Despite having heard so much about Accion del Sol the animal rescue centre that is funded by one of the largest animal protection organisations in Germany, Aktiontier, I had not been to see for myself and didn´t know where it was located. I made contact through a forum I use and met Karen and John at the motorway service station and followed them along the TF1 to the Poligono Industrial de Granadilla exit where you can see the windmills. I had always imagined the centre to be in the hills but we headed towards the sea across the roundabout then up a short track, which is signposted.
It is a bit of a surprise after driving across the barren land to enter AdS and see the pretty, landscaped gardens, the agility course where owners and dogs show their skills at fund raising events and the small amphitheatre built by the staff, so that groups of schoolchildren can visit and learn about animal welfare.
Alan the son of Marion Gonzalez the Director proudly showed us round. Before we could see the centre, however we had to get past the official guard dog who if we didn´t behave ourselves would have licked our ankles until we surrendered. This is Loly.
Alan told us that since they opened they have found homes for over 3500 dogs in both Tenerife and Germany and looking at the white board inside the office I noticed a list of dates when dogs were due to be shipped to various areas of Germany.
Whilst it is wrong to stereotype, I am sure that many like me think of Germans as well organised, methodical and if they are going to do something they do it the right way or not at all. In this instance, my assumption was 100% correct. The centre is everything anyone could possibly wish for or want. It has spotlessly clean kennels for around 200 dogs with large fenced outside areas where the dogs can run around. An area of rough terrain where a number of Podenco’s feel at home as well as outside shelters where some of the old dogs can spend their time sleeping in the shade away from the youngsters who enjoy jumping up and barking to greet visitors.
At the time of our arrival, a newbie was being delivered. A beautiful German shepherd who looked bemused by his fate. During the time we were there, he had received a bath, been seen by the onsite vet checked for fleas then taken to his temporary home in the isolation unit where all new dogs stay until they have had a thorough health screening and it is clear they have no nasties that can be passed on to the other dogs.
Animal abandonment is a big problem in Tenerife and the uncontrolled dog population is continually growing so all dogs at Accion del Sol are castrated or spayed in addition to receiving full veterinary care, inoculations, micro chipping, flea and heartworm treatment, in a fully equipped clinic staffed by a resident vet.
Nothing was out of bounds, we were allowed to look in the store room where transportation crates were kept, see the files where every dog has its own set of records including its passport and also the huge store of food. Anyone would imagine that the bag upon bag of high quality dried food would last a long time but the reality is with so many dogs this will only last a couple of weeks. We spoke to the staff and we saw their rest room and the laundry where both dog bedding and staff uniforms are washed (in separate washing machines of course).
All of the animal shelters on the island are bursting with dogs delivered daily and this is why we hear regular pleas from the refuges to help raise funds. Accion del Sol is lucky, it has a strong support group, any dog that finds its way here is fortunate, but there is no detracting from the fact that the staff work extremely hard, they undertake a lot of the building work themselves so that money raised can be spent on the animals rather than the surroundings and you can see where every penny raised is spent. They all take a great pride in this exceptional centre and so they should it was a pleasure to visit which is not the normal reaction when visiting a shelter for abandoned and badly treated animals.
The shelter is open from 3pm – 6pm five days a week Mon – Friday
Just a few of the dogs looking for a permanent home.