September 27, 2015

They are all so special but some are special cases too ...

All our doggies are special and our sole purpose is to care for them and find them forever homes as quickly as we can. That said, there are some among them who we call urgent cases. Either because of the length of time they have been with us or for some other reason. Some are very disturbed at being in the shelter, some are fragile souls who will need an adopter who will love them and patiently help them to trust again or to get over their fears, fears that are due to earlier abuse or bad experiences. Devon, whom we are spotlighting here, is a sweet dog who unfortunately has had several owners due to circumstances and badly needs a stable, forever home.

Devon - just look at that sweet face.

Devon is nearly three. He's been with us since April 2013 and is currently in foster care in Belgium. He had three brothers and a sister. We found these five defenceless creatures huddled together at the back of a cage in a creepy killing station. Our hearts broke when we saw this and we swiftly took them out of there. 

Unfortunately, due to circumstances, Devon had to change host families - which had nothing to do with him. His first foster mum, with whom he stayed for a few weeks, said he had a very positive start. "At first he seemed very frightened but he quickly got over it thanks to our own dog who wanted to play with him a lot. We have also noticed how he quickly takes to another dog and then soon becomes more confident. So it is certainly desirable that he be rehomed in a family that already has a dog, so he can have a canine friend in his new home, a dog that can support him and help him to open up and blossom. 

Clearly he experienced bad things in his young life, but there is absolutely no harm in him. He sto;; gets scared if he hears expected noises or if there are sudden movements, but that is getting better every day. He is a little more sensitive to men but once you've won his confidence, he is a loyal and dear friend for life. He loves walking and he follows very well on a lead, but if he is allowed to run loose, then he is in his element .."

His second foster mum wrote in May this year.  "Due to circumstances Devon had to change host families and so he ended up with us. In the beginning he was a bit wary, but he adapted very quickly. After a few hours we were able to give him plenty of cuddles. On day two he was waiting for us in the morning and gave us a nice greeting. On day three he was playing for the first time. Especially Shirley, lured him out of his shell, it was as if they both knew they were fellow-sufferers. 

Meanwhile, Devon is an active playful teenager. He does need sturdy toys, because even a bulldog-proof toy was unable to withstand his youthful enthusiasm. Devon is able to remain perfectly alone. In the beginning, he barks a few times, but this does not last long. He is perfectly housebroken and does not break anything. With strangers, he still has a little difficulty, but if you give him time to familiarize himself, he quickly gains confidence. 

He is very social with other dogs, small and large. The only disadvantage is that he is sometimes a bit possessive. Fortunately, this behaviour is definately not extreme, and if you intervene in a timeley manner, he soon gets over it. What we wish for Devon is active owners who will treat him gently and help him enjoy life. Who wants to face this great challenge? Devon has often changed owners, so it's time he finds a permanent home ...

Devon loves to play.

September 26, 2015

Lexie has made great progress

                  Lexie - the first year.
Lexie has now been in Belgium for three years, since 8th July 2012. It seems only yesterday that we were waiting for her to arrive at Zaventem! We stood there anxiously waiting with her collar, leash and water bowl.

After what seemed like an eternity for us two carts arrived with the dog crates. Suddenly I found a crate with three dogs in, one of them was brown with a white chin. SHE IS SO SMALL!!! (the collar which I had bought would have certainly needed to be kept in the wardrobe for at least six months). 

We went quickly all together to the parking lot where the dogs would be transferred from their crates. Lexie was especially pleased to be out of the crate and get so much attention, until the stones, cigarette butts and wrappers on the floor distracted and puzzled her.

During the ride she was either asleep in my lap or fascinated by the windscreen wipers. Soon she turned out to be the stuffed animal in the family. As much as she trusted us, she was nevertheless very insecure especially in crowded places, with strange people.

Without putting too much pressure on her we have in recent years taken her to the dog school and during our walks and at home we have quietly worked on increasing that trust. The arrival of her pal Luna from Rhodes was a big influence also. She turned out to be a great big sister.

Today Lexie is happy to show herself even in new situations, she quietly explores everything, allows herself to be stroked by strangers and sometimes wags her tail cheerfully. Slowly but surely we will get there!

I regularly google 'ACE Divina' and look back at her pictures, video and text  She had nine brothers and sisters. I have one of these but know others are on the site (Enana). It would be nice we found Enana and / or other siblings and were able to share pictures  ...

The second year.

The third year.


Kees - very much at home.

Kees, who was called Georgio, has been our dog since July 2014. He very quickly became accustomed to his new life and to us.

