New Vet Susana Joins Aanifeira Veterinary Team

susana 4We are delighted to announce that Susana Abreu has joined the Aanifeira veterinary team working alongside head vet Claudia Valadares at the Aanifeira veterinary clinic.

Susana began her veterinary studies at the University of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) where she completed her course in 2009.

From there she moved to Spain, based in Barcelona and Cadiz, doing various internships lasting around six months or so, working with not only companion animals but also with horses.

Susana 1She then started work at the Hospital Veterinário de Montenegro working with companion animals.  This very reputable veterinary hospital also operates a series of courses for qualified veterinarians wishing to gain additional knowledge in special fields such as:  Surgery, Advanced Ultrasound, X-Ray, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Soft Tissue Surgery and Dermatology.

Interestingly the clinical team at this hospital, together with internationally renowned experts in the field of feline medicine, launched their new book “Gato sem Segredos” (Cat without Secrets) at the Porto Municipal chambers on June 29th, 2014.    The main goal, besides exposing the topics covered in the book, was to raise public awareness of the importance and increasing relevance of the cat as a pet.

From there Susana moved to working in two private veterinary clinics, first in Porto and then in another within the Santa Maria da Feira council before joining Aanifeira in May of this year.

Susana 3Susana’s special interests lie in dermatology, ultrasound and internal medicine.  She joins Claudia in the day to day clinical attendance with members’ pets and attending to the shelter animals.

She also works as an instructor with the veterinary internship students that Aanifeira receives from around the world.  With students coming from many different universities of various levels of curriculums it can be quite challenging for the vets in their day to day work but they take it in their stance handling it with ease and professionalism.


We are very pleased to have Susana on board at the clinic and warmly welcome her to our team.



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

Contributing to World Animal Day 2014

wadToday, October 4th, is WORLD ANIMAL DAY (WAD) and for us at Aanifeira it is one of the days that always brings to light the number of animals that we rescue throughout the year and what we go through each day to ensure that each animal gets the right care and love that it deserves.  For all at the shelter, including our international veterinary volunteers, everyone gives their time unselfishly in helping and caring for these beautiful creatures and we are all proud to be able to share this day with everyone.

WAD 2014 for us had an extremely busy workload with not only our veterinary clinic working non-stop throughout the day attending the public but also a huge behind the scenes effort that went in to ensure that each animal at the shelter had treatment and was fed and exercised.  The daily routine of feeding and cleaning close to 400 dogs and 60 cats was equaled with this additional routine for the more fragile residents at the shelter:

Bottle and syringe feeding two groups of 5 abandoned kittens on a three hourly basis.  One group only around 10 days old and found abandoned in a plot of land with their eyes still closed and the other group about three weeks old dropped outside our premises this week with larvae already beginning to penetrate their tiny bodies.

10 day old kittens

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Three week old kittens (cared for by two 5th yr Dutch student vets, Loes and Kylie from Utrech University in Holland).

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Hand feeding a tiny puppy, one of two (one sadly died with anal larvae infestation), which were abandoned at our door this week.

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Taking in two extremely beautiful adult cats previously adopted from Aanifeira in 2010 and very sadly returned to the shelter today by one of the owners due to a marriage breakup.  It is incredibly hard to understand such rash decisions as it is always the animal that suffers in these situations.  After assessment the pair were given a clean bill of health but it was easy to see that both remained frightened and uneasy in this new environment.

image1       Grey cat

Caring, with a special food program, for an emaciated Podengo (Portuguese breed – for more information read here) female dog, with a leg injury (possibly from being hit by a car), found lying under one of the shelter staff’s car this week.

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Ensuring that a small abandoned dog, that walked into a travel agency in a larger town close by and which was handed into the shelter, was treated for his coat loss problem as well as being given some socialization.

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Small female puppy abandoned on a street corner right next to the shelter this week. Below with her carer Kylie, 5th year veterinary student from Holand


But with all these woes we had a ray of light today when one of our volunteers, Vanessa, arrived with a huge array of donations (cleaning products, dogs snacks, rugs, towels, feeding bottles, gifts for putting up for sale) for the shelter to celebrate WAD.  She also bought along a delicious cake helping to lift moral on such a busy day at the shelter. Vanessa is not only a volunteer but also an adoptee and she bought along her two dogs to the shelter, one of which, Lili (white one), was abandoned in an appalling state close to the shelter.  Our special thanks to her for her kindness in remembering us.   Photos below of Vanessa and her dogs and with Paulo, Aanifeira’s shelter manager.

