From Cape Verde to Chesterfield
Words: Jess Draper
Images: Jess & Adobe Stock
Jess Draper joined the team at S40 Local for a few days on work experience recently and one of the jobs we gave her was to put an article together about something she enjoys. What follows is a rather unusual holiday activity!
Last August, for our summer holiday I was lucky enough to go to the beautiful island of Sal in Cape Verde. Something peculiar about this island is that unlike Cyprus, which is filled with stray cats, Sal is filled with semi-wild dogs. Being someone who believes that there is only one correct answer to “Are you a dog person or a cat person?” this delighted me. No matter where you went on the island there was at least one dog either roaming down the street, or asleep under a sunbed. Whilst there I didn’t meet a vicious dog, although many were cautious of humans, all the dogs I met, although wild, were friendly and merely longing for love. Not only did seeing these dogs help with the extreme longing I felt for my two fur babies at home, Ted and Poppy, but it also, in a way, made my holiday, being able to see a dog no matter where I went!
Although this island does sound like heaven for many dog lovers (like me), due to the impoverished nature of the country of Cape Verde, many of these dogs are malnourished and/or require veterinary care, this breaks my heart. Therefore, my mum and I decided to try to help. So, for one day of our holiday, we decided to venture away from the buffet, swap our bikinis for actual clothes and go and help at Organização Salense Proteção Animais (OSPA). OSPA is a non-profit organisation in Sal that gives shelter, food, warmth, and play for many of the stray dogs in Cape Verde. The charity’s aim is to find forever homes for their dogs, with families who have the capability to properly home and take care of one of these dogs.
When we arrived, we met the dogs, all of them eager to be cuddled and fussed. After making sure we spoke to every single dog we took two Rosie and Oito, out for a walk. Rosie and Oito are two black and white sisters that had been found by the charity as puppies, in a box that had been abandoned in the centre of Sal. They were extremely excited to be given the luxury of a quick walk (that many of our pet dogs at home receive daily). They ran and played, like it was the best day of their lives, jumping up for hugs and strokes along the way. You wouldn’t believe that these dogs were once abandoned puppies, considering how tame and friendly they both were. After 45 minutes or so, we were reluctant to take them back to their home, I believe we would’ve rather had them stay with us in our hotel room, or better, to have bought them back home with us. But reluctantly, we took them back to the rest of their friends.
That day of helping was one for the best days of my holiday. I loved helping those wonderful dogs who should never have been on the streets, even if it was only a small part I played. I also simply loved visiting the shelter, they work to do as much as they can, helping as many street dogs as possible. Without this shelter, it is heart-breaking to think that so many more innocent dogs would be injured and fighting for food to survive. I just want to mention my great gratitude for OSPA for helping.
If you're inspired to get involved or adopt a rescue animal locally there are a number of organisations who can help, see below.