Dog Project

Dogs / Portugal

Helping Dogs in the Alentejo




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Changing the relationship between human beings and animals is an important part of the peace research taking place in Tamera. Every year, a great number of guests visit and take part in our events, and thus get to know the work we do with animals.

Dogs are loyal companions, offering help and support to human beings since ancient times. Dogs have souls, as do all the animals of this earth. Human beings also have a task to do, in service to the dogs, and that is to offer the possibility of a good life, and to help those dogs forced to live in the worst conditions. The joy of a dog who has been rescued and rehabilitated is immeasurable, and also has a direct and healing effect on the people around.




Historically, dogs helped guard the flocks, and were important working partners for the people of the Alentejo; they were respected and treated accordingly. Today, the pastures are all fenced, and there are no more shepherds moving through open country with their flocks. The dogs are not really needed anymore. They have lost their high status... made worse because uncontrolled reproduction has led to serious overpopulation. Farmers, who themselves can hardly make ends meet, often don't give much thought to the suffering of animals, which anyway do not contribute to their income.


In our region, many dogs live their whole lives at the end of a chain. They guard the gates of a pasture, where sheep are generally kept. Often they are on chains which are too short, and far too heavy; without protection from rain or sun; without adequate water or food; and live in a kind of “no-man's-land,” lonely and without any kind of contact. The majority of these dogs suffer physically from parasites and malnutrition, and their souls suffer from isolation and fear.






Acting on the initiative of several adults—and with the help of our children, who couldn't bear to see the suffering of the dogs and not do something about it—we began a few years ago to supply the dogs in the immediate neighborhood with their most basic needs.



We brought them food and water, and simple shelters. From this emerged the regular activities of what we call our “Animal Emergency Response Team.” But with time we had to acknowledge that the to local farmers began to count on our help, and stopped caring for the dogs themselves. The question, “What is real, sustainable help?” led us to strengthen contact with the farmers, and to develop various activities (link), to bring more consciousness to the conditions in which the dogs live.


We began looking for real and sensible examples, of how dogs can live together; we got to know projects like Canopolis and other animal sanctuaries. This inspired us to build a dog enclosure (link) for some of the dogs that arrive in Tamera. There are about ten dogs living there now, and whenever one of the dogs is placed in a new home, their space becomes free for another. (Click here to learn about dog adoption (link) in Tamera.) In the last few years, we've taken in more than 55 dogs, and were able to find new homes for most of them.


We thank all those people who take action on behalf of these beings in need, and who help ease their suffering. 



Dog Project
Lee von dem Bussche
Monte Cerro
7630-303 Colos

Phone: mobile +351/926 125 612

e-mail: dogs(at)


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