March 28, 2015

Timing is everything

Small Mama and her little ones - a few more weeks and they wouldn't be here

Sometimes happiness is a matter of sheer luck.

This house had stood empty for months. No one came near it any more. The neighbors knew that the former inhabitants had had a cat, but thought they had done what you'd expect from normal people and taken the cat with them. But they didn't really give a thought either to the cat nor the people.

So many folks go back to their country when they have been unable to find happiness in this country, or when things don't turn out the way they had hoped. And that's what happened here.

It was only a few weeks later that the landlord realized that his house was no longer occupied. And when he went up to the house, he found a mama cat with three little ones. Mama cat was shut in, behind closed doors. She had eaten anything she could find, but when she was rescued together with her newborn kittens, she was completely emaciated.

The owners had gone for good in the middle of the night and had left their cat. And if that was not enough, they had left her and closed the door! Had the landlord waited a month longer, these poor cats would all have starved to death.

Mom and kittens are doing fine. They had an incredibly lucky escape. Hopefully we will soon see them go to wonderful homes ...

So cute - so very lucky!


Surely no one could resist this little charmer!

Take me home? Please?

A message from Duardo

A message from Duardo to his former foster mum

Tucked up in my cosy blanket in my warm, soft bed.

Hello Helene.

I'm still here enjoying myself.

I go away on weekends and may even go to places where other dogs are not allowed because I'm so brave :) Not long ago, for instance, on a weekend away in Rotterdam dogs were not allowed in the restaurant. But I was! 

Meanwhile, I've already spent a week at a pet hotel. That was superb as well. I had a good time there with the other dogs.

And here I've been given an upgrade from my sleeping bag. I now have a real "Danish dog" bed with duvet and pillow where I sleep at night. Super, especially when they tuck me up in my blanket in my cozy house - as you can see in the photos.

Have you been able to find homes for other dogs like me? And did you know that my crazy boses are planning a long weekend in Italy and I can go too?

 If they have yet another weekend off, I will be able to see you again and I'll give you a bit hug.  

Love from 

(Censored by Gino and Hilde)

I'm not really sleepy yet. I'm just pretending because I love being in my bed.

Our dear Juanita

Don't leave me here!

During the week, Fabienne wrote about Juanita. She wanted to put her in the spotlight as this lovely dog isn't doing well and we are so anxious to find her a loving home where she can relax and enjoy the love of a warm family.

She was brought to the Refugio by her owner, a farmer. He'd had her for seven years but now she was of no more use to him. She'd had many puppies over the years but now one of them had taken her place, in his eyes. So she had to go.  Such a 'normal' thing here. Just dump them.  He walked out the door with a grin on his face, as if he had just come from a shop. He'd got rid of the 'problem'. 'It' was no longer his responsibility. The pictures and indeed the video, above, tell their own story - it's so sad to see this poor dog, so upset and shaking and her owner, so uncaring.

Juanita was devastated, grieving and incomprehending, not understanding why she was in this large community of dogs. They all get fed, get pats and cuddles from time to time, we do our best but it's so hard to give them all individual attention. For a lot of dogs that is desolate and unacceptable - they cannot live with it. Cannot come to terms with the drastic difference.

Meanwhile, Fabienne relates, we are almost six months later and Juanita is still a shadow of herself, lean and incredibly sad she looks through you, hardly eats, is sad and listless. And while she is an affectionate and sweet dog who loves to be around people, she still badly needs to be out of here. When we were doing building works, she befriended one of the workmen and followed him around everywhere. If you take Juanita into your heart, you'll get a wonderful family member, loyal and with a golden heart who will be utterly devoted to you.

Since this peice was written on the Dutch blog, I see that Juanita is pre-reserved. This is the stage before adoption when it is still possible to express and interest. So while it may be that the adoption will take place, if you are interested it is worth keeping an eye on the website .. in case.

No words needed.

The picture of dejection.

Good food and cuddles will help but she badly needs her own loving home.

Chelsea just loves learning new stuff

England's a bit cold - but I love my classes

Look how well I can jump!

