We have really enjoyed the freedom and the opportunities that being on the road has given us over the last year. Having been able to learn many skills whilst travelling and a chance to practice more of a minimalist and alternative lifestyle has taught us many valuable skills. It hasn’t changed our perception of things, so to speak, however it has enhanced our core values and given us a cleaner perspective of life and the way we fit within our community. We will get to the volunteer opportunity with Galgos shortly.
We very quickly relished the change in energy from having less ‘STUFF!’. Objects that were no longer fit for purpose but reminded us of someone/something meant they had been kept. Even when they didn’t work any longer. We also became a lot more aware of waste and how much of each resource we used.
Change of Perspective
We found that through our time we really changed our perspective on what we find important to us too. One of our core values, even before we set off on this adventure was animal welfare. Louise and I both come from a background of animal care with experience caring for cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, sheep, horses, chicks, snakes and bearded dragons. Between owning them, fostering them for charities and pet sitting, animals are at the heart of both of us.
Whilst travelling, we were able to spend time with lots of animals along the way as you may have noticed!
VanLifeDiary have an amazing opportunity to help a charity but we need your help to do it.
We volunteered on the road with either car park clear ups or lending strong arms and backs to help clear land in Wales, amongst other things. As dog lovers, we were also following other groups and charities. This is where we came across Galgos Del Sol. Tina, the head of the charity, moved from the UK to Spain with her family. She set up this amazing charity in 2007 devoted to helping the population of stray Galgos after coming face to face with a stray.
Galgos Del Sol
The charity now has an amazing team looking after around 190 (at any time) stray and unwanted Galgos, Podencos and their crosses in the south of Spain. A Galgo is a Spanish Greyhound, a sighthound, with the easily identifiable needle noses and slender body types. In ancient times these dogs were seen to be prized possessions however now, they are disposable hunting dogs, turfed out on the street when no longer required or able to hunt. There is a short hunting season every year and at the end of that they are abandoned or cruelly killed in their tens of thousands.
Some of the dogs they have there were saved from savage killing stations, others found in horrendous situations. Often they are found emaciated, covered in ticks, mange or suffering injuries from road traffic accidents. Their injuries are often life threatening. Due to the demand in medical fees needed, they can’t always pay for the staff required to run the shelter and turn to volunteers.
Volunteer at Galgos del Sol
Those who volunteer are a lifeline to charities such as Galgos and they are devoted to the care of the dogs in any situation. Many petrified, untrusting, fearful and in lots of pain. It can take weeks or months to capture some of the Galgos due to their fears and they often needs lots of care when they get the safety of the shelter.
Tina and her team then care for, and rehome, these stunning dogs to loving homes in Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, the UK and USA following a strict adoption process.
How are we helping?
Having followed the charity for some time we wanted to give something back. We had been in contact with the charity informally and then we were approached by the Galgos Del Sol volunteer co-ordinator to see if we would be able to help them out at the shelter in person. Louise and I have been given a real opportunity to help but we need your help to do it.
They have asked us out there end of February 2020 for 2-3 months initially to assist with the duties. Caring directly hands on with the dogs, this would be a volunteer position with Galgos Del Sol. For both of us it would mean the world and enable us to share the skills we have. We will also learn some new ones with an incredible team. Louise and I feel really strongly in our hearts that we need to go and help them and turning this opportunity down isn’t something we can do. We know from UK rescue that it will emotionally and physically hard, overwhelmingly sad and at times incredibly heart-breaking.
This opportunity to help an amazing charity is one we have dreamed of being able to do. To be able to give back to the dogs of our past that have helped us through hard times in our own lives and honour their memories as well as ensure the continuation of Tina’s mission at Galgos del Sol.
What are we asking?
Well you all know that Go Fund Me accounts are asking for financial support and this is where you will help us fulfil our dream. We have set up an account to help us cover our basic costs only. In order to get there and survive for the 3 months we need to factor in costs.
Before we get to that I would like to explain that we will be donating approx. 120 hours a week to volunteer on site at the Galgos centre in the south of Spain. This is currently for up to 3 months, helping with the daily tasks at the centre. These can be feeding, cleaning, training (behaviour and crate training for their trips to new homes) and feeding the volunteers as well as site based night duties (and anything that crops up along the way that we can assist with).
Our outgoings shouldn’t be much when there but before we go we need to ensure we have the funds and also cover our living costs.
£980 Return ferry. A 24 hour crossing between Portsmouth and Santander that can be quite rough – this seems to be a lot cheaper than driving through France and taking the toll roads into account. We have also managed to get discounts where we could to get those costs as low as possible.
£500 ish Fuel from Yorkshire via Santander to the sanctuary (and back again) in the south east of Spain with today’s fuel price and staying under 50MPH!
£289 Breakdown cover for Europe
We also need to
Update our Van Insurance to cover 90 days in Europe.
Travel Insurance for annual cover as could be longer.
Cover living costs to include food, cooking gas, laundry and fuel.
We are hoping to raise at least £3,500 to cover our expenses and also be able to donate a chunk to the charity. Any money left over will be donated and accounted for. This does not take into account any other activities whist there or general exploring. If time allows, we will fund that ourselves, somehow, however it seems that most of our time will be spent in the centre.
Any left-over donations will be transferred to the shelter and we will constantly try to keep under cost for as much as we can. This centre is a strictly Vegan site for humans and therefore food will be both yummy and healthy, as well as a new exciting challenge!
We are desperate to be able to make a difference and have the opportunity to give back to a great cause. I know many of you are animal lovers too and will sympathise with our plight to make this work. In return for your financial support we are donating over 120 hours a week of our time voluntarily (would equate to over £14,000 at minimum wage for both of us over 3 months). We will keep the blog updated weekly on what we are up to and post on Facebook throughout out trip to publicise the charity in any way we can.
Please can you share our go fund me appeal with all of your friends and contacts as we are desperate to help and are donating 7 days a week on site for the duration of our stay, to help with them anything they need!
WE WILL DONATE ANY ADDITIONAL MONIES TO GALGOS DEL SOL.
Donate Here GoFundMe
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