A Christmas Gift: Home for Abandoned Dogs?

Before Christmas I went to visit AAA – the Association for Abandoned Animals – in Malta. I had read in Times of Malta that the non-profit organisation is searching for a new home because the dogs who are staying there will lose their premises in Marsa: the district will be rebuild. AAA is going to become a roof, where is no longer entrance; there will be no way to enter the sanctuary anymore. The bad news came a few months ago and AAA is in a search for new place. The sanctuary manager Rosalind Agius tells that it’s not easy to find a new place. Malta is very small, everywhere it’s build and like the former industrial location also the new one should be far away from people because the dogs make a lot of noise. Also moving will be challenging, AAA has 80 dogs in the house. The annual average is 600 dogs entering AAA.

Interviewing Rosalind Agius, the general manager of AAA. Snoopy dog posing in front.
Interviewing Rosalind Agius, the general manager of AAA. Snoopy dog posing in front.

“Our abandoned dogs are going to become abandoned again. Imagine moving out 80 dogs. Where will we go?” – Rosalind Agius

The dogs that arrive to AAA are either found from the streets or people just abandon and bring them; they are no longer wanted as pets for whatever backgrounds. In fact, the sanctuary had to set cameras because people dropped out dogs during the night, threw them over the iron fence and some dogs were even found strangled in the morning. That’s horrible! What happens to the lively AAA dogs then: the volunteers nurture them, vaccine them, put them a micro zip and put them in adoption. The puppies get the home easily, if not on the same week then the next week, they don’t even need promotion when people are calling after them. Homing older, especially bigger, dogs is much harder and many cute seniors are promoted on AAA’s Facebook and web page with their names and mugshots – check it out! AAA really wishes that the dogs will find a good loving home. People might give a donation for the charity when they adopt a dog but not necessarily. The main thing is the cycle of good cause. First AAA interviews the adopters and later makes a surprise visit after some weeks to assure the dog got him/herself a home with heart. Well, it seems that the bad people don’t even want to approach the organisation, that’s a relief. And like there is written on the AAA wall “All guests must be approved by the dog”, that is true, a dog recognises a dog lover.

“The news of losing the place was one of the biggest slaps we could get. The more years have passed the more we have established ourselves. We have found even ways to manage to home dogs better, to rescue better and now we are losing everything.” – Rosalind Agius

This is the room of dogs that have just arrived, the puppies and injured dogs. They are taken care of - medicated, vaccinated etc - here.
This is the room of dogs that have just arrived, the puppies and injured dogs. They are taken care of – medicated, vaccinated etc – here.
The vet came to put the vaccines for the puppies
The vet came to put the vaccines for the puppies
This poor dig had arrived to AAA yesterday. The wound in her leg will be taken care of and then she will be prepared to find a good home. I really wish she gets one!
This poor dog had arrived to AAA yesterday. The wound in her leg will be taken care of and then she will be prepared to find a good home. I really wish she gets one!
I felt a pity for this dog. She was really nervy. In this picture she is luckily settled. It was really a contradictionary feeling to visit the place: in the same time I felt relieved that the dogs were in a safe but also sad to see some of them so traumatised in their small spots needing healing and care. A drop came into eyes...
I felt a pity for this dog. She was really nervy. In this picture she is luckily settled. It was really a contradictionary feeling to visit at AAA: in the same time I felt relieved that the dogs were in a safe place but it was very sad to see some of them so traumatised in their small spots needing healing and care. A drop came into my eye…
At the moment there were three squeaking puppies at AAA - Rosalind was convinced they will get home very soon
There were three squeaking puppies at AAA – Rosalind was convinced they will get home very soon
I went to visit with Maiju. This puppy huddled against Maiju. You could really feel the need for love and caring. It was also crazy to notice, how they were a bit afraid to come out of their cage first, but later they didn't want to go back.
I went to visit with Maiju. This puppy huddled against Maiju. You could really feel the need for love and caring. It was also crazy to notice, how they were a bit afraid to come out their cages first, but later they didn’t want to go back.
Most of the dogs are outside the building. They have their cages but they are also free during the day. They come along.
Most of the dogs are outside the building. They have their cages but they are also free during the day. They come along.
Who gives the dogs home? Who, who, who, who?!
Who gives the dogs home? Who, who, who, who?!

Abandoned dogs in Malta even you cannot see it

It’s crazy, I have lived in Malta more or less five years and I have never really seen stray dogs in the street view. Is it just me? Are they outside the urban areas? Rosalind agrees: “People don’t have a clue about stray dogs, I tell them just to visit any sanctuary and they will see. The situation with every sanctuary is bad and there is a waiting list (there’s no space for all the animals, everything depends on the current resources). We receive easily 15 phone calls everyday.”

