THE economic crisis in Spain has led to many dogs and cats being discarded and left to roam.
A depressing statistic is that some people leave Spain to return to their country of origin leaving their pet behind, abandoning them, many never to be seen again as they spend the rest of their life in misery wandering in the harsh Spanish wilderness.
The lucky ones find their way to populated areas and a small minority of them are rescued, some by dedicated British ex-pat run animal rescue groups which, despite being already full to capacity, do all they can to help the animals.
There is a lifeline for some of these rescued pets due to the new laws that came into effect on January 1 this year regarding the importation of pets into the United Kingdom. This much awaited change in the rules brings the UK into line with other European countries.
Animal welfare associations located in Spain have welcomed the opportunity to home abandoned dogs and cats in the UK without the need for them to wait for a rabies antibodies certificate or be placed in quarantine for six months.
After a great deal of planning and organising, volunteers from five different animal rescue organisations operating in the Costa Blanca and Murcia regions congregated in Hondon de Las Nieves.
As they chatted together they made a great fuss of the dogs they had brought with them, and with much enthusiasm they awaited the arrival of the transporter that would take the dogs to new homes in the UK.
The road transporter arrived at 9am and the chosen ones were carefully loaded into the vehicle in preparation for their momentous journey.
At 9.30am the transporter moved off with its precious cargo, all the dogs having settled down in their beds for the trip that will take them to a new life.
The following morning, fifteen dogs arrived at the pre-arranged drop off point in London in the UK.
There to meet them were the people that had arranged to adopt them.
As each dog disembarked some smiled and some cried tears of joy to see their new family pet in real life for the very first time.
These three Spanish Mastin puppies went together to a new home in Leeds.
Billy the Daschund was rescued from fields near to La Marina on the Costa Blanca, he was cared for in a foster home until he was adopted via the Internet. Here he is happy and content sleeping in the arms of his new daddy on the first evening of his new life in a new home in London.
This accomplishment was the result of mutual collaboration between animal welfare volunteers located in Spain.
Seven of the dogs were homed via the internet Pets In Spain Facebook site, the others through web sites and personal contacts of the four other animal welfare associations that participated; Barneys, Hovar, Paps, and Paradise Kennels.
If not for their dedication and unswerving commitment fifteen dogs would still be wandering around homeless in Spain without any hope of being rescued.
Another joint UK homing campaign is planned for next month.
By Yvonne Lewis