March 25, 2022

Do you remember faithful Cem - loyal to the last.

Friday 25th March, 2022

Another story from the archives and the early days of the blog. The story of Cem touched all our hearts.
Our beautiful loyal Cem had a good boss, a boss who loved him and whom he loved in return. His boss died and Cem was heartbroken and so loyal that after the funeral he refused to leave. He was loyal to the last.  

Day after day, week after week, Cem stayed by his master's grave. Even when he was chased away, he always came back. He could often be heard howling his grief for his master. Some kind people fed him but others didn't want him hanging around so they called the killing station. The kind people got in touch with us and kept an eye on him, to make sure he wasn't grabbed. Luckily we got there first. 

If it were up to Cem he would stay at his owner's side until his last breath. However, it wasn't safe to leave him there, he would only have ended up in the killing station and we couldn't allow that to happen. So he came to us. This kind, friendly dog was good with other dogs and was so friendly to us. It wasn't too long before this wonderful boy was adopted. That was such a happy day for us all. He deserved the best.

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Friday 25 March 2022

Do you ever get gift cards that you do nothing with? Or maybe you have no idea what to buy? Donate your gift card to ACE SHIN! We receive a generous compensation for each gift voucher that is donated. We use that money to give hundreds of dogs and cats loving and essential care.

Would you like to know how it works? 

Go to: 

On behalf of our four-legged friends, thank you for your support! 

Sahara sand has us in its grip...

 Friday 25 march 2022

Our refugio...all our surroundings are covered by the Kalima....

Everything is covered in dust...filthy filthy....

Hooligans 😂

 Friday 25th March, 2022

March 23, 2022

We're not witches, promise. (And Stanley and Shane aren't warlocks!!)

Wednesday 23rd March, 2022

Blanco, Blanche, Stanley and Shane have one thing in common, apart from being delicious, furry, cuddly cats looking for love. You got it ... they are all black. As far as I am concerned the only downside with a black cat is that he or she is difficult to photograph. But that can be rectified. Easily.

All these sweetie darlings are one year and two months old. They have been with us for a year - since they were tiny balls of black fluff. They are gorgeous and loving and badly need someone to love forever.

For more details of each of them, please click on their names below their photos.

 Wednesday 23 March 2022

Cindy organised a plant sale for the benefit of our four-legged friends

The sale raised more than 300€! Well done, and thank you very much! We can use it to do so much... 

March 22, 2022

Our dear Gimiliana is one of our longest long stayers - nearly five years with us.

 Tuesday 22nd March, 2022

It's too long. Really, it's too long. She never harmed anyone, she's quirky and affectionate and loyal. With some Sharpei traits, both in the way she looks and in character, this gorgeous girl needs a loving home with understanding and firm owners. No children, because she is possessive about her food but she is social with other dogs though, overall, she prefers a quiet calm life. 

Read more about our Gimiliana, by clicking on her name, where you'll find further information and several charming videos. And check the one below, too.

March 21, 2022

Fabienne's dog of the week: 𝙅𝙀𝙍𝙊𝙈𝙈𝙀𝙆𝙀...

Monday 21st March, 2022


Jerommeke was dropped off at our gate together with his 7 brothers and sisters. He is a cheerful and playful puppy who loves to romp with the rest. Jerommeke is a cute and endearing little man. He likes to sit on your lap for a cuddle. Who will give this little darling a home where he can grow up safe and sound?  

For more information about happy, playful Jerommeke, please click on his name.

Fabienne's long-stayer of the month: Brenda

 Monday 21st March, 2022

A woman called us late in the evening. They had found a dog by the side of the road somewhere near an olive grove, she was lying there apparently dead. She had been attacked and had heavy, deep wounds and, we later discovered, these were badly infected. She fortunately recovered after care in our clinic.

Brenda loves to cuddle and has a very gentle character. She is a Mastiff cross though. A big, strong dog, who because of her traumatic experience does not like to come too close to other dogs on a leash. A strong owner is therefore a must.   She would so love the comfort of a soft basket and to receive love and cuddles.

Brenda has been with us for nearly two years now. Too long. She needs a chance to get over her earlier trauma and settle with loving owners who understand the breed and can give her all the care and education she needs. We love her but her happiness in finding a forever home will be our happiness too.

For more about gentle Brenda's story and for full information please click on her name.

March 20, 2022

The pet owners of Ukraine .... a shining, example of love and courage

 Sunday 20th March, 2019

First many apologies for the gap in posts since early last week - I was away for a few days and unable to do the blog. But one of the most striking things that I'm sure we have all noticed in the last dreadful weeks, is the regard so many Ukrainians have for their animals. From the weeping man who sent his horses across a bridge to find their way to safety, to the grannies clutching cat carriers and the young men carrying large, elderly dogs incapable of walking. 

