Zoe Page came to Portugal in April 2018 as an entertainer for Thomas Cook. Once her contract ended, she never left! She has found happiness in the Algarve as a quiz hostess and singer, and in rescuing abandoned animals.
As a frequent quiz evening hostess, do you want to be a millionaire?
Ha, I wish! If I were, I’m sure that most of the money would be spent on my dogs. They already have a better wardrobe than me!
When did you put this sort of live entertainment together and why?
Here, in the municipality of Silves, there’s a big expat community and although we’ve all moved here to experience a different way of life, I think we still miss little things from back home. And that’s why I thought about putting together a typical pub quiz. What better way to bring people together and have a great evening out? Also, I love the fact that I was able to set it up as a charity quiz: all money raised on the evening is donated to a local dog rescue. So it is a win-win for everyone – well, apart from the losing quiz teams! The quiz is held monthly at Victoria’s Silves in Poço Barreto, so get studying for the next one!
You are also a songstress. Is it just raw talent, or did you receive any formal musical education?
When I was just a kid screaming Spice Girls at the top of my lungs, I don’t think my mum would have said it was raw talent! But I have always enjoyed singing from a young age. I think it really began around the age of 14–15 when I first sang karaoke on holiday. I was absolutely petrified and hid around the corner so no one could see me. I couldn’t believe the reaction I got from people. So I started to practise songs at home in my bedroom and then sing them on karaoke. I have to say it’s taken me almost 15 years to have the confidence to believe in myself and to take up singing as my full-time career. So yes, I suppose it was a kind of raw talent that I was lucky enough to have!
How did you become involved with animal charities?
I’ve always had a huge love for animals and nature from a very young age. My Nan and my Mum always had me surrounded by numerous cats and dogs but since coming to Portugal, this love has turned into my duty and purpose. I currently have five dogs and two chickens, all rescued from horrendous situations where they would have died. Luckily, many other people here also want to help and make a difference to animals in need, which is how I became involved with a special charity called Tiny Shelter, in Albufeira.
Will you tell a little more about Tiny Shelter?
For now, it is a small dog rescue. It is run purely by volunteers and the amazing generosity of kind people. We receive no government support, so it’s a constant struggle to provide food, shelter and veterinary treatment for the dogs we rescue. Unfortunately, here in Portugal, there is a huge problem with the mistreatment, neglect and cruelty these dogs have to suffer. And that’s where Tiny Shelter tries to help. Every dog that comes into our care is given the treatment they need, no matter the cost. Also, a safe, comfortable place to stay, daily walks and playtime, food and, of course, the love and affection that they so desperately need. Our aim is to find loving forever homes for each of our doggies so that we can help more dogs in the future.
If you are able to help Tiny Shelter in any possible way, please visit its Facebook page Tiny Shelter Albufeira. We would be forever grateful. ‘Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever’.
Why did you choose to live in the Algarve?
I adore this country. There’s so much beauty here, me and the dogs are always exploring new parts of the Algarve and the way of life here suits me perfectly. The wine is also a big bonus!
What is your message to anyone who may be thinking about moving to the Algarve?
If someone had said to me five years ago that I would be living in Portugal by myself, with my beautiful fur babies, singing full time and helping to rescue so many dogs in need, I would have never have believed them! I’ve learnt that you just have to go out there and take every opportunity that’s given to you, believe in the path being laid for you, surround yourself with good people and embrace change. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored and experienced, but for now, Portugal is the perfect place for me!
Photos © Zoe Page