The not for profit association PICO DOGS is born!


Nina enjoying her first holiday with her new forever family!

PICO DOGS is now an officially registered not for profit association based on the island of Pico, Azores (Portugal).

Many thanks to all the founding members Dania, Jess, Karen, Sarah, Ursula, Enrico, Patrizia, Stefano and Arne and to all the people that helped in the last few months, with special thanks to Rita.

Please read on the link below our mission and aims:
PicoDogs Mission &Aims

A new web site with additional information on how we plan to develop our projects will be launched soon.

If you wish to contact us please use the Contact Us page on this site.

Thanks for sharing!

Last call for the Dogs on Flight PIX-FRA…

Two years have passed since our first abandoned dog of Pico’s dog shelter flew to Germany, to be happily re-homed thanks to Edith and Uwe of the Association Tierhilfe Phoenix. We have now started to write the 3rd page of this amazing project that gives hope to those unfortunate dogs that could not find a loving family here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

And it is exactly about the remoteness of our island and the difficulties we have to fly our dogs that I would like to tell you about.

blog 30_june

It is the beginning of June 2018 and Kaia, Picasso and Fred are getting ready to travel. Chip, passport, vaccines done! Crates are ready with water and food supply included. We are just waiting for the confirmation of the airline to secure their space on the cargo.

Chosen date was 9th June when our dogs would have to take 2 planes: one from Pico to Lisbon (flight operated by SATA) and one from Lisbon to Frankfurt (operated by TAP), for an overall journey of 10 hours!

Here comes the answer from the cargo department of TAP: there is no space on the cargo for your dogs on the 9th June.
“What about on the 12th or 16th June?” – I ask.
You have to know that direct flights from Pico to Lisbon run only on Saturdays and Mondays, that is why it could not have been just the day after. Unfortunately the answer  is the same: “There is no cargo space for the dogs neither on the 12th nor on the 16th June!”.

Dogs could not wait any longer to reach their new families in Germany, especially Kaia was very much needed, as her future sister Bonnie was having a hard time since the end of April, when she lost her life companion Kira to a disease. The bond was so strong that Bonnie hardly ate or walked anymore. A sweet new friend like Kaia was going to heal some of her deep wounds, so that we had to get Kaia there real fast!


Only one solution was possible: to fly myself with the dogs! I  bought a ticket as a passenger on the desidered flight and added all the 3 dogs to my ticket! Kaia and Picasso would go in the hold, while little Fred (only 2.4 Kg) would be flying with me in the cabin.

I got the overall booking confirmed, which made me discover that passengers and their luggage always have priority over the cargo transport! Fair enough, but when we talk about dogs or other animals, I believe the policy should be different.

The flight was smooth, especially for Fred. Please see some pictures of us: Jess with Kaia, Fred and Picasso at Pico Airport (PIX), me and Fred in transit at Lisbon airport and further below our arrival at Frankfurt airport (FRA) where Uwe from Tiehilfe Phoenix was happy to meet us all.


1, 2, 3… 7 Picodogs adopted in Germany during Year 2017!

TierhilfePhoenix 2 year

Yes, it is true! Sometimes fairy tales exist.

In 2017 Polly, Tom, Jenny, Gerry, Joyce, Nikita and Susy found a loving home in Germany thanks to the Association Tierhilfe Phoenix. All these dogs had been abandoned or had been returned by their owners to the dog shelter located in Pico Island (Azores). Among 70+ dogs living at the shelter, these 7 have been chosen for their sociability and friendliness. Of course there are a lot more sweet dogs that can be adopted, so if you think you can help us finding more forever homes for these dogs, please contact us.


Dania & Coda

The Ocean Call


The most amazing experience I have ever had with my Newfie Coda.
One that changes your life forever.

Mariangela and Rosa, 2 instructors from the famous Italian School for Water Rescue Dogs called SICS , came to Pico Island last June and started to train me, Coda and my husband Enrico.

In the picture Coda is swimming in the canal between the island of Pico and Faial.
If you want to see how powerful Newfies are in the water, please have a look at this video shot by our friend Stefano Ulivi.

An endless thank you to Ferruccio, Mariangela and Rosa.

Dania & Coda


“People say I am beautiful. I say I am lucky because I have a loving family.
I want to help my friends at the dog shelter here in Pico, hoping they will find a family too. Join my campaign to increase the adoptions! Thanks.”  Coda

Coda the NewfieCoda the Newfie is so popular among the visitors of Pico Island that decided to start a campaign where anyone taking a picture of him (or with him) is invited to donate and help his friends at the local dog shelter.

Post your picture on Coda’s Facebook page and add #codaforpicodogs. It will help to spread the word!

If you are planning to visit Pico Island but still wish to make a donation, please contact me here or email

Help abandoned dogs of Pico Island

To Germany with love – Chapter II

Last year 6 abandoned dogs from Pico Island found a forever home in Germany thanks to the collaboration with the Association Tierhilfe Phoenix.

We are currently in the process of getting 4 more dogs ready to fly overseas: they will be neutered, given a full set of vaccinations and chipped. Furthermore, a European passport will be issued along with an extra paper required by the intra-EU transportation of animals (TRACES). The total cost per dog will be about 150,00€.

The German Association will cover flights and shipping of the crates back to Pico.

The dream of a forever home could come true for even more abandoned dogs  here in Pico. If you know an Organisation that is interested in adopting our Pico dogs or you are even part of it, please contact us through this blog or email

I would like to tell you the story of Maggie, one the lucky dogs already adopted. I believe it is very inspiring!

Maggie was abandoned at the age of 5 months with a broken paw. She was literally thrown inside the dog shelter, where we found her the following morning. We will never know if her limb broke as a result of throwing her over the gate or that happened before and the owner abandoned her to avoid treatment costs.

After visiting her, the vet said Maggie would require surgery, but unfortunately in Pico there are no facilities to intervene surgically on a broken limb. Our only hope was that a cast and her young age would be enough… and so it was!

This is Maggie before and after the adoption!


Increasing the adoptions: a forever home in Germany with Tierhilfe Phoenix


Year 2016 marked the collaboration with the German not-for-profit organization Tierhilfe Phoenix, which led to 6 abandoned dogs of Pico Island flying to Frankfurt and find a forever home!

Let’s start from the beginning. I am a volunteer for Acanil, the local association for the protection of abandoned dogs and, while helping out, I soon realised that the dog shelter needed additional plans to boost the number of adoptions.
Through my job (I own and run a whale watching company in Pico Island) I come into contact with many dog lovers from mainland Europe and talking to them the idea of finding an international partner association interested in adopting our dogs came into life.

Finding Tierhilfe Phoenix and getting ready to fly the first dogs took me over 1 year.

The project was ambitious, due to the complicated logistics of flying dogs from a little island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to Germany, but we did it!

The support of both Helena Amaral, the President of Acanil and the vet Sally Lopes was essential.

A special thank also to Petra Winkelmann that sent us several kennels for flying out our dogs.

Enjoy the pictures of the happy dogs that left Pico to find a forever home in Germany and stay tuned on to know more on our future projects.