Locals were invited to walk their own dogs or volunteer to walk a Triple A dog that is up for adoption. The walk started at Manuka restaurant on the Paseo Marítimo in Marbella where organisers were taking donations from 10am. Participants received a doggy goody bag and enjoyed a small breakfast from the beachside eatery who sponsored the event, before the walk got under way.
Organisers were delighted with the turn out which saw over 100 walkers take part in the walk along the seafront, with lots of different nationalities and ages getting involved. There were around 15 dogs from the Triple A as well participants’ own furry friends, some of which were previously adopted from the association.
The idea of the annual walk is to show people how “loving” and “beautiful” dogs from the shelter can be, explained Lily van Tongeren, a Triple A volunteer who has five dogs herself - three adopted and two fostered. She hopes the event helps to dispel any “preconceived ideas” that people may have about shelter dogs as they see how happy those that have adopted are.
Lily said they normally get at least one adoption after each event and it is hoped that this year will be no different: “A lot of people have come, wondering what’s happening, which is good to raise awareness.”
Speaking to SUR in English, Lily stressed the fact that their work is not only for the animals, but also for the community.
“Many years ago we wouldn’t be able to sit in a restaurant without being bothered by stray cats and there would be dead dogs on the road all the time. We have saved thousands of dogs and sterilised thousands of cats in the last few years and the streets [of Marbella and San Pedro] are cleaner because of the work that we do.”
The local animal association currently has around 300 dogs and 100 cats at the shelter and work goes on despite the ongoing court investigation, which saw some members of the association arrested for questioning last year. The judge in charge of the investigation, which involves several allegations connected with the shelter’s work, must decide whether or not to take the case any further before 11 October.
Jan Weima, the only founder member of Triple A who is still active, said, “In the meantime [our] work continues as it has done so over the last 26 years to take care of the abandoned animals in the area, our ultimate goal being to find them a ‘forever home’.”
Lily van Tongeren said the accusations have not affected the rate of adoptions as the number of animals currently in the shelter is significantly less than this time last year. “The people who know us, what we do or have adopted from us, all know the truth and continue to support us. We are there for the animals and that’s all we’re focusing on.”
The next Triple A event is on Sunday 14 May when their Open Day will give people the chance to visit the shelter which is located behind La Cañada, on the Ojén Road.