Spain update May 2023

17 June 2023
Mireille & pups

Tuesday the 16th of May 2023

Again, a difficult month passed, a month in which there was little time to write updates.

After Marianne and Kris left, all returned to the shelter, two stayed with us, the white female who suffered so much and whom I named  Honor and the mourning mom I named Hope. Only after almost a week they gained much weight, and they got a companion who had walked around for weeks with a painful fracture at the bottom of his left hind leg and who was brought to Casa Belgica by Marie-Carmen. I made an appointment with Dr. De Frutos and when the next day we arrived with Henri/Secretario and X-rays of his leg were made we were informed that he was too skinny and too weak for an operation of the complicated fracture… He should at least recuperate for a few weeks, Dr. De Frutos said convincingly, and meanwhile a metal prosthetic to the size of his mangled leg could be made. And thus, the unfortunate returned to Casa Belgica where in the next weeks he would follow in the company of Honor and Hope the same diet, with nutritious and tasty meals to regain strength…

Once Henri was settled, we went to make photos of the galgos who were ready for adoption and in the following days we received one request after another for the youngest and most beautiful on the photos and most above 5 years and more moved further down… Anyway, there are always people who follow this with Argus eyes with the result that less fortunate ones are regularly chosen to my great satisfaction.  While the “elected” ones in the shelter are not aware of the happiness that awaits them Annie Dusquene, our French speaking regional manager for the Brussels region and wide surroundings joined together with an adopter of that region for the first time an event and was unlucky that the weather was as usual very bad, but she was not discouraged.  Anyway, much to my disgust the adoption day and the related air travel which I must make alone this time were in sight. As much as I hate to fly alone and to run the risk that they forget me and I miss the plane, the adoption day is worth the sacrifice. It would be an adoption day without Yolanda’s Limbourg team because there was an open-door day at the football team of  husband Luc d’Artagnan and just like last year the regional managers would take care of the service and earn a nice penny for GINB this way.

A few days before we must leave, while the three “H’s” flourished in the garden of Eden and gained kilos and Loulou and Amadeus challenged their older brothers with their “unstoppable” games that lasted mostly till late in the evening Astrid got a massive nose bleeding which could hardly be stopped. When after many hours it finally stopped, we thought like a few months ago when she also had it, that it was behind us. Not so, at night she again started bleeding and we got out of bed and after she came into our bedroom the whole place was covered with blood, the floors, the sofas, the wall, even the photos on the wall. It looked like Dracula’s home. It is no laughing matter, it did not stop, the blood and blood clots came out of her nose at high speed, and I was sitting until the morning with a bag of ice against her nose while Dirk tried to get control of our bloodied house and furniture. At 6:00h I sent a mail message to Dr. De Frutos titled “Urgencia” and at 9:00h we could go there. Of course, she must stay there, and they would keep us informed. At 22:00h Dirk could pick her up as everything was under control they thought, she got medication and I was relieved when after 4 x 86 km she was back home.  Not for long because at night the same scenario as the day before happened, possibly even worse, and at 7:30h we were again on our way to Dr. De Frutos who hospitalized her.  For how long, nobody knew.

Certainly, till after our return, which through Astrid’s condition and the upcoming operations of Henri and Hortense who was still with us because also her other leg needed surgery, were  brought forward a week. Since yesterday both guests were staying in a hotel together with our dogs because co-driver Dirk Buffalo would arrive today and just like us their “vacation” was cut short.  Just like before I demanded that the two Dirks take me to the airport on Wednesday and would wait until the assistant had taken me along, you never know. Although my premonition came true, the airport was overcrowded with travelers. Despite my boarding pass the assistant  took me to the gate for Switzerland!!?? The fact that made me almost miss my flight and gave me heartbeats faster than those of Evenepoel when he is riding on a mountain. When I was finally brought on board and was sitting in my seat, I swore that it was the last time that I had taken a plane alone. Fortunately, in Zaventem my driver was on time and in De Pinte my upstairs neighboring lady of 82 years old was waiting for me to let me in.  On the table were the usual welcoming flowers from Claire. When I was alone, I was thinking that I had till Thursday night to feel better again, by the time that Dirk would be back around 4:00h at night. Only after the dogs for Marianne Philippo have been delivered and the rest in Hof Rosa Canina unloaded he can come home.  This time the co-driver would not join him because his camper was already in Hof Rosa Canina where Martine was waiting for him…

