My Trip to Scooby, by a US volunteer

Lydia Best, from Virginia US, volunteered at Scooby this past year and her story was published in Northern Virginia Dog magazine.  Have a look!  What great exposure for our shelter and our wonderful animals!  Thanks Lydia!
Several years ago I took a trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Southern Utah to volunteer for a week. That trip affected me a great deal. It showed me with nothing but hard work, perseverance, and generosity a small shelter can have a huge impact on society and become a roll model for shelters all over the world.

Shortly after returning from Best Friends, a good friend and client asked me to get involved with an organization called Scooby North America. Scooby North America exists exclusively for charitable and educational purposes as the voice between the Scooby Animal Refuge in Medina del Campo, Spain, and the people of North America. After volunteering at Best Friends, I was excited to be able to take some of what I learned and hopefully apply it to a shelter that could use a lot of help.

My involvement in Scooby North America was limited at first, but, this May, I had the
opportunity to go to Scooby Medina to take much needed supplies, volunteer in the shelter for a week, and bring back four dogs that had been adopted by individuals in the United States.
Scooby Medina is a privately-owned refuge, the largest safe haven in Spain for all sorts of animals. Scooby started out in 1987 as a shelter under poor conditions, providing refuge for the stray cat and dog population and the numerous Galgos (Spanish greyhounds) discarded mainly by the local hunters in the area of Medina del Campo, Spain. Tens of thousands of Galgos are bred annually in Spain in
the hope of producing the national competitive hunting champion. Medina del Campo is the focal point for those with a competitive hunting interest in Spain. For the hunters (known as galgueros in Spain), it has been an annual tradition to kill their Galgos by hanging them in mass in the local pine forests at the end of the season.

My experience at Scooby Medina was far different then any other shelter or rescue experience I have ever had. Their needs are so vast that nearly all day is spent just doing the basics like feeding the animals, cleaning pens, and caring for sick animals. We struggled to find the time to provide the animals the additional love, attention, and comfort that they all deserve. While I was there, the shelter didn’t have enough food to feed all the dogs because they were over capacity. Being over capacity is a good thing in that more animals are being rescued, but it also means that resources—especially monetary—get used up quicker.

Though the time I was there was emotionally and physically exhausting at times, it also was very rewarding. I truly got to work in an environment where I knew that everything I did was desperately needed. And when you are a volunteer at Scooby Medina, you truly do it all. I also cherished those moments when I could throw a ball for a dog or sit in a kennel run and just give these animals some good old fashioned love.

I left Scooby Medina with feelings of hope. Feeling that if Best Friends Animal Sanctuary can achieve all it has, then so can Scooby. Now that I’m back stateside, I need to spread the word about this amazing refuge, a place that without the help of people all over the world would not exist. A place that only wants to protect and speak for all animals.

For more information or to get involved,
please visit www.scoobynorthamerica.org.

Lyda Best (pictured), lives in Leesburg, VA, and owns Everything and the Dog, a company providing dog walking, pet sitting, and errand services to the Northern Virginia area. Reach her at www.everythingandthedog.com.