Frequently Asked Questions

We always welcome enquiries and reply to messages and emails as soon as we can, however, below you find some of your questions answered.

The Rescue Shelter

All rescue dogs at the shelter can enjoy exploring the fully fenced land

How do you finance the shelter?

The shelter is privately owned and financed by the owner. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We are reader supported so when you buy through on of our website links, we may receive a commission.

Do you receive financial help from the government?

No, we do not receive any financial help from the Portuguese government

How many dogs do you care for?

At any one time we care for up to 40 dogs of all shapes, ages and sizes.

What happens when a dog comes to your shelter?

Tom came to us from one of the municipal kennels

Every single dog that comes into our shelter, whether that be directly from the streets (having been abandoned) or from a municipal kennel, we give them the time they need to acclimatise to their new surroundings.

Each dog is different, some arrive traumatised and sick, others appear relaxed and healthy.  We assess each dog and place them in a kennel accordingly.

We ensure all dogs are treated by a vet for any illnesses but also for all routine treatments including preventative ones.

During the dog’s first few days and whilst they settle in we walk them on a lead to ensure they familiarise themselves with the shelter, the routine and begin to understand they always receive daily exercise and attention.  Despite the shelter being fully fenced, the land for them to explore is of a vast area and on the odd occasion we have dogs who won’t return to their kennels.

After the initial settling in period which can vary depending on the dog, we start to introduce them to more and more dogs, we let them run off lead within the shelter and start to socialise them outside of the shelter.  Of course our ultimate with all the dogs is to find them the right home for them.

The Dogs

Super boy Black Nero is the shelter ‘godfather’ so welcoming to all new rescues

What healthcare do your dogs receive?

Every dog in our care is vaccinated, chipped, sterilised, receives regular worm, tick, flea and sand fly prevention treatment. All of our dogs are regularly checked by us and will always receive the veterinary care they need.

Are all your dogs sterilised?

Yes, all dogs who enter the shelter are sterilised as priority as long as it is medically safe for them.  No dog can be adopted unless they are sterilised.

How well do you know the dogs?

Rosie meets some ducks in the local town

We assess all of our dogs, we take the time to get to know them to ensure we find the perfect home for them and the right dog for you. Likewise, we take the time with potential adopters, we want all adoptions to work and are thorough in our adoption process. We are here for the dogs and we are here for you, the adopters.

Every day we ensure dogs have a good amount of physical exercise, whether that is in the shelter, or on walks in the local area. We do our very best to socialise the dogs within our care and to ensure they are exposed to many different social situations, including travelling in the car, meeting other dogs, animals and people (including children), visiting busier areas, joining us for a coffee or lunch and where possible introducing them to a home environment prior to their adoption.

Adopting From Us

Maya was adopted in June 2021

What is the process to adopt a dog?

We always recommend visiting our shelter to meet the wonderful dogs we have for adoption. We will introduce you to them, let you spend as much time as you wish with each and everyone of them and tell you about them, their personalities, their history and the home they would be best suited to.

We welcome you to visit as many times as you wish to spend time with the dogs, getting to know them and them getting to know you.

When the time comes that your heart is set on a dog, we always recommend a trial period in your home. We believe a trial is the best way to really get to know your (hopefully) new family member, to see how they cope in a home, in a new environment and with their new family.

We will arrange to bring the dog to your home for the trial. This enables us to carry out a home check to ensure your home and garden is safe and secure for the dog.

We will ensure the dog comes with a collar, lead, food they are used to, any bedding that is special to them, as well as any toys or bones. If the dog is on medication we will provide a plentiful supply for the length of the trial.

During the trial period we will remain in contact with you for updates and most importantly to provide you with any support and advice you may require.

During the trial process the dog remains registered to Benafim Dogs – in the event of any problems at all, we ask you to immediately contact us.

Please note that for trials and adoptions of dogs that are on the ‘dangerous breed’ list in Portugal several additional measures are required which we will be on hand to help you with, including insurance.

We always keep everything crossed that the trial process will be a success and will result in an adoption. That said we want what is best for everyone and that is ultimately a happy dog and happy adopters.

Once all three parties, the dog, you the adopter and us Benafim dogs are happy we will visit you again with the relevant adoption paperwork to change the dog’s ‘ownership’ and chip registration to the adopter.

We will provide the adopter with all information we have on your new family member, including their veterinary book and any additional medical paperwork.

If sadly the trial isn’t a success, we of course will always welcome the dog back and continue to give them the love and care until we do find them the right home.

Check out Testimonials From Our Wonderful Adopters for feedback from some of our adopters.

Do you re home dogs abroad?

We do to the right homes.  We have previously re homed dogs to the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Holland.