Meanwhile everything is behind us.  The beautiful weather, the phantastic adoption day where we met many “old” adopters and many new ones who have taken along a brand-new family member and where I again received presents and chocolates!! It was a beautiful day that left us all with a warm feeling.  When all adopters were gone, we sang together for the many  co-worker’s birthdays and the retirement of Martine Ongena.  We ate lots of cakes and drank a glass of Cava and we thought it was good. In the far Yolanda’s Limbourg everything went well, and they had earned more than 500 euro for their service. What was not so nice was the fact that we were only at home at 16:00h and I still must prepare our suitcase to get up the next day at 4:00h to pick up Loulou and Amadeus who travelled along with us. Anyway, already at 3:30h I was busy with my war colors and 10 minutes later Dirk was loading the van… At exactly 5:00h we were at the gate of Hof Rosa Canina that we left behind 15 minutes later.  Barely 5 minutes later we drove onto the highway, and I reread on Dirk’s phone the daily messages from Dr. De Frutos about Astrid’s condition that was getting worse… I was afraid that I would also lose her.

An hour after our departure we ate our usual croissant and chocolate bunnies, about 5 hours later we ate just like last time a sticky plastic sandwich with goat cheese, and we drank a cup of coffee and 3 hours later we let Loulou and Amadeus out and continued driving to our destination where we arrived 12 hours later after our departure.  After having announced our arrival, we let the dogs out on the fenced car park where they stretched their legs as young foals.  As usual, in the evening we went for supper  to “La Tchanka”, when we walked by the parking lot there were 2 Belgians and 2 Dutch… As they told us last time there was no Fish and Chips on the menu but an “Assiette Végétarienne” and cod fish, not much choice but I must admit that the “Assiette” was not bad at all, only a bit greasy and the cod fish with risotto and spinach was a little dry… In the evening Dirk wanted to watch “Love for music” on his IPad and then we each went to sleep in our own bed. At 9:00h in the morning after breakfast we drove onto the highway again and after a delay of one hour due to road construction works in Castilla Leon, causing a chaotic traffic jam of trucks in the middle of which we stood and at 17:00h we drove onto the Casa Belgica driveway. As soon as my PC was uploaded, I sent a mail message to Dr. De Frutos who had asked us in a message if we wanted to continue with the plasma treatment because each transfusion costs 200 euro and we already had three and her blood pressure did not improve, she kept blooding and it could become “nasty” he wrote. 

Of course, we will continue that is beyond dispute.  At 15:00h we receive a mail message that Astrid is still bleeding and asking if we could come tomorrow morning with one of our galgos to give her a blood transfusion.  Hyppolythe is the elected one because he is strong and the youngest of our oldies.

Saturday the 20th of May 2023

This morning whilst Hyppolythe was blood donor for Astrid, Marie-Carmen informed us that 2 puppies were found in the fields, and she asked at what time we would be home. A few hours later we were back in Casa Belgica with our blood donor and Marie-Carmen arrived half an hour later with the 2 found mini-galgos for whom I meanwhile had come up with names Honoré and Honorine. It is still 2023 and thus all the names of our worry children will be till the end of this year with “H” and as of 2024 with ”I” from Isidoor. So far… Anyway, after the puppies were handed over and settled, I was worrying about Astrid, and I hoped that Hyppolythe’s blood had the necessary ingredients to help her. Since she was hospitalized before our departure to Belgium the daily updates from Dr. De Frutos were not positive. The messages went from bad to very bad, a little better, high fever and again bad etc… The worst was that the bleeding did not stop, it decreased, stopped even for a few hours but she always started bleeding again. When I saw her again the first time my heart broke. She is already so vulnerable and timid and insecure, thanks to her previous life, but now she was completely lost and distraught when the veterinarian brought her to us.  She was covered with clotted blood and there were blood drops at her nose… When she saw us, she was happy in her way and she pressed against us but she did not understand what happened when we left without her. Not just her though, but we were also devastated that we must leave her behind.

Tuesday the 23rd of May 2023

Yesterday, after we received the message that Astrid had a detrimental reaction after the blood transfusion after which she became lethargic and all at Dr. De Frutos held their breath we drive to Talavera today at 8:00h, fearing the bad news, with Henry who in the meantime gained sufficient strength for the complicated operation at his hind leg.  Upon our arrival Dr. De Frutos takes Henri along to the operation room and his wife brings Astrid to us. Even though she is exhausted and immensely sad she is happy to see us, and she softly puts her head on my knees.  I can hardly control my tears and wonder why we are punished.  For more than 25 years we spare no expense or effort to save greyhounds and in return we must let ours go too soon.  It cannot be more unfair, so much for the reward for our good deeds. While Teresa gives me a less positive update about Astrid’s condition Dirk takes her for a short walk. During the 5 minutes that he is outside I ask Teresa once more to do everything possible and I add that I will pick her up on Friday to give her the illusion that she is going home. Even if it is only for one or two days, I do not want her to die in solitude I add, and she understands.  If necessary, we will bring her back during the weekend I assure Teresa, but she must come home, maybe she will get strength from it. Unfortunately, on Thursday we received an urgent call from Dr. De Frutos telling us that Astrid’s kidneys are blocked, she has convulsions, and she suffers terribly.  They have tried everything, but nothing can help her anymore. Because we cannot be there in time anymore, I give him, drowning in tears, the permission to let her go “gently”. In fact, after a death struggle of almost 3 weeks 13days and 3 months after we were forced to let Leopold go, also Astrid leaves us behind alone. At 11:30h Dr. De Frutos informs us that it happened and that she did not know because she was sleeping.

