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Spain Update Jan 2019 - Thu10jan

Posted on
16 January 2019



2019, 23 years of GINB, while there is life there is hope…also vain hope…


Thursday 10thJanuary 2019

When Dirk leaves at 10:30h to the airport to pick up Anne and Fred, who have sent us this morning a photo from the airport on which Fred - with a mustache and goatee – and Anne waiting at the boarding, I start preparing lunch and Anne’s traditional salads and peppinos.  It gives a familiar feeling and although it seems as if  we “celebrated New Year’s Eve” and 2019 already months ago it feels also as if Anne and Fred left us only a few weeks ago while in fact it was a year ago, time flies.  While I struggle with my peeler I remember that the years passed by quickly. When my grandmother used to tell me that the older you get the faster time flies, I turned my eyes bored, I was just a young and silly girl. Unfortunately I am now experiencing myself that she was right.  It is frightening how the years slip away. GINB now exists for 23 years!!! I remember, as if it were yesterday, my jump in the dark and the difficult and risky first years, fighting a losing battle and the hostilities. Fortunately for me, after a few years I met Marianne and then Anne and Fred, meanwhile already 15 or 16 years ago or more… A number that I will not be able to double anymore, next month I will be 73, I do not want to think about it. Anyway we will see, Dirk is still there, I have a successor if needed…


An hour later I phone Dirk and tell him that he should call someone. He just arrived in the airport and is queuing at the coffee shop close to the arrival board for his usual “Americano” coffee and says that they have half an hour delay. He has not finished yet when he says surprised “they are there, they are coming outside, how is this possible” and concludes “this means no coffee” and then he welcomes Anne and Fred.  A little more than an hour later it is my turn and after everyone wishes each one a happy new year we enjoy together our first lunch since long. After lunch they can immediately start as Marie-Carmen brought this morning, just before Dirk’s departure, the first 10 females and took along the pups to the quarantine where they can spend a “vacation” till Anne and Fred have left again.  Otherwise there was no place in the clinic and the recovery for the many patients that will be operated in the coming days and who have to stay till 2 days after their operation.  The first one for surgery is mama Adelaide. Another 10 will follow and around 19:30h the first 11 ladies of that day have been made baby proof and are lying warmly covered under the lamps.


When their first 11 patients are operated they come upstairs for the usual aperitif. After a chat they can taste my new version of the succulent traditional “first evening” spaghetti, without meat this time. My new receipt is applaud by Anne and also by Fred, both regret not being vegetarians “yet”.  As usual they go to check the patients before going to bed. The first day is over.  And frightened Tito as well as Philibert are relieved that the “strange people” are gone.


Friday 11th January 2019

The day starts early… At 7:00h Anne and Fred walk to the clinic and at 8:20h Marie-Carmen arrives with the first patients.  It will be a long day full of stress and problems.  Among the 22 patients there is a female with a rotten uterus that needs surgery for the second time after a bleeding and she needs a Baxter.  There is a pregnant female with in her belly 10 little balloons in which “galgo babies to be” are growing and she needs an abortion.  There is one with a tumour on the chest that has to be removed meticulously by Anne etc. all time consuming operations.  When Anne’s work is finished Fred takes over, he takes care of their teeth, nails, ears and puts a tattoo in their ear and then installs them in the recovery warmly covered under the lamp.


It is a pleasure to look at them, every time I am emotional and every time again I have to hold back my tears when I see them so peacefully lying together and think of what they have endured before they safely arrived here. No matter how cruel and unjust these noble animals have been treated it is incredible how they reflect resignation and dignity. You cqn read their thoughts: let come what comes, we cannot escape. It is really touching, it should make you feel guilty for less.  Some of them are a little more reserved than others but once they feel that you want the best for them they surrender themselves cautiously to the goodness and comfort that they experience.  I can only feel humble and ashamed for what has been done to them, I cannot help but love them.


It is 20:30h when after a tiring day they come upstairs.  After the aperitif we eat rice with courgettes, aubergines and all kinds of peppers that I seasoned less than normal…and albondigas.  Dirk and I eat rice with tortilla, eggs and again eggs. If we continue to eat eggs at the same rate we will finally start laying eggs ourselves I guess.  Anyway Anne who always complains about my too salty soup and more, likes the rice very much and proposes to eat the leftovers tomorrow. After supper and the usual overview of the day they go again downstairs to look at the dogs and then they go to bed, tomorrow they will have to get up early again.  We still stay up for a while but at 23:30h we also go to bed.  All together there are 4 people and 46 galgos sleeping in Casa Belgica: 33 in the clinic and 13 upstairs. Tomorrow there will be even more…

