May 25, 2023

Rescued is my favourite breed!

Thursday 25th May 2023

                                  May be an image of dog and text that says "When you find that people have failed you, turn to shelter pets. People have failed them, too. You can heal together."

May 22, 2023

Beethoven: the best of both worlds

 Monday 22nd May, 2023

This is handsome Beethoven, our Cross Shepherd friend, who has been with us for too long. For nearly 2 years now. He's quite a big boy but won't grow any more because he's already 5 years old. Just think, he's only know life in a shelter since he was three years old.

Some people are put off by the bigger dogs, not that Beethoven is particularly big, indeed on the modest side for a GSD. That's probably because he's a cross breed. Super smart and intelligent, cross breed dogs are loyal and gentle as they generally have a more moderate temperament than pure bred dogs. And often tend to be healthier than pure bred dogs. 

Of course every rescue dog is different; every one has their own personal history and their own way of reacting to it. You can find out more about our dear Beethoven by getting in touch with the team in the country where you are living (see the information in the orange squares below Beethoven's details). 

To see this information and for more details about our Beethoven, please click on his name.

May 19, 2023

Filio: yearning for a family to love

 Friday May 19th, 2023

Such a handsome fellow and so affectionate and cuddly. Yet he's been looking for a home for years, no one can understand why. He'd already been with another shelter before he came to us and with us, sadly, he's become one of our long stayers, having been with us for over two and a half years.

Filio had a family once, some time ago, but once they took him home they ignored him, even the children took no notice of him. Poor boy, he's longing for a proper family of his very own; he's already 12 years old- older but not that old. We would so love to find him a home where he can be happy and comfortable for the rest of his days.

Who will give dear Filio what he has craved for so many years - a loving family of his very own who will love him to pieces and be rewarded with cuddles, loyalty and adoration.

For more information about darling Filio, please click on his name.

May 15, 2023

Jacques: a good family dog, needing an active, loving family

 Monday 15th May, 2023

When people think of Border Collies they often think of them as working dogs, in particular as sheepdogs, used for herding sheep. And indeed that is what they were bred to do. However, many people are not aware that they make good family dogs. They are loyal, loving dogs and one of the world's most intelligent breeds. So they are quick learners. With a Collie you also get the best of both worlds - bright and active they also love to cuddle and bond with their owners.

Being so energetic and bright they need an active family, lots of walks and lots of activities to stop them from getting bored. So an experienced owner would be a good fit; not necessarily an owner with specific experience of Collies; that would be helpful but not essential. 

Our Jacques has been waiting for his family for two years. Two years too long. He's seven now, a lovely boy who is currently in foster care in the Netherlands. You can visit him there and you can also contact us to find out how to meet him and how to contact his foster family who will also tell you all about him. As you can see from the video he walks very nicely on a lead and is fine with other dogs.

For more information about our Jacques, please click on his name.


May 12, 2023

Rico - a broken dream

 12th May, 2023

We thought we had found his dream home. Sadly circumstances change and after a few weeks he had to go  when the new owners, who had taken great care of him, could no longer do so because of changed circumstances and illness. We tried so hard to find him somewhere else quickly. When that is not possible we always take our animals back to Spain; we want to make sure they are in our care and that they don't end up in a shelter or somewhere where we can't be sure they are safe.

So now Rico's back with us again. Heartbreaking for him and for us. We will try so hard to make sure he isn't with us too long and that soon he will be in a new forever home, where he will be happy for a long time. Rico is 5 years old, a cross-Malinois. We need a dream family for this dream dog - he's best suited to a family with big kids or no kids. Bless him, he needs a big garden, and a solid high fence :) and lots of  love and affection - which you will get back in spades. He's affectionate and inquisitive and gets on well with other dogs. 

For more information about lovely Rico, please click on his name.

May 09, 2023

Dina ... why is it never my turn?

 Tuesday May 9th, 2023

All dogs are equal, but some are more equal than others. Or so it seems. She may not be the prettiest, the youngest or the most dainty. What is absolutely certain is that she has suffered as much as any other dog, needs love as much as any other dog, and that it is absolutely not right for any dog to spent two years and more in a shelter.

We don't really have much history - or at least there's none with her details. Just another dear soul who was dumped for whatever reason. And through no fault of her own.  Who will look at this special soul, see the longing in her eyes and open their hearts to her. Who is going to bless the day they found her and took her into their family. Could that be you? Your reward, eternal love and devotion.

For more information about our sweet girl,  Dina, please click on her name.


May 08, 2023

Long sitter of the month: Blits ... so beautiful, so unfair that she's still waiting

 Monday, May 8, 2023

Our Blits has been waiting for more than two years for that one special owner who wants to give her a chance. She is a compact size, a loyal, friendly lady but nobody seems to fall for her.

Her foster mom thinks it is best to describe her as "intense" because everything she does, she does with full devotion. She finds it harder to process too many stimuli at once, which means that a quiet, stable environment would be ideal for her. The first acquaintance with other dogs is best done in a quiet way, because sometimes she can come across as busy and this often gets a wrong reaction.

Blits walks briskly on a leash, is used to living in a large group of dogs, loves to ride in the car and is good with children! What better dog for a family. We can never understand why some dogs just get passed over, left behind. Two years is too long for Blitz or indeed for any dog or cat.  Could you start her life all over again? It will be so rewarding.

For more information about lovely Blits, please click on her name. 

May 07, 2023

Beautiful, feisty Palma

Sunday May 7th, 2023

Palma is one of more than one hundred dogs we call langzitters - long stayers. Dogs who have been waiting for a forever home for more than one year. Lovely Palma is among the longest of the long stayers - she's been with us for two years this month. Too long, too long for a dog to be in a shelter, however safe it is here, no matter that her tummy is full and that she is treated kindly - nothing beats your own family.

She did have an owner once, but he gave up on her and took her to the killing station. That's how she came to us. She's a strong, middle sized dog with a strong character who has had to stand up for herself. Nevertheless she is sweet and playful as well as being beautiful. 

Four year old Palma is friendly and gets on with other dogs, but would thrive best being in a family with just one other dog, or being the only dog herself. With the right owner, and some clear direction, beautiful Palma would make the perfect family dog.

For more information about our Palma, please click on her name.


Palma is a friendly dog, but she does have a strong character. An experienced owner, who can and wants to steer her in the right direction consistently, but patiently, is what she needs now! She usually gets along well with other dogs, but she is a feisty aunt, so she is best placed with just one other dog or alone.

May 05, 2023

Hang Hang: a hurt soul

 Friday May 5th, 2023

Poor little lost soul

Who can tell who suffers most, those poor mistreated and abused dogs wandering alone in the streets and the Campo. Or those who have known the love of a family and come to us lost, bewildered and uncomprehending. What happened? Where is their boss, the children, their home? It's not a competition, any suffering is unacceptable. They have done nothing to deserve it, nothing at all. Yet here they are.

Hang Hang was a dog who grew up in a family with children, until circumstances meant they had to say goodbye to their faithful friends. He had a hard time, sad, angry and wary. He's had to slowly learn to trust us. He's staying with a foster family now, which is better for him than the shelter. They are working on him and he has settled with the large pack of dogs in the house though he still has problems with human touch.

However, he is getting there, poor hurt soul that he is. You will see from the video that he is improving and even seeking cuddles from the right person. What he needs to heal him is a family to love him, a family who will stay by his side, understand his hurt and make it better. Who will help him become once again the little dog he was meant to be, a lively, happy, funny clown. A typical Bodeguero.

For more information about sad Hang Hang, please click on his name.

May 04, 2023

Lore: loyal, friendly and needs to get out of the shelter!

4th May, 2023

Sunday morning and we received a call from an unknown Spanish phone number. That usually only means one thing. "I just found a dog, she was walking down the highway and just missed being run over. Can I take her to you?" How many times have we heard that one!!!  And there she was, in all her glory. A big, strong lady, but sweet and sympathetic like no other! She immediately gave us a lick, a friendly push with her head, asking to be cuddled.

