Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time
Tiny Shelter lead volunteer Isabel Searle

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time

Tiny Shelter needs €50,000 to move to new site

Albufeira dog refuge Tiny Shelter is being forced to relocate for the third time in seven years after the plot of land it is currently located on was sold.

The association has until the end of August to vacate the site, so time is of the essence to ensure the dozens of dogs in its care have a new shelter to move to by the deadline.

The good news is that “three very kind angels” have already purchased a plot of land near Guia where the dog rescue group can set up its new shelter for 36 dogs and stay for however long it wants.

“This is a dream come true as the owners will leave it in their will for our association, so finally, after so many tears, sleepless nights, anguish and struggling, our dogs will forever be safe,” Tiny Shelter lead volunteer Isabel Searle told the Resident.

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time

The bad news is that around €50,000 is needed to cover the costs of moving to the site, clearing the land, installing electricity, water, and sewage systems, building boxes and play areas for the dogs, fencing the shelter and several other expenses.

A GoFundMe page has already raised over €4,700 for the cause, and around €10,000 has been raised through events and other generous donations. However, the association is still a long way from raising the necessary amount.

It’s a harrowing task, but one the volunteers know they must attempt.

“This is so stressful as we are running against time,” Searle told us.

“I felt like we would have to quit this time. But then we rescued one more dog, and then another… and we ask ourselves: who would save them? How could we walk away?”

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time
Volunteer Célia Neto

Third time’s the charm?

Despite carrying out life-saving work and having recently rehomed its 1,000th dog, Tiny Shelter has not received the good fortune it deserves. This will be the third time in seven years that it is forced to find a new place to call home.

“The first shelter was just an improvised place, a ruin, where we were allowed to place some boxes to have a safe area for the rescued doggies,” Searle told us.

But when the owner of the land who let them stay there “out of kindness” died, his heirs forced the association to leave.

“It was horrific, we did not have anything in writing, so we had no choice but to quickly move. We were only given a few days. It was a nightmare,” said the animal lover.

“Fortunately, we had a lot of help from lovely animal supporters and found a way.”

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time
Tiny Shelter “supporter” Monique Kaiser (left) and volunteer Margarida Sommer

Tiny Shelter moved to another location which was never seen as a permanent solution due to “some conflicting interests”, before eventually relocating to its current premises, where it was given a five-year renewable lease by the owner, only to be broken if the property was sold.

“This was something no one believed would happen as it had been on the market for more than 10 years,” the lead volunteer said.

To the group’s “dismay and shock”, an offer was made in November 2021 and the animal association was given until the end of August to leave.

The animal volunteers are now hoping that this new shelter near Guia will finally be a safe refuge for dogs which will be a “haven for all the future dogs that will be saved, even after myself, the volunteers and the owners are long gone,” said Searle.

But for this to happen, Tiny Shelter needs everyone’s help.

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time

Overcrowded shelter

Even without the struggles of having to secure enough money to build a new home, Tiny Shelter has its fair share of daily issues to overcome.

The shelter is completely full, and every day there are more dogs in need of help.

“It is so hard to say ‘no’ when we find abandoned and mistreated doggies daily,” Searle lamented.

There are so many dogs in Tiny Shelter’s care that need a forever home, so if you are interested in adding a new member to your family, visit Tiny Shelter’s Facebook page.

Albufeira dog shelter forced to relocate for third time
Volunteer Célia Neto

How to help?

There are several ways you can help Tiny Shelter.

You can donate via bank transfer (Tiny Shelter Association | IBAN: PT 50 0045 7012 4035 5812 4230 6 | Swift: CCCMPTPL), via PayPal (help4animals.algarve@gmail.com) or via GoFundMe (search for ‘Tiny Shelter Albufeira has to move!’).

You can also join Tiny Shelter’s Teaming group (Tiny Shelter Albufeira – Portugal), where you will donate €1 per month to help with the animal charity’s expenses.

By Michael Bruxo
michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com