Expats make a difference for Estepona stray dogs

Published:  12 Jan at 6 PM
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A dedicated team of expat dog-lovers are working together to rehabilitate and rehome Estepona’s stray dogs.

Spain is just one of several Mediterranean countries with a stray dog problem, a situation which causes distress to UK expats who’ve been brought up with the saying ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. As a result, it’s almost always Brits who commit their time and talents to making life happier for dogs rescued from the streets after being abandoned by their owners.

Estepona’s Adana Dog Shelter is one of many in Spain, founded 25 years ago by Sonia Longman, an expat who saw the need and responded with love and commitment. It’s now one of the most highly regarded dog shelters along the coast, with its present leader Mary Page working with a band of volunteers who give of their time for the sake of mens', and womens', best friends.

In an interview with Olive Press, Mary spoke about the shelter’s work, beginning by saying every dog deserves a good home. Here in Spain, she added, many dogs are simply abandoned and left to fend for themselves, so we try to rehabilitate them, make sure they’ve in good health and rehome them with loving families.

Helping are shelter treasurer Reg Winkworth, formerly a professional builder whose expertise is a real boon, and on-site vet Frederica Dorma ensures rescued dogs with health problems are given the best possible care before rehoming. The shelter couldn’t operate without its dedicated team of expat volunteers involved with walking the resident dogs, cleaning the kennels and other such jobs.

The Adana shelter can hold up to 250 dogs, and is run strictly according to the local rules and regulations applicable to charities. One major concern for Mary is that a few other shelters in the region are not well run and are giving hard-working shelters a bad name as well as affecting the number of donations without which Adana couldn’t continue.

New pups as well as abandoned pets arrive every week of the year, with Mary believing it’s the Spanish attitude towards responsible dog ownership which is the major problem. However, she told reporters she is seeing a change in local attitudes, with people becoming more aware of the need for female dogs to be spayed once they are old enough. One thing’s certain, every dog and pup arriving at the shelter has the best chance for a happy life with a new family.
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