I don’t have pets of my own. If I could I would, because I’m absolutely mad on animals. The problem is I’ve chosen a nomadic lifestyle for myself, and travelling with a big slobbery mutt might be a little bit hard. Usually I get my pet fix by house-sitting (we’ve put together some advice on house sitting in Portugal, if that sounds up your alley).
Sometimes not having a pet can be a bit distressing: especially when you meet an animal in need.
We were enjoying a relaxing holiday in the Algarve when a stray dog wandered into the gardens of the B&B. The owners tried to chase it off, but all week it came back. Their own dog was a bit useless, seeing the new pup as a playmate rather than a pest. The dog was so friendly and cute, but obviously the owners didn’t see it that way as they had a business to run.
People abandon pets a lot in the Algarve, and sometimes dump them near big properties owned by expats because they hope they’ll be softhearted enough to take the animal in. If the owners had adopted this dog, it’s likely that loads more would soon turn up. They didn’t have many options. They phoned round every animal sanctuary, checked every missing dog website, and finally made the tough decision to call the vet and have the dog put down.
Although James and I helped them to catch the dog, and chain it up so that it wouldn’t go begging for food, I knew I had to do something.
I sat down and phoned/emailed/poured my heart out to all the local sanctuaries. I even sent photos of my new pal (who I’d named Tyrion) in the hope that their hearts would melt like mine did. Finally, an angel named Jan from the Goldra Dog Sanctuary replied and said that she knew someone looking for a small dog to adopt. The clock was ticking, and time was of the essence, but eventually she said her husband would collect the dog from us the next day.
This was 20 minutes before the vet was due to come and put the pup to sleep.
I was over the moon! The B&B owners were happy, the vet was happy, and the little dog (who turned out to be a female called Nina) was definitely happy!
After that,I took her for a couple of nice long country walks and gave her a big meal. It was hard getting her in the car the next day (I had the scratch marks to prove it), and even harder saying goodbye. It’s all worth it to know that she could be happily en route to her new forever home, instead of crossing the Rainbow Bridge a little too early.
I know that there are hundreds of stray dogs hurting in the world and that we can’t save them all, but just a little bit of action made all the difference in the world to this dog. If we all do what we can, when we can, the world will be a much nicer place.
If you want to find out about the great work that Goldra do, or if you want to make a donation to help the abandoned dogs of the Algarge you can find them on Facebook here.
There are other animal charities and organisations on the Algarve as well, of course. SOS Algarve Animals run a re-homing centre where they work with and help re-home 20-30 animals at a time.