This very vivid and visible display of love, this affirmation that 'family' includes pets, is heartwarming. These are people in danger of their lives, who are in many cases bereaved and mourning, who in all cases are forced to leave family and friends behind. People whose lives have been turned upside down in a matter of days or weeks - and still they can think of their animals. 

There was an outcry when Pen Farthing, the UK Afghan war veteran raised heaven and earth to save the animals in his rescue centre in Kabul, along with the staff who cared for them. Why is he putting animals over people? He wasn't. He saved both ... but there are people who will never understand. So I make no apology for writing about animal rescue in a time like this. Love for animals, a willingness to save them at all costs is a sign of love, of caring and humanity. It's not save one or the other, it's both.

Fortunately there are so many people in the world who look on it this way. Many small groups and bigger organisations both in Ukraine, in Poland, Europe and internationally have rallied round to help. Please see the links below, if you would like to donate. 


Humane Society International 

HSI is providing support, including emergency funds, to groups helping the Ukranian people and the animals in their care who have been devastated by Russian's military invasion. 

Four Paws

Four Paws was already operating in Ukraine - they run the bear sanctuary Domazhyr and have a Stray Animal Care Team in the country. In addition they have had teams at the various borders providing practical help to refugees with pets and also strays found along the way. 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare

Like Humane Society International and Four Paws and many other organisations,  IFAWis also playing it's part in helping refugees with their animals by providing food, advice, vet care and shelter. I was delighted and moved to see that the first video features my own vet, Aga, who is Polish. 

Other organisations

The Red Cross, PETA and many, many other animal charities are moving heaven and earth to help. I looked to see if I could find some specific Dutch and Belgian organisations on Google, but I imagine anyone living in those countries will already know the local organisations. As well as the national offices and websites of the larger organisations I have highlighted here. 

For the Red Cross initiative click here

For PETA, click here

March 12, 2022

Our beautiful black long-stayers ...

 Friday 11th March, 2022

Why do some dogs and cats get adopted quickly, while others languish in their kennels for a year or more?  It's easy enough to understand why pretty little puppies get adopted (though even so, out of a single litter there will sometimes be that one who is left behind for no obvious reason). But as to the others - it's a mystery?

While there doesn't seem to be an obvious reason why some get passed over, in other cases it is possible to guess at it. If a dog is nervous, or shy, doesn't have an outgoing personality - these can contribute to a longer stay, even though the dog or cat is just as worthy of love, has just as much love to give and will make as wonderful a family member as a more outgoing soul. 

And then, sometimes, there's another reason. It's because they are black, or mostly black. Why the prejudice against black animals? With cats it's almost certainly historic - the subliminal association with witches and bad luck. With dogs, who knows?

The dear souls here are black and beautiful. They are all long-stayers - dogs who have been with us for more than a year, though some for longer. 

For more details about each dog, please click on their name under their photos.

Sweet Bale has been with us for a long time, through no fault of his own. He's one of those dogs who's long stay with us is a total mystery because his two little brothers and his sister were adopted when they were still puppies. And yet, poor Bale is still with us. Who will lose their heart to this dear boy, who is just waiting to give you his. You can visit him in his foster home in the Netherlands, and see for yourself what a great dog he is.

Robinson was very shy and frightened when we rescued him. He was one of a pack who were in danger of being rounded up and taken to the nasty killing station in Fuengirola. All of them were neglected with various health problems but after a few months they looked and behaved like different dogs. Robinson has been with us for three years, he's six now. He needs a home. Who will fall for this lovely home and grant him his heart's desire - a forever home with a loving family. 

Chary has been with us since September 2020 and is currently in foster care in the Netherlands. He was rescued as a puppy and is not quite two years old now. Not an entirely black fellow, he has some tan markings, he nevertheless seems to have suffered the fate of many black animals - being last in the queue.
But he shouldn't be. He doesn't deserve this. Who will visit him in his foster family and offer him a permanent loving home?


March 11, 2022

Fabienne's Diary: The suffering of animals doesn't stop,...

 Friday 11 march 2022

This week we have been able to rescue more than 30 dogs from one killing station, 9 from another killing station and we are now expecting 5 more from a killing station not far from here. Animal suffering doesn't stop, unfortunately. Sometimes you could be discouraged. Together with some volunteers we went to fetch them. Always very emotional and it sucks all the energy out of you, leaves you empty. Especially the recurring conflicts among ourselves, between the two different worlds. We, rescue, against the power that a killing station wields.And then those who could not come with us... you lie awake. But these rescued souls are now with us and here begins their new life,...

