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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina turned his lifelong love for animals into a project that aims to make sure no pets in Spain are left abandoned or mistreated.

The Spaniard, ranked No. 56 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, took some time during the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open in Marbella to raise awareness for a growing side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet abandonment has skyrocketed around the world as families struggle to cope with financial hardships, including in Davidovich Fokina’s native Spain.

In response, the player launched Adoptas.org, his own online pet adoption platform that aims to connect anyone looking to adopt or foster a pet with shelters and rescues across Spain.

“Announcing this makes me more nervous than playing tennis,” Davidovich Fokina said in a Zoom press conference. “I’m doing this out of a love for animals, and because I’m outraged by pet abandonment.

“After the lockdown due to the pandemic there have been many pets abandoned, a brutal increase of 25 per cent,” he added, referencing statistics in Spain.

The project aims to take advantage of the higher visibility that the player enjoys in order to support Spanish animal shelters nationwide by speeding up the adoption process as well as facilitating direct fundraising from donors. At the same time, Adoptas.org also hopes to educate the public on the benefits of animal adoption and rescue in place of pet shops and breeders, and on how to care for their pet’s well-being.

For 21-year-old Davidovich Fokina, it’s an issue close to the heart. The Malaga native has always had a deep love for stray animals – due in part to not having his own pets at home as a child.

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“[I’ve loved animals] since I was little, even though I was not allowed to have pets as a child because my mom thought they gave me allergies. After school, I used to play for hours with a dog that would come up to my door, and I would pet her,” he said.

“Whenever I see a stray animal, I go to the store and get something to feed it. And if it’s in bad shape, I call a shelter. Pets are not stuffed toys and they should not be mistreated. I have two cats and they are like my children to me, it would never occur to me to abandon them or mistreat them.”

The platform already includes more than 50 registered animals from shelters across Spain including Marbella, Valencia, Toledo and more. For more information and to view adoptable pets, visit Adoptas.org.


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