The dog whisperer


This may well have happened to one or the other of us: we scroll down our Facebook timeline and stumble across photos of neglected animals shared by aid organisations or friends. Most of us feel pity for a short moment and then continue scrolling. But not Wolfgang Baer, key account manager at ista and proud owner of three dogs. He simply couldn't look away, but picked up the phone and went into action.

One photo – one mission

Little Jerry Lee
This is the photo that made Wolfgang Baer decide to adopt the pup.

In July Wolfgang Baer had just returned from a walk with his dogs when he stumbled across a post by the Spanish animal rescue organisation, Ayandena, on Facebook. “Dog in killing station, covered in ticks and fleas, can only be saved by adoption!” was written under the photo of little Jerry Lee, a neglected young puppy. He immediately contacted Ayandena to find out how to adopt Jerry Lee. “My wife was still at work at the time so I just sent her the photo without any comment. She knew at once that we would be taking in the small puppy,” Wolfgang Baer recalls.


Living on borrowed time

Dogs free running
Here the dogs wait for adoption.

However, not every animal is as lucky as tiny Jerry Lee: In Spain many dogs and cats live as strays on the streets. Some of them – if they are lucky – land up in Spanish animal shelters (“Protectora”) which find a forever home for them. Others for whom there is no more room are handed over to state-financed killing stations, so-called “Perreras”. After some weeks they are euthanized there if no owner or prospective adopter expresses an interest. Animal rescue organisations like Ayandena try to save these animals by finding people to adopt them. “Rescue campaigns are not easy because every time we need a guaranteed adoption place which also involves a thorough prior check of the new owner. At the moment we are again full to overflowing in Seville and hope to find many supporters to help us,” explains Karin Graf, who works at the Swiss branch of Ayandena.

Hope dies last

Jerry Lee is waiting
Tiny Jerry Lee is waiting for his new home.

Wolfgang Baer and his wife also had to go through this prior check. After filling in a detailed questionnaire helped by Natalia, a German-speaking employee of Ayandena from Madrid, and Karin Graf, it was a question of waiting. That was the worst possible thing for impatient Wolfgang Baer to have to do. He loves taking matters into his own hands. His boss Detlev Bruns, regional manager at ista, grins as he describes him: “Wolfgang is simply an honest, straightforward guy. He just wants one thing – and that is for it all to work.” When it came to Jerry Lee’s adoption, Wolfgang Baer was lucky: it all worked. After two days, Wolfgang Baer finally received the news that his adoption application had been successful. Jerry Lee was already rescued from the killing station on the fourth day and brought to the Ayandena animal shelter in Seville. There he is being treated by a vet and is waiting to be transported to his new home.

Appeal on social media

Wolfgang Baer and Lilly
A big lick for the one you love – Wolfgang Baer and Lilly, one of his three dogs.

Wolfgang Baer would like to help not just one dog but also other animals to find a new home. So he set up a Facebook group “Jerry Lee for Freedom“. In just two days it already had 200 members and 1,138 euros had been donated which was used to buy a new fridge for the medication and a washing machine for Ayandena. However, one of the organisation’s biggest problems is the old, clapped-out car which is used, among other things, for the trips to the killing stations. “The current van spends more time being repaired than on the road. So I would like to do my utmost to get the organisation a new car,” Baer explains. He has set himself a target: to drive the car to Seville in September and at the same time finally pick up his dog Jerry Lee and bring him back to Germany.


Please help!

Please help

If you want to help Wolfgang Baer with his fund-raising to buy a car, you can do this on his dedicated donation page. There you will also get further information and be able to see the current amount of money collected. In the meantime some members of the Facebook group have also got active themselves: together they are sponsoring two dogs in the animal shelter and paying all the costs for the dogs.