International Homeless Animals’ Day – 17th August 2013

Tomorrow, August 17th, is the 22nd Annual International Homeless Animals´ Day.  This special day was started in 1992 by the ISAR – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS and occurs on the third Saturday in August.  It brings together all animal advocates to publicly unite in a mission to eradicate the homeless animals around the world.

In what is considered a Global Tragedy for the Dog and Cat Populations around the world, this day is held with the object of drawing attention to a growing epidemic which leads to millions of homeless animals being euthanized annually due to the irresponsibility of owners not wishing to spay or neuter.

candle1Candlelight vigils along with many different events will be held in countries all around the world.  Aanifeira in Portugal feels very strongly about this subject and joins the ISAR in celebrating this day, not only in asking members to stop and think about a homeless animal but that the best solution for solving this problem is by spaying or neutering.  This online message vigil will also contribute to educating people of the importance of this day.

With the continual abandonment of kittens and puppies at our door, our thoughts go out to all the unlucky animals around the world who live a life of misery and starvation and to the millions of beautiful creatures that are eventually euthanized.

Let us work together in preventing this from happening!

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Posted in Animal Welfare, Events | Tagged , , , , , ,

Catching Up with Old Friends

Today is ‘Happy 2nd Gotcha Day’ at the Dj-Imba household in France. Our favourite old podenga, Sonia, is celebrating two years of a relaxed and loving life at this wonderful animal rescue sanctuary and she and her family have been enjoying the day!sonia meter

It has been two years since Sonia left Aanifeira after many years of living in the dark central corridor before any work had begun on the main pavilion. Her life was sad and lonely and she passed many a day lying in her bed sleeping or having the occasional walk when she felt like stretching her legs.

Then came 29th June 2011 and Sonia’s life took a huge change when she arrived in France to join her new family where she has remained happy till today. Sonia is a senior podenga and we are not sure of her age but at a guess she would be around 13 or 14 years of age. Her family keep us updated on all her activities which we very much appreciate!

Sonia’s story can be followed on the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Sonia surrounded by her Dj-Imba family

Sonia surrounded by her Dj-Imba family

Posted in Adoptions, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Senior Dog Adoption, Volunteers | Tagged , , , ,

It’s Moments Like These ….

It’s moments like these that make us just so happy!   Aanifeira’s volunteers not only willingly come and offer their help and services to the shelter but sometimes there is an added bonus!

Mascha with an Aanifeira dog
Mascha with an Aanifeira dog

Mascha, a Dutch vet, who was here in April & May of last year, fell in love with one of our blind dogs called Tuka taking her back to Holland with her. Tuka’s story has been showcased on the blog with wonderful photos received from Mascha.  Sadly however, Tuka recently passed away, through natural causes, leaving Mascha and her family very empty of a senior canine member.  She got in touch with us remembering that there was another senior dog that she had loved to take for walks whilst she was here and that she couldn’t quite remember his name but that it was something along the lines of Jocko!!

We traced the dog, his name is Yoko, sent photos of him to Mascha and she was thrilled to know that he was fine and, although a senior, still in good health.  She asked immediately if she could adopt him and our hearts went out to her for giving him an opportunity of finishing his life in the comfort of a home.  No one was absolutely sure as to how long Yoko had been at the shelter as records were never quite accurate, but it did seem that he had been there for many years and had lived with another female dog as his shelter companion.

Yoko1       Yoko7

Mascha was very anxious to receive Yoko in Holland get him settled in as soon as possible so contact was made through a transport agency to have him picked up.  After spending a couple of days in the south of Portugal he flew to Holland accompanied by a young lady, where Mascha was waiting for him at the airport.

We are happy to report that all Yoko wanted to do on his first day there was to walk and walk, after which he chose Mascha’s sofa as his resting place!  He has a friend called Rocky and they have bonded beautifully.  His whole new life is spent on a farm walking through  fields, enjoying the lakes and making friends.  Thank you Mascha for giving our dear Yoko a chance to have a wonderful life with you and your family.

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Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Senior Dog Adoption, Uncategorized, Veterinarians, Volunteers | Tagged , , , ,

New Short Film on Aanifeira

A Portuguese company called Pixel, involved in the making of wedding and lifestyle videos, recently decided to offer their services free of charge to make a short film about Aanifeira’s work since 1999.

