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Spain update June 2022 - Mon16May

Posted on
10 June 2022



Monday 16th of May 2022

Same time, last week, it is now 10:30h, we had just passed the Spanish border after a week’s stay in Belgium.  A busy week, during which I left with Dirk on Wednesday to the airport, against my will, to attend the adoption day of Saturday the 7th of May.  Even though this meant that on that day he must go 2 times to the airport, once to bring me and once to pick up Dirk “Buffalo” I did not feel sorry for him. That he would take me to the airport was the condition to fly alone.  Anyway, despite the problems at the customs where they thought for the second time that my corset was a bomb belt and called the police, that made me lose 20 minutes and fear for my flight, I did not complain. It was lovely to meet the co-workers again, to welcome the new adopters, and to see “our” puppies and the others leave with their new owners.  It was also nice after a successful day to raise the glass like before with the co-workers for the many birthdays to be celebrated and to sing  happy birthday!! I had not forgotten it yet what could not be said of the GINB team…



Two days later at 14:00h I was under the scanner and an hour later I was sitting in front of the neurosurgeon who showed me that the added bone from the bone bank was growing together slowly. The pain would not fix it.  Because of the many operations my back was a battlefield of pinched nerves and cramped muscles. Maybe medication or physiotherapy could help he said without conviction, and he added that a second scan would be recommended. Without waiting for our answer, he made an appointment for next Friday and I saw him thinking “considering your age”.  He was polite enough not to express his thoughts and thus I said instead that despite my 76 years I still had a busy and active life and that I hoped to keep this up for a long time and I closed with we will meet again on Friday. While we were driving home Dirk as well as I tried to keep courage and to concentrate on the growing bone and not to think of the rest. As usual I was in good spirits again with the straw that I got, and I looked at the future or what was left of it with confidence. We would see what the bone scan on Friday would reveal. We still had a lot of work to do that week, I must see the dentist, Dirk must go to the doctor, we had appointments and lots of shopping to do. Although we had a few days extra there was not much time left for philosophy.


Wrong thoughts because a few days later our old van, that was promoted to workhorse to transport everything to and from the events, broke down and the garage where it was left by Raymond and Claire informed us that the engine and other parts were broken and that it would cost more than 15.600 euro to repair it. Just like the van we were broken. We suddenly had enough to philosophize and worry, again not only such a high cost but we also  must rent a van for the Kempen walk to transport everything. Where the hell are we supposed to get it? Dirk immediately acted and called the main distributor where we bought the new van and told the story.  With result, much to the dislike of the garage owner where it was staying, the van was picked up the same day. Which resulted in an angry phone call from this person yelling that those men took away the van and he added that the costs of its stay must be paid, if not… Anyway, it has been repaired and a “new” engine is installed and unfortunately a new clutch was also needed. The cost for these two repairs was 12.325 euro, but it is still 4.448 euro less than the first garage… After Friday’s bone scan did bring little or no relief besides strong medication (no option) we left on Sunday the 15th of May at 5:00h with Loulou in the direction of Spain. 



In the evening we had dinner in restaurant La Tchanka next to the hotel and after an almost sleepless night in the small beds we left after a short breakfast to the Spanish border. After 700 km we arrived early in the evening on Monday the 16th of May in an empty Casa Belgica. After Marie-Carmen’s offer our dogs had resided for the first time in all these years in an empty residence with outdoor area in the shelter. While I felt guilty because I thought that our dogs would feel that they were dumped Dirk together with Marie-Carmen had taken them with their belongings to their new “vacation” residence.  I was uneasy when they were gone. When Dirk returned, I asked how it went. He replied “fine” and when he added that they were excited especially Leopold, who immediately walked around like a king, I was not completely convinced.  


The next day I left for Belgium with a pounding heart full of guilt and angry at the whole world.  After the videos from Marie-Carmen showing that they were relaxed I felt better and peaceful. Now that the reunion has come, I could not wait to get them.  You are just a little girl Dirk said but anyhow you must wait because we cannot go there in the dark.  I insisted for a while, but my heart and mind told me that he was right. To disturb the hundreds of dogs in the shelter in the dark was not an option. One more sleep and then we will see each other again.

