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When most people consider getting a dog, they usually think of cute fluffy puppies and have a particular breed in mind. Starting a furry family is a big decision, one that has to be right for you and your family. In a perfect world dog owners would consider their working hours, free time, the size of their home and their existing animals and children. But sadly not everyone does, and as a result many dogs are left abandoned on the streets.

ADANA CanelaHere in Marbella alone there are hundreds of cases where dogs have been mistreated, left in a box, thrown out of the car or dumped in a bin. Coming from a family of dog lovers who quite literally let the dog rule the house, I find it very hard to believe how cruel some people can be.

Dogs have long been Man’s Best Friend and many are used for important roles, from search and rescue to hearing and therapy dogs, guiding the blind, working with the police and the military, and have even been known to detect cancer! Dogs are used for some of the most important jobs around the world ─ how anyone could hurt such an intelligent and loyal creature is a mystery.

Luckily there are still kind-hearted people around who share a love for animals, and who make it their mission to rescue abandoned dogs and ensure that they are looked after. One of these rescue centres is ADANA (Association for the Rights of Abandoned Animals) a dog charity that is run by volunteers and helps to save abandoned dogs. They are located in the Estepona campo surrounded by stunning mountain views all the way down to the coast ─ the perfect spot for enjoying a scenic walk.

ADANA receives no funding from the government ─ they are 100% self-funded. The cost of feeding 150+ dogs per month and taking care of their health and needs is high. Because of this ADANA are always looking for new ways to fundraise and to attract new volunteers to the centre. And so I decided to go up and see for myself what it was all about. Upon arriving at ADANA I was blown away by the friendliness, passion and care of the volunteers, and was amazed at how well looked after the dogs were. Each dog is given a name when it arrives and is cared for with a thought for personality and circumstances. Every day the team at ADANA cleans out all of the pens and make sure that the beds are made and the dogs receive fresh water and food. They also spend their time working on building play pens and securing fencing to ensure that all of the residents are safe and happy.

Because of a lack of volunteers, sadly it is not possible to walk all of the dogs every day, but ADANA has a system in place to make sure that each day the ones who need it most get a walk first. It’s also the ADANA philosophy to not only walk the dogs but to spend some time with them playing and giving them a pet and cuddle to help reassure their trust in humans ─ something that is very important.

ADANA KyloI spent some time with a little Podenco, Kylo. He arrived at the shelter in a bad way and no one really knows what happened to him. As we set off on our walk he was a little nervous and quite literally scared of his own shadow. However, after some time he began to relax and after a few hours together he even began to show a little affection. This made me realise that how spending just a few hours of my spare time at ADANA could make such a difference to a dog’s day.

Volunteering at ADANA is a great way for dog lovers to spend some time with the animals and help a local charity out, even if it is just for a few hours…and no, it’s not just all about poop scooping 😉

ADANA has many different breeds, sizes and ages of dogs that are all looking for their forever home. There are many benefits to adopting an older dog; you won’t have to toilet train it for one!

This Saturday 9th April, ADANA have organised a Dog March where you can walk one of the ADANA dogs in Estepona. The walk starts at 11am from the Palacio de Congresos and it costs just €5 to enter. Hope to see you there 😉

-Rhea Craib-