What is the process to adopt a dog abroad?

Komo was re homed to the UK in May 2021

Upon receiving an enquiry from you, we will spend time communicating with you, finding out about you, your lifestyle, what you are looking for and helping you with our recommendations for the right dog for you. We will provide you with full and accurate details of every dog including photos and videos.

Once all parties are happy that an adoption will take place, we will organise a home check by one of our partners overseas to ensure your home is safe and secure to welcome your new furry family member.

During the time between the home check and officialising the adoption, the dog will be reserved and will not be available for adoption

Once all three parties are happy to proceed with the adoption, Benafim Dogs will organise the transport and all relevant paperwork and medical checks to ensure your new family member can travel to you.

If you live in the UK – this will be transport by road and the Eurotunnel.  If Holland, Germany and other European countries this will be by plane or by road transport.

All transport costs are payable by the adopter directly to the transporter. We will of course provide you full details of these prior to any adoption agreement.

What is the cost to re home a Dog?

If the dog is a Benafim Dog shelter rescue there is no adoption fee.  Donations are always welcome which we ask are payable directly to one of two vets we use in the Algarve.

If the dog is on foster at Benafim Dog Shelter from a municipal kennel in the Algarve, the adoption cost is the cost occurred by them to vaccinate, chip, sterilise and test for leish, heart worm and tick fever.  The adoption cost is payable directly to the municipal kennel.

If the dog is to travel abroad the transport cost is payable directly to the transport company by the adopter.

How long does it take to re home a dog?

There is no set amount of time as we prefer to treat each adoption individually and work around the needs of both the dogs and the adopters.

What if things don’t work out?

We request that adopters provide us with regular updates and if things do not work out after seeking help and advice from us,  the dog must be returned to us.  No dog can be passed on to a third party without our knowledge.

Adoption Requirements

Komo loves his cheeky feline brother Koda

Do you re home to homes with children?

We treat each adoption enquiry as a unique one.  We do not have a set policy on re homing dogs to homes with children.  We look at each dog, assess them in the same way we work very closely with each family to ensure the right dog is re homed to the right family.

Do you re home to homes with other pets and animals?

Yes we do. We recommend all pets meet on neutral territory where possible prior to an adoption.

I live in an apartment can I adopt a dog?

Yes, if we feel the dog is suited to apartment living.

I don’t have a garden can I adopt a dog?

Yes, if we feel the dog is suited to living in a home without a garden and will be happy.

My garden isn’t securely fenced can I adopt a dog?

We ask that all gardens are securely fenced for any dog adopted from Benafim Dogs.

Contact and Visiting

Theo receiving cuddles

How can We Contact You?

You can contact us either via our facebook page or via our website.

Where are you located?

We are located in the Algarve, Portugal between Alte and Benafim.

Can we visit at anytime?

We ask that all visitors contact us prior to visiting.  We do our very best to accommodate all visitors on a day and time convenient to them. However, we are a small team running the shelter and have to plan visits so as not to interfere with other commitments and priorities, such as vet appointments.

What is your response time to enquiries?

We always aim to respond to enquiries within 12 hours.

How You Can Help?

Lea came to spend some time with the doggies


Volunteers are always welcome!  The dogs really benefit from meeting new people and spending time with them.  Some of the rescue dogs at the shelter are fearful of either men or women so the more they get to see new kind faces, the more this helps them in their journey towards finding their loving forever home.

Food Donations

We feed our doggies Orlando dry food from Lidl

We kindly ask that any food donations are the same as we feed the dogs.  Changing their food unfortunately can create havoc with their tummies.  We feed the dogs Orlando dry food from Lidl supermarket as pictured above.

Social Media

We are hugely grateful for all support, whether that be in person or on social media. Every single share of our Facebook and Instagram posts helps, and every single adoption means we can help another dog in need.


Handsome Tigre

Here are some reasons why fostering is beneficial to both the dog and to the foster:

Fostering keeps dogs out of shelters

And you will be freeing up a spot in the shelter for another dog in need

You are saving a life

You are providing a happy, loving and safe environment

Fostering increases the chances of a dog getting adopted

Fostering enables a dog to socialise and interact with humans and other animals in a way they aren’t able to in a shelter

You can help them grow in confidence, be happy and healthy

You will help the shelter learn more about their personality so that the right homes are found

The adoption will be a much smoother transition from foster home to permanent home than a shelter to a home

If you are not ready to adopt or are still in the ‘thinking’ stage, fostering will help you make that decision

You may even end up as a ‘failed foster’ and keep the dog

MOST OF ALL, you will be giving a chance to a dog who really needs it and there is really nothing better than that!