Gemma and Fergie rescue dogs
Gemma and Fergie rescue dogs

Algarve’s APAA animal charity – how it all started…

The Association for Protection of Animals Algarve (APAA) was first started by Linda Pixley on privately-owned family ground.

Deciding to run a kennel in superb countryside was an obviously good choice.

Soon it became known that the doggy-loving people were taking in strays. Unfortunately, the dumped strays took over the privately paid-for boarders, not only in space but in cost.

Thus, APAA was born out of necessity. Often, newly-born puppies and their mothers would be openly abandoned. A rare toot of a car horn hinting of new arrivals. The small numbers of helpers and volunteers would walk the dogs and help to feed them.

The vet booked for a mass inspection and the kitchen would be turned into an operating theatre for spaying and neutering. There was little time for niceties. Rolling up of sleeves a pre-requisite. Vaccinations followed by chipping. Visitors occasionally re-homing because “they got on so well…”

Walkers often fostering, finding friends to give a hand, hoping they too would adopt a furry friend. As secretary and membership secretary, there were no mobilephones then. Copying newsletters and important information was carried out in Modelo’s where there was a printing and copy shop, a coffee bar and a small tabacaria that sold stamps. A handy combination! Printing, copying, licking and quaffing all in one space.

‘Dozey’, one of the abandoned puppies
‘Dozey’, one of the abandoned puppies

Time moves on … APAA’s president Jenny Clarke also remembers the old days. “We had to find a new modus operandi with the all-important ‘SniP’ (Spaying and Neutering Programme) started by the association. Seeing into the future, the only way forward was to keep the canine population down by spaying and neutering, with Pop-Ups and a new way of thinking to raise the all-important money it costs.”

Puppies saved just in time

A worried member had alerted Jenny to abandoned puppies on the freezing tarmac a week before Christmas – “umbilical cords still attached”.

“I took them in. It was late at night, freezing cold. Bedraggled, they refused cow’s milk,” said Jenny, managing to keep them warm in a box with soft cloths near a heater. “Luckily they lasted through the wait for proper feed.” A sigh of relief. “They are bigger and eyes open. They are so cute! Pup updates to follow.”

Jenny assures us that the ‘Here to Help’ motto is for real. “How that person can sleep knowing those newborns would struggle for their life…”

Visit APAA’s super Charity Shops: Alvor, Dunas Complex, Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-2pm, or Silves, Rua Elias Garcias 20, Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm, Saturday until 1pm. Both shops are packed with quality goodies. Bring or buy!