The temperatures in Scandinavia, especially Finland, are very different from Spain, especially for the thin-coated galgos. Here's a story about the Finnish association which rehomes galgos, Kodittomat Espanjan Koirat ry. Kati explains.
Kodittomat Espanjan Koirat ry - The Homeless Dogs of Spain association in English - was established in 2006 by Miia Marjamäki, the president of association. Within the past 6 years the association has found new homes from Finland for over 2000 dogs.
In Finland there is no problem with stray dogs and people generally look after their pets very well. There are only handful of shelters in Finland, mainly the cats are looking for homes through animal protection in Finland. Not many dogs end up in shelters. If a dog needs to find a new home it is in most cases sold by the owner.
An independent study done last spring by counting all the dogs in shelters in Finland the amount was 60. A large percentage of dogs in shelters are larger dogs that are suitable for country side, not apartments etc. If one is looking for a pet dog, especially a smaller size one, they are in for a long stay in shelters in Finland.
People have found an alternative way and are adopting more and more dogs from abroad. There are several associations in Finland working with shelters abroad; not only Spain but also for example Romania, Russia and Estonia.
Kodittomat Espanjan Koirat ry currently works with two shelters in Malaga area. Co-operation with Protectora Malaga started already in 2006 while the shelter was still called Asperones. The new partner is Refugio Galgos located in Alhaurin de la Torre. In previous years the association has been in co-operation with other shelters in Costa del Sol and Cordoba areas. The dogs are transported to Finland sterilised, microchipped, according to the set health and medical requirements and entered to the TRACES system.
The association is 100% voluntary operated. While the President Miia lives in Spain, the other members of the board; Hanna Kuusisto, Maria Keravuo and Kati Hirsikangas are based in Finland but travel to Spain in regular basis visiting shelters. All the members of the board act as dog bookers and choose the dogs for adoption programme, and screen the applications of new potential owners through written adoption applications and interviews, arrange the transport and follow the dogs life supporting the owners.
The operation of association relies on help of dedicated group of volunteers. The dogs travel to Finland by aircraft and with help of voluntary travellers on route who agree to take the dogs on board with them. The airport team in Finland meets and greets the dogs on arrival and hand them over to their new happy owners.
(This photo is Arturo after rescue by Baas Galgo) The association also has a group of foster homes, both in Spain and Finland where the dogs can stay while permanent homes are looked for. The association organises fund raising events to support shelters. In April the fundraising challenge in Facebook amounted over 6000 euros which was mainly donated to Protectora Malaga to pay for building new modules. This October the fundraising for Pepi's Refugio amounted over 1000 euros.
The association also wants to raise awareness about the situation in Spain; the horrendous situation especially for galgos and podencos is generally unknown in Finland. The other issues to association wants to address is commitment for owning a dog and fighting against puppy mills. Puppymill dogs are an increasing problem in Finland, mainly illegally transported from Russia and Estonia.
All members of the board have adopted dogs from shelters in Spain and act as foster homes. Kati and Maria both have adopted galgos who adjust to the Finnish way of life and weather very well. Coats and woollen jumpers keep the dogs warm outside during the cold winter months, and there is nothing better for a galgo than napping on the sofa in front of the fireplace.
Arturo, pictured after rescue and later at home in Finland, is one of the galgos brought to Finland with co-operation of Kodittomat Espanjan Koirat ry and Baas Galgo. Arturo lives with Kati and her family and pack of dogs. Showing a great example to all, what co-operation between associations and shelters across the borders can accomplish and make a difference for this beautiful dog.