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Spain update Feb 2020 - Sun09Feb

Posted on
15 February 2020



Spain update December -January-February 

Numerous worries such as an impending move on 2 “fronts”, the accompanying sentimental and practical problems that must be overcome and GINB that required almost all my available energy are the cause of the absence of an update. My apologies for that… Anyway, I will continue where I left and will give you a retrospective report of the past weeks.


After a few visits to Dr. De Frutos with Maurice we started the last weeks of 2019 very noisy.  Not only due to the shooting of the hunters that were heard from early in the morning till late at night but also in the last week by the “end-of-year madness” that was started with early firecrackers and fireworks, terrible for everyone. This is one of the favorite activities of the Spanish youth, one out of many, at which no one cares about the poor dogs who year after year and day and night are living outside and go crazy with all the popping.  I was looking forward with fear to Christmas and New Year and not without reason, as always we were spoiled with a 3-day continuous firework exploding mostly above our garden with all its consequences for our dogs who like all the years before did not know where to hide.

After the “celebrations” we started considering driving a week earlier to Belgium for the beach walk instead of flying and take the adopted dogs along because the shelter was packed, and we had to prepare all kinds of things in Belgium. Before our plans became final a large postal package in my name arrived at my surprise on the 3rd January.  Dirk who was part of the conspiracy pretended he knew nothing and asked what it could be.  It was a box full of humorous and original gadgets and surprises from “my” regional managers!!! I was so moved that I started to cry, and Dirk took secretly his camera and filmed the event for future generations and forwarded it to the generous donors…


The plan to drive to Belgium and to organize a “small” adoption day on Monday became final and thus Vincent, the co-driver on duty, arrived on Saturday the 18th January with Iberia while I was waiting a few hundred meters away from him to take off… and thus Dirk had to drive only once… In return he had to cook spaghetti for Vincent and prepare lunch for the next day.  Because my flight was due at 8:00h we had to leave at 5:30h and after an endless boarding and an overcrowded flight I arrived in De Pinte shortly after noon with Frank, my loyal driver.


For me two days to worry about the situation as the gentlemen had to leave on Sunday and would arrive only on Monday night in Hof Rosa Canina where the reception team would be waiting. Then they would go to De Pinte to rest for a few hours and subsequently leave again to Hof Rosa Canina for the adoption day that would take place for once in our “career” on a Monday. Anyway, everyone could come.  I was walking through our house for 2 days, called the drivers and tried to do something useful by preparing here and there things that we would take along to Spain, but my thoughts were elsewhere. I tried not to think that I had to say goodbye and that it was coming closer and closer.

Meanwhile it was not any better in Spain, I received a mail from Rosa from Badajoz that she was informed about 2 galgos that were in a bad situation and that she was going to make the galguero hand over them but there was no place in Las Nieves and she thought of me and asked Marie-Carmen if she could contact me… They were a grey male of 2 years old and a beige male of 1,5 years old etc... etc... misery.  I replied that I was in Belgium and that I would be back in Spain on the 4th February because the veterinarians would be there and that she could contact me again then.  Although I knew how his would end, I told her that I could not make promises…As foreseen the gentlemen arrived on Sunday night around 2:30h, after a rather calm drive, and they were in bed at 3:00h for the last time in “Casa De Pinte”.  A few hours later we were back in Hof Rosa Canina and at 15:00h the “Monday adoption day” was finished and all the adopters were “over the moon” because they could embrace their dog a month earlier than expected.



The next Saturday, after an exhausting week, we left for Koksijde to decorate the hall for the 19th beach walk to take place on the next day, which was a time consuming “job”. We had beautiful table decorations made by Bie, beautiful tombola prizes, amongst which ceramics from Mrs. Suffuys Lieve and our showpiece, the torso made by Christian Lemaître, a real piece of art that became our first prize. In the evening we went to the Mercure hotel in Oostende to sleep and the next day we returned to Koksijde for one of the most successful walks of the last years.  There was a crowd of people amongst them a mother and her son, 2 adopters who came every year all the way from Paris and since the start almost did not miss any walk.  Anyway, the food was delicious, Marianne was present with a group of 16, the weather was nice, the pancakes were excellent, the atmosphere was warm, I talked the whole day with adopters, in short it could not have been better.  In the evening like the rest of our team I was tired but happy and after the hall was spic & span again, we drove back to De Pinte.  Underway I told Dirk that the next year would be here soon, 20 years Koksijde and 25 years GINB!!! A year passed so quickly.  When Claire and Raymond parked the old van, they drove back home and we let us down in the sofa, well I did, Dirk as usual had a lot of things to do…


In the next week ominous messages from Spain were coming in about the influx of galgos due to the approaching end of the hunting season. In Belgium the first candidates were visiting our house, a nasty wake up call for me as well as for Dirk.  In our new habitat the first painting works started and we went ordering the window curtains. Unreal in fact. Especially for me because I am hopelessly sentimental, men are different in this matter. Anyhow unreal or not I was brought to reality because Dirk was disassembling the beds in the guest room and our desk downstairs and was dragging everything outside to put them in the van. For Leopold and Tito who accompanied us to Belgium and stayed in Hof Rosa Canina there was space in the back…


