As residents of the Algarve know only too well, stray dogs and cats are a real problem, and charities are constantly battling to keep their numbers down. Many are simply run over and forgotten, but those strays who are resilient and survive the streets breed continually, exacerbating the problem of numbers further.
One such dog is Marcha, who, for the last six years, has lived at the Ecomarché in Budens, giving birth to a litter of puppies almost every six months. Sadly, every time the puppies become mobile and flee the nest, they are usually killed on the EN125. Some do survive, however, only to repeat the whole wasteful process year in, year out.
Michelle from Happy Hounds has been trying to catch Marcha to sterilise her for years, but to no avail. Finally, at the beginning of February this year, Michelle and some friends managed to catch her, only to find she was once again pregnant. This time, Marcha gave birth to nine puppies, but Michelle decided to humanely put down seven, to concentrate on the healthiest two.
Michelle has found a home for the larger of the two puppies, but still needs to house the other. Marcha also needs someone to take her in and look after her. After such a long time living on the streets, she is a little wary of strangers, but is not at all aggressive and has also been fully vaccinated. She does, however, suffer from heartworm, which she is receiving treatment for and Leishmaniosis (sand fly disease), which luckily is currently not causing her any discomfort.
At the moment, her expenses are being covered by a combination of donations and The Hope Fund, and her sterilisation costs are being met by the Lagos Animal Protection Society. But, sadly, if no one comes forward to house Marcha, she will have to be returned to the streets, where she will eventually succumb to sand fly disease.
Michelle is pleading for anyone who can help to contact her on 919 457 263 or e-mail her at [email protected]. She explained that the costs for Marcha’s medication are minimal and has appealed for anyone who can help to get in touch as soon as possible.