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Last weekend, 27 & 28th September, as well Aanifeira participated in the annual national Animal Life WAD companion animal food campaign at the Continente chain of hypermarkets.  Two days of manning the stand from 09h00 – 23h00 and providing animal welfare awareness to local people as well as collecting donations provided the shelter with a much needed boost of food and other products for dog and cats.

Animal Life

Tonight in closing WORLD ANIMAL DAY, Aanifeira has invited everyone to join them at the Bar Porta13 in Santa Maria da Feira for a celebration party.  Part of the night’s proceeds will be donated to Aanifeira in helping to provide better conditions for the abandoned animals that it takes in.  Our special thanks go out  to the Bar Porta13 for this fantastic initiative.

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And finally to bring awareness to the meaning of WORLD ANIMAL DAY a fantastic step forward, that from 1st October 2014, Portugal introduced a new law enforcing the criminalization of abuse and neglect of companion animals.  Despite the limitations of the law, this is without doubt an important civilizational step for this country and follows the majority of the other EU countries in the field of animal protection.

AANIFEIRA proud to be part of WORLD ANIMAL DAY for 2014.

Posted in Animal Abuse, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, World Animal Day | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Catching up with Old Friends

We love catching up and hearing from the people who have adopted animals from Aanifeira.  It can be from Portugal or in a foreign country and one person who constantly keeps us updated on her dog is Betty from France.  Betty adopted a beautiful old and blind Podengo (Portuguese breed of dog) called Sonia a little over three years ago.

betty sonia-001

Sonia’s story is very sad one as no one was absolutely sure where she came from or when she actually entered into Aanifeira.  In those days life was not easy for the dogs living at the shelter and fortunately Sonia was one of the hardier ones living in a corridor of the pavilion yet barely leaving her bed that she treasured so much.    It would take a lot of coaxing to get her outside into the sunshine to spend time enjoying her surroundings as well as socializing with people.

Although conditions generally were not the best there was always love and a helping hand from those who cared – the volunteers.  The volunteers showed that they cared about the welfare of the animals and wanted to help the original founder of the shelter who deep in her heart only wanted the very best for the dogs.  So with a lot of very hard work and understanding between all, things gradually improved eventually bringing the shelter to what it is today.

Betty adopted Sonia just over three years and her story can be read here. She regularly she keeps us updated throughout the year on her health always sending a beautiful photo with each email.

Here below are Betty’s comments each time she send us an email and photo.  We do so enjoy receiving this and it still brings tears to our eyes to see this beautiful elderly and blind dog who received a new life when a kind lady heard about her and came to the shelter to give her a forever home.

8 Sept 2014

“Little old Sonia, she is still going strong. Also her evening rituals with moaning, and we trying to figure out what she wants, food, drink, outside.  We have to guide her more often down the steps, she slowly is getting a bit lost in her mind. but she still enjoys cuddling and is, we think, happy in her own way.”

23 July 2014

“Still going strong, despite the tics, problems with balance and blindness, she is still doing well.  She clearly indicates when she wants something to eat, drink, wants to pee or wants a cuddle. Of course it is an old dog and you know there will be a time that you have to say goodbye. But for now she is safe and enjoys her old age in love.   Sonia;  the door opens to the left :-)”

14 May 2014

“Sonia is doing well, she loves her food twice a day and can clean my plate every night.  Her ritual the last couple of days has become a bit less, event hough she still gets up after dinner 3-4 times, wants to drink, get off, a bit of food, a bit of drink again and then sleep.

Rolling in her chair, stroking her tummy, she loves it and enjoy the attention.  Her tics are getting worse and she scared of the differences in light, as going outside and getting a shade in her face, she startles and gets a tic.  I have to hold her till it’s gone and then she walks a bit around and seems not to worry.”

2 April 2014

“Old Sonia, she sleeps all day but in the evening she now has a strange ‘ritual’.  Around 19h she gets up in her chair, I lift her out, sometimes she wants to go out, sometimes she wants to drink and then back in the chair.  This goes on till around 22h, getting up, wanting a drink, wanting something to eat, wanting to get off, wanting a hug, very restless, panting and not wanting to lay down.  This is only in the night and never during the day. Around 22h it is done and she goes to sleep and sleeps all night through.”

4 March 2014

Thankyou for being my foster Mom/Dad

22 January 2014

“With Sonia things are pretty well again luckily.  She sleeps a lot but eats fine and clearly states when she wants to go outside. Now is that she wants to go out 3-4 times in the evening, after dinner she always goes out, but then 2 hours later she wants to go again and one hour later again.  Before she goes to sleep she get some dry food and when I forget she starts to whine.  As medication she is getting Enurace and Candilat which are both expensive medicines so your support for her remains very welcome.”

