‘Aryel’ – the new animal association that finds better lives for special needs cats
A new Lagoa-based animal association that aims to rescue and provide a better life for stray cats, especially special needs cats, has been created by life-long animal lover Irene Nunes.
It is named ‘Aryel’ in honour of the first paraplegic cat that Irene owned.
“When Aryel died, I promised myself that if I ever created an animal association, I would name it after her,” Irene, 50, told the Resident.
The association has its own facilities near Lagoa which are still being built and where it can provide refuge to around 100 cats at the same time. Entitled ‘Aryel’s Garden’, the facilities will also boast an organic farm with the plan being to bring schoolchildren there and host workshops and educational activities.
Irene will also continue the “gratifying work” of taking special needs cats and dogs to schools and old people’s homes in order to show people that these animals are just as special as any other.
An official launch party to celebrate the association’s creation will be held in Silves at Djorge & Carlos Filipe Studios on Friday, September 13 at 7.30pm and will be open to everyone.
But the decision to create a new association was not taken lightly. It was just a few months ago that Irene left the animal association she previously worked with, unsure of whether she would be able to continue dedicating almost all of her free time to saving animals.
“However, I can’t stop it. This is almost like a mission. When I realised how many lives me and so many other people have saved, I knew I had to keep going,” said Irene, who works as the free-time activities coordinator for children at the Centro Popular de Lagoa.
Irene has a soft spot for animals with disabilities, and says she will even consider taking in elderly dogs or dogs with special needs if needed – and if the shelter is able to welcome them.
“These are animals that usually have fewer opportunities (to be adopted). But for me, they have something special that makes me like them even more,” she said.
A firm believer in sterilisation, Irene told us that the goal for now is to rescue animals from off the street and try to find them new homes. In the future, ‘Aryel’ is open to teaming up with the local council to help sterilise the municipality’s stray cat colonies.
Anyone who would like to volunteer at ‘Aryel’ or make a donation, be it money or much-needed supplies such as food, can contact Irene directly. A Facebook page is also due to be launched very soon.
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