 Thank you to everyone,... Now we put our shoulders to the wheel and, together with a great team, ensure their happiness!

There's a 'picture' video on the Dutch blog. Click here
(I can't upload the picture videos at the moment).

March 10, 2022

From our longest long-stayer ... to a much loved, much travelled star.

Wednesday 9th March, 2022

He was found in a dangerous area in Tarifa, where he formed a pack with some friends to try to keep safe. They had no food or care, locals pelted them with stones and worse. Poor Adyn was the only survivor of the group. He came to us in April 2009, a young one year old. Who could have known that, for no reason anyone could fathom, he would become our longest long stayer.

This was strange because he was a friendly, playful sweet dog. Despite his lovely character, he was with ACE for six years, mostly in foster care. I used to call him 'the last dog' because he was the last one on the website. Always there. Always hoping. Always last.

His foster family in Amsterdam were kind and loving, they cared for Adyn, now Sammie, for one and a half years and while they were delighted when he found a forever home, they were sad to say goodbye. But so happy that Sam had found Julie and Steven and a wonderful future with them. I still remember writing about his adoption and being so delighted and moved to know he was home at last.

Sam now lives in Cameroon, his fifth country! He had left Spain for the Netherlands, where he was adopted. Sadly that didn't work out, so he went to his foster parents in Amsterdam until Steven insisted they adopt him, and so he came to Belgium.  When Julie and Steven moved to Liberia to work with monkeys, Sam came too. And now he's living in Cameroon, and helping them save pangolins.  This much travelled boy even had his own Instagram account - sam_breaking_the_internet. 

When Sam moved in he found he had a friend there already. Julie and Steven had adopted Lita a year before Sam. Unknown to them, Lita and Sam had both been at the Refugio at the same time, between 2012 and 2014. And for a whole year, in 2012 they had shared the same kennel. Lita was adopted in 2014 and Sam in 2015. So the friends were reunited and remain best friends.

Sam's an older boy now, a bit lame, a little slower. Still very, very happy. Living the life he was born to lead, a contented, loving life, with his family and his best friend. 

Another happy ending. A special one - from a long wait to a wonderful forever home.

Adyn then ....

... Sam now

With his friend, Lita. Kennel mates and, by a wonderful happenstance, adopted into the same family. 


March 09, 2022

Alexandre le Bienvenu finally able to leave for home 🤗 Such a happy day.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

His name means Alexandre the Welcome One. But he wasn't ... not in the beginning. On the first of January 2019 he came to us. He'd been dumped ... by whom? He was a young fresh sweetheart, but a Stafford,...and then sometimes it takes a long time to find a forever home. But today was the day ...he went home, our boy. He was so lucky.... Alexandre was loved by his caregivers, by our volunteers, but the years went by in a lonely cage. Going for a walk was a sacred thing for him, and he cherished every hug; every bit of attention was received with so much friendship. But today he was finally able to go home.The day usually comes for each of them.

 All the best! Dear Alexandre.  There's a lid for every pot! 


March 05, 2022

Remembering Hobie - some stay with you forever


R.I.P. sweet Hobie - you will never be forgotten.

His one chance of happiness was snatched away. There was nothing we could do - and he was snatched way in such a cruel way.  It was my second visit to a killing station. Last time, disturbing and confusing as the experience had been, at least I had walked out with two little dogs in my arms. This time it was a different story.

By the door, the first cage held a pretty Spaniel type cross and a little Bodeguero. Diana chose the former and I the latter, because this delightful breed is often ignored in Spain. I thought they would take the dogs out of the cage, as had happened previously. But no. 

They consulted some lists and told us that, no, we couldn’t have those two after all. They hadn’t been in for the required period and in any case one had a chip. (I was pretty sure that if the chip had been up to date the owner would already have been traced.) We were told that we could have them Monday, if they hadn’t been claimed by then. I didn’t trust them. And I was right not to do so, for a different reason. 

At the time, thinking these little ones were not available, I said I’d choose another dog. And I fell in love with him. Hobie was more medium than small. He was just an ordinary dog. Quiet and unassuming.  He looked so sad - as if he’d given up hope. My heart went out to him. I asked if I could take him. They took him out of his cage. And then they declared that he was sick; he couldn’t be released. 

They said they'd treat him and if he got better we could take him. With that I had to be content.   That night I spent a long time thinking of a name for this quiet dog. In the end I decided on Hobie, after the gentle, unassuming character in Donna Tart’s ‘The Goldfinch', which I was reading at the time. 

