Success Stories

Since San Animal formed in June 2010 we have been fortunate to have homed many cats and dogs some of those very young puppies and kittens.  Up to date, these successes are proudly shown below:

241 animals Rescued - Homed 214

Remaining are 17 dogs and 10 cats in our care, all looking for forever homes, with still more on our "waiting" list due to inadequate space!

Please take at look at our Facebook album for all those pets that are now in loving homes.

We have been helped so much, not only by Spanish families, but also by Dutch, German and British people, many of our animals have gone to Germany and Holland to live as well as staying here in Spain and as from January 2012 we will be able to include the United Kingdom (for more information on this please click on the DEFRA link.

We will in due course be adding the wonderful stories and pictures we have since received.



Hi this is Monty, I thought all you lovely people who have helped me travel to my new home in Holland would like to see me on my final day in my Shelter, I have had a great a send off from all the lovely people at San Animal with a super shower (I love water) and a lovely going away “Doggy” cake.

 My special thanks go all those who have helped look after me over the past two years (well nearly), I will be two next month, also big thank you’s to the following:

 Lisa, Maggie, Dominic, Cathy, Terry, Jim & Sandra for your kind donations.

 Finally to Trudi, who yesterday had the day from hell in getting me to Holland and my new Family.  Trudi started her day at 5am, on the way to the airport her car was involved in an accident whereby she missed her flight from Amsterdam to Alicante, not to be put off Trudi immediately booked another flight this time from Rotterdam, coming in later in the evening, THEN this flight was delayed by over an hour which caused major problems for me getting on my flight, everybody put in sooo much effort the airline by helping me get checked in by Michael and Nigel with just minutes to spare for me and Trudi, I had a lovely sleep on the flight and then even though Trudi was so tired she stopped and took lovely photos of me arriving in Holland and meeting Fiona and my new family.


 Monty contd…

 I am really sorry I forgot to mention two very important people in my earlier posting, these are Heather and Marijke; Heather is the lady that re-posts San Animal dogs to many other Facebook sites and it was on one of these sites that Marijke re-posted from and my new family was found, it was Marijke who was going to take me to Holland but them French people wouldn’t let me travel on their road.

 Thank you so much to you both - Monty


                 Monty having a shower before he leaves                  Monty's last day at the shelter,
                           for his new life in Holland                             sitting for his goodbye "doggy" cake


                                                                           Monty in his new home


This is Rupert in his new home in Germany, what a difference in his life since October 2013 when he was found with a broken leg, after emergency surgery she was fostered by Steve, then Cathy & Bob and Finally Susan and Bryan, he left us for his new life in February 2013 with Alexander and Family. 



Rocco (Previously Rocky)

This is Rocco (was Rocky) our Boxer who was rescued by San Animal from really bad conditions.  He has been so lucky to have been adopted by Moira and Irwin, you can tell by the photos below just what a lucky chappy he is! We are so pleased as Rocco is an older dog and Moira and Irwin have over 20 years experience with Boxers, we wish both Rocco and his new family all the best for their future life together.




Mara’s story represents tens of thousands of hunting dogs that are killed and abandoned every year.

I first saw a photo of Mara on Facebook, when a mass rescue was taking place in March 2012. Just one example of a mass abandonment and hoarding of one hundred and twenty dogs, that was brought to attention – there are many more situations like this that will never be discovered because of the size of Spain and the vast Spanish countryside, a hidden cruel secret that the hunters keep from the public eye.

Maybe Mara’s story could also be an example to these hunters, of how these beautiful and intelligent dogs could continue to serve them, if treated properly. We need to get to the root of the problem and find out why this cruelty continues. Mara represents all of these dogs, with her harrowing story. She, like so many others, that have been treated like a piece of garbage, left to die in the middle of nowhere in the harsh Spanish weather with nowhere to lie, no comfort from the sores on her poor skinny body, no food, water, or hope. Shown not an ounce of kindness or compassion, these poor sentient creatures have done nothing more than to try to serve their master.