Sweet puppy Chelsea (Moussa)  loves her agility classes. She is one of two pups adopted by English adopters last autumn. Both sets of adopters are dog trainers, so both Chelsea and Turner (Pouspah) have fallen on their paws, so to speak.

It's not surprising that she is enjoying her training, as that's exactly how her luck changed. She and Turner were found wandering in the street and taken to El Refugio. No one knows if they are brother and sister, indeed nothing is known about their situation. But they were both only about five months old.

Not long after they arrived, a dog training organisation in the area asked if ACE would allow them to take some puppies for a puppy training course they were running. The participants came from England. During the training period they fell in love - and thus the world changed for these two puppies.

Both dogs are doing well. Jamie and Gemma, who adopted Chelsea, absolutely adore her. And of course, because of their occupation, she has plenty of opportunity to go to classes - and she loves it. In the picture you can see her with a colleage of Jamies, thoroughly enjoying herself.

March 22, 2015

Casimiro - we want him to be happy

A lovely day at the beach

My very own swimming pool ...

... lovely and cool, but not as big as the sea.

Having fun!

On Friday, March 20th, 2015, one of our volunteers sent this account. There is no name, so I'm afraid I can't make this more personal. She writes ..

Casimiro is a sweet and affectionate dog. When I went to Spain I went for a walk with him every day. We went to the beach. We met other dogs. There were no problems. He enjoyed splashing in the sea and digging in the sand. In short, for him it was one big party! He spends so many hours and days alone in his cage, so he really enjoyed his (brief) freedom. 

I used a long flexi leash so he could get the most of his trip. 

This dog is a real treasure, he deserves better ...... he plays well with females but not with other males. Who will give him a second chance. He really wants to enjoy life to the full.

Yakolev flies home with his friends

Marion Borawitz, Yakovlev's new owner, couldn't wait for him to fly to her in Holland. So she flew out to Malaga to pick him up herself. She did more than that. When she flew back with her new darling, she brought four of his friends back with her on the flight to Amsterdam, home to their golden baskets.

It is thrilling to see that Feria was among them. She's been in the shelter in Algeciras since she was a 5 month old puppy and is now five years old. It's always so special when one of our 'long stayers' finds their golden basket. I'm so happy for her and wish her lots of love and luck.

Yakovlev, one of two beautiful Border collies who came into the Refugio together, didn't know who to lick, he got so many hugs. He was so happy. Little Juanito was quite perky, hopping around with his operated leg. And both Nacha and Julian went off very happily with their new owners.

Our thanks again for all the food and collars that the new owners brought and much thanks go to family Borawitz for bringing the dogs on their flight.

Such a delight to see Feria going home

Nino - who loves Labs?


This is our Nino. He's a beautiful cross-Lab. One of our black beauties.  Not quite one of our real oldies, but he is already eight years old. He is in foster but he so badly needs a home of his very own. We don't want him to stay in foster for the rest of his life.

There's no doubt that it's easier for the dogs when they are in foster. They get cuddles and love just as they would in the Refugio. They are in the warm and not in a cage and while there may be several dogs in the pack, there are not so many so they get more attention. But nothing beats your own family.

Who will welcome sweet Nino into their home? This lovely character will make an ideal family dog, loyal, devoted and loving. Please look at his page on the website.


Nino's day out.

Our 'English' puppy is doing well.

Jamie, Chelsea's (Moussa) new dad, is a dog trainer and regularly posts photo's on his Facebook page. Every now and then there's a photo of Chelsea, usually while she's training or waiting in the field. She is so bright, he says, and loves going to class. I will try to keep you all updated as and when I have pictures. There is a small video but I'm not sure if I can get it to play on here. I will if I can.

From time to time I also get news of Turner (Pouspah) who was adopted by Lucy, also a trainer, and sometimes they train together and the dogs recognise each other. We never did establish whether they were brother and sister, though they were found together and look quite alike so they probably are.

Chelsea, on the left, with her adopted sibling Cookie.

Bully : such joy and gratitude

Bully with his new mum - another miracle!

