Wherever you go in the world, you'll find dedicated expats giving something back to their adopted communities, whether through fund-raising or offering their time for a local cause. In recognition of their hard work, we tell you about some of them, continuing this month with a fast-paced animal rescue in south-east Spain.
What and where:
Galgos del Sol is a small rescue centre based in Murcia, Spain with connections all over Europe. GdS protects and rehabilitates abandoned Galgos (Spanish hunting greyhounds) and another Spanish breed, the Podenco. The charity is run by expats Tina and Suzie with support from Beryl and a group of volunteers located in Spain, France and the UK. In the last 6 months, the team has re-homed 60 abandoned dogs and reached out to a number of schools creating awareness and appreciation of responsible pet keeping skills.
Having only formally been opened since September 2010, the team members have quickly organised themselves each with their own speciality. Tina was the founder and runs the charity on a daily basis and is helped by nine expats in all, eight from the UK. Toni Collard is a fundraiser who makes professional Galgo collars to sell online. Jennifer and Janice support the publicity through the internet, blogs and magazines and Suzie coordinates the efforts back in Britain. Regular tasks include vet visits, bathing the dogs, transport and fundraising, although all tasks are put on hold if anyone sees a distressed Galgo until it is caught!
Costs and Funding
The cost of running the charity is quite high as most of the dogs arrive injured so must go straight to the vets for blood tests, kidney checks and testing for a number of common diseases. A healthy Galgo will initially cost approximately €200 (£175) in fees whereas an injured Galgo like “Guapita” recently cost €1,800 (£1,570) quite quickly. Food and transportation of the animals is expensive and trips to the vet can be as frequent as 8-12 times a week. Galgos del Sol receives no government funding but works alongside other similar charities such as Greyhounds in Need UK for financing, as well as events and sponsorships. Recent fundraising events have included a sponsored dog walk in France, a St Patrick's day tombola in the Costa Blanca and a new sport called “Canicross”...
Voice of a volunteer:
Jennifer Rahman, who has a business in the UK and Spain, uses her vocation to help the Galgos.
“I moved to Spain last year with my husband, hoping to retire, how wrong I was! I met Tina when she helped me re-home a stray that I had found. Friends had told me about the magnitude of stray dogs in the area and I was affected when I saw the extent of it. At first I would help out once a week at the animal shelter with practical tasks such as cleaning the dog pens but then offered to help with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) which helps the animals escape from their distressed state. There is certainly no shortage of work to be done here and now the rest of my family have started to get involved. What I have learnt from the Galgos is the true meaning of unconditional love. I also never cease to be amazed at the love all the volunteers have whenever the dogs are in need of a cuddle!”