It would be remiss of me to do anything other than first thank all the wonderful people that we had the privilege of meeting throughout 2012 who have given homes to the abandoned, abused and rescued dogs and cats that we were fortunate enough to help in some small way by transporting them to the UK, Germany, France, Holland, and Belgium.
Numbers are often meaningless but throughout 2012 we transported around 240 re-homed rescue dogs to the UK from Spain, over 100 dogs to Germany, Holland and Belgium, and brought 25 dogs from the UK to Spain for people starting a new life here in Spain. In addition we transported over 350 cats to Germany a lot of which Sands had helped to re-home.
Those numbers mean a lot to the cats and dogs that all enjoyed this Christmas and New Year thanks to a whole bunch of truly amazing people.
So from them to you all ….. thanks!
For both Sands and I and ALStrays 2012 was a significant year. It was the year we adopted our sixth cat, Kasper, increased our ‘fleet’ of vans from one to two, and effectively decided that we were going to commit ourselves 100% to doing as much as we could to help the cats and dogs in Spain, and elsewhere in the world.
That may sound rather grand, it isn’t. We are but an incredibly small cog in a huge network of dedicated people that are collectively doing far more than we ever could to help address the atrocities that we humans inflect on these poor cats and dogs.
The world of Animal Rescue is a terrible one in many ways. The needless pain and suffering that so many of the animals we end up transporting have endured, the bitchy and self-centered minority of people that are ‘in it’ for their own self publicity or glory, the daily horror photographs on Facebook and of course the many that just don’t make it and cross the Rainbow Bridge way before they should.
On the other hand the world of Animal Rescue is remarkably fulfilling. There are some genuinely amazing and nice people in this world still, and we have been fortunate to meet and deal with a great many of them. The look on people’s faces when they are reunited with their pet that they thought they would never see again when they left Spain, and the sheer joy in the expression of the new adoptants when we deliver their new family member are unbelievably rewarding and uplifting. A 2.500km drive back from the UK in an empty van can be a long and lonely drive, but not when you are able to reflect on the look on the people’s faces and let’s not forget the cats and dogs – the knowledge that they are safe, secure and loved makes it all worth while and keeps us motivated.
In many ways we have the easiest role to play: all we do is sit in a van and deliver the cats and dogs. The real heroes are the many that rescue and foster here in Spain and re-home the dogs to new owners who open their homes and hearts to these animals that have done nothing wrong, have often been severely abused, and only ask for love, food, warmth and security and in return give so much joy.
I think it is best summed up that those involved in the rescue here in Spain give the animal a life. Those that adopt them given them a world.
So what of 2013?
More of the same in many ways. We will be transporting more cats and dogs to both the UK and Germany/Holland/Belgium with our scheduled twice a month transports. We are also going to be providing chartered transport services both here in Spain and across Europe.
While we remain 100% self funded and have to ensure that we can afford to keep both vans on the road and ourselves 100% focussed on helping the animals, we will continue to provide as much support as we can to those involved with Animal Rescue. When we can we will help pick up dogs from killing stations FOC, and we will continue to bring back donations and medications, purchases etc from the UK for those involved in Animal Rescue FOC.
We have published the schedule of regularly monthly transports to the UK and Germany etc (links below) and plan to add a few more bespoke transports on a chartered basis to elsewhere in Europe.
We hope to develop our Preferred Transport Partner programe which provides better rates and better booking options in return for committing to use us on an exclusive basis subject to availability.
As for January we have two transports scheduled (availability links below), have been asked to a meeting with Animal Express to discuss their plans for PETRA (Pets’ European Transport by Road Association) and their concerns that DEFRA will make all re-homed dogs come under the Balai Directive. I also need to get cracking on the Sponsored Bike Ride I am planning in the UK (more next month but it involves Andy Kershaw, Jon Gaunt, Peter Egan, Central Contracts and Harley Davidson).
I have also agreed to write a regular column again for the Round Town News, which will look at the world of Animal Rescue here in Spain, so hopefully I will be able to draw people’s attention to what is going on and more importantly how they can help. I am also considering a couple of radio options to provide regular commentary on life here in Spain, again with a focus on Animal Rescue.
And finally …… the plan is to provide a monthly newsletter.
For now though thanks again and have a great 2013.
Next Transport Availability
26th January: transport to the UK (15 dogs/cats) currently has 6 dogs confirmed.
9th February transport to Germany (Bruchsal, Wallau and Düsseldorf) and UK (10 dogs/cats) has 7 dogs confirmed to the UK.