2012 has been a year has been a year of extremes, a year that has been good in many ways, very hard in other ways, certainly a year full of changes. We are sadly witnessing the results of the financial crisis and it is affecting the animals very hard. Never before have we seen so many abandoned animals, shelters are all overly full.
Despite this, we have continued. Our greatest success has always been the adoptions. We try so very hard to help those animals we can; we are just not able to help all of them. We give advice, both good and bad, sadly the reality is such that there are just too many animals in the Algarve. For those we cannot help we never say no, sometimes the harshest of decisions have to be made, sometimes we can save the animal, sometimes we cannot, sometimes they come in, sometimes they are sterilized and returned. We do know, for those animals we can help, that we always take our time with them, care for them properly, find the proper matching home, and make sure that if a puppy or kitten they are with a family with the means (or the offered support) and mentality to have the animal sterilized. This means that we have turned away homes, but our focus is not on finding every available home, rather it is upon finding homes we trust. And by doing this, in 2012 we managed to find homes for 330* animals. They all had their own sad stories, and thankfully they all now have their happy endings.
2012 also saw us move, so that we finally have our own permanent location. And although it is still a work in progress it keeps all our dogs happy and safe until they can move to new homes. It has allowed us to put into practice what we have been preaching, that there IS a way to run a shelter / rescue centre where animals are happy and well cared for, even in Portugal.
As well as now being able to welcome walkers and volunteers to our centre, we have started group dog walks with our first in early October and second at Christmas. It is a great outing (for both people and dogs), which we hope to continue.
Another big part of 2012 has been our work in local gypsy camps, and in 2013 we hope continue this work but we will need help in fundraising for these projects. And our last (perhaps most public change) is that we are now actively using facebook (which we resisted for a long time but now love)! So we can better share with our supporters information about what it is we are doing. And so we have crept from around 300 fb supporters to now over 1000.
One way which we hope to expand in 2013 is by being able to help more animals from shelters. We hope to keep a few spaces which are always given to dogs or puppies coming straight from shelters, as opposed to when found by individuals or coming in from the street. But taking animals from shelters is often harder for us, as these poor ones are often in worse condition, carrying skin conditions, kennel cough and, sadly, we are often limited by (lack of) funding to be able to help these animals.
We also wish to expand our focus to fundraising, publicity, education and sterilization. Sadly, in 2012, there have been months where we have had to say no to animals we would have otherwise helped….not because we did not have the space or could not find the homes, but because we did not have the finances. So throughout 2013 we will continue our fundraising and insure an open sharing of our finances and our budget, as 100% of every penny we raise is used for the animals.
Currently SOS Algarve Animals consists of a very small team who are dedicating their time and life to the animals, we cannot continue this way on our own, and we need more volunteers to be able to continue and expand.
Thankfully, the first new volunteer(s) are already available to help and expand our sterilization voucher campaign. And we hope to find more dedicated and committed volunteers to help us with puppy fostering, publicity, marketing, fundraising, etc.
So we will wait, keep working, and keep trying to make a difference. Saving one animal will not change the world, but for that one the world will change forever. Thank you to everyone for all their support, however small or large, and for helping us keep helping. Happy New Year.*Summary 2012: Total Animals Rehomed = 331 Dogs Rehomed = 147 (89 abroad, 58 in Portugal) Puppies Rehomed = 116 (98 abroad, 18 in Portugal) Cats Rehomed = 28 (11 abroad, 17 in Portugal) Kittens Rehomed = 40 (19 abroad, 21 in Portugal) And here are just a few of our animals who found their happily ever afters in 2012…..