We couldn’t help airing the short video for all our friends, members and followers to see how our work has progressed.

Our deepest thanks to Pixel for making this possible!

Aanifeira Pixel Film

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

World Stray Animals Day – TODAY April 4th

404225_355466324487186_16206441_nWe would, once again, like to draw everyone’s attention to the 3rd WORLD STRAY ANIMALS DAY which is TODAY April 4, a day when we should all show compassion, care and action for all stray dogs, stray cats, stray horses and donkeys all over the World.

This initiative was first started by a Dutch marketing guru at the Dutch National Stray Animals Conference held back in 2010 and today, more and more people have become aware of this growing problem throughout the world.

It is incredibly heartbreaking to see the amount of animals that are considered as strays.  Estimated numbers are said to reach approximately an incredible 600.000.000!

A Stray Animals Day website http://www.worldstrayanimalsday.org helps give plenty of ideas for everyone to work in helping to reduce this problem.  Check out their Facebook page for even further information.

Maria Daines wrote a special song to commemorate April 4th, World Stray Animals Day. Please take a moment to listen and watch the video here.

Although very often short of space, Aanifeira has done its part throughout last year in taking in strays and the results of some of them can be viewed below.

LET’S NOT FORGET THE STRAYS IN THIS WORLD

AND JOIN TOGETHER TO RID THE WORLD OF THIS PROBLEM.

Posted in Adoptions, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Aanifeira’s New Cattery Completed

It has been a long time wish of ours to have a spacious cattery where we could house adoptable street cats into an environment where they could feel comfortable, protected and cared for.  This day has finally come and we are delighted to announce that our new cattery is finally open and even more work will be done on it over the next few months.

Aanifeira's New Cattery

Aanifeira’s New Cattery

It is a far cry from the days when our hands were tied and we could only accept emergency cases where cats were temporarily housed in largish cages whilst awaiting adoption.  With a lot of hard work and many donations from private companies and individuals, this new cattery emerged from the old amphitheatre area where cattle were once auctioned off and where, for several years, many dogs were housed.  It was sectioned off into two floors and without incurring too much expense or changing the look of the building, the idea was to make the most of the space and windows on the top floor for the cats.  Sixteen large boxes for cats were installed, each glassed on three sides and netted at the top.  The idea of glass is to prevent the spread of viral infections as well as reduce noise when visitors come to see the cats.  There is more space for additional boxes to be put in and this will be done in a gradual process over the next few months.

Each box has three shelves leading up to a window for cats to see out.  The boxes and flooring are easily cleaned as well as the area in the room itself.  Check this slide show below of how work progressed over the past few months.

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The space on this first floor was large enough that we could also build a spacious back up area where food, cat sand and general cleaning materials could be stored as well as a large playground room where the cats can be let off daily under the supervision of volunteers to kick up their heels!  We only need to open the door of their boxes and they run straight to the room to romp and play.

It is such a pleasure to know and see that they have enough space to move around in and that they can live in a clean and temperature controlled environment.  Check out the slide show of the playground below.

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Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Cat Welfare, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Catching up with Old Friends – Sonia in France

We just love catching up with old friends from Aanifeira!  From time we bring updates of animals adopted in other countries (read here for more) and Sonia was one of these special cases being almost blind and incontinent when she was adopted by Betty from France.

Betty has done miracles with Sonia who had lived for most of her life in the darkness of the central corridor of Aanifeira’s pavilion (now demolished) for many years never fearing other dogs or humans who passed by her.

Betty keeps us posted on a regular basis regarding Sonia’s health issues and the latest news is that she is fine, no longer incontinent (her medication has had to be increased) and that has become a little more active.   Betty also reports that she makes it clear when she wants to drink water by giving a special squeek “hello I want some water”!

More about Sonia’s adoption can be read here.  Thank you Betty for giving an old podengo this wonderful chance in her life!

sonia 08022013

 

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , ,

Breaking the Stigma for Black Dogs & Cats

Have you ever thought about why some people are not keen to adopt a black dog or cat?  This is a problem that we come across every day and that we find heartbreaking.

560143_406019319489711_351252529_nIn the USA for example, they have chosen February as Black Dog and Cat Syndrome Awareness Month in an effort to draw attention to the stigma as to why people always overlook black dogs and cats at shelters.

