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Spain Update Jan 2019 - Tue15jan

Posted on
04 February 2019



Tuesday 15th January 2019

Before 9:00h in the morning we leave with Philibert to Talavera to pick up Anthéa. From the moment we leave the car we can hear her cry down to the parking lot which promises… When we enter the clinic everybody seems to be relieved as it is true Anthéa’s “clock” echoes deafeningly in the reception. Because Dr. De Frutos is operating one of the assistants, who also removed Philibert’s stitches in one of the consulting rooms, is providing the necessary explanation about Anthéa.  Despite her operation I can hardly hold her, she is rolling in my arms like a little devil. When I let her go she obviously needs urgently to urinate.


While Dirk is paying at the reception the invoice amounting to 760 Euro for her operation, she is meandering like an eel and I have to give her to Dirk.  Philibert is there, looking at her and he has his own thoughts.  Despite our fear for the return trip she is falling asleep after a short but noisy “concert” and is sleeping almost the whole way home. I am afraid to wake her up and I hardly dare to move.  Meanwhile Philibert is looking thoughtfully through the window still sunk away with his own thoughts.  Once at home when hearing her brothers and sisters, who in the meantime are back “home”, she starts to realize where she is. As a consequence we cannot keep her inside. She will and shall go outside and in no time she has found how to open the “dog door” and walks in and out with the big ones. The only thing we can do is run after her. After an hour and a half and a pâté bowl she stops and falls in a deep sleep. A few hour later everything starts again!! SIGH…

Wednesday 16th January 2019

Because Roel will arrive with Iberia Dirk already leaves at 9:30h to pick him up in terminal 4. When his co-driver is on board they drive to Antonio for the collars and he will give me a sign when they leave there…  I stay behind with our 13 galgos and Anthéa upstairs and 7 pups downstairs.  Already a good exercise for the coming 4 days. After the promised phone call they arrive at home half an hour later.  After lunch they “prepare” the van, then Dirk starts loading the contracts and other documents for the adoption day and I get my assignment for the coming days. Which is stick the names on the membership cards and envelopes. A hell of a job, especially with all the “long noses” who want to help me…

When he has picked up his co-driver at the airport and after having visited Antonio they will drive home.  That means that I still have about two hours to prepare pumpkin soup and prepare lunch, salad, tomatoes etc.… Bah! I am fed up with salad. Around 12:30h they are home and only after the mutual welcome is finished and Roel met the puppies downstairs they sit at the table.  In the afternoon they follow Dirk’s regular plan.  The van is cleaned once more, the extra boxes are installed, and the pee cloths installed etc…, well as always nothing is left to chance.  The pups are gathering in front of the fence and look with much interest and even more comments. While the drivers are performing their important task Els Lernout and adopters Luc Vandenbossche and the ladies Mottet are visiting the RVT rest and nursing home Wezemaal.


In the evening Roel gets the new version of my spaghetti and of course he cannot do else than give favourable criticism… Meanwhile Dirk is rooting like a mole in his papers and documents, we are watching TV without much interest and then Roel goes to bed first.  We follow at 23:00h.  Hopefully it will be a quiet night.  When we wake up a few hours later the quiet is gone because after yesterday’s preparations the dogs know exactly what is going to happen and behave accordingly. I wonder which one had the worst night.  Not Roel that is a fact… Anyway usually we have a hard time to let them out, but today, on the not to be missed D-day, we cannot get them inside…


When they are finally back into the kitchen I am waiting with our 13 dogs with all shutters down for the arrival of the first travelers.  As soon as Marie-Carmen arrives they are protesting loudly because they cannot see anything and they try to get a glimpse through the door window of the exciting event. With each arrival they express loudly their displeasure.  Once everybody is on board, and Dirk has parked the van between the fence and the gate and Marie-Carmen has left, I open the kitchen door and they run outside like a herd of wild horses. They just have the time to say goodbye to the travelers, then it is my turn to wave out the drivers and to tell them to be very careful. A little later they are gone and until next Monday I will be alone with our 11 dogs and 8 pups, 8 little devils, sigh. Not much later it starts to rain.

I receive their first phone call when they are almost in Burgos, then in Bidart, Poitiers… Before Paris Roel becomes sick, vomiting, cramps.  When he insists to stop the van Dirk replies that it is impossible and very dangerous on the ring and advises him to vomit through the window if he cannot keep it anymore… Once they passed the ring Dirk has to make a stop in almost all the next airs because the poor man has diarrhea.  Every time Roel is asking to stop my husband yells terrified “you do not mean it” and he adds “you are even worse than Mimi”.  I know Dirk very well and I really feel sorry for the sick Roel. I am afraid though that the new version of my spaghetti might be the cause. Only the thought makes me feel uncomfortable, imagine…  Anyway I do not think so as a few hours after supper he still was a little bit hungry and has eaten a couple of bread slices with cheese and this morning he had breakfast and today he has eaten his lunch pack.  To comfort myself I decide (just like Dirk) that the strong coffee from the service station’s coffee machines might have been the cause.