Many of us do not support hunting of any kind but unfortunately we have to respect that the hunters will continue with this, as it is part of the culture here. However, it is nothing to do with culture when their dogs are hung, burnt, abandoned to starve, thrown down wells, mutilated and even thrown in bins, their owners being the ones to perpetrate this barbaric and cruel torture, to the dogs who have served them through the hunting season. The practice of dumping, or killing those dogs at the end of the season has some very nasty twists and turns that many people don’t know about, unless involved directly. Mara wants the world to know, so we can try to alleviate the numbers of dogs that end up in this terrible situation. If we can convince the hunters of the worth of these animals, then surely they will see a better way.

Mara was left with a man, an animal hoarder. His likely motive was to let the dogs mate with each other and sell the puppies on to the hunters in the new hunting season. Many dogs were left in an enclosure, to mate indiscriminately but some like Mara chained up under a tree and left with no hope.

When the rescue took place there were many photos of the dogs and it was well publicised on Facebook where many volunteers do so much to help. Many of these supporters are not in Spain and cannot physically help. In spite of that, they offer a great moral support to the rescuers in a situation such as this, and the many other situations that are reported daily. One hundred and twenty dogs is an unbelievable amount to save all at once. Luckily many Associations came to help in this particular situation but for each of those Associations, the cost to save the dogs was heavy, with limited funds already because of the constant necessity to rescue. This is an exhausting time for the rescuers, as abandoned animals have reached crisis point and end of hunting season is the worst time of year, a time that every animal rescuer dreads. An average dog that has no illness to treat, would cost in the region of 300 Euros for blood tests, vaccinations, passport chip and sterilisation, that is without the treatment of the animals that do have illnesses when rescued. The problem is insurmountable and so it has to STOP, it cannot continue like this.

We want the hunters to face up to the terrible situation they are causing and the government to look seriously at this massive problem, (as yet they do not, and they even tell us there is not enough evidence)! How can a government allow these crimes to continue? How can they allow the many Animal Associations working as volunteers and desperate to make changes, to continue to suffer like this? It is a catastrophe! As mentioned the one hundred and twenty dogs here, along with Mara, are just one of many that we know of and one of thousands that we will never know of. It is a holocaust!

People supporting on Facebook from far and wide, outside of Spain had noticed poor Mara’s plight, there was something about her face that told of suffering and she was one of many that needed to be got out urgently. Mara had got into people’s hearts!! We had thought that she had been saved but when I arrived at the scene she was the first dog I saw. There were practicalities and in order to successfully save the dogs we had gone to rescue, there was no way we could take Mara. A call from a volunteer from another Association, to see if they could save some dogs came through but they had no possibility of getting to the scene. I saw an opportunity for Mara to be helped and told them about her but we could not physically take her.

All day on top of the harrowing scenes and sadness, the compassion of the volunteers and everything else that happened that was so stressful, I could not rid myself of the thought of Mara and who could take her, how could we get her out? Then good news – the Association had managed to find some volunteers who drove there to help. When they arrived I tearfully led them to Mara, so thankful that they were able to get to the scene and take her, along with some other poor dogs too, who were so lucky that day. The volunteer gently put Mara on a lead and led her to shade where she was fed, watered and stroked, probably for the first time in her life. It was an emotional moment.

Mara unfortunately had some of the Mediterranean illnesses that many of the Spanish dogs get when they are left out and not cared for and she was really quite ill, though treatable. It was going to cost a lot to get her well.

The cost of the rescue of these dogs still affects the Associations involved and some are still in deficit from the amount needed to save them. The rescuing doesn’t stop on a day to day basis. We hope that this won’t affect future rescues.

