The new Tiny Shelter is nearly complete thanks to the help of hard-working kind volunteers but they need your help for the final push to be able to move all their rescues to their new home, as they are running out of time.


Owner of Tiny Shelter, Isabel Searle told The Portugal News: “The beginnings of Tiny Shelter started approximately 12 years ago when I saw a dog in a terrible state in Albufeira. I was really shocked because she was falling over as she was so weak. I took her home and I tried to find an NSPCA as such and realised there was no such thing in Portugal. I ended up looking after her and found her a new loving home.

“Following this, I found another dog that had been beaten up with a golf club. This was horrific and the dog had surgery. I later was walking near Albufeira Marina and I saw this ruin and this man there, who had nothing, he was basically starving and he had squatted there with permission from the owner and I found out he was an animal lover. I gave this gentleman food and clothes to help him and in return asked if he could help me look after this one dog which grew to 20 dogs which he kindly did. We had no money and no support so I absolutely struggled and I went without to find food for the dogs and we made fences to keep the dogs in and that was the first ever Tiny Shelter in Albufeira Marina.”

Isabel revealed she was there for a few years but then the owner of the land died and they were evicted with only three days to move. “It was impossible to find place for 20 dogs, eventually we found land, somewhere else and we built a shelter that was a little better near Olhos de Água. A German lady allowed us to stay there for about two years but then we needed to move due to space, things didn’t work out well and so we moved to the current shelter and have been for the last few years but unfortunately, the land has been sold.”

Building the New Tiny Shelter

Isabel explained “We have been building the new Tiny Shelter with the help of kind volunteers for about 8 months in fact and we are two months over due to leave and are under a lot of pressure. We are still short of materials so we need maybe 500 euros to 1,000 euros of materials to finish everything.”

“Our biggest problem is that we have horrific vet bills, we owe three vets about 8,000 euros, so we are really desperate. I am petrified because the vets are getting very impatient and are saying if we don’t pay them, they will stop helping us.”

Super Donors

The community really came together to aid this huge effort which included many other volunteers and donors to complete the new site. Isabel affirmed that “A Dutch couple also deserve a mention because they were extremely generous and actually bought the land for the new site to be built on so now the dogs have a fantastic permanent and secure location which will be left for them because the gentleman has given the land to Tiny Shelter in his will.”

Additionally, Isabel thanked Precision Property Renovation Specialists, “they have been incredible and they have sent labourers and materials for free so a huge thank you to Paul and the team.”

Paul and Rachael Surphlis, Owners of Precision Property Renovation Specialists and Yolo Lounge in Albufeira, have assisted the Charity over the last few months where they have donated labour time and materials with a total cost of 3,000 euros. Paul and Rachael told The Portugal News that “It is an amazing Charity and that they wanted to support them as soon as they heard that they were evicted from their current shelter and realised that an emergency home was needed.”

Paul and Rachael moved to the Algarve three years ago following successful careers, with Paul being a plumber for seven years and then a sergeant in the British army for 10 years and Rachael being an assistant head teacher for 12 years where she was a director of Art and Design.

They decided to risk it all and opened the bar Yolo Lounge in Albufeira, receiving the keys just as lockdown was announced. “We re-gathered our thoughts and we decided to renovate the bar during the lockdown so we slowly chipped away and a couple of guys we knew from Newcastle drove to Portugal to help us which led to our second business, Precision being born which focuses on Property projects, renovations and management services.”

Rachael revealed that they actually found out about Tiny Shelter because they were trying to adopt two rescue puppies through the charity but that at the time but later a group of puppies were abandoned outside the Vets in Guia and Isabel actually helped the couple adopt two puppies which they named Hugo and Dolce.”

Paul explained “I had seen these messages for help and I contacted Isabel and said I have got men and materials left from one job, I have concrete blocks and I have got some sand and cement so I said I will donate them to the cause and I will put a couple of guys there to help you get it done. 1 week turned into 3 weeks and the free stuff turned into spending 3,000 euros. So, we donated especially man power and materials to the shelter to try and get the shelter get done.”

How you can get involved

Isabel shared that they have been doing volunteer work parties which they will be continuing over the next two Sundays at the new Tiny Shelter where supporters and animal lovers are asked to join to help with all types of little jobs to get the shelter finished as they are on the last stretch before they can move their dogs to their new home. Isabel promised there will be beer and water for all the lovely people who volunteer their time to help because they are in desperate need over the next two weeks.


Isabel told The Portugal News that they are in desperate need of donations which will go towards vet bills, food, medicine and also towards some final materials to finish the new shelter as they are desperately running against the clock.

Adding “We desperately need adopters or foster, please come to the shelter, sometimes we have sick dogs that need a foster for a month or so until they recover in a home where they can be looked after. If we can’t get dogs adopted, we can’t rescue more and there are so many out there to be helped.”

You can find Tiny Shelter Albufeira on Facebook and at Those who wish to help the shelter can donate via PayPal to or via bank transfer to Associação Tiny Shelter PT50 0045 7012 4035 5812 4230 6. Alternatively, if you live locally, you can donate in person by sending a private message to the Tiny Shelter Albufeira where they will reveal the exact location to meet and come visit the shelter and bring food for them and they can also walk and play with the dogs because we are very short on volunteers.


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes