domingo, 24 de fevereiro de 2013

Our Shelter in Portugal - Part 3

This weekend it’s time to write about our association who runs the shelter. Like I said before, it all started with the concerns of some dog-loving people who wanted to stop the bitter end of some animals in the city shelter. Some time later, this punch of people felt the need to create an association, for many reasons, on top of all, to make this thing legal, to ask officially for money to help the dogs and, in the name of this association, to explain population about the crowing dog problems in our region.
All of this happened about 15 years ago, since then, hundreds of dogs passed through the shelter, many of them found the best end possible, to get adopted. Others unfortunately died there, but of natural causes, illness or age. But I also have to tell you that accident happens, that sometimes the fences between the boxes are getting weak, and ... the last 3 or 4 years this situations stopped because we are always aware for avoiding this!
There were times when our association and the city didn’t understand each other; the worst thing what happened was that the official city vet got the order to kill many of our dogs, healthy or not, old or not, but we arrived in time to stop this, unfortunately it was too late for a dozen of them! This of course started a war between the parts, they even wanted to throw us out of there, but with many meetings and good sense the good understanding returned, and nowadays it’s better then ever, the best example is that they agreed for me to work there!
Many people passed through the organization, dozens of volunteers made things alright. Sure, like in all kind of groups like this, there are misunderstandings, maybe the first reason is that they are mostly women, mostly young at age, and they sometimes forget that there’s a bigger reason ... the dogs. At the end, the good judgment wins, thank God.
Today we are about 8 to 10 active volunteers and about 20 others who are doing foster homes or helping at events like fundraisings, or exhibitions like, for example, at the “OviBeja” where thousand of visitors come to Beja to see all kind of stuff our region has to offer. There, we mount a little stand with things to sell (t-shirts, stickers etc.) and for sure, every day (it’s a 5 day event) we take 2 dogs, hoping they get adopted. At the top of the dog cages there’s a big moneybox, normally it’s a great success.
Some years ago, a German organization helped us to buy a van for transporting dogs and dog food. We even drove to Italy with it to take 10 greyhound dogs there. That was some trip...

Next week I’ll start with posts named “Dog of the Week” where you’ll know the dogs in our shelter in detail, one at the time. Maybe somebody shows interest in one of them!

domingo, 17 de fevereiro de 2013

Our Shelter in Portugal - Part 2

This weekend it’s time to speak about the kennel itself. It was built in 1982 by the city of Beja to resolve the crowing dog problem in our region. It’s situated at the end of the material park of the Community of Beja and belonged entirely to the city. At that time of course they didn’t have much care for dogs, we actually don’t know what happened of most of them, but you can imagine how they ended...

About 1998 a small group of dog lovers talked to the city to give them the management of that kennel. Some time later that small group went growing and started as an organization, the “Associação Cantinho dos Animais de Beja”. This will be the issue for next weekend. Today the front aspect is this:

We can’t write letters on the wall for identifications because of our (great) neighbors, the gipsy’s. 10 years ago, the city thought they could resolve the problems with that kind of people gathering them in one neighborhood outside of Beja, but today they are sure that they’ve created a ghetto, with all the problems that comes with it! The biggest problems of course are with us and the dogs. In the last 2 years they stole 6 dogs from us, 2 are still missing! We had to raise the walls and mount some security facilities, money we could, and should have spent on the dogs. Me, for example, they know veeery well, they know that I’m working with tv’s, so, I have to put my car far away for them not to see that I’m working there. The dog food I only can carry there after midnight for nobody to see me, and only food for 2 days, if not, they could steel it. They are a big problem for us, but what can we do?

This part of the shelter we call the old part. It was built right when our organization started, at the left you can see the original building. About 12 years ago there were 160 dogs there; it was a big chaos, no condition for them, no proper medical care and not enough food for all.
(Note: this photos were taken before cleaning)

Because of this, the city decided to build that what we call today the new part:

Some “lazy” doggies who are at the outside, in the middle, a very especial one, an old Lady named Bolota, handicapped but veeery nice.

In total, we have 33 boxes, and in the original building some more space where we put the incoming dogs, or the problematic ones. Problematic not because they have bad behavior, but because of their former owners who mostly mistreated them; clearly speaking: to hide the dogs for a while! It’s very, very rare to have bad dogs, it happens much more often to have bad owners!

Like I said, the last counting achieved 120 dogs, and 30 in foster homes. For sure the city is helping us in form of the ground and the buildings, we don’t have to pay for water and electricity and most of all, they allow me to work there Monday to Friday, for 4 hours. We are trying to make it 5 hours for having time for all the things I would like to do there!

domingo, 10 de fevereiro de 2013

Our Shelter in Portugal - Part 1

I created this blog especially for Solhund and Hundrondellen groups to make us known better

Portugal is a country in Southern Europe, with about 10 million people. It lies close to Spain at the so called Iberian Peninsula. It even could belong to Spain, some centuries ago they even made wars about it ... but nowadays they are best friends.
Today Portugal is mostly known for their great beaches, Port wine and of course, football players like Eusébio, Figo and more recently, Cristiano Ronaldo. It also belongs to the European Union and we pay in Euro.
Like almost every country in South Europe, we got a big dog problem. People mostly don’t care about those animals, most shelters are full and it’s getting worse. The recent economic crisis is not helping at all! Some of those shelters do not have the capacity of keeping them, so they simply put them asleep! There is a strange law who says that once a dog is captured in a public shelter, they got 8 days do “resolve” the problem, if not, the dog is murdered! Thank God this is not the way that private shelters like ours work, we do our best to feed them well and get for them the best medical assistance possible.
Our Kennel is situated near Beja, a city about 150km from the Algarve and 180km from Lisbon. The region is Alentejo, known for their big landscapes and hot weather in the summer, but also known as a hunting area, in the recent past, most of the abandoned animals were hunting dogs, bus strangely today most dogs are small ones, we think the main reason is money problems of the owners, they can’t keep them anymore.
Believing the last count, we got about 120 animals, and more 30 in foster homes. All of them have to be feet and kept in good health. This costs money, of course. So, we created an association where members pays 20€ each year. But, with the crisis, many members went out, and if it wasn’t for the good will if a big selling surface (Intermarché) and some campaigns we organize, the situation would be much worse as it already is.
In our shelter we got only dogs, we don’t have the facilities for cats, but some volunteers are helping at this matter too, by publishing cases in the internet or with being a foster home.  

Next weekend I’ll put here some pictures of our kennel and will do some more explications about it. If you got any question please just ask.