This is not only a serious problem in the USA but also in other countries.  In Portugal in general and at Aanifeira, many people will look straight past a black animal to choose a lighter coloured one.   But what are the reasons behind this one would wonder?  People often associate black cats with witchcraft and superstition.

220px-Anarchist_black_cat_svgSince the 1800’s the colour black has been associated with anarchism and the black cat, in an alert, fighting stance was later adopted as an anarchist symbol.  All of this would have fired even more the myths, superstitions and stigmas that surround a black cat today.

Large black dogs might look rather more menacing than others and perhaps too the reference to the proverbial ‘black sheep’ of the family when choosing a pet for adoption, also has some influence.  In truth they don’t always photograph as well as lighter coloured animals as their features do not show up and very sadly, in the USA, they are the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized!

The truth of the matter is that they are no different to other animals and have exactly the same temperaments.   In some countries like Great Britain and Ireland the black cat is considered good luck and the Scottish say they bring prosperity to a home.  In Japan black cats are also considered good luck.   Black dogs are also thought to bring prosperity to a household in some countries.

Whatever it is, shelters everywhere need to work in promoting that Black is Beautiful to draw awareness to these animals needing adoption.  We at Aanifeira have a large number of black dogs and cats of all sizes just waiting for adoption and which would make wonderful pets.

One cat rescue site in the USA, Precious Paw Rescue came up with a wonderful list of excellent reasons as to why someone should adopt a black cat that can be checked out here.

Another 10 very good reasons for adopting a black dog are given on the The Black Pearls of the Dog World site and can be checked out here.

Remember BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL this month so let’s all do our best to break the stigma!

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Black Dogs & Cats | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Fostering to Adoption

It’s not everyday that we have two dogs from the same kennel adopted out together on one day, but TODAY was one of those days for Xila and Polo, two long time residents at Aanifeira.

Aanifeira’s has two fostering programs available for animal lovers:

  • Those who can take an animal home and introduce it to life in a normal home environment until an adoptee can be found;
  • Those who, for various reasons, are unable to take in an animal but share a bond with one of them whereby they can contribute towards the welfare of the animal in question.  For a small monthly contribution of Euros 5, the fosterer is encouraged to visit the animal whenever possible and help out with walking, bathing, grooming as well as showering it with treats and love.

Xila and Polo have had two very dedicated fosterers Cristina and José, who, for over two years now, would come on a regular basis each week to walk and groom them but always with a strong urge to eventually adopt these two beautiful dogs when they moved into their new and spacious home.

Today, that day finally came when Cristina and José arrived at the shelter to take Xila and Polo to their new home.  It is incredibly rewarding for us to see dogs such as these, who are not youngsters and often rejected for adoption because of their age, being given a whole new chance in life through the sheer dedication of a young couple.

DSC07911    DSC07908

We will look forward to hearing news of Xila and Polo and of course to see them on their follow up visits at the shelter clinic.  Our special thanks to Cristina and José for giving two beautiful adult dogs a brand new opportunity in life!

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Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Catching Up with Old Friends

We always enjoy hearing news of how our animals are after they have been adopted and are in a totally new environment.  This month, we had news from Holland about one of our senior shelter dogs plus we had a visit from the owner of a dog found abandoned in the countryside.  We would like to share them with you.

Tuka – one of our senior, visually impaired dogs, adopted by Dutch vet Mascha, who came here to do an internship in April/May 2012 and fell in love with her.  This week, Mascha sent us an update on Tuka with photos and although she is completely blind, you wouldn’t think it the way she is enjoying herself playing in all that snow!  You can read Tuka’s story on this link- Tuka.

Kopie van Sneeuw 004        Kopie van Sneeuw 008

Bia – found wandering in the middle of a busy road.  Bia had been abandoned and was lactating but there were no signs of her pups.  She saved the lives of three puppies which had been found by her owner, Ana Rita, in a rubbish bin and accepted them as her own offspring.  Today, she is the pride and joy of Ana Rita and goes everywhere with her.  More on Bia’s story here – Bia.

Bia1           Bia2

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Scout Volunteer Day at Aanifeira

Last Saturday, January 5th, Aanifeira was delighted to receive a group of 18 scouts from the Clã 20 Agrupamento 465 Sto. Ovideo, located in Vila Nova de Gaia (next to Porto) for a day of volunteering in animal welfare at the shelter.