Around 4:00h they arrive in Hof Rosa Canina where they are awaited in the icy cold night by the arrival team who will take care of the dogs. Dirk drives to De Pinte with his sick colleague and after a few hours rest he drives with him to Hof Rosa Canina where he disappears in his mobile home.  For the first time the tent is installed on Friday and made ready for the day after. A lot less stress and work for Saturday. Around 16:00h Dirk phones telling that he is home and has done some shopping and he complains about the cold in Belgium and how much cold he has had. To encourage him I tell him that it is cold here too and that it is raining since two days hence the pups cannot go outside and that Napoleon is sick and Marie-Carmen called that the galgos are flowing in in Las Nieves and that there is a 7 year-old pup with an ugly deformed broken leg and that we will know what to do when he will be back… To conclude I ask if he thought of the many “nic-nacs” for the dogs and insist that he takes a long rest, I know him….

Saturday 19thJanuary 2019

The first adoption day of 2019... As always I feel guilty if exceptionally I cannot be present and I think that I am indispensable, but all dead people thought so isn’t it?... Anyhow Dirk phones me already in the morning when he is on his way with big Dirk and keeps me informed the whole day about the event. Everything goes smoothly, especially the new paths that Christel had installed to make the going in and out of the reception room much easier, and everybody likes it.  In de tent as well as in the kitchen all goes well, I do not have to worry. “My” team members know their job which is reassuring.  When it is all over and the co-workers are sitting together I receive photos and it makes me homesick. Anyway 35  lucky ones have started a new adoption year, hopefully all of them can stay “forever and always” in their new home and they will be the forerunners of many to follow.  When the day is over Frank joins Dirk to De Pinte for the night.  Tomorrow they will leave together in my direction…



Monday 21stJanuary 2019

Yesterday they kept me informed about their departure, the little traffic underway and their arrival in Castets where the hotel personnel prepared supper for the few guests because the “Hyppopotame” was closed. On the menu rice with sheep meat Dirk told me at the phone and he added firmly “I don’t eat that, I am a vegetarian”.  I advised him to ask for an omelet or scrambled eggs and in the evening they send me a photo of the gentlemen’s plate.  Frank’s plate was half rice and half stew and Dirk’s plate was with rice and scrambled eggs…


After a quiet night they are now on the way to the Spanish border and are expected in Casa Belgica around 16:00h by me and the dogs, the pups and the membership cards. During his absence I have also done my work together with the dogs and the pups. The labels on the membership cards and envelopes are stuck and sorted alphabetically in the boxes, a perfect monkish work.  Anyhow everything must still be put in the envelopes together with a letter, but that is a job for both of us.

Tomorrow Frank will return by plane and we leave on Thursday with Iberia to Belgium for the 18th beach walk, already 18 years, time flies… Before that we first have to go to Talavera with the black female with the broken leg and another one almost blind and in between we have to fill the envelopes, it is going to be busy…

Tuesday 22th January 2019

It turned out differently than expected, until Frank left this morning to the airport with Dirk everything was ok. After that our planning went into chaos. Dr. De Frutos could not see us due to several planned operations. And thus when Dirk returned from the airport we started to fill the envelopes with the membership cards and accessories. My thoughts were elsewhere because I had to call the surgeon who operated my foot. The foot that did not want to heal despite all my painful attempts to get it in a normal shoe and to walk normally. It went from bad to worse and with its blue-purple coloured big toe it looked very unhealthy.

To the extent that after Dirk’s insistence I called the professor in Belgium who asked me to have X-rays made. This is not evident in Spain and thus Dr. De Frutos has made the X-rays from my foot and I can call him today.

Anyway when I finally had the surgeon on the phone after an irritating waiting music of 15 minutes I was worried, a prophecy would prove 10 minutes later. First of all he wished me diplomatically a happy and healthy new year and then he came to the point. Firstly it must be said that the X-rays taken by Dr. De Frutos were very good, again the diplomatic way that made me suspicious.  Not in vain, when talking about my foot he said cautiously that it was not so good. The bone at the bottom and at the top had not grown together yet, consequently I was not allowed to walk on it anymore in order not to irritate more the soft parts or something… And when I asked what advice he will give me, his conclusion was to wear the bandage for another 4 weeks!! I could not believe my ears and I was so shocked that I screamed “you cannot mean that”. Unfortunately…after the 4 weeks I will have to go to Belgium for X-rays and check-up.