26 December 2013

” With thanks for all that you have done for me this year.”

5 November 2013

” Yesterday evening around 6 pm Sonia gave up her food. W hen she later drank some water , she threw this out after half an hour too.  The rest of the evening she was quiet, before bedtime she got some dry food and this stayed in.

This night at half past three I heard Sonia moaning so I took her off the chair and she went out by herself, did a pee and then seemed to have some trouble with the stairs so I helped her.  Once inside she could not stand , she fell over and sank to her feet . I put her in her chair and I sit with her.  Because I was still worried , I put her on my bed , but since she is not used to this she remained making little squeaks and moans.  After an hour I put her back in her chair, she went to sleep.  Then , of course, I did not really slept and looked several times during the rest of the night if she was fine but she was in deep sleep.”

This morning I put her outside where she fell over and her legs subsided, I had to hold her to pee but she could not take any step  without falling.   Called the vet and he came at half past nine.

By now it was already a lot better with her and she could walk by herself in the waiting room . The vet  checked her, heart was good, little inflammation in eye , no fever so probably very likely a TIA caused by geriatric vestibular syndrome.   She has had an injection of Candilat and must now take 2x a day a Candilat pill.

She is now back fast asleep.  It was a shock because even though she is old, we really do not want to lose her.”

29 October 2013

“Herewith an update and new photo of Sonia.  She is doing well, she eats well, clearly indicates when she wants to go off her chair and stil knows how to get the attention.  In the evening after the last pee she gets some food, because she does not go into the kitchen, she gets them on her chair and stands waiting till we give them to her.  She is now 2,5 years with us and I am still happy every day that I went to get her in Portugal.  Sonia is an example of how you sometimes have to accept that a dog makes the choice what makes him of her happy, in her case, living safe and warm in her own big chair.”

11 September 2013 – Greetings

August 2013

“Already 2 years with us, sweet Sonia. Oh she can fool us and we have to laugh so much. She stands up in her chair and gives little squeaks. Normally the sign that she wants to go off to pee or drink. But more often these days, she waits till you reach her and when you want to lift her, she falls over on her back and she wants you to rub her tummy. When you stop she grabs your arms with her paws, no no go on now!   Love Betty and Sonia”

Below is a slideshow of all the photos that she has sent us throughout the past year and half.

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

Aanifeira Veterinarian Sara Seeks New Horizons

Sara1We would like to announce that after spending two years working at our clinic, we were very sorry to see veterinarian Sara Latourrette leave Aanifeira at the end of May this year.  Sara took the decision to move on to embrace her career even further.

When Sara joined Aanifeira in April 2012 (read more here), her veterinary background had taken her both near and far.  She moved straight into working long hours at the clinic with a very busy timetable, alongside our other vet Claudia Valadares.  Together the girls made an enviable team in providing consultations, performing surgeries and treatments and handling emergencies on both members’ animals and the shelter animals.  All was done with poise, sympathy, professionalism and above all with compassion towards the animals that were treated.

Carlien group with Sara

Belgian Vet Students with Sara and Claudia – July 2014

In addition, together with Claudia, they received and help train the steady flow of veterinary student vets from around the world that we receive through our International Volunteer Internship scheme.   She not only was their teacher but their best friend, offering them advice, taking them out and ensuring that they enjoyed their stay whilst here in Portugal.

We had, of course, been very used to having Sara at our clinic but of course understand that she must take the step in the right direction that she thinks is best for her.  We will remember her for her huge smile and kind and gentle nature.

She has now taken up a position as head veterinarian at a new veterinary clinic not very far away from Aanifeira.  We feel sure that the experience she gained at our shelter clinic has improved her skills and enriched her background giving her the credentials to provide professional services to those who engage her in the future.

Sara we miss you and wish you the very best of luck for the future!  Good friends come and go but we always remain friends at Aanifeira.  Thank you from us all.

Sara2          Sara3

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

Aanifeira Participates in World Spay Day 2014

On February 24th, Aanifeira once again, proudly participated in the World Spay Day 2014 event sponsored by the Humane Society International.  This year proved to be a milestone being the 20th annual World Spay Day and was the most successful to-date with 600 event organizers from around the world hosting hundreds of events to raise awareness of the importance of spay/neutering.

world-spay-day-2014-logosThe importance and impact of a simple gesture such as spaying and neutering can lower birth rates and help reduce the number of animals who will face euthanasia in shelters or death on streets.  The Humane Society provides a chance for all of those involved in animal welfare to join forces in helping to put an end to this suffering.

