We call it the ABC’s, or ‘Algarve Book Corners’. This week our search took us to the door of another convenient abbreviation. The WOOFF, or ‘Worn Only Once Fashion and Furniture’ store in Almancil, is a Charity shop that donates all their funds to help creatures that, you guessed it, say ‘Wooff’.

Or ‘Meow’ for that matter, as the, here comes another abbreviation, ARA ‘Animal Rescue Algarve’ (to which all the raised money goes to) have a facility in Cabanita (up in the hills behind Loulé) where they have custom built eco-friendly kennels housing up to 100 dogs, but also have a specialist cattery which can accommodate 20 cats.

The ARA isn’t supported by the government and relies on the goodness of people’s hearts. They have a specialist staff but they rely heavily on kind locals and also lots of volunteers that find their way there through ‘The International WorkAway scheme’. They are very popular on ‘Workaway’ and this month they were actually awarded ‘Host of the month’. It seems lots of people quite fancy coming to the Algarve and having some 4 legged friends to look after and maybe even have a cuddle with to stop them feeling too homesick. They usually get lots of volunteers which allows for 1 person to care for a maximum of 7 to 8 dogs at a time. Still a fair few I’d say, I have enough trouble keeping my one dog under control when we go for a walkabout. But it allows for the dogs to get some much needed love and affection, and if you are looking for a new furry and loyal member of the family then please do go and see if any are right for you. You can have a look through their dogs ‘profiles’ on their website: www.animalrescuealgarve.com. Or simply visit the ARA facility in Cabanita which is open for visitors on Saturday mornings between 10 and 12.

But what’s all this got to do with books?

Well, the WOOFF store along with getting, as their name suggests, all kinds of beautiful clothes and furniture, they are also getting a constant stream of books. Lots and lots of books. Until recently they’ve just been spread around higgledy piggledy, but recently a post came up on their Facebook page that showed that volunteer shop assistants Luisa and Jayne had put together a bookshelf. I went to Almancil to investigate further. The books are indeed set up very nicely with pictures of Marilyn Monroe looking down on you approvingly and as you scan through looking for a title that peaks your interest. They are now easier than ever to find as Luisa said she has taken the time to put them all together alphabetically so if a client comes in looking for a particular book - she can soon tell them definitively whether they have it, or not. But just cause they don’t have it one week that doesn’t mean they won’t have it a week later, as people are constantly dropping them off. So, if there’s any bookworms out there looking for a bargain - hardbacks are €2 and the paperbacks are €1. They are for a great cause, and maybe there’s even one on how to train your dog? I should have got that one.