On Sunday the 2nd February on the Día del galgo that Peter Van Tricht organized for GINB in Ghent we left at 5:00h to Spain. As soon as we drove onto the highway it started raining… After Paris a strong wind started, and our van and the content were shaking noisily whilst liters of water splashed on our front window. This kind of weather would last for 900 km.  Fortunately, as of 13:00h our co-workers regularly sent photos of the demonstration where at least 500 people and as many galgos were participating.  The success of this event was a comfort for us and made us forget the terrible weather that would last till just before Bordeaux.  Once the suburbs were in sight the sun appeared and the temperature increased miraculously to 21 degrees C!!



When around 17:00h we arrived in Castets the sun was still shining, and Leopold and Tito could enjoy the beautiful weather and eat at ease.  As usual we had dinner in the Hypopotamus and thereafter we went to bed, unfortunately Dirk’s iPad refused to work to his great displeasure.  The day after at 8:30h we left in the thick fog and arrived after 600 km in a sunny Calypo.  As usual Dirk had estimated correctly and a little after 16:00h we arrived in Casa Belgica where the local reception committee was welcoming us noisily and enthusiastically. Of course, my husband wanted to unload everything immediately…


Yesterday we desperately went shopping, 2 full shopping carts, one full of food with peppinos for Anne of course and one full of cleaning products.  That should be enough for the “three-day stay” of Anne and Fred who will arrive on Thursday…

Sunday 9th February 2020

Meanwhile Anne and Fred arrived on Thursday and they brought along a beautiful warm scarf for my birthday. Because I am always cold, Anne said. When I put my icy-cold hand on his cheek Fred confirmed wholeheartedly.  Dirk who hates my ice-cold hands added his comments of course… I was very happy with my present but only their arrival was already the best present ever. I was immensely relieved that they were here because in the shelter countless galgos were waiting to be made baby proof. After the soup and the lunch, they started surgery around 14:30h.


The rhythm was easily found and when in the evening at 20:00h they came upstairs the first 12 ladies that Marie-Carmen brought in the morning while Dirk was at the airport, were sterilized and saved from further exploiting. In the evening we “celebrated” my birthday with a glass of champagne and my traditional spaghetti. Birthday or not I insisted to stick to the “spaghetti tradition” otherwise we would not be spared from disaster. My table guests agreed unanimously, we must not defy fate… After the party they went downstairs to check the dogs and then they went to bed.



The days after always started early, very early.  At exactly 6:30h the light was switched on in the veterinarians’ room and a half hour later they walked with their headlights in the dark to the clinic to let the dogs out. This was a fixed pattern in the coming days. There was a big difference though: every day there were more galgos to let out and in the clinic and surroundings there were lying more and more… Amongst them distressing cases who were dumped after the hunting seasons and left behind and who despite a few weeks’ stay in the shelter to recover were still terribly skinny.



On Friday afternoon Anne and Fred went to the shelter, Fred and Laurent were considering adopting a son... Hmm, considering, where did I heard this before?  As I suspected Fred arrived in Casa Belgica half an hour later with a grey-blue male who after many photos and messages to Laurent was named Max and who would be our guest till the 27th February.  Despite the visit to the shelter the same day 20 ladies were operated and given pearl white teeth and manicured nails by Fred.  When in the evening they came upstairs 32 ladies were lying under their warm lamps dreaming of a better life, the first steps to a better future were already taken. At night 46 galgos and 4 people were sleeping under Casa Belgica’s roof.  On Saturday night 20 more galgos were added and then there were 56.  Nevertheless, it was quiet, and calm, humans and animals felt that everything was fine…



Today, Sunday, the first 12 girls returned to the quarantine of the shelter and 10 gentlemen took their place to be castrated.  Amongst them three with not descended testicles, one of which none of both testicles was descended.  That means for Anne a long-term search in the abdominal cavity. A beautiful end for their three-days’ stay.  About 4 hours later the delicate job was finalized. The gentlemen were relieved from their ‘testosterone problems” and as a bonus they got a super luxury teeth treatment, manicure and pedicure from Fred.



At the last joint lunch, the conversation topic was the storm Ciara that would visit certain areas in Europe, which worried Anne because she does not like to fly and feared that there might be many turbulences. After we had reassured her, and Dirk had checked the weather forecast for the umpteenth time the usual photo was made and I thanked them in the name of the 66 galgos and waved them goodbye.  When Dirk returned from the airport, we twice received a message that their flight was delayed.  Once they had departed, we tried to estimate their arrival time and when Dirk thought that it was the right moment, he sent photos from Max and a movie of the castrated gentlemen who were fully enjoying their dinner.  Only half an hour later Anne sent us a message thanking us and telling that after “half an hour in hell’ they had landed.  An hour later Fred informed us that he safely arrived at home…