Aanifeira had a very special visit yesterday of 25 students from a local school in Fiães, a suburb of Santa Maria da Feira (located about 10 kms from the shelter). The group, aged around 16 years old, were accompanied by their teacher Isabel Maia (also an animal lover) and this was a first for these eager students who were very anxious to see the animals and be able to touch and play with them.
Their arrival on a large coach at around 10.30 a.m. caused quite a sensation in the area as this was the first time we have received such a large number of students visiting the shelter at one time. The group was met by Ligia (one of our more experienced volunteers) who began their tour by visiting our cattery and puppy quarantine area where she explained how these puppies and cats arrived at Aanifeira.
Following this, Ligia took them for a tour of the shelter through the corridors where the dogs are housed in kennels explaining the story of Aanifeira and the reason why these dogs were housed there. The majority of these students would have no idea of the reality of a working non-profit shelter and the day to day difficulties that we face. It is essential therefore that this younger generation is educated in the importance of having animals spayed/neutered and the necessity of animal population control.
Following this visit, the group were allowed to mix-in with a group of 8 abandoned puppies (now 4 months old) in our exercise area. This group of puppies (two litters that we have had now for about 2 months) are the perfect age for playing and by allowing the students interactivity with animals such as these proved very rewarding on both sides.
The visit lasted for around two hours in total and our sincere thanks go out to teacher Isabel Maia for accompanying the students on a Saturday morning to visit our shelter and in giving them an insight of an animal rescue shelter as well as the animal welfare situation in Portugal. We would like to thank all the students who came along too, we hope you all enjoyed the experience and perhaps we may see you one day again soon as a volunteer?