The group arrived at 09h30 where they were greeted by staff, given a briefing and taken on a tour of the shelter.  Following this the group was divided into two with some working with our shelter dogs and others helping in cleaning and feeding the cats in the cattery.

6Those working with dogs were divided in two groups (one for each corridor) and allowed to let the dogs off in sequence, box by box, into the open air parks.   It was easy to see that the animals were absolutely ecstatic to get out and run around and that the volunteer scouts were just as happy to have an opportunity in dealing with dogs in this type of situation.    The dogs were showered with pats and cuddles following which they were carefully returned to their boxes when their session came to an end.

The cat group worked in the new cattery helping to clean boxes and with feeding and watering.  The cats were all given an opportunity individually or in small groups to play in the cats’ playroom under the supervision of the volunteer scouts.   At lunchtime the scouts grouped together for a picnic in the woods close by to the shelter returning after lunch to continue their work.   Their afternoon was filled with some, walking dogs in the street, whilst others played with the cats in the cattery.

DSC00722  DSC00740

Their day closed at around 16h00 when a group photo was taken and each was presented with a Certificate of Participation.  We were extremely grateful to have this group of young people from Clã 20 Agrupamento 465 Sto. Ovideo, Vila Nova de Gaia, to come and share their day with us as volunteers at the shelter and we hope that we have been able to help in giving them an understanding on the importance of animal welfare in today’s world.

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Posted in Animal Welfare, Animal Welfare Conference, Scouts Volunteering in Animal Welfare, Uncategorized, Volunteers | Tagged , , , , , ,

Christmas 2012 – New Year 2013

To our all our friends in Portugal and throughout the world we wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous 2013.

It is our wish that:

  • there will be no abandoned animals living on the streets in this world
  • there will be lesser animals in shelters in this world
  • that humans will treat animals with dignity and respect in this world

Our deepest thanks to our friends and members around the world for their support throughout 2012 and we look forward to being with you all in 2013 as usual!

arvore natal Aanifeira

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seniors’ Week at Aanifeira

It was a busy week at Aanifeira this week along with the normal day-to-day running of the shelter and veterinary clinic, there were several adoptions plus one new canine member to the shelter.

Last Tuesday vet Claudia arrived at the shelter to open up, to find a beautiful elderly basset hound sitting on a rug at the front door!   It was sad to see her left in this state, although she was not thin and had been reasonably well cared for, it was obvious she had been used for continuous breeding and had come to a stage when the owners had decided to flagrantly discard her without a second thought!

Basset Hound Dama

Basset Hound Dama

Claudia quickly picked her up and took her in the warm infirmary, settling into a bed with food and water.   Dama as she has been baptized is a senior dog and after a veterinary checkup it was found that she has a gastric problem and therefore needs a special diet.

Cases of abandonment like this are frequent to Aanifeira and it puts more pressure on the shelter as we know nothing about her and therefore need to keep her separate from other dogs for several weeks to access her situation.  So far however, Dama has proved to be very quiet and well behaved and enjoys just lying in her bed watching everything going on around her.   An animal like this does not give any work at all and one wonders what goes on in people’s minds to drop an animal off like a piece of rubbish on someone else’s doorstep!

With one senior dog coming in, we were delighted to see another senior dog being adopted out to a new home.  Scarface as he was appropriately named for his looks, black face and brown body, has been living at the shelter for several years and we would estimate that he is around 7/8 years old.

Scarface

Scarface

It’s not everyday that people come in looking for an adult/senior dog but yesterday I took a couple around the shelter and they immediately fell in love with Scarface not only for his cute face but also for the fact he would stand on his hind legs holding up his two front paws begging to people as they walked by!

Paulo attending new Adoptees

Paulo attending new Adoptees

Whilst Paulo, Aanifeira’s General Manager, looked after the paperwork with the new owners, Scarface was given a good groom by two Dutch Animal Care interns, Suzanne & Nicky, before getting a veterinary checkup and having his first canine vaccination, microchip and being dewormed.

Scarfaces new owners with vet Claudia   Scarface being groomed by Animal Care Interns, Suzanne & Nicky

The owners will be bringing Scarface, now renamed Billy during the adoption process, into the clinic from time to time for follow-up vaccinations as well as keeping a tab on his health.

