The 4th of October is World Animal Day, so Tomorrow is publishing this special feature on Cadela Carlota and the amazing work they do.

WORDS Anne Hodges

In June 2018, Cadela Carlota received a telephone call at 1 am in the morning from a couple who had found a large dog looking traumatised – on the traffic island at Alcantarilha. The couple thought that the dog had been in a traffic accident.

Ruth, our tireless leader, sprang into action, collected the dog and took her to an emergency vet straight away. The vet could find no injuries of any kind – thankfully. She was not chipped.

On the following day, Ruth made some posters with photos of the dog and returned to the area where she was originally found. She left posters everywhere she could think of, but there was no response. Obviously, no one wanted this gentle, loving dog, so a place was found for her at the shelter and she was given the name Castanha.

Two years on, Castanha was still at the shelter and putting on a lot of weight – she appeared to be hungry all the time. So the vet was called and he diagnosed Cushings disease. Regular medication was prescribed. Shortly after this, those beautiful brown eyes failed her – and Castanha went totally blind. 

During her four years at Cadela Carlota, all our volunteers came to adore Castanha, who loved to be brushed, loved to be cuddled, and because she was blind, we knew that she would not need a lot of roaming space in a new home. Any one of us would have willingly given her a forever home, but as most of us came originally from other countries, we tend to be absent a great deal whilst visiting relatives and friends. So, we knew that this was not possible – Castanha needed permanence in her life.

In June this year, a young couple visited the shelter, fell in love with Castanha and offered to foster her. This was thought to be the best option for all concerned. It meant that help could be given with the medication that Castanha needed and that her new owners would benefit from all the knowledge concerning Castanha that the team had built up over the years she was at the shelter. Plus, fostering meant that her ownership would always be registered to Cadela Carlota, so that she could return to the shelter at any time if needed. Castanha will always have the option of two loving homes.

Recently, myself and Katia, one of our team of dedicated volunteers, visited Castanha in her new home. Castanha was overjoyed to see us both and there were lots of cuddles during that happy visit. We were astounded to see the change that a permanent loving home had made. It was obvious that Castanha was happy – and adored. At the shelter, she was always reluctant to walk very far, but it appears that she now goes on a daily walk lasting one and a half hours – accompanied and watched over of course. As a result, she is slimmer and fitter – and everyone she meets falls under her spell. Her horizons have widened immensely.

You may have thought about fostering in the past, but then do nothing about it. We hope that by reading this article you will realise just how worthwhile and rewarding fostering can be. Cadela Carlota is more than happy to discuss fostering (either short or long-term) in depth at any time – and of course, you can visit our shelter and see our work for yourself.

Cadela Carlota needs YOU!!

Cadela Carlota has a charity shop located near Calhou, R. Dr. António Guerreiro Tello, 8600-315 Lagos.

Land appeal

The land where our shelter is situated is up for sale. The owner wants 85,000€ for the charity to buy it. The shelter is desperate to find the money, otherwise, their 80 plus dogs will be homeless. Not only that, some of them will find it difficult to cope with a change of environment. Tomorrow gave 2,000€ of the proceeds from last year’s John Aldridge golf day and have pledged further proceeds from the November Glitter Ball to the shelter.

For more information or to donate go to

Main image: Castanha’s new family, Kate and TJ


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