The dream of Marina DePraetere, now Chairwoman of the Board of the Santuário Animais sem Fronteiras (Animals without Borders Sanctuary, began with her love for animals. “As soon as I saw abandoned dogs, I had to take them home”. At one point, she was responsible for 15 animals, some at her home and others at a care center, but it was when she met Graça Almeida that the dream took off, as they purchased a plot in Alcochete, Portugal, now transformed into a Sanctuary that welcomes all kinds of animals that were either abandoned or rejected in some way.
A part of this Sanctuary is the Hotel “Patudos Sortudos” (“Lucky Pets”), created for the Sanctuary to not depend on donations, having soon differentiated it from any other, where you can leave your dog during your holiday and whenever you need. Come along to know why…
Make your dog a lucky one
Relax as you go on holiday, the Hotel “Patudos Sortudos” is just a small part of the Sanctuary but does serve the noble mission of financing it, so that more animals, once without a home, can live in its 15 hectars where they can run free, in open nature.
Soon a winter hotel will be created, where the enormous boxes will be fitted with heated flooring, allowing our four-legged friends to really feel comfortable during the coldest of the seasons.
Even more innovative is an area that is being created for the elderly dogs, where they will meet infrastructure that dignifies their advanced age, something yet unseen.
An advice to all those leaving their dogs at a hotel
Marina DePraetere leaves some advice to anyone going on holiday and who is leaving their pet at a hotel: “First of all, an assessment form must be filled out with the habits of your animal, allowing our caregivers to be better informed about it and thus helping the wellbeing of your dog, you should also indicate the fod he’s used to eat, and another recommendation would be to leave some of his preferred toys as well as a piece of clothes of the owner so that the pet feels more at peace by smelling the scent of their owner.”
Other than this, she warns that the chosen location must be well prepared to keep animals away from the heat, and it is essential to bring your dog for a visit some time before his stay, so that he won’t feel abandoned”, adding that, in order to stay at a canine hotel, a dog must have all vaccination at least for 15 days, against canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, rabies and kennel cough. Other than that, dogs must also be dewormed internally and externally, and the owner must inform whether he suffers from allergies or any relevant or transmittable diseases.
Once the recommendations are known so all runs smoothly, it is time to let your pet enjoy his holiday. Should the chosen place be “Patudos Sortudos”, he will stay in total freedom, enjoying a placed blessed by nature and where no boundaries exist.
Animals without Borders Sanctuary
Approximately 200 animals live together here: 50 dogs, sheep, horses, goats, pigs, roosters, an ox, a mare as well as rabbits. What is interesting is that, beyond the wonderful life that is provided to them, they also contribute to each others’ wellbeing through initiatives that I will later highlight.
As far as the rescue of animals is concerned, the Santuário has a trainer, Carlos Cordeiro, who has been doing exceptional work by helping with the correct process of each animal’s integration.
Marina DePraetere makes it clear that “as far as the adoption processes go, and as per the method that the Sanctuary follows, we look for an owner who fits the characteristics of the dog” and stresses that “deep inside, we always look for the perfect match so that there is no rejection of the animals”. This same rejection that occurs in other associations contributes to the trauma experienced by dogs, being this method instrumental in solving this problem.
Therapy with animals
The Sanctuary has established partnerships by which they pretend to bring dogs and elderly together. Every two weeks, the dogs visit a nursing home where real revivals can be witnessed.
On the other hand, the elderly also visit the Sanctuary regularly, especially in special dates like Christmas, for example. Marina DePraetere ensures that the “revivals and the reactions there make it all be worth it, it is wonderful to see!” and ensures that “as the old people love being in contact with the nature, for them coming here, being with the animals and wandering around, regenerates their soul and their joy of living”.
This, however, is not the single goal that we meet, as the president still pretends that these animals help children with cerebral palsy and autism, wherefore new partnerships are being established.
In the future, it is their ambition to keep growing, provide an excellent service at both the hotel and the free-time activities for dogs, where they can take part, and to even build a swimming pool for the animals to refresh during the summer, as well as a pond for the ducks.
Just for your information, the cost of the hotel service, despite all of the quality and innovation hereby described, is just 12.50€ a night. On the other hand, should any of you opt to just let their pet enjoy a full day at the Sanctuary, it will be a mere 6€ to allow him to enjoy this fantastic space, where he can play with the other animals in complete harmony with the nature.