Posted in Animal Abuse, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Senior Dog Adoption | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas Fundraising Events

It’s that time of the year again with Christmas roaring up and, we at Aanifeira, have several fundraising programs in action as follows:-

5th Christmas Bazaar – 26 Nov. to 31st Dec., held at the old Mill situated not far from the beautiful VI Century Santa Maria da Feira castle.  This year Aanifeira has the backing of the Santa Maria da Feira Municipal Council who kindly arranged the old Mill for this event.

Items for sale at the bazaar have been donated by local companies and private individuals and with things well under way, sales have been promising.  We look forward to our members and volunteers popping by to choose Christmas gifts for their loved ones.

Aanifeira Christmas Bazaar 2012

Aanifeira Christmas Bazaar 2012

Music concert, December 15th, in aid of Aanifeira by well-known Portuguese singer and guitarist Ricardo Azevedo.  Ricardo has been a long time close friend and supporter of Aanifeira and his concert tonight will be held at the 4everclub in Rio Meão.   The 4everclub have also been strong supporters of Aanifeira in hosting dinners, cocktails and other fundraising parties in aid of the shelter.

Ricardo Azevedo Concert 8th Dec 2012

Ricardo Azevedo Concert 8th Dec 2012

And, last but not least, we now have our selection of Christmas cards/2013 calendars available for sale both at the shelter and at the Christmas bazaar.  These are unique in that they double-up as a Christmas card with a picture of an Aanifeira animal on one side and a 2013 calendar on the reverse side!   They sell for Euros 1,50 each and are numbered with the resulting winning number being taken from the official Portuguese Christmas lottery.

Xmas Cards, Calendars Dec 2012

Xmas Cards, Calendars Dec 2012

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Events | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Cat in a Box – A Cowardly Act!

This story must just about take the cake for a cowardly act when Aanifeira General Manager Paulo, arrived at the shelter one morning last week to find a box up against the front door.

Glued to the front of the box was a hand written note stating “Has a broken back leg!”.  Paulo quickly open the box to find a small and frightened black and white male kitten with indeed, a broken back leg.  After a quick initial examination by Aanifeira vets Claudia and Sara, there was a thought that the leg might have to be amputated but after a more serious analysis and x-ray, they reconsidered and decided this wasn’t necessary.

   

Baptized Funzo by Paulo, an operation was performed the following day and we are happy to report that he is doing just fine.  Funzo is currently in special care and is totally pampered by staff and volunteers.  As soon as he is better he will be put up for adoption through Aanifeira’s ‘Adopt Responsibly’ scheme.

Posted in Animal Abuse, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Disabled Cats | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aanifeira Gets a New Face Thanks to GIRO 2012

Last Friday October 19th, Aanifeira was very privileged to be associated with the 7th edition of G.I.R.O. 2012.   G.I.R.O. – GRACE, Intervir, Recuperar, Organizar is the largest corporate volunteer initiative in Portugal with the participation of more than 600 volunteers from member companies of GRACE – Grupo de Reflexão e Apoio à Cidadania Empresarial.

GRACE was formed on 25 February 2000 by a group of companies, mainly multinationals, which have, as a common denominator, an interest in furthering the role of the business sector in social development.  GRACE, a non-profit Portuguese association, is a pioneer in this field dedicated to issues of corporate social responsibility and counts on the following companies:-

AdvanceCare, Alcatel, Target, ANA Airports, BP, BSD, Daniel Benoliel, DHL, Edifer, Ecoprogresso, EPUL, Essilor Portugal, Eurest, Fagor, FilmBrokers, FLAD, PT Foundation, Galp, Auchan, Group CH, Pestana Group H Tecnic, Hill & Knowlton, IBM, Indesit, Jones LangLaSalle, JWT, Clockwork Orange, Linklaters, Lusitania, Miranda, Correia, Amendoeira & Associates, Mobility Positive Montepio, NYSE Euronext, Pfizer, PwC, Ritz FourSeasons, RZK, SAP, Servilusa, SIPRP, SoundStation, Unicer and Xerox.

In an initiative to support a solidarity cause, employees and business heads exchanged their workplace for a day of volunteering and October 19th was dedicated to northern Portugal with Aanifeira being chosen as one of the non-profit associations needing help.  The group of 30 volunteers arrived at 08H30 and after a small briefing from G.I.R.O. organizers, Victor Barros, Aanifeira’s President, took the group on a tour of the installations so that the group could see how this project would help the shelter’s progress in having a new face!

