This week Aanifeira had the great pleasure of receiving Betty Heideman, President of the Animal Medical Care Foundation (AMCF) at the shelter.
The AMCF is a foundation whose goal it is to support more than 80 animal refuges and shelters in over 30 countries worldwide with medicine, medical equipment and other care products. It holds animal welfare very high and has been one of Aanifeira’s major contributors since 2008 in sending packages of donations of medicines and medical equipment. With these ongoing contributions, Aanifeira has been able to provide better medical care for its own resident animals.
Betty Heideman’s visit to Aanifeira however was with two goals in mind. One was for her to finally see the shelter and the work that had been achieved over these past few years by Victor Barros (Aanifeira President) and his team as well to adopt one of Aanifeira’s most senior dogs, a Portuguese Podengo dog called Sonia.
I picked Betty up from the airport and as we drove to Aanifeira we talked of the work that had been done over the years since the shelter was first started to what it is today. We were met with great excitement on our arrival at the shelter by Victor, Paulo (General Manager) and vets Claudia and Joana. For Victor and Betty to finally meet after all these years of corresponding was very good and he took her on a tour of the shelter showing her the work that had been done over the past years since he took on the presidency and she was amazed to see the results.
As she walked through the corridors in the pavilion looking and patting some of the Aanifeira resident dogs, Betty commented that we had some really beautiful animals and showed surprise that people expressed little interest in adopting these middle sized dogs. She was impressed with the layout of the boxes and the space that the animals had to move around in, the new (almost complete) block of kennels partially funded by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, as well as other recent building works i.e. volunteer room, staff room, new bathrooms/WC’s, veterinary clinic and operating theatre, etc. She was also introduced to the two staff members responsible for cleaning and feeding, Gena and Natalia who are from Belarus.
Betty’s other main mission though was to pick up Sonia, a Portuguese Podengo who has been at Aanifeira for well over 8 years and who had lived for many years a very lonely life in one of the corridors of the pavilion. Sonia is deaf and has the sweetest nature and would come out each day on her daily walk but always go back to her bed just lying and waiting. Finally though, much to our delight, Betty saw her on this blog and fell in love with her deciding to give her a new life in a special sanctuary with other senior dogs in France. It was love at first sight when they were finally introduced and Sonia melted into Betty’s arms and lapped up all the attention given to her.
Whilst final details with paperwork were being sorted, Aanifeira’s Vice President, Conceição Quaresma (São) and her sister Angela Quaresma (Gi), Director of National Affairs for Aanifeira, arrived and Betty was able to meet two more of the members of the managing team (both volunteers) who work tirelessly behind the scenes in helping in many areas such as fundraising, obtaining donations, events, etc.
Betty and Sonia spent that night at my home before embarking on their journey home to France where Sonia would find happiness and love for the rest of her life.
Betty, our deepest thanks go out to you for supporting and believing in Aanifeira over these years and for giving Sonia a wonderful home which she deserves so much. We are eternally grateful to you and the AMCF and look forward to receiving you out here again one day in the near future.
To view Sonia on her first day in her new home in France, please see the video below or click on the Dj-Imba Foundation website here for the full story of Sonia’s change to a new life and family in France.