When I was first persuaded, somewhat reluctantly, to go down to our local kennels (canile) in Ossaia, I was very worried that it would be a sad place, full of tragic, caged dogs. Thankfully my fears were unfounded. In fact the canile is one of the most joyful places I know; truly uplifting, even in the worst of weathers.
The dogs enjoy a lot of freedom, and they have a high old time of it, running and barking and doing all the things dogs do. Their food is a bit boring, but there is plenty of it, and even more importantly there is plenty of love to go around… you will frequently see someone breaking off from sweeping or cleaning to give a dog a cuddle. The saddest ones are those that once had a happy loving home, and who for some reason or another ended up in the kennels – they crave love and affection, and in fact making time for just that, is a part of the job. I have to say there is nothing sadder than throwing a ball for a dog who has no idea what to do with it, because no one ever played with him.
I have to say the facilities are not so good, but this affects the workers more than the dogs… for instance with no hot water it’s often necessary in the winter to first break the ice in the dog bowls before replenishing them.
As well as the daily running of the kennels, the workers there throw themselves into all sorts of activities to raise money, (we get a grant from the local municipality, but it is never enough). Plus 5 or 6 times a year fund-raising dinners are organised, generally great food, very cheap and lots of fun.
Twice a year we also do collections outside the Coop – mostly people give us food for dogs, and since the kennels are very much a part of local life, with many having volunteered as kids, and many more who have had dogs from the canile, donations are often generous.
There is organised dog walking most months where people come to walk their own dogs and/or walk kennel dogs, and we get lots of socialising, both of the 2 legged and 4 legged variety.
Our expat volunteer group used to be about 5 or 6 strong, but for one reason or another, our numbers have dwindled. Basically these days we are down to just Graham and I most weeks. He is in charge of fixing – everything from roofs to walls to fences, and anything else that needs doing. I am basically second mate; holding, fetching, passing and whatever else is required. Extra hands always appreciated…. to walk a dog, help to clean, or help with the DIY. We are generally down there every Monday morning from about 9.30 to midday.
Donations of dog food and blankets etc… are always very welcome, but given the number of dogs who suffer from allergies and other medical conditions, monetary donations for medical supplies and special dietary requirements are especially welcome.
The kennels are run as a non-profit, charitable organisation: Associazione Onlus Etruria Animals Defendly
Monetary donations can be made to:
Postal account no. 0000 39508502
or via wire transfer
IBAN no. Associazione Onlus Etruria Animals Defendly - IT 56 B084 8925 40000000 0351274
To donate 5x1000 the codice fiscale number to insert is: 92040010511.
The dog pound is open every morning from 9.30 to 11.
For afternoon visits, it is better to call first as hours can change depending on the season.
For more information contact Stefania: 389 157 2256.