I met Bully in the Refugio the first time I visited, four years ago. He hadn't been there long. He'd been dumped by gypsies who had treated him with aggression. Violence and harsh words were all he knew. But underneath this damaged dog was a loyal heart. His experience had taught him to attack first but once he knew you, once you were family, he was the most loyal and loving dog and a real character. Playful but unfortunately unpredctable, as he would turn on strangers and other dogs.

As the years went by we came to know him and love him.  He got to know us and is so affectionate, a real teddy bear. We all love our Bully, we understand his past and setbacks. But with strangers he could still be agressive for he was our watchdog. He was only protecting us. Our big hope was that, one day, our Bully would find a forever family, though as the years went by this seemed unlikely.

For on top of his protective nature, poor Bully also had health problems. He was going blind in one eye and as the pressure on the nerve increased and it caused more difficulties, we had to remove it. For a while, when it was healing, he walked around looking like a rather fierce pirate.

But once more El Refugio has witnessed a miracle. And the people who made this miracle happen are the same people who made another miracle happen when they adopted our gentle but incontinent Flappy. Flappy is now so happy with them and with his new friend Bear. They have welcomed Bully with open arms, with love and great patience. They have sent photos, videos and an update. I will not attempt to translate it all, only the bits I can figure out, as Google Translate has garbled it even more than it usually does and I don't want to get things wrong.

Just arrived - playing it safe

News of Bully (Boelie)
Tuesday 19.00

1. As you can see from the pictures and the video Boelie is doing quite well. To my amazement, he will take treats from both John and I. You just have to crouch down - if you walk towards him he gets angry. He gets cross with Bear too and that's a problem but ..... maarrrr it is still too early to give up. He is now sleeping in his crate. He has eaten well and drunk a lot. He breathes rapidly in his sleep but that might be as a result of all the commotion of his arrival. He cannot walk off the leash. I dare not try it. The same goes for Bear. 

Treats - gently, gently.

2. Update Tuesday 22:00

Boelie decided to do it differently anyway. We went with Bully and Flappy for a little walk round, with Bear, and he decided he liked him. It went well. I suspect this was because Bully wasn't in his bench. When we got back, I didn't want to put him back in his bench straight away so I sat down in a chair holding his lead. Boelie decided to get onto my lap !!! I was shocked. I decided to let him do it and to see "what happens next" - you'll see in the video !!!! I was little overconfident and thought I could start to work on his ears and eye because he has so much trouble and itching. Unfortunately ... he bites into the bottles. Maybe I'll try tomorrow ..... He is now snoring down the hallway in his crate .... Trust Boelie! And Flap and Bear ... you really are wonderful !!!!!! Good night all! X

3. Boelie update Wednesday 9.00

Boelie snores quite a lot. You hear that pretty well upstairs when he is in the hallway.
Yesterday evening Boelie took a bone and placed in the toy basket in the pantry. I thought, "Well that's actually good for him, he knows he's allowed."But no, the bone had to be hidden. In another box of stuff that is in the pantry. Boelie went with bone to the box and came back out without bone and then he was happy. I have yet to see what the damage is ....;-)

Last night he lay still for quite a log time, panting, in his bench in the hallway. But eventually he fell asleep, snuggled up and snoring.

This morning there was still more excitement. Last night had ended well, but does he know that too?
I needed to attach the long lead to his collar. This is still scary as I am still not clear about what he will do. So I had to get the lead on before he came out of the bench. The magic workd is 'sweets' so first I gave him a few kibbles just to be safe. House doors all closed and then open the bench and yes, he was wagging his tail.

In my garden with mum.

We were just going for a walk in the garden, with Bear and Flap. Bear let him sniff at him, nose to nose until Bear turned away. Flap didn't come close. Boelie had to do enormous puddles, as yesterday he drank an enormous amount. I also noticed when he came back inside he'd done something in the hall against my curtain !!!

It's funny because he follows me everywhere. I tried again to find an opportunity to see to his eye but  unfortunately, he wouldn't let me ..... So this afternoon anywaywe go to the DA (vet?). I can not let him walk off the lead. Maybe they have a gimmick.