Tuesday the 17th of May 2022

The day after I went along to get the dogs who, before they had seen us, already started to howl because they had recognized the car. The reunion was fiery and overwhelming and of course tears of joy appeared.  A few days later the 20th of May we returned to the shelter.  This time to make photos of the dogs who were “ready” for the website.  Even though Dirk advised to stay home I went along and whilst making the photos as planned, I felt miserable standing face to face with the hundreds of galgo ladies who were crowding for our favors.  Wherever should I find all the adopters I wondered in panic. When walking from the ladies’ residence to the cathedral where the males were waiting, we first visited the 7 puppies who would come to Casa Belgica a few days later.  Then we went to the males who were neatly lined up to be photographed.  When I saw them waiting so good and patiently my heart almost broke. Poor galgo gentlemen, out of 10 females sometimes 1 male was chosen and thus the waiting period for them was unpredictable and there was a real chance that after many years of hopeless waiting for a warm home they would die in the shelter. Amongst the 15 males that Dirk must photograph there was one with a big tumor on the chest and one that could not say goodbye and clung to me. Terrible, I was devastated. When we drove home, and I had a hard time swallowing my tears, Dirk said “I warned you”. At home I called Dr. De Frutos for the male with the tumor and Dirk mailed a photo.



Friday the 24th, Saturday the 25th of May 2022

After Dirk  had filled the biggest holes in the natural stone tiles of the garden during a few days, we were ready for the 7 puppies.  Marie-Carmen did not wait long, and she arrived on Friday at 8:00 in the morning with the 6 sisters and one brother. When they had explored their new residence, they played and romped to the most with the many toys. It was a big revelation because they had never seen such things. Thereafter they ate, drank, and slept at will and then they restarted their cycle.  After a relatively quiet night we put them in front of Dirk’s lens on Saturday morning. It was no sinecure. It became an exhausting difficult job testing our patience even though we are “specialists” in this matter. At the end of the photo session, I could not move my arms anymore due to holding up the “decor”. Anyway, we had a full weekend and even fuller weeks of noise, yelping and poops and pees and wild games ahead of us testing our patience. We knew that from many years of puppy experience. On Sunday the first adoption request came in for one of the sisters.  It had started… The regions and I must get in the starting blocks, the ladies for home visits and I for the many phone calls and as many long conversations. One thing was sure that due to the bad luck with the van and the arrival of the puppies our trip to Belgium and the Kempen walk had been cancelled and we could only see it on Roel’s video. While I was carefully watching the photos of the participants at the table at the Kempen walk, I called the first “puppy” candidate. 



Wednesday the 1st of June 2022

When on Wednesday afternoon the doorbell rings,  I am at the phone with the umpteenth “puppy” candidate who after a long conversation will not understand that a single person who is absent every day for 8 hours, cannot adopt a puppy. Fortunately, Dirk comes in to tell me that Marie-Carmen arrived with a galgo with a fractured paw, and I apologize to the lady emphasizing once more that unfortunately she is not eligible for adoption. Incredible.  Outside Marie-Carmen is waiting with a female with a deformed front paw that is hanging limp as a rag. The victim is a black raw-haired galgo girl of barely 8 or 9 months old who had been wandering around in a village. At an agreed place she was handed over to Marie-Carmen by a galguero with a dirty disgusting leash. A galguero who arranges transportation for a dumped galgo with a fractured paw, is this a joke?…  We have our own thoughts, and we carry her to the clinic where Dirk puts her painful paw in a splint and a bandage. During the care she softly howls in pain, but she courageously undergoes the treatment. When I softly caress her, I see hundreds of fleas walking all over her body.  We immediately take measures against the sucking invaders and once this is finished, we put her in a kennel and give her food and water that she gratefully accepts. Because she will stay with us, I will give her a name with a G and I decide to name her Gaga, Lady Gaga. When I ask her if she agrees she wags her tail for the first time. This is not a coincidence I say to Dirk and Marie-Carmen, look at her.  When I have their attention and I address her again as Lady Gaga she immediately wags her tail again enthusiastically. After Marie-Carmen left I send a message to Dr. De Frutos. For the male with the tumor, we have an appointment on Friday morning, and I ask if we can bring along a female with a fractured paw, and I add she also needs sterilization and testing for Leishmania and other tropical diseases. Appointment made on Friday morning at 9:00h the doctor replies a few minutes later. When we let out Lady Gaga in the evening on the patio for a sanitary stop her duvet is full of dead fleas, hundreds of them…


