This is the happy ending story of Marina, as told by her owner, Paula Allen…
“It all began about twenty years ago, me and my husband, Brian went on holiday to Costa-del-Sol. It was the first time we’d been there and we loved it – hot, sunny weather; everybody happy and enjoying themselves, it was great. Then one night, walking home from a restaurant to our apartment, we noticed along the sea front and in the back streets, little cats and kittens coming out begging for food. Also with them were very thin stray dogs which really upset us. So each night we walked back to the apartment, we kept some food from the restaurants and fed them. In the end we bought some cat biscuits from the supermarket and food and fed them every night we were there. But sadly, we had to leave them when we came home and hoped other holiday makers would see them and feed them. It did upset us, but we had no choice. They didn’t seem to have any animal rescue centres then, and somebody told us “They just round them up in the Winter and destroy them”.
Over the next few years, we travelled to different places in Spain and always saw poor little cats and dogs begging at night, but one year we went to Tenerife and in the main street was a tunnel, a sewer leading down to the beach. Hiding in there was a very sad looking dog. People could walk over the bridge and see this poor dog and they would throw food down to it, but it was very hot and a smelly place where it was, and to be honest, it spoiled our holiday, because we went and fed it at night and worried all day about it.
On the last day of our holidays, we went to say goodbye to it, a young girl was also feeding it and we were so happy when she told us she was from an animal rescue centre and had come from England to help Spanish dogs and cats, and was eventually going to take it to the animal sanctuary in Spain which they had opened, and look after it. She said “ it wasn’t priority just at the moment, as it was being fed by visitors and there were worse cases that needed help first, but it would eventually be rescued” .
We would have loved to have brought it back with us, but couldn’t afford to and it would have to go for quarantine for six months too.
As the years went by, we bought a little camper van, as my husband, Brian, had a few heart attacks and a triple by-pass operation. We just travelled around in England with our three dogs. Two were rescue dogs, Billy and Lady, both from Manchester Dogs Home and our lovely little Fleur, she is a Sheltie, whom was too small for breeding or showing, so we bought her from a breeder in Leeds for a pet.
Billy and Lady were old dogs, but Fleur was only a puppy, so they both looked after her like their baby and she loved them like her Mum and Dad and they all snuggled down together at night.
Very sadly, Billy and Lady passed away within 6 months of each other and our tiny little Fleur was devastated, she was so unhappy and fretted for her friends. So we decided to look for a new little friend for her. We only wanted a small dog, as we wanted to take them with us in our campervan.
We thought about Manchester Dogs Home again, but when we looked at the time all the dog were large ones. So Brian went on the internet and up popped this Animal Rescue: S.O.S.Animals. When we logged on to it, it was just like a dream come true, S.O.S. Animals rescue dogs and cats off the streets of Spain that nobody wants (just like the dogs and cats we had seen and fed in Spain) and help them find new homes in England and Sweden. We couldn’t believe it, on the internet were pictures of poor dogs all that had been rescued by these wonderful people; pages and pages of lovely sad little dogs all wanting good new forever homes, with stories of how they had found them, some starving, some beaten, some injured.
There was every dog you could think of, large dogs, some dogs every shape and size, all with their own sad little stories and now someone was trying to help and save them at last.
We filled in am adoption form, and a few long days after, a lovely lady called Tania rang us and said if you are really serious about adopting one of our dogs from Spain, we will send someone to check your house and family are suitable and safe for one of our rescue dogs. If so, you can pick the one you like and we will tell you if it is suitable for you.
The next week, a lovely lady came, called Sue, from a local animal rescue centre in England, and checked everything and said she would send a report back to Tania and that we would hear if we were suitable or not very soon.
A couple of days later, Tania rang to say we had passed with “flying colours” and we were very pleased and chose a little dog (which was a very hard choice, as we wanted them all!) called Porthos, as it said on the internet that there were two brothers and their Dad wandering together in Spain, all starving. They were all rescued together and were very nervous. Tania had got them all in England now with her, ‘til she found new homes for them. One had been re-homed and just two : Porthus and Athos were left and were very close to each other and she preferred a home together for them (as we only wanted one dog to be a friend to our Fleur), we agreed we couldn’t have split them up after all they had been through.