He is very fond of children and cuddlng, playing, walking, eating, driving and sleeping, just as long as he can be with us.

Kees is very popular in our family, and with our friends and acquaintances, a welcome guest at social gatherings.

Everyone looks forward to seeing him and it is a disaster if we do not take him any time - we see a lot of disappointed faces.

And when your dog is welcomed rather than you, then you realize, just how popular he is !!

Greetings Joost, Sacha and Kees

A welcome guest!

Frank and Cristel Galan are giving a benefit concert for us

This generous couple have already given concerts to raise money for us, they have visited the Refugio and adopted an ACE dog. We are so grateful to them for their support and generousity.


Odie, formerly Donato, was picked up from the Refugio by Guy and Inge Verjans, his new forever family. They came all the way to fetch their darling. Now happy together.

Watching the birds fly overhead ...

... together!

Jaimy (Rembrandt) in Memoriam

Jaimy - 01.06.08 - 23.09.15

To my great sadness I must inform you that my beloved cockertje Jaimy is deceased.
An acute herniated disc made me decide that I had to put an end to his young life.
So much pain, so sick and lame on both hind legs ....

Jaimy, or James, when he came to me, did not know about his hidden hunting instinct, let alone the pleasure of walks.

James, who has evolved over time into a real hunting dog, no bird was safe.

James  who, when I was eating fries in the car always just tapped on my shoulder with his paw, hey please, don't forget me!

Oh dear, last Saturday during a long walk, I was more worried about Joey, given his heart problem.

Then came that morning, you were eating, you suddenly fell over and you so sadly were unable to stand, paralyzed, and nothing could be done despite all the injections and pain management.

Yeah, and then the last injection ... Just before I got a couple of big licks on my cheek and you bit me gently in my nose, as always.

When I took you out of the house on Wednesday morning, the radio was playing the song: Friends for Life, how apt.

I wear a ring containing the inscription, Jordy, Joey and James, my friends forever ...
Jordy and James, my little cockers from Spain ... no longer with us.
Now only Joey, my Spaniard is still there, with his friend Jody.
But, even though they are no longer on this earth, they remain forever in my heart.

Good night dear Jaimy,
Good night cocker man
Mommy'll stay with you
So you can finally sleep
Put your head down to rest
Close your eyes now
May the pain flow from you 
And go, now you can float,
Float to the light.

Goodbye dear treasure, thank you for all your love !!!

Tieske Nieland, Joey and Jody.

Elsa - so happy!

Happy family.

Elsa has fallen on her paws - such a lucky ending!

September 20, 2015

Our Sany - happy in his new home!

A family at last.

A little walk ...

... among the trees.

A gentle caress.

Papa Antoine's happy journey ...

Getting to know you.

They call him Papa Antoine. This big hearted, generous man. He has already adoped our Bebe Antoine, James and Alaska. And then he saw Sany on our website. He fell in love ... again. But there was a problem. Sany is ill and cannot travel by plane - what could he do. What he did was heroic. He so badly wanted to adopt and care for Sany, he decided to drive all the way over to Spain. Not easy with an old, old car. But he made it - just in time because as he arrived the car broke down.

But he got here. And he met Sany. And they both knew. Dogs know. They feel it. That click you can't describe, but that happens between two people or between a person and a dog. Within a few hours Sany was glued to his master's side. When Papa Antoine had to leave for a few days to fetch a part for the car, Sany was looking for him. 'Where's he gone? Is he coming back?'

Of course Papa Antoine came back and together they left for their new life together. In the next post you'll see some photos of the homecoming. And you can read more on the ACE Facebook page and in Fabienne's Diary. We send all our love and best wishes for a wonderful future to Papa Antoine and Sany and also to Alaska, James and Bebe Antoine.

Settling in for the journey.

Looking ahead to a loving future.

RIP, beautiful Bono.


The saddest news this week. Our lovely Ineke, who writes the Dutch blog and does so much for ACE, had to say goodbye to her beloved Bono.  It's so very hard and distressing when you have to say goodbye to a beloved friend, as Bono was to Ineke, Peter and their family and to his doggie siblings. Ineke writes ...

On July 29th, you arrived at Eindhoven airport.
We couldn't believe our eyes.
You looked exactly like our first Bono from the shelter in Winschoten.
We immediately loved you with all our heart.
We paid many visits to the vet with you, sweet darling.
We have done everything we could for you.
During 5 years we were able to care for you.
But now there is no tomorrow for you.
We received you with love and with love we let you go.
Sweet Bono, you were wonderful and you will stay in our hearts forever.