Friday the 3rd of June 2022

As planned after Marie-Carmen brought the male with the tumor whom I named Gandalf and lady Gaga we left at 8:00h sharp to Talavera where at 8:55h we arrived at the same time as Dr. De Frutos and his wife and their new addition Lima, a smart black ball of wool that was found in a container.  Because we were the first patients Dr. De Frutos immediately took along Lady Gaga for X-rays of her paw and then checked the ugly tumor of the skinny Gandalf. Even though meanwhile their busy activity increased, both were allowed to stay there because of the seriousness of their condition.  Lady Gaga’s front paw bone was broken in the middle and on the way to Talavera she also went into heat. It was not the right moment but so it is.  It was not a disaster; she will be sterilized anyway. As for Gandalf’s tumor, it was ugly and would get in the way of his chances for adoption, that was sure. Dr. De Frutos realized that too and he made some free time in his busy schedule for the poor soul because just like us he knew what had preceded the tumor. Years of incarceration and lying on concrete in a much too small place, usually on the chain. It was incredible how grateful and affectionate Gaga, and Gandalf were in that short time. They pushed themselves against us as if they knew that we would protect them. Anyway, the worst was over. They were safe and that we would protect them against all further evil, was a fact. When handed them over and left, they panicked. After comforting words and the promise that Dirk would be back this evening I said to my husband “they think we are their owners” and we left with guilty feelings. Dr. De Frutos would let us know when we could pick them up.


At 15:30h we receive the message that both operations went well, and that Dirk can pick them up at 18:00h. With the 4 x 75 km roundtrip Calypo-Talavera he has driven today another 300 km. At 19:30h he is back with the two patients.  Lady Gaga’s paw looks much firmer supported by the metal spindle. Thanks to the Dr. De Frutos who nicely removed the tumor, Gandalf is again the beautiful dog he has always been, and he is now ready for adoption. The surgery is more than worth the 1800 euro. For big puppy Gaga there is good news.  She can stay with Yolanda and Luc because Gérard is recovered from his fractured paw operation, and he can go on the website now. Thus, Lady Gaga can take his place to recover from surgery and she can stay until her paw is strong enough.  Hopefully the same luck happens for the good, quiet, kind Gandalf now that he looks like a “super model” dog. However, I have my doubts… He is a male of 5 years old, streamed with a beautiful white blaze on his head and a long tail and he is very affectionate and very kind, but he is a male and they are not particularly popular. 


God knows why. Besides it is vacation time and to my knowledge none of our regional managers have a free place or time to take care of him and to follow up the wound on his chest.  However, it would be ideal because three or more of them are nurses.  If necessary, he must go to quarantine and return when we are back in Casa Belgica. We have an adoption day on the 18th of June and thereafter we go to Lommel to see the adopters again after a long time.  It would be very hard for me to leave Gandalf behind, it is emotional to see how grateful he is and how he is enjoying the open space and the possibility to discover. He is very happy with the dogs; he walks of course with them since this morning. Mainly because they were indignantly barking at the fence during his pee pause as if they wanted to make it clear to us that we should take him upstairs. What of course happened… Oh my poor heart, how long can I still endure this earthly vale of tears.  During the whole weekend Gandalf walked behind me, impetuously licking my hands and if he could, he would lick my face. SIGH…