Saturday 12th January 2019

We start the day even earlier than yesterday because Dirk leaves at 7:30h to Medina where he has an appointment at 9:30h with Belén and Dimitri who were too busy to come to Madrid. Hence he has to drive to Medina to pick up Bérangère and bring back 2 packs of medical material that were ordered at Belén’s friend who is a wholesaler in pharmaceuticals. After his departure I am waiting for Anne and Fred who are in the clinic for the morning service, to eat breakfast together.  As usual the breakfast is interrupted by the arrival of new patients. As soon as they are downstairs I am going to sit at my PC to do my first phone calls and to continue my update. Then I start cooking “my” pea soup and lunch: salads, peppino’s, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, raw cauliflower, peppers, nuts, apple etc… It is typical for Anne to eat always ice cold raw food and it is already so cold outside, the temperature is below zero for 2 days now and outside there is an ice rink. Fred, on the contrary, does not like raw food at all, sigh… At 10:00h Dirk calls telling that he is ready to leave Medina, Bérangère is on board and the medical material is loaded and he said goodbye to Belén and Dimitri… Around 12:00h he is back at home and the beautiful Bérengère – who is a duplicate of our Odile must be a sister from a later breed because like Odile she stayed with the galguero with his 80 galgos – is meeting our 11 dogs and also Philiberke and Adelaide. She is not shy at all and within a short time she has found the dog hatches and the sofas!!   Dirk as well as I have a déjà vu, she does not only have the same looks she also has the same behavior and temperament, sigh…


It still takes another 2 hours before Anne and Fred come upstairs for lunch. When her batteries are recharged with pea soup, yesterday’s rice and lots of raw food and Fred has enjoyed the soup and sandwiches with homemade egg salad, they continue the work. In the late afternoon when Dirk and I visit them in the busy clinic Marie-Carmen arrives downstairs out of breath with a pup in her arms.  I am so frightened that I scream “another pup!!! “  Unfortunately it is Anthéa who hurt herself whilst playing and she was obviously stuck with her leg in a crack under the door. Marie-Carmen is shocked and she is not the only one, I could cry. She has been with us from the day of her birth and after only a day away from “home” she has an accident. After Anne examined her leg the verdict is… broken… Disaster, disaster and again disaster, what now, she is still so tiny.  While Anne is putting her leg in a support bandage I go upstairs to call Talavera but the clinic is closed and so is the “urgencias”. Only a spoken message can be left. Hoping for the best I send a mail message and ask for an appointment on Monday at 9:00h.  A few minutes later Dr. De Frutos returns a mail message confirming that Monday is okay.



When they come upstairs with Anthéa it is after 20:00h and in the clinic are 45 ladies recovering from their baby proof surgery.  During the aperitif I receive, on top of Dr.De Frutos’ mail, a telephone call from his assistant who is on duty for emergencies confirming that we are expected on Monday at 9:00h.  During supper Anne persists in her intention and instead of eating French fries with chicken she is eating again rice with albondigas.  Also Anthéa is eating chicken and she seems not impressed very much by the event, at least for the time being, she was anaesthetized and received pain killers, the worst is yet to come. After their last tour Anne and Fred go to bed.  Because Anne plans to take the pup along we already prepared a warm basket and put it next to her bed….in vain, Anthéa decided to sleep with her under the duvet. Tonight we are with 64.. 60 galgos and 4 people.


Sunday 13th January 2019

Anne and Fred’s last day starts even earlier than the previous days because at 8:00h Marie-Carmen arrives with the last 8 ladies and takes 12 along who can leave. Around 13:00h the last operations and the aftercare is finished and Fred puts a white ribbon on the ladies that can leave tomorrow, the others have to stay till the day after tomorrow and the day after. After lunch the usual picture is taken and goodbye is said, after the kisses they say quickly see you soon...I do hope so.  From Thursday afternoon till noon today, that is barely 3 days, they have operated and taken care of 76 galgos… In the evening when we go to bed we are in Casa Belgica “only” with 54…52 galgos and 2 people one of which is completely “exhausted”…




Monday 14thJanuary 2019

Despite the fact that Anthéa has behaved very well, apart from a few peaks, it hurts when I have to get up at 6:45h. While Dirk is downstairs with the dogs I look after our problem child and then put my war colours on.  An hour later we leave to Talavera with Anthéa.  It seems that she knows what is waiting for her, she is crying heartbreaking loudly the whole way and is torturing our eardrums without interruption.  I get a bursting headache and wonder how such a tiny dog can make so much noise… When we arrive Dr. De Frutos is waiting for us and after an anesthetic Anthéa’s X-ray is made.



After a while he informs us that he does not have good news. That is the least he can say. Her leg is not only broken it is a double fracture, a transverse fracture and a crack to the bottom. Such a fracture cannot be repaired by a plaster cast or support bandage, a metal plate must be installed   I can hardly believe it. It is a very tricky procedure Dr. De Frutos tells us but it is the only possibility for recovery.  We have no other choice than to leave her there.  He will do his utmost to operate her still today.  I leave her behind reluctantly but we have to.  A few hours later the doctor sends us photos of the operation…

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