If only we could prevent this so that no one has to go through this again and we can stop the dogs suffering. If we can encourage the hunters to understand how much could be saved financially, how good a sterilised and well looked after dog could work, then we will help the situation. We have to organise a campaign to teach these people and get through to them. Perhaps via the hunters who are already treating their hunting dogs better, but sadly they are in a minority!

The government needs to insist and implement sterilization, chipping and licensing hunting dogs. This would go a long way to teaching responsibility to the owners. If the vets could collaborate with this too, then there is no excuse for the hunters. The necessity for guidelines, laws and an organization to oversee and implement it would make a huge difference.

Mara was now with a wonderful rescue group – San Animal Santuario. They already were over full with other rescues but still took on more dogs from this rescue, including Mara. She looked so ill, her skin around her eyes was bald, she had lumps and sores and was painfully thin, and Mara had a long way to go to get to good health.

Today San Animal Santuario have twenty one dogs and many cats in their care, maybe more by the time I write this and they are struggling to raise funds. The non-profit organizations that are trying to help are in much need of help themselves. This is a ridiculous state of affairs in a country like Spain.

There are so many problems – an economic crisis and too much animal cruelty and abandonment cases here in Spain. There are no adequate laws, the ones there are apparently in place are not good enough, or even implemented; the government refuses to acknowledge the problem and people are afraid to report cases because of fear of retribution and animals suffering more, as a consequence of the police and authorities not taking the cases seriously.

Animals come to the bottom of the pile in any economic situation, but in Spain they are already in the bottom of the pile, recession or no recession.

So what can be done? We need a massive movement to correct this situation.

A lovely lady by the name of Fiona Nicholson was a member of my Facebook group and has rescued dogs from Spain before. Fiona was looking for a quiet and special dog to be part of her dog training business. A dog that would instill peace and confidence, in the other dogs. This was a special owner and Mara was a special dog, so I made the suggestion. Fiona made enquiries about Mara and felt she was the right kind of dog but it was going to be a long time before Mara would be well enough to travel. Her treatment was long and she needed lots of care and attention. Eventually 4 months later Mara was ready to travel to her new home.

Fiona Nicholson (Mara’s adopter)

Fiona sends us regular updates and photos and tells us that Mara is a very special dog and that one of Fiona’s favourite photos of Mara was the one with her running happily at San Animal with another dog, just a couple of weeks after she was rescued. Fiona remembers being so touched and gladdened at such an unbelievable change in so short a time, even though she was actually still quite ill. Here is a message from Fiona:-

Mara is a tremendously resilient, brave, determined wee girl. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her, she is so gentle and friendly and happy, so I often have the chance to tell her story and highlight the dreadful situation in Spain – many people are already partly aware and many ask about transport from Spain, so she is doing her bit to spread the word. I have even had two different people ask if she was up for re-homing, they love her so much. GSPs (Braco Aleman) are not common here. She watches me all the time except when she is off following scent trails – she is a marvellous tracker, and one of our games on walks is for me to walk in another direction when she isn’t looking, and go out of sight then she tracks me down. She gets so excited when she picks up my trail, and tears along going ‘yip, yip yip’ till she gets to me, then she sits and waits for a treat. She is also a fantastic guard dog, and barks loudly if anyone comes near the house, which is good, as the greyhounds/galgas are too lazy for that.

Mara is a treasure, and I can hardly believe that she didn’t have a string of offers of homes from San Animal, anyone would be so lucky to have a dog like her.

Best wishes,
Fiona xx

This is what Mara’s hunter/owner threw away.



Could Mara and the many other beautiful and reformed hunting dogs, teach their ex owners something?

We would like to thank Viv and Fiona for sending us the photos and telling Mara' story, to see the work  ACTIN  (Animal Care Treatment International) - Spain does for helping all animals across Spain, please visit their website at:


These two cats are Joey and Phoebe, they recently went off to their new homes in Holland and we have gratefully received the following photos of them enjoying their new lives - How lovely!.

Sukyi now!