Bono in the Refugio

Bono arrives at the airport on 29th July,  2010

Bono with his ball.

Bono at home earlier this week.


Lately there have been fewer posts on the English Blog than is normally the case. This is because I am moving house and it's taking a lot of time and effort. So this week particularly there will be fewer posts than I would like and the same might also be true from time to time in the coming weeks. If there are fewer post, please forgive me. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

September 13, 2015

A great big thank you to you all.

Please forgive the delay and my running two messages together. There was no blog last week as I too was at the splendid and heartwarming Dog Day.

Messages from Fabienne

Please send a big thank you to everyone for all the lovely get well messages and support that allowed these two special days to be such a success. It was, once more, overhwelming. Just wonderful positive messages from happy owners and happy volunteers. The ACE SHIN days were a success ... a "Booster" to help us continue and never stand still.

Thanks to all our visitors yesterday and today ..

Dear all people,

It was a gigantic success, a heartwarming and special meeting of so many lucky four-legged friends, come home safe and sound !!

What a "booster" for all of us ... even though with pain in my heart I wasn't there this year I am proud of all who came to visit us. It gets you right in the heart, nothing is more beautiful than working together persuing a positive and constructive goal, the welfare of our dogs and our cats, who are more than dear to us!

To all the organizers, to everyone who had a stall, to every volunteer, to absolutely everyone, forgetting no one, we want today to send you a big thank you. 

In the following days there will be many memories and pictures.

Let us together continue fighting for these neglected and dumped souls, together we are strong !!!


Our renovations begin again!

Dear all,

The most fantastic holidays of our year, the ACE SHIN days are over. I have missed them so much. I missed you all but this time my health let me down and in this hospital room I am far away, but in my heart I carry enormous appreciation for everyone who has helped us, for the heartwarming photos, messages and cards. Thank you very much.

We are so very proud of the organizers, volunteers, supporters - everybody who helped, whatever contribuion, big or small. The enormously positive messages I receive and the lucky quadrupeds have shown that our our commitment is worth it !!!

As promised, we have started the renovation works again. The heat is bearable in September. During the hot summer it was impossible for us to work. Today we have started again and we'll certainly keep you informed, but here you can see the first tiles being installed.

To be continued ....


Preparations for tiling.

More prep.

Making a start.

Hard at work.

Getting there.


Somebody's left their toy in the basket!

Some welcome shade for the workers.

From another angle, against the sun.

September 12, 2015

More pictures of A.C.E. Day 2015

Solomon gets cuddles and inspects the merchandise, with friends.

So many lovely, generous volunteers with delightful goods to benefit ACE.

More special gifts to buy.

Thanks to Pietie Groeneveld for these great pictures from ACE day.

A.C.E. Day .. photos and stories


It was that time of the year again. The day, or rather days, we all look forward too. The first weekend in September where the wonderful Spanish team come over to meet the volunteers, the adopters, foster parents and especially the dogs who have been rescued and rehomed. It's always a joyous occasion. The Dutch ACE Day takes place on the Saturday and The ACE Shin Day in Belgium on the Sunday.

I can only report personally on the Dutch ACE day - one day I hope to visit the ACE Shin day too. I didn't manage o take many photos this year, but will post others taken by other pariticants in further posts. I will attempt to translate a report on the ACE Shin Day that appeared in a Belgian newspaper. For us, in Holland, the weather did not co-operate, but there was some sun among the heavy showers. But rain will never damp our enthusiasm nor the generousity of our volunteers, friends, foster parents and adopters. As for the doggies - they had the most wonderful time, running round, getting treats, hugs and pats.

The only damper on our day was the absence of Fabienne, who is ill. We all missed her so much and wish her a quick and complete recovery. She was represented by the delightful Dirk, fabulous Diana, super Ton, lovely Quami and others from Team Spain. It was wonderful to see them all and our thanks to them and to the organisers for a wonderful day.

My smart hat (It's got a crown on it!)

Baton sizes up the agility hoop.


Hmm! Not sure!


Yay! Clever dog.

 Not ready for my close up .....!

Astrid with Tripod - to see him race around the field, his three legs were no handicap at all!

Our lovely Diana with a little friend.

One of our loving adopters with volunteers Odette (who meets and greets at the airport), Ineke (who writes the Dutch blog), with Mafalda, one of Ingrid's ACE dogs.

Who will give little Buffy a chance ...?

Little Buffy with his foster mum, Amalia.

Who will give this little white puff a chance? He's still a young puppy and needs a forever home somewhere with people who will love him and care for him.