John is now no longer regarded as his friend because this morning Boelie growled when John went to pet him. Luckily I had hold of Boelie and will continue to be watchful. We give him his food in the hall, so he can eat in peace. We also use it to give him treats when we are passing his bench.

When the decorator came she stood an watched him. But that's not allowed! You can almost hear him thinking ' What should I do now? He was trembling and growling a bit. John had left him alone but I said just say 'hello' . Unfortunately because Boelie didn't growl, John immediately put his finger into the bench before I could stop him. Before I could say 'first let him smell your finger' or 'give him a treat' .. hup .. Boelie snapped at his finger. Happily John withdrew it in time. He was quite shocked of course. I got angry with John, Boelie was angry at everyone and John went off feeling cross. Boelie was now mad at me too. So I tried a dry Marie cookie. That went down well. Hopla and now friends again!!

Boelie now is still snoring in his bench in the hall because of the decorators, who are working in the house. I'm curious how it goes this afternoon at the DA. To be continued.

On the sofa with Bear, and Flappy on the rug.

March 15, 2015

Some photos and news from El Refugio

Fabienne writes ...

There's always something going on in our Refugio. And always new arrivals ... the amount of dogs that are abandoned daily really knows no boundaries. At the moment puppies are being born everywhere - in the mountains, outside in the campo, in a cave or in some hole. Everywhere you hear about mothers who have nowhere to go. Dogs are born everywhere then cursed and dumped. The phone rings and we all think ... God, what now?!

Here are some moments of this week ...

Two of my own dog children ... they do not know how good they have it!

Puppies born in the wild, one after the other ...

Mothers who have nowhere to go ...

Puppies who need to be fed every three hours throughout the night .. yes .. they have no mama!

Again two little Podencitos ... skinny, malnourished and terrified ... two of the thousands who currently being killed ...

Look at the fear in those eyes .. is terrible, what they've had to go through!

I've been dumped too, can you help me ???

There are also many dumped cats every day.

          These Mastins had to go too ...

Such a big, beautiful bear ...

Gentle Giant!

A little fearful



Yay! The date's been fixed and announced.

ACE Day this year, 2015, will be held on 5th September in Eck en Wiel

Further information on applications and full details to follow.  Keep an eye on this page!

Don't miss it! It's the most joyous occassion - when everyone dogs, volunteeers, adopters, foster parents, Team Spain, Team Belgium, Team Holland have a wonderful reuninon and celebrate the happiness and all the golden baskets of the the past years.

Our sweet Foxyfox

Foxyfox is a most unusual little dog - this little black fellow is a Deitse Jachterrier, a German Hunting Terrier. Not a terrier you come across often but Foxyfox lives up to the best characteristics of the breed. His intelligence is second to none. He's alert and gorgeously playful. Playing ball is his favourite thing, his ball is his God! Foxyfox is full of energy and has a very sweet nature. He's good with children and with other dogs. 

This little dog is small in stature and so easy to bring with you everywhere. And he would love it tremendously because wherever you are, you'll find him too. He's a real people-loving dog. So who is going to start preparing his basket and buying a ball? You can be sure you'll have a lot of fun with this sweetheart. He's three years old and has been with us for nearly two years. It's time.

Throw it! Please throw it for me!

His ball is God

Such a dear fellow.

Fabienne: Animal Friend of the Week

This was in the Telegraph today! I'm not sure if it is a Dutch or Belgian newspaper. The headline is Spanish Thanks. For all of us who are associated with ACE/Shin, in whatever capacity, she is not simply Animal Friend of the Week. She is Animal Friend always and forever. Our grateful thanks and admiration to you Fabienne.


Fabienne Paques works with her foundation Animal Care Espana / Spanish Dogs in Need (ACE / SHIN) mainly in Spain. She rescues pets who are mistreated, sick, living on the street or have ended up in the so-called killing stations. But recently she was in the Netherlands to meet all the volunteers and give them kudos for their good work. Most rescued dogs come to our country come ultimately to find a warm basket. Before they go to their final boss, they are collected in a host family. Without the help of these volunteers Paques could not carry on with her good work. Her care would be overwhelming in no time at all.