After I hang up Dirk tried to comfort me and said that it was better to “hang” the block again at my leg than to “destroy” my foot further and he added that the 4 weeks will be over soon etc…etc…  I did not listen to him, I cried out of pure misery and felt deeply unhappy, and then I went to get the bandage that was well hidden in the cupboard. In the afternoon Marie-Carmen called and told us that again 20 galgos arrived and the blind female, a black one of course… what else, was only 7 months old and very scared and lost because she did not know what was happening to her.  My heart was bleeding and again I cried a river because I have such a weak soft spot for blind galgos and I felt guilty that I could not take her along immediately. On Thursday we would travel to Belgium for the beach walk and we would only be back on Monday.  I thought of all the heartbreaking misery and made an appointment for the blind female and the fractured deformed leg to meet Dr. De Frutos on Tuesday morning at 9:00h. I could not do more at that moment.

Tuesday 29thJanuary 2019

Meanwhile after 4 days up and down, back and forth and a very successful 18thbeach walk we arrived again tired but happy in Spain. We were still underway from the airport to Casa Belgica when Marie-Carmen called asking if we were home already and when she could bring the abandoned and abused poor souls… We had hardly arrived when she called again if she could come with an unwanted galgo.  The female owner had found him 2 years ago but suddenly could not keep him anymore and, and… I could not understand the rest of the story due to disturbances on the phone and I yelled OK! OK!  A few minutes later our dogs, who barely were recovered from our return, alarmed us loudly.



When we went outside Marie-Carmen was on the driveway with a young woman and a crippled galgo. After a long story that the neighbours had tipped the owner that she secretly had a galgo in the home she had to give up the dog.  Despite the tears I had more compassion for the deformed leg from the fragile dog than for the sorrow of the lady owner and I asked Marie-Carmen what had happened. Obviously the woman had found the dog as such and the veterinarian had told her that he could not fix it, it was a psychological problem or similar… I had my own thoughts and when Marie-Carmen asked if the woman could come in I told her it was better to stay outside.  When she gave up the dog it was better to keep it short, especially for the dog and our dogs who were gathering curiously at the fence and were giving comments. When Dirk took over the poor soul named “Tango” we only saw how bad he was damaged, his front leg as well as the paw were deformed and unusable. How ironic that his owner named him “Tango”. One thing was certain with such a neglected handicap he would never dance the tango.


Half an hour later the two abandoned females arrived, two helpless, dumped and neglected pour souls.  One with tiny eyes and visually impaired or blind, the galguero did not know and it did not interest him either…The other one with a heavily deformed foreleg, with a too short mandible and bad hind legs.  Both were very skinny. My heart broke for the umpteenth time by seeing so much misery.  Also Dirk was impressed by this suffering and living proof of the badness of the human race. When both of them after a delicious bowl of food were installed warmly covered under the lamps I sent Dr. De Frutos a mail message asking if we could come tomorrow with 3 instead of 2 galgos.  A little later I received the OK mail.


This morning at 8:00h we left to Talavera with the 3 dogs. While X-rays and scans from Tango were made I was at the ophthalmologist with Nikita (indeed…).  After a thorough examination of her eyes it appeared that the eye nerve in one of her eyes was almost inexistent and in the other eye it was immensely big and “exploded”. This is an extremely rare case the female doctor said.  The verdict was therefore that she was irrevocably blind and from birth.   I thought immediately of the future of the unfortunate soul and in the darkness of the obscure consultation room I could not control my tears. I could imagine the dark hole in which she was born and the terrible life that she must have had all that time.  How she could survive the first year of her miserable life I could only guess, instead of 7 months the ophthalmologist estimated her to be one year old. When the test that she underwent patiently was finished, a “blind test” that she gloriously endured, was also done.



After the scan and the X-rays Dr. De Frutos decides to cut the petrified tendons in Tango’s foot and then wait to find out if the intervention will be sufficient to help him, if not he will be operated in 2 weeks from now.  Concerning the little one, whose name I do not know anymore and on the spot I name Malavita, the deformations at her leg are so complicated that a heavy and difficult operation is waiting for her.  She is now too weak for surgery and later on she will come along with us to Casa Belgica to become stronger.  Her hip problems and weak hind legs are due to malnutrition.  During Tango’s operation we have breakfast in the nearby service station.  An hour and half later and 960 Euro poorer we return with our 3 protégés to their safe haven. They all have been very brave and other than during the outward journey all 3 keep it clean in the car during the return trip…



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