History of the Tiny Shelter in Albufeira

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Tiny Shelter Albufeira


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How it all began

The Tiny Shelter Albufeira, located in the Algarve in Portugal, was housed in the beginning for 5 years on the site of an old ruin. At the end of September 2017, Isabel Searle received notice to quit there and had to vacate the shelter within a month – along with all the dogs living there.

A mammoth task that could be accomplished thanks to the countless energetic helpers on site and the foster homes that took in the dogs during the new construction. And of course not least thanks to the many animal-loving people who have helped through donations to raise the large amounts needed for the new building.

The “groundbreaking” took place on 10/12/17, by mid-November all the fences were in place, all the enclosures and cabins were built, all the trailers and the RV were cleaned and disinfected, and all the dogs were moved back in! A miracle!

Miracle part 2 – a new beginning

Unfortunately, the happiness and tranquility did not last. In June 2019, Isabel had to go in search of a new place for her Tiny Shelter again. Fortunately, there are also a lot of animal-loving, helpful, generous people in Portugal. In just 3 months, with the support of many volunteers, she has created the new Tiny Shelter Albufeira from scratch.

This meant not only building boxes for the dogs, but also leveling the terrain in advance, clearing it of shrubs, laying water and power lines, and fencing everything in. As always, in every ending there is also a new beginning and in everything bad there is always something good: The new Tiny Shelter is now even quieter and more protected, has running water in addition to electricity, large enclosures for the dogs, three quarantine boxes and plenty of space for long walks.

After the successful move-in in November, Tiny Shelter Albufeira now has 9 enclosures with various cozy dog houses and beds, one small and 2 larger quarantine boxes and a common area for play. Furthermore, on the new premises there is a food hut, a “first aid caravan”, a larger caravan in which volunteers who would like to experience everyday life in the shelter for a few days and help on site can stay overnight. There is seating for volunteers to rest and fortify themselves, a sofa for the dogs, a large outdoor dish kitchen, and an outhouse.

A little paradise for all the dogs who often had to wait a long time for a little bit of happiness. The Tiny Shelter is certainly not a substitute for a home, but it promises safety and a great deal of security and care until the move to the new – final – dog life in hustle and bustle.

The new construction of the Tiny Shelter Albufeira did not go without setbacks. After massive storms, a huge stone came loose from a rampart next to the enclosures and destroyed a box. Fortunately, the dog living inside was not injured! Also, the brick enclosures had to be touched up because the water masses could not drain away.

But as always, neither Isabel nor all her hard-working helpers are discouraged by this. In the meantime, the enclosure has been re-fenced, drainage facilities have been created and both the outer fence and a box have been extended to make them escape-proof. Because every now and then there are monkeys among our dogs, who can’t get to the arriving volunteers fast enough to get some petting 😉

Is the new construction of the Tiny Shelter Albufeira completed? Not at all!

The feed hut has just been moved so that on the one hand the washing machine for the blankets can finally find a suitable place and on the other hand a BBQ place could be set up in front of the caravans. In addition, a privacy screen has been added to the outside fence to allow more quiet for the dogs and the outdoor kitchen will be expanded to provide water at several locations on the property.

Next, the caravans and the BBQ area will be roofed over to provide a shady spot even in the Portuguese summer, and at some point our dream of an external playground will also come true, so that even more peace and quiet will come to the sick dogs in our quarantine boxes.

Almost a year of construction – and no end in sight

After almost a year on the new site, much has been completed, but not everything that was planned has been rebuilt.

What all there is in the meantime (as of September 2020)?

  • the already above mentioned 9 big boxes, the feeding hut, the “first aid caravan”, the volunteers area including caravan, sitting area and huts for the dogs running free on the shelter area
  • 2 quarantine boxes including their own smaller play area and separate entrance so that sick dogs can enter and leave the shelter without direct contact with the other dogs.
  • an additional smaller box for dogs that still need to get used to the others
  • a still provisional but functional sink
  • a washing machine
  • a large fenced play area adjacent to the shelter area, allowing dogs to meet and run without others.

What is just emerging:

  • a large brick outdoor kitchen with sink, shade and plenty of space for refrigerators and freezers
  • a large pool in the play area

What we still dream of

  • a small overseas container as a rat-proof food storage – because rats exist everywhere where animals are kept in larger numbers and their food is stored, and unfortunately they eat their way through plastic and wood.

After two years of construction nevertheless still plans

It’s safe to say that after two years of countless hours, most of it is done. And yet there are further plans… 😉

What all there is in the meantime (as of July 2021)?

  • The 9 large boxes mentioned above have now become 11 all with large rainproof wooden houses and plenty of sun protection.
  • In the meantime, the feed hut has become a warehouse for transport boxes, blankets and the like.
  • The “First Aid Caravan” has become more like a “Zions Caravan”
  • A walled, rat-proof food storage area also contains the medications.
  • A WC directly on the shelter premises.
  • The Volunteers area including caravan, seating area and BBQ.
  • The huts for the dogs running freely on the shelter grounds are now roofed and some have small separate “front gardens”.
  • 3 quarantine boxes including their own smaller play area and separate entrance so that sick dogs can enter and leave the shelter without direct contact with the other dogs.
  • A large brick outdoor kitchen with sink, shade and plenty of room for refrigerators and freezers and the new large washing machine
  • A large fenced play area adjacent to the shelter area that allows dogs to run.
  • A large pool in the play area

What is just emerging:

  • Each box gets double doors, so to speak a lock, so that no dogs can slip out unnoticed and quarrel with others.

What we still dream of

  • A newer trailer or small mobile home for the volunteers. For rain and heat have properly affected the one we have now.

And again from the beginning

Unfortunately, this shelter was also not meant to last forever. The entire property was sold and with it the lease for the Tiny Shelter expired. Once again, we went in search of a new place. This time, a site was found that, not least thanks to the creation of the Association, now actually seems to be a definitive solution. Once again, however, everything has to be created from nothing – including the reconstruction of a ruin.

This meant again not only to build the boxes and everything around it for the dogs, but also to free the area from the wine in advance. A mammoth task that is far from finished. But also this time we see the good: The new Tiny Shelter is even more protected, it will be even better divided, offers even more space for the dogs and volunteers and even a house. The surrounding area is well situated for long walks.

Do you want to support us in the completion of the Tiny Shelter Albufeira?

Every Euro helps us, because a steady drop wears away the stone or in this case fills the barrel.

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Fund raising to move again