We will never forget her, and I will miss her immensely and I know they are only myths but Dirk as well as I try to make the grief more bearable by hoping that in the meantime she will be with Leopold in “heaven”.   If only it were true…

Saturday the 27th of May 2023

While we try to give way to the sadness Sonja, Kris, big Dirk and their helpers in Belgium are busy with the preparations for the Kempen walk in Castelre. It did not start without problems because Claire and Raymond were expected at a funeral and could not be present. Anyway, this meant that the old van, full of necessities for the organization of the walks annex meal parties and the complete GINB shop on board could not be brought to the peaceful Kempen. Knowing this Dirk almost got a heart stroke and started sighing and worrying how on earth he could solve the problem from Spain when he found out that Sonja’s Dirk must work and those who eventually were able to pick up the van in Nazareth could not get there due to lack of a driver…Anyhow it was a waste of energy because the strong sex, the ladies in fact… the Kempen ladies, Sonja and Kris resolved the problem between them both!!  Sonja took Kris to Hof Rosa Canina where Raymond and Claire had parked the van and Kris drove it all the way to the “place to be”… Talking about tackling and women’s logic… The further course of the festivities we know in the meantime.  There was a great attendance, the food provided by the “WIJNHOEVE” was praised by all attendants. After the delicious lunch the enthusiastic participants and their even enthusiastic grey- and other hounds could make a beautiful walk under the shining sun that ended with Jean’s famous waffles and a beautiful tombola. So far, the report of a successful “venture”. Thanks to all participants and the GINB service team.

Monday the 29th of May 2023

Because Marie-Carmen knows that today we must go to Talavera for Henri’s check-up she asks if we can take along an old female that was dumped in the shelter a few days ago with a  crushed paw… Of course, she can come along, I tell her, but she must be with us at 8:00h because we have an appointment at 9:00h. As usual the hour of the ambiguous rendezvous is not a problem… She arrives right on time and Dirk as well as I know that she is speculating on our weak heart.  Not in vain, as soon as I see the female, she steals my heart.  She is old, with a lot of charms, a crushed paw that she must have gotten since she stepped into a trap in which she was locked in days before she freed herself by sacrificing her paw. She has a bully full of sucked nipples which indicates that after the incident and the loss of her paw she has been used for years as breeding dog. There is no need for a paw or other limbs for breeding according to the galguero law. When Dr. De Frutos looks at her paw an hour later he immediately says that nothing can be done anymore, only amputation. None of us want that, certainly not him. She has not lived 8 years or longer in misery to amputate what is left of her paw, that is my opinion. On the way back home, I called Marie-Carmen with the news, and she also agrees that amputation is excluded, and she says that she will pick her up again in the afternoon to take her to the shelter. When compiling her file at Dr. De Frutos I did not know her name, I named her Henriette, I told her, of course it was not a problem.

Before we hang up, she says after a few seconds that she thinks her name is Zarzuela.  Henriette/Zarzuela or whatever I do not consider sending her back to the shelter I say convincingly to Dirk after I ended the conversation and I repeat emphatically ABSOLUTELY NOT!!  At home I keep on thinking until Dirk has one of his “better” ideas and he proposes to call Marianne Phillipo and sends already photos from the crushed paw and its owner… After a while I have Marianne on the phone and tell her in tears about Astrid’s fight against death and finally the fate of the old female who meanwhile installed herself in a basket in the veranda and she has never enjoyed herself so much in her life. The pleasure and mainly the peace radiates from her. Marianne listens and listens, but she knows very well what this conversation will lead to, and she puts me out of my misery and says smilingly: “yes, yes, she can come”… In short, Marie-Carmen finally achieved her goal when she brought the old lady to us. She knows me very well and knew that I could not let the poor old female return to the shelter.  Just like I knew that Marianne would take her when I called her to tell her story. Everyone has what they wanted to get. And Henriette, without realizing she had won the lottery after all the misery she had been through.  Finally, justice for her, maybe late, but better late than never, for her many congeners it is often too late…