Sukyi just after her operation

This was Sukyi's storey when she first arrived with San Animal

I am a very lucky dog as I am being looked after by San Animal in a lovely home with 5 other dogs, who are teaching me about being grown up and helping me to recover from my ordeal.  (I´m only 18 months old.)

 I was all alone wandering (rather awkwardly) along the streets and I was very hungry.  One day a Proteccion Civil man stopped to pick me up and took care of me for a night before taking me to the house where I am staying now.  I had a lot of difficulty to walk and my hips were not right.  I could not walk far or play with the other dogs, even though I had so much bounce and energy hidden within me. 

So I was taken to an amazing Vet, who told me I had hip dysplasia and needed major surgery urgently to have..........please click here to continue reading Sukyi's story!.


Update: As of September 2011 Sukyi has recovered from her operation and is now waiting for someone to give her a forever home!  She is a very pretty, happy, loving dog and will make a lovely pet/companion.  She is good with other dogs and children.



The photos opposite are Ester and her new brother Kiev taken on Esters first night with her new owners Jen & Dave, below is an email we have received from them - how lovely!

Just a quick update now that we have had Ester for a whole week.....I cant believe she has only been with us for a week - she has slotted into our family routine without any problems at all.  She has learnt how to use the cat flap (took 2 days) and now she comes and goes as she pleases.  She has found her favoured spot on the otteman at the end of the bed at night and I have just made her a bed from an old quilt I cut up and a little blanket I got on the market.  She is so rewarding and we love her to bits already.

She and Kiev are at the touching noses stage but occasionally Kiev gives her a paw swipe just to keep her in line - they dont seem to mind each other at all though and will sit quite close together in the evenings when we are in the lounge.

Thank you so much for our beautiful Ester.

Jen and Dave

JJoy is like our mascot really as she was our first rescue and adoption back in the summer of 2010. She lives very happily here in Aguilas with a lovley owner.

 Hello, this Beatriz Carpio and I am going to tell u a bit about JOY, my female dog.

She came to my life a year and 2 months ago…. At that time I wanted to live with a dog, that´s how I like to say it… Instead of I wanted to have a dog,

 A few days later a friend of mine saw a San Animal ad at the street… An English and Spanish ad with Joy´s picture and her name at that time was Jolly  …. She was about 7/8 months old.

I am Spanish but almost all my life I have been in contact with the Anglosaxon culture, so my friend called me and said I ´ve seen a dog for you …. She is English…

 I contacted Linda and Mandy and within 2 days Jolly was living with me. After a few days and because the sound of Jolly in Spanish is like another female name I changed it to JOY. I like it better and it really means what she is to me:  my everyday JOY… My faithful companion.

 She is wild but at the same time she is quite docile and can stay in my flat for hours and be very calm and quite… When she is in the streets or countryside she is full of energy and wants to have fun… She is very sociable, loving, friendly with people and dogs…. She always like to say hi…

We love going for long walks to the countryside but our very favorite place to go an explore is the whole “CABO COPE”…

 I am very thankful to Joy because I am quite fit and much in contact with NATURE…


Below  a wonderful email we have received from the owners
of Dusty - previously Joe.

 We took over the care of our friends dog as they were no longer able to care for him.  His name was Dusty.  We loved and cared for Dusty for the last five years of his life, unfortunately he had to be put to sleep in April 2011.

We had met Gerard from San Animal while we had Dusty and he told us about the dogs he homed here in Holland that had been rescued in Spain.  He said there was a dog that looked just like our Dusty, only smaller, that desperately needed a new home.  We weren't sure at first as we didn't want to give a dog a home that had already had a bad start because we felt, if it went wrong, it would be so unfair on the poor dog.  Gerard assured us that, if there was a problem, he would be there to help or take the dog back.

We decided we would go ahead and adopt little Joe (who we re-named Dusty) and we have never regretted this decision.  He not only looks like Dusty number one but also has the same character.  He is such a sweet and devoted dog and follows me everywhere like a little shadow.

All our neighbours love him.  We wouldn't part with Dusty the 2nd for all the money in the world.  He makes the loss of Dusty number one so much more bearable.

Omdat mijn vriend zijn  hond ( Dusty)  niet meer zelf kon uitlaten, heb ikdat de afgelopen 5 jaren gedaan.Zo ben ik in contact gekomen met veel honden en hun baasjes en bazinnetjes, oa met degene die later Gerard Baert bleek tezijn. Eind april 2011 hebben we Dusty helaas moeten laten inslapen.Toenvertelde Gerard me, dat hij onderdak zocht voor honden van San Animal, endat hij een kleine uitgave van onze Dusty had, die precies bij ons zoupassen.Ik durfde het aanvankelijk niet aan, omdat ik al wat ouder ben enniet zou willen , dat een hondje met een akelige achtergrond weer alleen zoukomen te staan.Na de toezegging van Gerard , dat hij het hondje zelf onderzijn hoede zou nemen als ik er onverhoopt niet meer voor zou kunnen zorgen, heb ik besloten de Kleine Dusty te adopteren. Ik heb er geen seconde spijtvan gehad.Hij was direct aan ons gewend en wij aan hem. Hij lijkt nietalleen uiterlijk , maar ook wat karakter betreft op Dusty1.Hij is lief enaanhankelijk.Hij verliest me geen seconde uit het oog en volgt me als mijnschaduw.De buren zijn ook allemaal van hem gecharmeerd.We zouden Dusty 2 voor geen goud meer willen missen. Hij maakt voor ons het gemis van Dusty 1  niet minder maar wel dragelijker.

Teddy & Tiger

At the end of August 2011, Teddy and Tiger went to their forever home in Germany, here is a link that you can read information on how this is carried out by S.A.S and Alstrays, another animal welfare organisation that we work with!

Update from Teddy & Tigers new owners:

So I have news about Teddy and Tiger. They are now called Neo and Jack. First there was a little problem with the dog. He started to hunt Neo and Jack but both are courageous little boys and they showed the dog what will happen if he don´t chill down!

Arthur travelled to a new life in Germany with ALStrays on July 9th. He went straight to an adoptant and settled in immediately (as these new photos show), after some rather tough months at the animal rescue. The problem Arthur had was that he wasn’t really a rescue cat and was used to much better things! His family were re-locating and asked Mandy to re-home him, so it was a BIG shock to find himself in a cattery pen. Mandy tried to integrate him with her tribe, but her own Tomcat took an instant dislike to Arthur, and Arthur, although not naturally aggressive, stood his ground, in the end inflicting injury to Mandy’s smaller trouble-maker.

A very happy email we have received from the new owners of Mara who was adopted in Holland earlier this year!

"It's our pleasure to tell you that we have been lucky to be chosen to get the possibility to adopt a dog by the foundation San Animal Santuario.
This foundation, which we found by the internet, we collected her ( Mara) on the 12th of Breda - Holland where Gerard Baert received us very kindly. Mara is grown to a very sweet, affectionate and sociable little dog which we won't miss for any price!!!
Take that step and wish a dog a future. You'll get back so much".

Het is ons een genoegen U mede te delen dat wij het geluk mochten hebben om uitverkoren te zijn om een hondje via:

San Animal Santuario te mogen adopteren.  Via een stichting, die we hebben gevonden op het Internet,konden we haar(Mara) 12 februari halen uit Breda.Waar we zeer hartelijk zijn ontvangen door de Heer Gerard Baert.  Mara is gegroeid tot een zeer lieve,aanhankelijk en sociaal hondje die we voor geen goud willen missen!!!!  Neemt U ook die stap en gun een hondje een toekomst.Je krijgt er zoveel voor.


© Santolina Animal Santuario 2012

Registered charity number 10.286/1