Aanifeira participated this year with a 3 day event in a program to spay/neuter 19 animals (10 cats & 9 dogs) which came from low income families who in normal circumstances could not afford to have their animals done.

Surgeries were performed in the small veterinary clinic within the shelter under the supervision of our own vets with excellent results and all animals were safely returned to their protectors after the procedure.  As Aanifeira has an ongoing international program for volunteer veterinary students, we were fortunate to have the valuable help of two veterinary volunteers, one from the United Kingdom and the other from Holland.


In appreciation of our efforts, the Humane Society International awarded Aanifeira with their ‘Certificates of Appreciation’ for Dogs and Cats for raising awareness to the lifesaving benefits of spay/neuter.

We will be back for World Spay Day 2015 on February 24th to join the Humane Society International in their dedicated task of educating people around the world and improving the lives of animals worldwide.


 100203 Aanifeira Assoc Amigos dos Animais da Feira dog-page-0         100203 Aanifeira Assoc Amigos dos Animais da Feira cat-page-0 (1)

Posted in Animal Welfare, Cat Welfare, Spay & Neuter, World Spay Day | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Skoda & Yoda – New Life, New Home – Together!

It isn’t always that we have a double adoption from a same family at Aanifeira, but last Saturday was an exception when two very beautiful orange and white cats were finally given a new opportunity in life together.



Skoda and Yoda are two sisters who were left by their owners at Aanifeira a little over a year ago due to an allergy problem that their daughter suffered from.  Their life had been far from a bed of roses as they were confined to a small verandah for the entire time void of little or any human contact.



It was obvious from the beginning that they were deeply attached to each other and our ambition was always to have them adopted as a pair as they were not young and would most certainly miss each other.  The sisters would not let each other out of one another’s sight sometimes shying away from too much confusion and noise.

Initially the new cattery was not ready when they arrived but a few months later in March when it was, they were part of the first group of cats to move in and have a large box to themselves.  They were regularly let out by our volunteers who worked in helping to socialize them and build a trust in humans.  It wasn’t long before these two sisters were craving cuddles and became real lap cats.

Ana Rita and husband

Ana Rita and husband

When Ana Rita and her husband walked through the door asking to adopt Skoda and Yoda, we could hardly believe our eyes!  They came with a mission to help these two cats and their gentleness and care showed immediately even though sisters were a little hesitant of all the excitement.

Our sincerest thanks go out to them for showing the care in taking in an adult animal and not wanting to separate these two beautiful cats.

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

Aanifeira & The Body Shop Foundation United in a Cause

JPEG BODY SHOPAanifeira is extremely proud to announce that The Body Shop Foundation has chosen to support this association through their Dragon Fruit Lip Butter Grants Programme activity for Animal Protection.

dragonfruit-lip-butterThe Body Shop Foundation is a charitable company which operates closely with The Body Shop International.   It provides money to innovative, global projects working for a positive social and environmental change. Funding is through the sale of a charity product, Dragon Fruit Lip Butter, which is sold globally in the stores of The Body Shop and through various fundraising activities.  Three different grants programmes are covered addressing issues such as animal protection, human rights and environmental protection around the world.

During Body Shop in-store promotions, customers are asked to vote for their favourite charity.  The group with the most votes wins the majority of the profits from the in-store product, Dragon Fruit Lip Butter whilst the groups with the second and third votes receive a sliding scale of profits.

Dragon Lip Butter Product:  Buy our super-moisturising Dragon Fruit Lip Butter online or in-store and 100% of the profits will be split across our selected charities.  Buy now and enjoy luscious lips and a warm feeling inside. Look good, feel good, do good!


To date, Aanifeira has already received two donations through these store promotions, the funding of which will go towards increasing the number of boxes in the cattery.  The first phase of Aanifeira’s cattery (read up here) was opened in March of 2013 however, given that this initial stage was small to start with and that there was space to expand, international funding was sought to expand the cattery.  The increase in abandoned cats and kittens in Portugal contributes to a huge amount of pressure on resources at many shelters in this country.  With this invaluable help from The Body Shop Foundation, we at Aanfeira, can continue our work in providing a safe haven for these animals with the proper follow-up care that is necessary for them to succeed into an adoption scheme.

Work has already begun on the new boxes as can be seen below:-

Cattery4 Cattery3 Cattery1r

timthumbThis year, The Body Shop Foundation celebrates 25 years of support and funding for charities and projects that are working for a positive social change.  We would like to extend our sincerest congratulations and thanks to them for their strong committment and achievements to the many needy causes that they contribute to around the world.

Posted in Animal Foundations, Animal Shelter, Animal Welfare, The Body Shop Foundation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , ,