Visit to Spain- March 2018

Leaving a very snowy UK behind, I joined our trustee, Leigh, on a trip to Southern Spain to visit three shelters that GIN support and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers that run them.

Our first stop was in Albacete where we met Sole and Jisseth from Arca de Noe and were very fortunate to join Jisseth on one of her many school visits that she attends using GIN’s education programme. Sitting at the back of the class did take me back a few years but it was so fulfilling to see the concentration on the children’s faces and lovely to see how many were eager to answer, when questioned, about the galgos and their needs. We were rewarded at the end of class with pictures the children were asked to do for us which showed their thanks for our visit and for rescuing the galgos.

After all our "studying" it was great to have some galgo therapy at the shelter, that even the rain could not dampen!! As the hunting season had just finished there were 120 galgos at Arca de Noe, so Sole and her dedicated group of volunteers were kept busy. After all that these rescues have been through - some worse than others, they are just so happy to see you and have cuddles, even the very timid ones are curious but come around eventually. With a lot of reluctance, we had to say goodbye to all at Arca de Noe and make our way to the APA Santa Clara shelter in Tobarra.

It was a pleasure to meet Margaret who runs the shelter with Carmen. We met at their old shelter with the run down kennels they are currently still using – but hopefully not for too much longer. Last year Margaret was able to oversee the building of a brand new shelter with proper kennels and exercise runs on some other land nearby which is almost finished.

After we had made a fuss of the galgos and tucked them up for the evening we went with Margaret to see the new shelter. GIN has funded two kennels here for the galgos that APA takes in and it is going to be such an improvement for Margaret, her volunteers and all the abandoned and stray dogs that come here.

The new shelter will have a treatment room, office area and plenty of storage for the great number of donated coats, blankets and food that Margaret receives. It was lovely to see the enthusiasm and excitement that Margaret showed, and we are looking forward to seeing some pictures from her once the dogs have moved in.

Our final visit was to Galgos del Sol in Murcia where we were met by two full time volunteers, Kim and her daughter Eva, who live on site and help Tina with the day to day running. We were very excited to see the newly finished education building which GIN had funded and it was a great honour to "cut the ribbon" and officially open the building on behalf of GIN. Inside everything was in place ready for school children from local schools to visit and take part in the new education programme that Tina will be starting in May. There is a lovely outside area completely shaded where the children will be able to meet the galgos and interact with them too.

Kim and Eva were perfect hosts and spent the afternoon showing us around the rest of the shelter and the best thing of all the lovely galgos and puppies which they care for with a passion. Sadly, time went too quickly, and we had to leave to get our flight back to the UK, but it was with great satisfaction knowing our help was so much appreciated.

All these shelters do such an amazing job and the dedication, commitment and love all those involved give goes without saying. Education is the way forward and we are excited to be able to play a part in this by sharing our programme/resources any way we can to show the future generation how to care for animals.

Tracey Sanderson
Deputy General Manager