Meet our Team

Pico Dogs is made of a special group of people who dedicate their time protecting abandoned dogs and work hard to give them a new life beyond the dog shelter. Here is short description from some of the people in our team.

Dania Tesei


Dania has been a volunteer at Madalena’s dog shelter since 2014. In 2016 she launched the collaboration with the Association Tierhilfe Phoenix to re-home abandoned dogs of Pico to Germany. Since 2017 she is also part of SICS (Italian Water Rescue Dog School) together with her newfie Coda, who has also become an ambassador for Pico Dogs.

Jess Ford

Vice President

Jess has worked with dogs for her entire working career so far. After volunteering at a dog shelter she decided to start her own business working with dogs and ran a dog walking service and dog hotel in the UK for 5 years until she moved to Pico. During this time she worked with hundreds of different dogs with all personalities imaginable, and with the help of 5 employees she was was fully responsible for their safety and wellbeing. She also trained as a pet first aider.  Since moving to Pico with her dog Red, she has felt determined to do more for the abandoned dogs on the island.


Karen Smets

President of Assembly

Karen is a student veterinary technician from Belgium. During her studies she learned a lot about dog behaviour and the medical side of the canine world. In 2017, she did an internship at CW Azores on Pico Island and volunteered with Dania and Jess at the dog shelter. In fact, she ended up adopting a Pico Dog herself; Karen fell in love with a puppy, who she later named Madi after Madalena, the main town of Pico Island. Karen and Madi flew back to Belgium where they are living together very happily now. Since then she keeps visiting the island and helps as much as she can from home.


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