1 Sep, 2022 @ 10:00
4 mins read

Shaggy dog tales from the ADANA shelter in Andalucia


ONE YEAR ago, we were anxiously tracking the fire which would eventually see ADANA evacuated.

While this summer’s disruption has been less extreme, we are nonetheless feeling the heat, with days on end when it has been too hot to walk the dogs and even Catch has been unwilling to leave the shade of his pen. 

Most inconvenienced by the lack of walks are the newly arrived dogs, housed in smaller, solitary pens, while their health is checked, their vaccines applied and their characters assessed, so that they can be placed in the most appropriate pen for their size, energy and personality. 

Among those recent arrivals are Oakley and Sasha. 

Oakley is a large, calm and friendly mastin, with a beautiful, brindle coat, and so closely resembles Ding (one of our large, calm, friendly mastin females) it is unthinkable that they aren’t closely related; brother and sister, most likely. They were found in almost exactly the same location, albeit some months apart. 

Ding, a doppleganger for Oakley

Such a ‘Ding-a-like’ is he, that he received the name Oakley, only after ‘Dong’ was narrowly down-voted, as it didn’t seem appropriate for a large, male dog. 

Oakley has exactly the same gentle nature as Ding and, just like her, seems to have had limited exposure to people, prior to his arrival. He had clearly never been introduced to a lead but quickly learned to appreciate its value as a device for keeping his person with him, while he went wherever he chose. 

Sasha is a handsome mastin cross, with more than a passing resemblance to Scooby Doo. 

His is a saddening case, as he was brought to ADANA following the death of his owner, somewhat bewildered by the sudden changes and very shy of strangers. 

Walkies for Sasha and Ding

Walking with his favourite volunteer is Sasha’s therapy, his nervousness visibly diminishing with every step. He walks very well and is ever keen to befriend other dogs. While he remains timid of new people, the time to get to know Sasha is during his walks, especially if you have carefully pre-arranged sausages. 

Luckydingsasha 1
Ding and Lucky with Sasha behind.

The lack of walking opportunities represented a short-term problem for the two newcomers, but one which has happily been resolved, as Sasha recently moved into the pen already housing Ding, who has rapidly become his favourite, and Lucky, whose transition from a basic mischief delivery system to a well-behaved and socialised dog, seems almost complete, although, frankly, I’m worried he’s planning something big. 

Ding is a calm and gentle girl, almost tailor-made as a pen-mate for Lucky, but the successful introduction of another large male into the pen is a tribute both to Sasha’s character and Lucky’s huge, recent improvements. As an ADANA volunteer, it doesn’t seem right to have a favourite pen but currently, this is very much the favourite pen I absolutely don’t have. 

Oakley adopted and settling in at his new home.

Oakley, meanwhile, having spent less than two weeks, with us, was adopted by a family who saw his pictures and bio, on ADANA’s FB page, and immediately drove for four hours, to collect him. I do hope they rename him, ‘Dong’. 

While it is common for dogs arriving at ADANA to exhibit undesirable traits, such as anxiety, over-boisterousness or ill-socialisation, it is important to stress that there are also those who are beautifully adjusted, but for whom we are still (somehow) unable to find a home. Examples would have to include Admiral, Hannah and Canela. 

Admiral arrived a year ago, a sweet and cuddlesome mastin, loving of affection, friendly towards other dogs (although not wholly welcoming of large, boisterous alphas) and easy to walk, calm, attentive and eager to please. At seven years old, he is by no means a puppy but still has plenty of happy years ahead of him. The flip-side of the coin is the calm, easy-going and submissive character, which would make him such an easy dog to take on. 

Hannah is a beauty.

Hannah is a breath-takingly beautiful girl; young, pretty, friendly and playful. She arrived six months ago, barely a year old, and has been amassing friends and admirers, ever since. 

She is a mastin cross, of the kind more closely resembling a large labrador and so happy and playful, that she occupies a pen with seven or eight rather smaller, but equally well-socialised and playful friends. 

Ian mugged for his sausages.

My most recent meeting with Hannah came following the installation of a swimming pool, at ADANA, just one more crazy, hair-brained scheme, aimed at sustaining the dogs though the summer heat. I entered the pen, keen to get some pictures of the dogs in the pool, only to be betrayed by my own sausages as, to a dog, they instantly leaped from the pool and mobbed me, leaving me soaked from head to foot. 

Damn you, sausages! 

Canela is a small-ish, german shepherd, maybe four years old, who arrived around six months ago, heavily pregnant, abandoned by her owner. 

Next time, dogs should get to own people – It clearly represents a better system. 

Imbued with Canela’s beautiful character, the entire litter of puppies flew off the shelves, while even the hot-cakes looked on, enviously. Bafflingly, though, Canela remains. 

She has the most wonderful, affectionate and gentle nature, which is instantly apparent, the moment you attempt to walk her. Don’t expect any over-excitement or bad behaviour but an issue could be that she might continually circle ahead and jump up, hoping for cuddles. It isn’t that she doesn’t like walking, but rather that she prefers cuddles. 

Lucky Bmds

It would have been difficult to believe, when I first met Lucky, that one day he might join the ranks of these well-adjusted, well-behaved dogs, but we seem to be on that very path. Watching him share treats with Sasha, or run and play with Ding, it is difficult to imagine him destroying civilisation, at all. 

You’re welcome, civilisation. You’re welcome.


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