Volunteers and donations needed

If you got interested in the theme and helping the AAA dogs and their difficult situation, there are several options. Please do consider these:

  • Volunteering in the sanctuary Any animal lover is welcome to volunteer at AAA. Every volunteer is equal at AAA and everyone does the same tasks. Walk the dogs, feed them, clean after them, wash them, pamper them. LOVE them.
  • Volunteering in the AAA charity shop or bringing recycled stuff there AAA has a shop in Hamrun – you can bring clean clothes or other stuff there. If you’re a trusted salesman you can also do voluntary work in the shop.
  • Donations AAA operations is based on donations. All amounts of donations are warmly welcome. Check how to make a mobile donation below in the picture.
  • The bank account details for direct bank donation:
    Account (IBAN): MT27MMEB44428000000042161794050
    Address of the bank: HSBC BANK MALTA PLC, ZABBAR BRANCH
    SWIFT: MMEB MT MT
  • Buy a AAA calendar for the year 2017 Start the year nicely and buy the calendar for 5 euros! It’s sold in the sanctuary and in the charity shop.
  • Adoption Have you considered of taking a dog? If yes, adopt one from AAA and give one of the abandoned a loving home.
  • Spread the word and do some! Do you know people that could have suitable premises for the new AAA home, or influential people that could help? Please spread the word and animal love. Like AAA also on Facebook.
This is how you can do a text message donation
This is how you can do a text message donation
Not much asked - please consider a 30 euros sponsorship!
Not much asked – please consider a 30 euros sponsorship!
AAA sells the calendars for 5 euros - in their sanctuary and in the charity shop
AAA sells the calendars for 5 euros – in their sanctuary and in the charity shop
How about an adoption? I decided myself that on the day I can get a dog, it's for sure from a sanctuary!
How about an adoption? I decided myself that on the day I can get a dog, it’s for sure from a sanctuary!
There are a lot mouths to feed - also that is a reason why every donation penny is so important! You can even bring dog food to AAA if you wish so!
There are a lot mouths to feed – also that is a reason why every donation penny is so important! You can even bring dog food to AAA if you wish so!
There are all kinds of needs for equipments. Thanks Maiju for pic.
There are all kinds of needs for equipments. Thanks Maiju for the pic.

Malta just slightly coming more dog-friendly

In the end of my visit we are talking about the position of dogs in Malta and agree it hasn’t been too good. This is interesting because Maltese cats are like a concept here and they are loved and taken very good care of. What makes this difference?

Rosalind tells that especially the bigger dogs are perceived bother in the neighbourhoods and people do not tolerate barking. Landlords and restaurants are sceptical with dog people. Still today there are some traditional dog fights underground in the countryside – so the animal rights are not good either. Also many factories keep watchdogs in a very short leash or net cages and they don’t get much exercise. However things are changing slightly and for example this year a dog could accompany first time in the hospital. AAA believes in better future. They still haven’t heard about a new home for the sanctuary and Rosalind estimates they have less than a year to find the place. But AAA will do everything it can and your help is strongly needed! So have a giving Christmas and once again check the ways to help above in the text, the dearest thank you!

The Association for Abandoned Animals – small info:

  • AAA – the Association for Abandoned Animals
  • Registered sanctuary and established charity
  • All work is voluntary based and the donations come from the public
  • Functions: house the dogs, feed the dogs, medicate them – all this costs and AAA relies on donations
  • The committee was born over 13 years ago based purely on animal love
  • Over 13 years learning and methods that are working: rescuing the dogs has become better and better
  • Charity shop in Hamrun that sells recycled items
The bosses
The bosses
Snoopy's story: Snoopy used to stay in the factory in the same industrial area where the AAA locates. He started to come to Rosalind everyday and Rosalind was wondering that but kept bringing him back to the factory. On one day she got to know that a new worker of the factory was beating up Snoopy and that's why Snoopy had been asking for help. Eight years old Snoopy has been at AAA for two years now.
Snoopy’s story: Snoopy used to stay in the factory in the same industrial area where the AAA locates. He started to come to Rosalind everyday and Rosalind was wondering that but kept bringing him back to the factory. On one day she got to know that a new worker of the factory was beating up Snoopy and that’s why Snoopy had been asking for help. Eight years old Snoopy has been at AAA for two years now.
Rosalind is a real animal lover, you can see that! She has adopted one chihuahua for herself - but she can't have more at home because of the lack of space.
Rosalind is a real animal lover, you can see that! She has adopted one chihuahua for herself – but she can’t have more at home because of the lack of space.
Rosalind told a story that there is one Finnish girl travelling all around the world with a small AAA dog that she had adopted when she was in Malta! That's lovely.
Rosalind told a story that there is one Finnish girl travelling all around the world with a small AAA dog that she had adopted when she was in Malta! That’s lovely.
The light of hope? The general "watch dog" Snoopy keeping eye on the door.
The light of hope? The general “watch dog” Snoopy keeping eye on the door.
AAA logos happy dogs - the desired outcome!
AAA logos happy dogs – the desired outcome!

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