to get back to a real home, his home. Can you offer dear Stevie your home and your love. His gratitude will overwhelm you and you'll never regret it. 

For more information about Stevie, please quote his name and the reference number (4634) and email Denise Lansdale - lansdaledenise@yahoo.co.uk


Here's another beautiful, shiny, black beauty. Wina is four years old and an easy going, lovely dog who is loving with humans and social with other dogs. She will stand her ground if challenged but she's easy to guide. We think that besides her Labrador genes she also has a bit of Galgo in her make up, which makes her a fantastic dog. 

Her owner couldn't give her the necessary care or couldn't be bothered so Wina had to go. Thankfully she's with us and has a chance of a loving home - that longed for golden basket. Will you be the one who will offer Wina 

When Wina arrived at the Refugio, she had injured footpads as you will notice in this video, but that's all under control now. In this second film, you see her with Casimiro (below) and Goos and in the last one you see her playing in the field.

For more information about Wina, please quote her name and the reference number (5469) and email Denise Lansdale - lansdaledenise@yahoo.co.uk



This gorgeous Labrador is Casimiro. He's five years old and has all the positive features of the breed. What a whopper and what a darling. What an ideal family dog - affectionate, gentle, good with children. Casimiro is very friendly, sociable with other dogs and very, very easy going. And yet we found this lovely guy in the appalling killing station of Los Barrios. Unbelievable. 

Are you a fan of this wonderful breed? Would you like to take Casimiro for long walks, throw sticks and balls for him and enjoy seeing him so happy and knowing that is is you that have given him this chance. On the first video you'll see him with Wina and Goos. On the second video, you'll see him playing happily in the field.

For more information about Casimiro, please quote her name and the reference number (5470) and email Denise Lansdale - lansdaledenise@yahoo.co.uk