The following morning, the day I was leaving, Fabienne picked me up and had to break some horrible news. The killing station had rung her and told her that they would not treat Hobie unless she paid for the treatment. She didn’t have time to tell me this or to work something out because within the hour they rang again. They had killed Hobie.

I will never know if he was even sick at all. Or if he was, what was wrong with him or if he would have got better with the right medicine. He was never given the chance. I’m crying even as I write this - even though all this happened nearly eight years ago. I am crying because he never got to hear soft words, get cuddles, know the care and love of a forever home. 

My tears are also tears of grief for all those who we couldn’t take that day or on other days. For the little black and white one in the second cage. For the puppies – barely two or three months old – that we couldn’t save.  My tears are also tears of anger for all the hundreds and thousands of dogs who are cruelly put to death in the killing stations throughout Spain. Every Friday. Every week. Every month. Every year. 
There was a happy ending for two of the dogs, if not for Hobie. The killing station eventually released Gloria and Muffin on the Monday. They came to us and both were eventually adopted. 

But I will never forget Hobie. Never. Nor will I forget what they did to him.

To read the full story about Hobie, please click on his name.
To read Gloria and Muffin's story, please click here.

Please stop .......

Thursday 3rd March, 2022

 Friday 4 March 2022

New in our webshop long-sleeved t-shirts!

Show your love for animals with these cool t-shirts with captions. Moreover, you also be supporting our four-legged friends in the Refugio!

The texts can be combined with all our models and colours. All you have to do is mention it when ordering.

You can order through our webshop: 

March 01, 2022

Happiness can't be measured in time but in love: Young

 Tuesday 1st March, 2022

I want to highlight this entry in Fabienne's Diary, because it illustrates so beautifully that it's love that matters. That however long a dog or a cat has had to endure a miserable, cruel existence there is always hope. Hope for a few years of love. Of happiness. 

Adopting an older soul is such a magnificent thing to do. Don't think - 'well, he or she will probably only have a few years, or even less.' And don't think "I could bear it when he or she goes to the Rainbow Bridge." That day is alway devastating, heartbreaking - but turn it round. Think of the joy that poor soul enjoyed with you, the quality of their life and the love, and not the length. And while it will of course be heartbreaking at the end, you will have the memories of the time you spent together, the love they gave you and the love you gave them. 

The story below is inspirational. An illustration of the rewards for adopting an oldie. Thank you to Fabienne and team for rescuing Young, and thank you - a massive thank you - to Young's adopters. A sweet old boy had the two best years of his life, thanks to you.

From Fabienne's Diary:

Young, an old Podenco used for hunting in Spain, lived for years in misery with one of the many hunters who saw him as a tool of no value. He was dumped by his hunter in an inexorable killing station where his days were numbered. We saved him from that, and then… Then suddenly adopters came into the picture, who gave him the best two years of his life.

May 16, 2020 his life turned into a heaven. Words often fail us for people who rescue a discarded dog, or kitten.  Rescuing one from a killing station. Young was one of them. On the one hand he was an intensely sad old Podenquito with us, but that turned into an intensely happy dog ​​who, thanks to his owners, got everything that could still be alive,... Everything,...

For two years he enjoyed life. Walked, lazed around, played mischief. Running like a tough Podenco on the beach with his nose in the wind. Eat like a King at his table of honour, day after day, Hugged as if he couldn't take it anymore, wagged his tail as if it would never stop. He enjoyed this life, got everything out of it, but also everything, thanks to rescue people who gave him that chance, ... The gratitude and The friendship that came up against this cannot be described in words,…

As his owner so beautifully described: "I would like to say so much, but words would not do him justice, we are so deeply sad for the life he had to live, but so intensely grateful that we have been able to make a difference for almost 2 years. him. He was a beauty of a dog ..." Young, an example to so many others,...

Rescue is the most rewarding act imaginable and you, dear Young, were one of them…

Rest now little Podenquito… You will remain in our hearts forever."

To see the lovely video, please look at the Dutch blog.


Tuesday 1 march 2022

This week is the week of the volunteer, people who help animals, voluntarily.  Just like that, from the heart, out of passion. Some are very active and volunteer every day, others do it sporadically, when they can and have time, how much, how short, how long - no matter what and how much, our four-legged friends are always grateful and happy with everything they receive! When you see what it does to a four-legged friend in a shelter... A sweet cuddle, a soft word, a walk, or a nice bone...but we certainly do not forget the silent volunteers, the many volunteers in the countries where we work together! Voluntary, involved daily, out of conviction and love for those who have no voice. You are invaluable and very special to each of our four-legged friends, the dogs, the cats, thank you all! It means so much to them, you are their heroes of their new future!!! Thank you!!!