Expat dog rescue charity in Spain finds homes for abandoned pets

Published:  13 Oct at 6 PM
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A group of female expats in Alhama de Granada are working hard to find new homes for abandoned dogs in their area.

One shock for dog-loving expats is to find the citizens of their new country don’t exactly mirror the attachment Brits have for their furry family members. Caring for dogs as an important part of our lives is the norm in the UK, whereas in Europe and especially in Asia the issue can be controversial, to say the least. It’s not easy to ignore the fact that dogs’ lives aren’t considered important, that they can be just seen as food or simply thrown out to fend for themselves when the novelty of a pet wears off.

For example, some tourist areas in Greece cull all street dogs at the start of the summer tourist season, and the Far East countries of China and South Korea are infamous for eating dogs stolen from their owners, picked up in streets and horribly killed at their destinations. Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries also consider dogs as a food, much to the dismay of many Western expats.

Both as a result of the above and because of humans’ inbred love of dogs as loyal companions and friends, a large number of dog rescue shelters of all sizes can be found across the expat world. Funded by charitable donations and staffed by volunteers, these shelters save many thousands of doggy lives and find homes where they can live with loving families.

One such is ASAP in Alhama de Granada, run by a small group of expat women who keep the dogs in their own homes until they can find permanent loving families as they don’t yet have a permanent shelter. Over the three years since its inception, the rescue organisation has saved and rehomed 180 dogs. Dedicated dog-lovers Sue Morrow, Els Delmotte and Annick Smeets are helped by several British expat volunteers living nearby, as well as by generous donations via their Facebook site and people in the local community.

The majority of the dogs are rehomed to families living in Belgium and the Netherlands, with Annick telling reporters from the Euro Weekly News it’s tough financially as the dogs’ transportation costs aren’t covered by the adoption fees. According to Annick, it’s imperative to find new owners as soon as possible in order to take in more strays needing the organisation’s help.

ASAP is linked with dog housing organisations in the Netherlands and Belgium, but more money is always needed to cover vets’ bills and dog food. Right now, Annick and her friends would love to take in more strays and recruit more fosterers happy to take care of a dog or dogs on a short-term basis. Full support is given to volunteers and anyone who would like to get involved in any way.
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