Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun is back on our screens and last weeks episode featured the incredible work done by expat Linda Jean - Facebook page 'For the Love of Dogs and Cats'. Viewers were left on tenterhooks as the episode finished with puppy Donny seriously ill at the vets. Get your tissues at the ready....
Sadly, she lost three over the last year, which considering the condition some arrive in is a miracle in itself – many have been dumped, abused, beaten and virtually left for dead and Linda literally nurses them back to health… except in a few circumstances where even she cannot work miracles. But it has certainly taken its toll on her so she is taking a bit of a breather and not taking any more new ones on – having said that, she still has 8 dogs, one of which, Dottie is seriously ill and needs almost round the clock care.
Four of the eight are Linda’s but the other four all have problems and Linda is doubtful that anyone will want to adopt them. Heidi is currently in foster care with a therapist. Linda took her from a dog rescue center having had a rope embedded in her neck, teeth kicked out and the middle pad on her paw ripped off.
Understandably she was terrified of any human coming near her and had to win Linda’s trust slowly, which all takes time and an awful lot of patience.
Whilst she is nursing 13-month-old Dottie she said that she physically and mentally cannot take on any more, as being alone there is no-one to help.
Dottie sits on Linda’s lap as I talk to her – she spent five months in a specialist hospital in Valencia with a malformed colon. An operation has left her needing to wear nappies and she gets through around 100 a week! She is also losing a lot of weight as cannot keep anything down and even Natalia the vet is at a loss. Last week Linda did for an instant consider whether it would be kinder to let her go, but as she sits on her lap just wanting to be loved it is evident that to me that it would destroy her, so she will continue for now and pray for a miracle.
The film crew spent 3 months following Linda around for this new series and she will appear in two episodes. Although it is hard work, having them follow her around, the exposure it gives the work she does is immeasurable.
Linda has had purpose built kennels constructed in her garden – every dog that arrives has to be put into isolation from the other dogs until they have been assessed and checked over by the vet. Many have leish (leishmaniasis) which is caused through mosquito bites and although not curable is controllable with medication. But Linda says that many do not want to take those on and the result is that they are sadly the ones which are left behind.
There is even a purpose built mother and baby unit, where the pregnant ones go, which is shockingly, frequently in use. The puppies are easy to home, as they are cute but often the mummy gets left behind.
Flora was one example and in this current series of Bargain Brits, was taken in by Mark and Ann Harland, who by coincidence were also featured in the series. The couple had just moved over to Benisol Camping and sadly lost their own dog so contacted Linda – who they had seen on the previous series to offer to take some of her charges out for walks, falling in love with Flora and so a happy ever after ending for her.
Shockingly, to me at least, is that Linda has had to have a high fence put up around the boundary wall as people were actually throwing unwanted dogs over the wall into her garden. There was no knowing if there was anything wrong with them or how the other dogs would interact with them.
Any rescue dogs that are re homed are spaded, vaccinated and micro-chipped before leaving and all Linda asks is a €100 donation towards this – it actually costs a lot more, but would potentially put people off if they were asked for much more. All prospective new owners are home checked to ensure that they are genuine and suitable, with many going to a new life in the UK.
For those that are affected with Leish, Linda even sends a year worth of tablets with them!
But this all costs money and Linda is eternally grateful for all the donations people make to help her with this tireless rescue work. The program always brings in a fresh batch of donations as soon as it is aired on television, but as with everything, people soon forget. On Wednesday, April 18 a fundraiser is being organized at the Red Lion on Calle Gerona raise funds, which is being supported by a host of Benidorm entertainers. Donations of any raffle prizes are desperately needed and can be dropped off at Bar One or the Benidorm Seriously offices… so make a note in your diary and help make a difference.