Having lived in Mallorca for 12 years already, she was aware of the plight of stray and unwanted dogs on the island and was determined to do something about it. Roaming dogs are picked up from the street by the police and taken to one of several pounds on the island. There, the dogs have 21 days to be claimed by their owners or adopted by a new family. Some owners surrender their own dogs, for a variety of reasons, directly to the pounds. Once the 21 days are up, the dog is euthanized, no matter how cute, friendly and adorable he may be.
Cornelia recognised that the larger breeds were having the worst time of it – especially as the economic crisis started to bite. The bottom fell out of the large breed puppy mill market and unscrupulous breeders were dumping the breeding females out on the streets to avoid paying the surrender fee to the pounds. Individual owners could no longer afford to feed their much loved German Shepherds and Huskies. The large breeds bought to guard properties all over the island were increasingly left to fend for themselves, either dumped in the mountains or simply abandoned at the remote farm houses that the owners could no longer afford to maintain or visit.
Cornelia started by bringing a few German Shepherds and large mixed breeds into her own home, even before Dogs For U created. She tirelessly networked to find loving new homes and with each success story, with each dog that left for a new beginning, two more came to replace that one. Soon Cornelia had no room in her house and after an appeal for financial help, was able to build some basic kennelling in her garden. More dogs came – the dog pounds knew Cornelia now, and would phone her to let her know of yet another abandoned big dog brought to them. Cornelia has a huge heart and rarely says no to a dog in need.
As her reputation grew, Cornelia gained the help of a small band of volunteers and supporters. The kennelling area was upgraded and expanded and quickly filled up with needy animals. Space remains an issue – there are always more dogs in the pounds waiting for us to make room for them so we can save their lives.
Cornelia still opens her own home to the dogs most in need and can usually be found surrounded by an adoring pack of ten or more dogs who greet her joyously after even the shortest absence and who patently see her as their saviour and leader.
With the help of organisations in Germany, Cornelia has also been able to rescue smaller dogs from the pounds and send them to Germany for fostering and adoption. But saving the larger breeds is of paramount importance to Cornelia because they are so often ignored or ill-treated. They are rarely chosen for adoption from the pounds and face a needless death sentence just 21 days after arrival there. Cornelia takes them in and heals them. They come to her physically and emotionally damaged and in need of the love and attention she so willingly provides, and they blossom into wonderful individual characters: charming, quiet, boisterous, funny, loving – each of these dogs is a pleasure to spend time with. There is such joy at DFU when a dog finds his or her forever home, but we know that there are always more in need of our help.
DFU has recently formed an alliance with a German Shepherd Rescue Organisation in the UK and regularly sends dogs there for rehoming. Larger breeds stand a much better chance of finding a forever home in the UK than in Mallorca – DFU dogs arriving in the UK generate a great deal of positive attention and are usually adopted out within a few weeks or even days.
Dogs for U is often the last hope for the German Shepherds and Huskies in Mallorca. No matter how big her heart, Cornelia cannot take them all and we grieve for those we cannot save. We need your help to save these dogs. Please donate or volunteer – the smallest kindness is much appreciated.