Everyone’s welcome at Lanzarote’s biggest animal shelter! Written by Justin Kerswell, SARA volunteer photographer.
Did you know you don’t need to be a resident to walk the dogs at SARA? Many tourists also make the trip up to the shelter in Tahiche to help out, often pairing it with a trip to César Manrique’s famous house and artist studio nearby.
SARA rehomes hundreds of cats and dogs each year in Lanzarote and abroad. In 2022, 143 dogs found their forever homes. However, whilst they are very well cared for at the shelter, SARA relies on volunteers to take the dogs on their daily walks. Sadly, on some days there just aren’t enough people to ensure that all the dogs get outside. That’s why the shelter is desperate for more people to come and walk with them. It’s a win-win situation for both the dogs and the walkers.
Did you know that regular dog walking has huge health benefits? These include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones (built up by walking regularly), and decreased stress for people. For dogs it also reduces stress, fights obesity, aids digestive health and helps them sleep. It also helps greatly to socialise them ahead of adoption. They love human company and their walks really are the highlight of their day.
However many times you can come, you will be welcome. Even once a fortnight or once a month. Every little helps! Whilst SARA would especially welcome some stronger walkers to take out the larger dogs; there are animals for every age and size. Whatever your age or fitness level there is a perfect pup partner for your walks together.
Linda Bartlett is a long-time resident of Lanzarote and has been walking dogs at SARA for seven years. She has even adopted three dogs of her own from the shelter. She says: “It is so incredibly rewarding to get the dogs out. They so look forward to their walks and just shine with joy at being outside in the fresh air and enjoying the beautiful Lanzarote sunshine. It is exercise for the body and soul.”
The only requirement is paying a small yearly fee of 4€ for liability insurance for residents (payable at the shelter’s office). Tourists don’t have to pay the fee. Bring some photo ID on your first visit and some sensible shoes for walking.
If you can’t walk the dogs there are other ways to help, too. A donation to support SARA’s vital work would be very welcome via their website saraprotectora.org or by phone (English spoken) on (+34) 928 17 34 17. You can also view which animals are available for adoption and also volunteering opportunities for cat socialising on their website. The shelter can also be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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