Following this, with everyone in good spirits, work got underway which included a variety of tasks from painting the front wall, front entrance gates, veterinary clinic and interior spaces, to cleaning the front street area making it more presentable.

In addition through the kind generosity of some of the companies supporting GRACE, the paint for the entire surfaces was supplied to Aanifeira free of charge, along with lunch and refreshments throughout the day for all volunteers!

At the close of the day, G.I.R.O. organizers kindly presented a plaque to Aanifeira which has been put in the reception area for all to see.

G.I.R.O. Plaque

Victor Barros presented all volunteers with a ‘Diploma’ thanking them for their participation in this important day for the shelter.  Our sincerest and heartfelt thanks go out to G.I.R.O. and GRACE for making this day happen and to all the volunteers who so kindly exchanged their desks for paintbrushes and garden tools to help Portuguese animal welfare.

Local press and media around the country covered this initiative as per below:-

Ver Portugal

Cyberjornal

Updigital

Agencia Financeira

Impulso Positivo

Slideshow below shows the progression of work throughout the day.

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Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Poignant Story – Given a Final Chance in Life

RECENT FACEBOOK PLEA

by AANIFEIRA Member, SONIA RIBEIRO

Blind Podenga bitch, dehydrated, hungry and with serious health problems found lying motionless on main road.

This is the moving story of GAIA, a Podenga bitch used relentlessly for hunting and then  senselessly discarded after reaching a senior age to be left to die in the street.  She had a look of incomprehension and total despair in her eyes, with a body marked by abuse and a lack of food and water.

GAIA, ignored by all the human race around her, who lay down in the middle of a busy road to die.

It was at 9.00 p.m. on Sunday August 12th when I was driving with my family through the town of Fiães, Santa Maria da Feira when were came across Gaia in a shocking state lying in the middle of the road with a look of death about her.  We quickly stopped the cars and ran to pick up food from the boots of our cars (a supply of food and water is always kept in just such cases as these to feed street animals) and as we approached we realized that this case was more severe than we had ever imagined.

She was incredibly emaciated, covered in ticks and with visual signs of abuse.  We couldn’t conceal our shock and tried offering her food but to no avail and she continued to remain lying motionless on the bitumen road.  We were nervous about touching her in case she had been injured and tried to interact with her in helping her to move to the side of the road.

Whilst I stroked and talked to her, my family tried talking to people passing by on foot in an attempt to understand as to why no one had helped this poor creature.  Gaia then lifted her head looking around her in a discordant way – it would seem that she couldn’t see us.  She was guided by sounds to her ears.  How strange, I thought!  It was then that I suddenly realized that she was totally blind.

I ran to get water and a recipient for her from my car and she drank incessantly for several minutes.  We had to remove the water as her stomach began swelling causing us concern.  How could people do this, deny a blind and helpless dog food and water – how cruel!  We throw so much extra food away surely someone could have given her something.

I couldn’t turn my back on this situation even knowing that I had couldn’t foster any more dogs, but I knew that my mother had a small space at her home where we could let Gaia rest, so we gently gathered her up in our arms placing her in my car.  This would give us an opportunity of taking Gaia to the vet the next day to be checked out.  We gave her a little more water, her thirst was incredible and we feared that her internal organs may not be working properly, as well as a plate of chicken and rice and then left her to rest for the night from her exhaustion.

The following day Gaia was awake early at 7.00 a.m. showing us that she was a survivor, by eating another plate of food and drinking more water.  Then it was time to take her to the vet to access her situation.  I brought Gaia into the Aanifeira Veterinary clinic where vet Sara Latourette Alves was gave her a complete examination.  The bad news was that, due to her age, she had serious health problems: blindness, diabetes, mammary tumors, an advanced heart murmur, barely any teeth and a possible case of mange.   Gaia had obviously had a very difficult life without any love or care and had been senselessly discarded like trash when she no longer was of any use to the hunter.  It was time for her to know there is some love and generosity in this world and therefore in spite of all of her health problems, Aanifeira vet Sara put her on the drip and took blood samples for analysis.

When I went back and visited her on Tuesday, I found her still lying motionless in her box with a huge sadness in her eyes and I could barely contain my tears.  I reached out to touch her and she began gently licking my hand and I could see she wanted to just rest.

