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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Helping out with PEPA dogs at El Eden

In South Africa I used to help a few rescue organisations such as Lab Rescue, Ridgeback Rescue and individuals, with dogs that either needed some rehabilitation, needed new homes or might be at risk of losing their home due to behavioural issues.  A friend and colleague and I also used to run confidence building courses and leadership courses with our dogs as the teachers, these were for people and not necessarily anything to do with owning a dog.  They could also be fun morning workshops for people wanting to do something a little different and the dogs helped show the humans things about themselves.  These workshops were also great for people who were thinking of adopting a dog or who were having an issue with their own dog - each workshop was adapted according to the needs of the groups that attended.  For information on Leadchanges, take a look at our South African website -

Since moving to Chella I have met Brenda and Colin of El Eden Kennels.  They are such wonderful people who help with PEPA Animal Charity (Asociación Protección y Educación Para los Animales) an organisation that rescues dogs and finds new homes for them, puts them into temporary foster homes and raises funds through donations and their shop.  They also run the most wonderful boarding kennel - luxury accommodation for dogs while their owners are away.  They are not huge and overwhelming so the dogs get individual care and attention and they have great facilities and a fabulous exercise area.  Brenda and I are talking about running some Leadchanges workshops here and working together on this - so that's something to look out for in the future - watch this space!  Brenda have years of experience with dogs - training, showing and so on and they have such a passion and compassion for all the animals with them - which doesn't stop at dogs, but includes cats and horses as well.

As with all these things, there are never enough hours in the day or enough hands to get everything done so PEPA welcome volunteers and foster carers.  Do have a look at their website on  If you would like to become a member or if you think you can help out - do contact them through the website.

Cid out on his bicycle training session
Over the last two weeks I have been able to start spending some time helping out with some of the dogs at El Eden, and one in particular called Cid.  He is a German Shepherd x Chocolate Labrador and will make someone a wonderful companion and an ideal one on one dog.  He started out lacking in trust and still has a fear of vets - but all these things can be overcome and his progress has been astonishing!  He has changed in such a short time from being a dog lacking in trust to one who is loving, willing to learn and really looking for the right human to share lots of fun times with him.  I have found him nothing but willing to learn and he learns fast.  He is only around a year old so his initial exuberance and size meant that jumping up something he thought was OK - but now he is polite, moves out of your way, gets calmer and calmer, waits patiently and does not bark excessively or unnecessarily.  He is walking so superbly on his leash and we have been jogging together and today he learnt to run with the bicycle on the special dog attachment.  He loved it and so sweetly comes and sits to put his head in the leash.  He is very gentle in taking treats from the hand and his sit is coming along superbly - he is keeping it for longer and his down is also starting to come.

Sasha - also looking for a home:  the
plan is that we will foster her, but
I am tempted to adopt!  
When a dog goes to a new home from El Eden they have a progress report and as much information as possible with them along with great advice on exercise, needs and feeding.  Owners are supported if they need it so they are not alone with their newly adopted companion and the dogs are always welcome at the kennels for those going away on holiday.  Do also check out Brenda and Colin's website

Sasha is part Podenco and such a bright intelligent dog.  What a darling and so friendly, loving and wanting to be with humans.  She too is still young - just under a year.  From Wikipedia: Podenco Canario (In English: Canary Islands HoundCanarian Warren HoundCanarian Pharaoh Hound) is a breed ofdog originally from the Canary Islands. The Podenco Canario is still used in the Canary Islands today in packs as ahunting dog, primarily used for rabbit hunting. The word "podenco" is Spanish for "hound". "Canario" means "Canarian" or "of the Canaries".

From the Galgo & Podenco Rescue site (  The breed is believed to be a variation on the original Ibizan Hound, otherwise know in Spanish as the Podenco Ibicenco. There are several types of Podencos, distinguished mainly by size and/or region where located. Examples are the Podenco Andaluz, Podenco Manchengo, Podenco Canario and the miniature Podenco Enano. The Podenco was originally bred to be used for hunting small game such as rabbits, but have been known to be used to hunt game as large as a wild boar. The general temperament of the Podenco is similar to the galgo and greyhounds. They are very smart, eager to please, but sometimes stubborn. They are gentle, loyal, love to relax, but love exercise and interactive playtime too. Most have an amazing ability to jump, so a secure fence is a plus!

The Faithful Dog - can you offer one a good home?

The following is taken from James Serpell's Book "The Domestic Dog" quoting the Hindu legend of Yudhishthira (quoted from Nivedita & Coomaraswamy, 1913) and

"In the final scene of the Mahabharata epic, the hero Yudhishthira approaches Heaven after a lengthy mountain pilgrimage during which his queen and his four brothers have all perished.  His only surviving companion at this stage is a dog that has followed him faithfully since he set out on his journey.  Suddenly, Indra, the King of Heaven, appears in a blaze of light and invites Yudhishthira to complete his journey in his heavenly chariot.  Yudhishthira happily accepts and stands aside to allow the dog to enter first, whereupon Indira objects strenuously on the grounds that dogs are unclean and that the animal's presence would defile Heaven itself.  Yudhishthira asks:

"But where would he go? He has given up the pleasures of the earth to be my companion. I cannot desert him now." Yudhisthira turned to leave.

Dog at a Buddhist Temple in Thailand on our
Indra asked, astonished, "You would abandon heaven just for the sake of a dog?"

Yudhisthira declared that long ago he had vowed never to turn his back on anyone needing his protection and help. "And so," he concluded, "I will not abandon my loyal friend."

Yudisthira turned from heaven's gate and began to walk away.

At that moment a remarkable thing happened. The faithful dog was transformed into the god Dharma, the god of righteousness and justice.

And Indra declared, "You are a good man, Yudhisthira. You have shown loyalty and love to a small, faithful dog and compassion for all creatures, ready to renounce for yourself all the rewards of heaven for this humble dog's sake. You shall be honored in heaven!"

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