Spain update Dec 2018 - Tue20nov
Tuesday 20th November 2018
After a “violent weather” weekend during which we received the bad news concerning Lagartigo who turned over Dr. De Frutos rehabilitation room and for the 4thtime destroyed his leg we were tormented during the day by alternate dazzling water sun, hunting dark clouds, pouring rain, ice cold winds and in the night we drowned in constant rain showers that were gushing down monotonously preventing us from sleeping. In the morning, after a stopover at Antonio’s from the Toledo collars, we hurried for the umpteenth time to Talavera where we were allowed to pick up Genevieve and where I had to make a decision about Lagartigo.
The weather picture has not changed and in a spectacular constantly changing scenery and heavy gusts of wind we drive hunted by the wind 75 km southwards while veterinarian Louis in Casa Belgica is taking care of the teeth of the 15 adopted males to give them a pearl white smile. In the air storks are flying in V-formation in the same direction and birds of prey are looking for a dead loot that was killed on the highway… During the whole time our conversation is about Lagartigo. When the doctor sent me a mail message on Monday telling us that he again has bitten his leg and bandage and asking what needs to be done I lost my courage and thought of the poor Lagartigo who during almost 2 weeks was entrusted to Dr. De Frutos with an old fracture and a necrotizing skin. This was not a present...
This was the fourth time that he attacked his prosthesis and that he destroyed the overlying skin layer. What should we do…? He had been under narcosis already 3 times and Dr. De Frutos did his utmost but as I wrote in my reply Lagartigo had to help also a little bit to allow us to help him. Despite the disaster that was approaching I did not feel competent to make a decision regarding the further treatment. Half an hour later we were sitting at Dr. De Frutos’ desk and after careful consideration Lagartigo’s fate was sealed. To remove the plate and extern fixation was an option but not a good one because due to previous surgery there was little good skin left and the risk of infection and death was high. The best but the most radical solution was amputation. It was a difficult decision but the best option for him. A life on 3 legs is better than no life at all. The doctor was prepared to keep him there till our return from Belgium on the 4thDecember.
After I signed a document of approval for the amputation the doctor said that he would send the remaining invoices and that we would start from scratch… Dirk told him that he already paid the last invoices yesterday and that he also transferred 1200 Euro for Genevieve and 720 Euro for Lagartigo and that according to him everything was paid. I only heard half of the conversation and did not feel well about the decision taken together with Dr. De Frutos and Dirk. Poor Lagartigo, tomorrow he would have to go through life on 3 legs. A life that up till now had been merciless. I continued to think about him and worried already now about his future, who would adopt a galgo male with an amputated front leg. I did not want to think about it but I could not get the thought out of my mind…
Tomorrow big Dirk will arrive. I tried to think about this event and about the 46 dogs that would make the trip to Belgium after the two Dirks would have finished the regular departure procedure and when they would have switched to the departure modus. The time of departure might be a little later because 46 dogs need to be taken along who had to be brought first to Casa Belgica by Marie-Carmen because the road to the shelter was not reachable with the van. There was a big chance that I would have to leave with Annabel to the airport before they would leave. Well, we will see…
Wednesday 21st November 2018
In the meantime it is already a thing of the past. As said, big Dirk arrived last Wednesday at noon (already a week ago) and the two Dirks had switched to departure modus, especially the smallest one… In the evening we ate my traditional spaghetti and I received a phone call with the fantastic news that Lieve De Bakker (Katrien’s roommate who was also very much involved by taking care of Dracula) would adopt him. I was so surprised that I had to ask twice if she was the Lieve, the one from Katrien. I could not imagine a better news to end the day. With this phone call all my worries about Dracula’s future disappeared with the northern sun. He could stay with the ladies who have given him the best care and who fell in love with him, oh love…! In this case I could rest assured it is a true love and will be eternal love…
The next day they started loading at 8:30h but due to the number of dogs I left first to the airport at 10:00h with Annabel. After having waited about an hour my flight left and my plane landed 2 hours later at Zaventem where my nephew was waiting for me. As usual due to huge traffic jams it took him almost the same time to drive me home as my flight from Madrid to Brussels. Once I arrived home I called Dirk, they were in a traffic jam in Bordeaux but the dogs and the pups were exemplary. Around 24:00h I called a last time telling that I was going to bed because during the flight my foot was doubled in size and I could not stand anymore my “Robocop” boot. Watch out when you go upstairs Dirk said…go upstairs?? Crawl upstairs I told him. We will see. Once in bed I informed him that I got upstairs unharmed and with the help of a sleeping pill and a pain killer, and knowing that after their arrival at Christel’s place they could unload immediately and will be welcomed by Roel, Kris and Marleen Van Schoorisse who will take care of the dogs, I fell asleep immediately. I only woke up around 5:00h when dirk asked “are you still sleeping??”…
Friday 23rd November 2018
Around 9:00h, after a few hours rest, the two Dirks drove again to Christel to start the preparations for tomorrow. It was after 15:00h when he returned with Medusa, Maléficia, Pistorius, Hyppolythe and Leopold who had behaved very well according to Christel. Next week on Sunday after my marathon to clinics and doctor visits they will travel with us to Spain.