She said they had hundreds of other dogs, all in need of good homes and at the moment they had a little dog that has stopped eating and is very upset being in kennels and is crying all the time and is desperate for a new home. So we said she would put a picture of her on the internet for us and if we liked her, we could have her, but if not there were hundreds more to choose from that were all in the same boat.
Within five minutes, her photo was on the computer; she looked so thin and scared and had a very sad and desperate look on her face. When me and my husband saw her photo, we both fell in love with her in an instant and knew she was just the dog for us and Fleur.
We rang back Tania straight away and told her, “Yes please, we want her, she’s beautiful!” Tania told us her story, sadly she had been wandering the streets of Saville, starving and begging for food. A Spanish lady had rescued her and taken her to the S.O.S. Animal Rescue centre near Fiengorola, or she would have ended up in the dog pound, where she would have been destroyed. They had named her Marina and she was still in Spain. “How can we get her?” we asked impatiently, as we could not wait to see her.
“We could get her to you in about a month or two as soon as she gets her passport and has her vaccinations, been micro-chipped and been spayed, and is passed fit totravel to England”, Tania replied. That seemed a long time to wait and as she wasn’t eating we were very worried about her, at least if she did get here, she didn’t need to go into quarantine, as the new law only needs a passport.
Marina was reserved for us, and Tania said she would keep in touch and tell us when we could expect her to arrive and where, she also told us one of the kennel maids that was looking after Marina, said she would take her home with her each night and get her eating, until she came to us.
We were very pleased and started to tell our family and friends about our Marina. A lot of them thought it might be a scam and we were a little nervous she might never arrive at all, and we wanted her so much and so did our little Fleur.
We did keep ‘phoning Tania and she was always lovely with us and re-assured us that we would get Marina as soon as she was fit to travel; “not long now” she said, “you know she is coming from Spain and its only been a couple of weeks!”
At last Tanya rang to say her passport was ready and she was coming over and could we pick her up in a weeks time in the South of England. As we live in the North of England, we would have picked her up in our camper van, but unfortunately my Hubby Brian, suffered a slight stroke and could not drive for another couple of weeks. We phoned Tania again and as usual she was lovely with us and said “leave it with me, I’ll try and sort something out for you”, as she knew we couldn’t wait to get Marina!
Next day we had a email, the man that was bringing the dogs over in the van, had offered to deliver Marina to our door. Wow! How good was that, we were meant to have her.
As the day arrived and we got everything ready for her, Russell, the man bringing her from Spain, called us from down South: “I’ve arrived in England” he said, “but Marina will be the last dog to be dropped off, so it will be late afternoon if that’s ok?” Oh yes! We were so thrilled she had arrived in England safe and sound, as it was late September and the weather was atrocious, grey skies, windy and non-stop rain!
Russell rang again about 6pm and said he would still be about two more hours for him to get to our house. We were getting a bit desperate by 8pm and thought she’s not coming, but all of a sudden a van stopped outside our house and out came Russell (a very kind looking man) with this sad looking, bewildered little dog on a lead. As we rushed to open the door, they both blew in with a gust of wind and he said “ here’s your little Spanish dog Marina, she’s come a long way to be with you and is very weary and tired!” He gave us her Passport and all her papers and she went straight to her food bowl and ate the chicken and boiled rice, Tania had told us to feed her on at first, and then had a good drink of water. She then gave us both a kiss as if to say “Thank you for having me” and when her and Fleur saw each other, they bonded straight away.
Well that was 6 months ago and now Marina is a very happy and loving pretty little dog. She doesn’t look sad and thin anymore and her and our little Sheltie Fleur are inseparable. They both sleep in our bed with me and my hubby Brian, every night like two little babies, and we take them walks every day. Now Brian is recovered and can drive again, we hope to go on some lovely holidays in our camper van with our lovely Spanish rescue dog, Marina and our lovely little Fleur and we can’t thank S.O.S. Animals enough and Tania and her hubby Sam and all the people who are doing this good work in Spain and England.
You have made my dreams come true and if you are a genuine dog lover and want a lovely dog and best friend forever, I would advise you to look for S.O.S. Animals on the internet for one and help a dog find love and kindness , instead of hunger and pain, which i am sure will make you as happy as we are.
Thanks for your love and trust, lovely Marina, and for making our lives so fulfilling after all you’ve been through and “Thank you” once again for all the help the S.O.S. Animals have done for us and many more families and dogs they have made so happy.”