Although the following day was a public holiday in Portugal, I knew that Gaia was in good hands with the vet team at Aanifeira going in especially to check and treat her.  They would have rung me if her condition had worsened.

When I visited her on Thursday, I was amazed to find her standing up which was due to the insulin shots she had been receiving.  Another very good piece of news was that the results from her blood tests showed that her kidneys were fine.  In addition her heart problem was manageable with medication and scabies was ruled out as being just a symptom of lack of nutrition.  Her blindness could be overcome with confinement in a safe area where she could learn to get around and finally it would seem that despite the fact she had mammary tumors these would be watched although later on there was the possibility of them spreading.

Of course we all know that Gaia will have a short life with us, but there IS LIFE!   One day we will lose her, when nothing else can be done, but we hope that she can have some happiness for the rest of her days and until this day arrives everything will be done to make this possible!   Where there is life there is hope!  Gaia needs a special person to love and take care of her for the rest of her time.  To teach love and be loved, to ensure that she has a tranquil and safe life.  She has a beautiful nature and is serene and obedient.

Meaning of GAIA – MOTHER EARTH.

Posted in Animal Abuse, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, Portuguese Dog Breeds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tiny Rescue, Sweet Heart

Yesterday a very tiny visitor was brought into the Aanifeira Clinic for vet Sara Latourette Alves to check out.   The owner had found her 3 days before wandering on the street and arrived with her sitting in the palm of his hand!

This tabby kitten with the largest eyes and sweetest nature proved to have a clean bill of health and Sara set the dates for her to start her vacine and deworming program.  Although she was quite lively, she purred for most of the time and I couldn’t resist catching these photos of Sara carrying her around in her scrub’s pocket whilst she came into the office to collect some papers!

              

Posted in Adoptions, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Preparing for World Animal Day – October 4th

Get ready World Animal Day (WAD) is fast approaching on October 4th and Aanifeira is very much looking forward to once again being a part of this event in helping to draw attention to animal welfare around the world.   This year two events are being planned to celebrate this special day.

29th & 30th September:

Campaign to be held over two days at the São João da Madeira Shopping Plaza, in an effort to collect food donations for shelter dogs and cats.  A goal of 750,000 meals is on the cards and Aanifeira volunteers will man the stand from 09H00 to 23H00 over these two days.

Volunteers will also interact with the public in helping them to understand the importance of animal welfare and in doing so will ask them to sign the WAD ‘Pledge’.

October 4th:

Members bringing their dogs and cats in for treament to the Aanifeira Veterinary Clinic, will be asked to sign the WAD ‘pledge’ and as a surprise will receive a special certificate confirming their pledge to this cause.  In addition the shelter will be open to the public to visit for them to get an inside view of how it is run.

Both events will be publicized on Facebook and a good turnout is expected.

Posted in Events, World Animal Day | Tagged , , , , , ,

International Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) – 2012

The 14th International Companion Animal Welfare Conference (ICAWC) 2012 will be held in Vravrona, Greece from 16th – 18th October where Victor Barros,  Aanifeira’s President will be representing the shelter for this year.  The ICAWC is organized by Dogs Trust from the U.K. with a “belief in working towards a world  where no healthy companion animal is destroyed for want of a caring home with responsible owners”.

This will be the third year running that Aanifeira has attended these conferences and this year Victor is very much looking forward to joining friends from around the world in sharing ideas to bring a better understanding of companion animal welfare.

Three full days of programs with the presence of an international team of speakers, all experts in their field, will present new ideas and encourage discussion amongst all delegates.

Important topics such as Animal Welfare Law, Training and Behaviour and Population Management will make up part of the programme.   On the first day delegates will also have an opportunity to attend workshops on Behaviour/Training, ‘Can Model Laws Work?’, Digital, Volunteers and as well as session on ‘Ask the Vet’.    Additionally as the conference is held in Greece, there will be participation by the Greek Animal Welfare Fund on a session about the ‘Barrel Dogs’ of Greece, which sadly, is a common problem here in Portugal.

Once again Aanifeira is proud to be associated with Dogs Trust International and the ICAWC is well worth attending for those having a similar position as Aanifeira does.  There is always so much more to be learnt and gained in sharing and networking with people who have a common goal.  Click on this link ICAWC 2012 for more details.

Posted in Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare Conference | Tagged , , , , , ,