Saturday 24thNovember 2018
The day started early, it was only 8:00h when we left to Nazareth. Due to circumstances we fell short of a few hands and hence the start and the setting up of the tent was not evident but fortunately a few of our efficient ladies helped and around 10:30h everything was ready and we could start. The umpteenth adoption day went smoothly even after the difficult start. Everybody was happy with the new family member and as usual I received presents, cards and children’s drawings. At 15:00h the last adopters left and we finished the day as usual with a meeting and social gathering with lots of biscuits, cakes and sweets and even Cava offered by one of our co-workers.
After an hour and a half most co-workers went home. Christel, Ria, Dirk, Vincent, Marleen, Marleen Kuyl and my nephew took care of the extensive cleaning up. Different from the Pillowrijn, where we could always leave in peace after the “festivities” and Lucrèce and Pierre were cleaning up, sigh, we now have to do it ourselves. Twelve hours after we left De Pinte in the morning everything was cleaned up, the dishes were done, and all the material and chairs were brought upstairs again. We left Christel behind with a spic & span room and we arrived home only after 20:00h. Our dogs who joined us on the adoption day as well as we were exhausted. My foot was throbbing after standing up for a day and I had the impression that my “Robocop” boot was weighing twice its weight. Anyway the day was over, it was perfect and the most important was that 46 galgos had left to their new home and new life. Thanks to the adopters and our co-workers.
Saturday 1stDecember 2018
It was a busy week with all my doctor’s appointments and the recently adopted Campera who escaped for a few hours on Tuesday but at night returned quietly and undamaged at home again giving the involved regional managers, the owners and us peace of mind again. Now we can start packing today to leave for Spain. I hoped so much to leave without the block at my leg but I am not lucky. The bone at one side is not healed yet and the surgeon judged to keep it for “another 2 weeks”… sigh…
At night it is raining constantly just like last time. When we leave at 5:00h it is pouring rain, just like last time. Dirk as well as I have a déjà-vu which will last during the whole trip. Like last time we undergo the rain phenomenon in all its gradations and facets. Drizzling rain, howling rain, cats and dogs, we receive rain showers with bad visibility and violent gusts making driving for Dirk very difficult and make him curse now and then. The only difference with last time’s trip two weeks ago is that the trees “surrounding” the highway almost lost all their leaves and that the yellow and rust-colored ones that are still there are torn off by the wind and turn around like whirlpools.
We are driving already 985 km in this bad weather when the dark clouds are opening at 5 km from our hotel, and a red glow is coming through the opening and it actually stops raining. This is unbelievable Dirk says “now we definitely are lucky, we can let the dogs out under a dry sky”. Dry or wet they need to go out urgently and not only them... I am glad that we finally arrived, I am exhausted and the block at my leg is bothering me and something else is bothering the dogs. As soon as they have left the van they take the opportunity for the necessary sanitary stop and then they run around as hard as they can. Not for long while Dirk is preparing their supper they are crowding again to get aboard first.