Don't be put off by the breed - there are a lot of misconceptions about Staffies and American Bulls. The American Bull Staffie, like Lore, is a hybrid cross between the American Bulldog and the American Staffordshire Terrier. Being more like the Staffie in appearance. A loyal, people loving dog and a great family dog. The breed is patient with children and will go out of its way to protect them.

Lore is a nice, cozy dog, super affectionate and friendly with people and also good with other dogs. She doesn't let herself be fooled, but she doesn't look for trouble herself either. She is a calm, stable dog, looking for a family that will welcome her with open arms! She really needs you, we love her but she's been in our shelter for coming up for two years. She needs her own home.

For more information about our lovely Lore, please click on her name

Read more about Lore's breed here.


May 03, 2023

Remembering Dirk ....

Wednesday 3rd May, 2023

This is a post I hoped I'd never have to write. Because it means that dear, beloved Dirk is no longer with us. His loss is incalculable - primarily for Fabienne, but there are so many, so many people all over the world who loved and valued him and who will miss hims so much. To say nothing of his beloved dogs and cats at the Refugio.

I have vivid memories of the first time I met him. It was the day of the flood and landslide. I had arrived the evening before for my first visit. That night there was a massive storm and torrential rain, the sky electric blue with lightning, the thunder deafening. Yet I woke the next morning to bright sunshine and clear skies. I had no idea of the devastation the storm had caused. I was staying on the other side of La Cala and had no idea how to get to the Refugio, eventually I managed to get someone to call a taxi.

Dropped off near the road I crossed the car parking area. There were cars, but no people. I rang the bell. Nothing happened (later I discovered the storm had knocked out the electrics). Some minutes later another car drew up and Dirk stepped out. I had never met him but recognised him from the website. We introduced ourselves and he let me in. Only then did I see the chaos and the damage - the place was knee deep in mud, generators were humming, people were busy trying to restore some order. I have written about it elsewhere, but suffice to say that it was devastating - dogs lost, food, medicine, blankets and supplies ruined. A volunteer put a sluice in my hand and I got stuck in like everyone else. Dirk, Fabienne and Ton, all the permanent staff and the volunteers  worked tirelessly throughout the day and in the days that followed. 

That was in May 2011. I returned in October, and the following year, and every year until the pandemic struck. Until finally I could go back. My memories of Dirk at the Refugio are like clear snapshots ... Dirk sorting out a problem with supplies ... building a wall ... getting stuck in with any physical work needed ... filling innumerable water canisters in the dreadful days when the well ran dry ... taking photos of the new arrivals. Dirk constructing and managing the website in the office ... talking to the dogs ... always talking to the dogs .... thinking up outrageous, wonderfully inventive names for them. And on occasion shooing them out of the office when the cheeky ones managed to get past or jump the fence.

After several visits Fabienne and Dirk became friends and I had the great privilege of staying with them and their dog family - usually 24+ including their own beloveds and a shifting family of fosters. I loved being there and have even more memories of Dirk at home. Dirk after a long day heading for the fridge offering me beer or wine ... sitting outside with Fabienne surrounded by the dogs while he put the world to rights, he loved talking politics and was always interested in what was going on in the UK. Dirk at his computer  on the office side of the big living room working on the website or admin for the Refugio. Dirk waiting to pick me up at the airport when I came in on an evening flight. Dirk cooking industrial quantities of spaghetti which was shared with the dog children of course. 

All my memories are of a kind, hardworking, loving, generous and hospitable man. He wasn't a saint, who is? He had his moments, as we all do. Those moments too form part of my memories of this beloved husband, friend and saviour of animals. My heart goes out to Fabienne. And my thoughts are also with everyone else who knew and loved this exceptional man. I will miss you Dirk - rest in peace, I'm sure you are surrounded with grateful dogs and cats in heaven as you were on earth, including your beloved Tineke.

Taking a brief rest during clean up operations, during yet another flood.

With his beloved Tineke, who always had her very own plate of food and napkin.

With Fabienne, promoting ACE-Shin and the Refugio. Always in it together.

In the office at El Chapparel, with companions.