Just like last time after supper we watch Professor T. on Dirk’s laptop and then go to bed. After a quiet but uncomfortable night Dirk walks first downstairs at 7:30h to let the dogs out. In the meantime I apply my war colours and try to be ready when he returns. After breakfast we leave in the direction of Spain. Before we go to Madrid we make a detour of 80 km because we have an appointment with Belèn and Dimitri in Medina del Campo. Despite the fact that not a single Spanish knows the good “Sint” we unload a 250 kg Saint-Nicholas’ gift for the “good” Salamanca dogs 3 days before his name day.
Miraculously despite the threatening air it stays dry in Basque land. As soon as we drive into Castilla y Leon it is windy again and it starts raining cats and dogs. Every time when Dirk overtakes a truck on the narrow two-lane roads I am frightened. A few km before Medina the bad weather stops and Dirk unloads the food bags with Belèn, Dimitri could not join her. After coffee, chatting and many greetings to Dimitri we start the last 180 km. Hopefully it stays dry I say to Dirk. And it stays dry until we are in the mountains where we are punished with fog, a lot of dense fog. After we continued among the heavy traffic in the direction of Madrid, which almost gave me a heart attack, we gave each other a “high five” at 18:00h at the start of the Avenida de Madrid. At last! When the welcoming is finished and everybody is “unloaded” I want to go to Adelaide and her pups. Dirk’s and Vali’s protest cannot stop me.
Wednesday 5th December 2018
Yesterday was physiotherapy and purchase day, too much “action” for one day and two jobs that I do not really like. Anyway Dirk is unrelenting what concerns the physiotherapy and so I went and then we drove to Xanadu to fill our refrigerators. This is again something that will not be repeated until next week because tomorrow is a national holiday, the day of the constitution and nobody will work then. Also Alberto will not be working. This morning the exodus out of the city already started and later on we have to pick up Lagartigo in Talavera who after a lot of misery had his front leg amputated and has been staying in the clinic for a month now. After stories that the veterinarian sent us in Belgium of new infections resulting from the amputation I am somewhat worried.
When at 10:30h we drive onto the highway in the direction south we have the company of thousands of Madrid inhabitants fleeing Madrid for the holidays who have started the trip to their respective destinations. This evening trucks are not allowed in traffic and thus they also get into the heavy traffic trying to finish their task before the driving ban is in force. After 15 minutes of delay due to road construction we arrive at exactly 12:00h at Dr. De Frutos’ clinic. He immediately takes us to his office where we get the necessary explanation about Lagartigo’s agony. In order not to worry me too much he did not sent alarming messages to Belgium but it has been bad he tells us. Now the infection is under control but he still has to take medication during a week and wear the “lamp shade” etc.… This is not really reassuring.
When all information is given Lagartigo is brought to the reception. He is still beautiful and big but extremely stressed and I wonder if he will lie down in the car. If not will he be able to keep his balance on these 3 long legs? After we said goodbye to Dr. De Frutos we leave with our “Saint Nicholas present”: a galgo on three legs who is facing an uncertain future. In the clinic we leave a check of 2830,15 Euro for the performed surgery and the hospitalization. Hopefully it covers Lagartigo’s luck…
After a turbulent ride we introduce him to the dogs, we release him from his “lamp shade” and we put a t-shirt on to protect his enormous wound. Initially he is restless and walking rounds. Our precious dogs are used to have “underdogs and handicapped” in the house and to reassure him he is immediately accepted in the group. Less than 15 minutes later he is lying in a basket and in the evening he is eating together with his new friends a banquet of power food with meat and pumpkin soup. It is touching to see how he fully enjoys it and how he is trying to do better.
Thursday 6th December 2018, Saint Nicholas!!!
Lagartigo, whom I named for convenience Tito, has slept like a log last night and this morning he is standing timidly amongst our “clan” to wish us like them a good morning. I do not know what they must have told him last night but it is a fact that during breakfast he is also lining up for a treat with soft cheese… While we are sitting in front of our PC he is lying peacefully in his basket. When we go to Adelaide and her pups, to make photos from the little ones, he is walking downstairs with the pack. I on the other hand need more time and Dirk is offering his arm elegantly and then he says that I have to walk on alone, men…. In the afternoon Tito is competing with the others for the daily ‘nic-nac’s throwing” as if he has never done anything else. It is amazing that after a life of terror, misery and the amputation of his leg he is still so courageous and resilient. An example….