Spain update May 2021 - Wed12May
Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th May 2021
Our planning went somewhat differently than expected, partly since I was treated last week with a severe sciatica one that made walking even more difficult, and which made me bring out the crutches. Also, because last Friday we had an appointment in the Valmojado medical Center where they would register us as Casarrubios del Monte residents (as the result of the purchase of Casa Belgica) to make us more accessible to health care and to put me on the list for the Covid vaccine, a fact that has been disputed….Anyway Marie-Carmen happily accompanied us to deal with the administration if not we would be standing there the whole day because no one was eager to “serve” Belgian exotics. While waiting Marie-Carmen asked if given my problem we could keep our appointment on Monday to drive to the “new” veterinarian with the males for castration. Of course, we agreed in unison because the first time the trip was cancelled due to Dirk’s flu and they had to look for a few willing drivers, so…. When we at last left the Medical Center, we agreed that the males for castration would be brought to Casa Belgica on Monday at 8:30h.
And so, we left the day before yesterday at 9:00h for Toledo with 5 galgos, 2 of unknown “origin”, a giant mastino female of 50 kg and an 8-month-old caramel colored podenco-pharaoh puppy with a pink nose, scared green eyes, ears like “dishes” and marks of bedsores. In my opinion he weighed barely 15kg. Well, we just passed Toledo because the “new” veterinarian lives 100km farther in a village called Los Yebenes. I have seen a lot already but such a creepy, skinny, unhappy piece of dog as this 8-month-old puppy on board I had rarely seen. The misery could be seen on his “face” and I wondered what had happened to him. Once we passed Toledo, we must leave the main road in the direction of our destination. The road became hillier, the lanes narrower and the flanks of the hill were planted with olive trees. As far as we could see nothing else but olive trees.
Finally, we saw in the middle of nowhere a signpost to our destination and in the distance, we saw the village where we must go. Once arrived the “town” seemed to consist of a main street, a few side streets and a supermarket and we passed through before we realized. Dirk must return and start climbing through a narrow street where also the hunting museum is located which was announced in the beginning of the street with a large sign. I did not feel comfortable and wondered where we could park the van… The veterinarian we were looking for was residing higher up the street and was located on the corner of an even narrower street. In fact, in Pluto’s lair… It was a small practice where we would have the same problem with the van, where could we park all 9 dogs. Fortunately, like in the street it did not really matter. The most important for me was that there was a toilet…
Once our colorful company was unloaded the young veterinarian as well as his assistant were shocked by the condition of the podenco puppy (pharaoh puppy I thought, and the veterinarian confirmed). It means a lot that they were shocked by his skinny appearance, they are used to a lot in such hunter villages and in the hunting museum street. Anyway, we asked if there was an opportunity to eat breakfast somewhere, we left home with an empty stomach and we desperately needed a coffee. To our relief they told us that in the main street there was a “churreria” where we could have breakfast, the place closed at 12:00h. Meanwhile it was already 11:00h and when there were no customers they would close earlier. After they explained the way, we hurried to the “churreria” that was still open. Dirk parked the car in from of the place and went to the counter to place our order. In the meantime, the friendly owners allowed me to sit in the empty dining room where the TV like in all coffee bars drowned out everything. Anyway, we were served a good breakfast and were looked at curiously by the other customers sitting on the terrace with a view on our van. After my third cup of coffee the terrace was cleaned up and we could leave. Where to was something else, the veterinarian would call us when we were expected back.
There was no other option than to do sightseeing and at the same time look for a fuel station…We found one at the exit of the village, on a square where a few inhabitants were filling big plastic bottles with drinking water. This was an image from a bygone era for us but not in Los Yebenes. After we chatted with the lady of the fuel station which existed of 2 pumps and a mini kiosk where the lady was waiting for customers, we left the village and 5 km further we drove past an even smaller almost deserted village. Half of the houses were for sale and here and there a few grumpy old men walked past the houses to better look at the van with a giant galgo on the side and a foreign license plate. It was a special experience because there was no other life to be seen. At the end of the village in front of the last house a cat was lying in the sun in the middle of the street, and it made little effort to get out of the way. Astonishing I said to Dirk and he could only confirm it. Five minutes later we received a phone call telling that we were expected by the veterinarian because they did not have enough place anymore to put the operated dogs.
We still must wait another two hours before all were ready which gave us time to reminisce about past times when Louis came to our clinic to castrate dogs but with his extensive activities, he does not have time anymore. The same applies to the local Calypo veterinarian, there is not time to castrate and clean teeth. And Dr. De Frutos, who is a specialist in orthopedics, cannot do it either. Anyhow this was not a good solution, not for the shelter dogs and not for our galgos and thus I decided to ask the veterinarian what he should think of coming to our clinic in Calypo to operate. After an endless explanation about 25 years GINB and the fact that it is a private clinic from the organization he seemed to like the idea and asked if it would be possible in the weekend because it was not his own clinic where we were, and he was free on Saturdays and Sundays. I seized the opportunity with both hands and asked him to call Marie-Carmen for more information. On the way home I called her to report and to tell her the good news that there was a chance that the veterinarian could come to the Casa Belgica clinic. I added that it was too early for victory and told her that we would be home around 16:00h. The GPS did not lie, a little before the announced time we arrived, and a bit later Marie-Carmen was there..
When the dogs were loaded, I saw the skinny podenco leave with pain in my heart. I again repeated how skinny he was and asked Marie-Carmen how he ended up in the shelter. He was even skinnier when he was dumped by his noticeably young owner who bought him at a breeder, let him languish and then he left to the Canary Islands with the promise that he would pick up the dog 3 months later, wishful thinking. Another horror story, one of many… Half an hour after she left with the dogs, she was back in Casa Belgica with an unlikely story. Two heavily pregnant females dumped in the shelter during the weekend had given birth simultaneously!! Together they had 12 puppies!! One had 9 of which 2 died, the other female had 5… Dirk as well as I were gasping for breath. What to do? Marie-Carmen asked. Yesterday I wanted and would, sciatica or not, absolutely go to the shelter. Dirk said angrily you would not go and asked if I was completely crazy. When I can go to the supermarket for shopping I could as well go to the shelter, I said. Having said this, we drove to Las Nieves in the afternoon and surrounded by threatening barking maffioso from the middle square I limped at Marie-Carmen’s arm to the mother’s residence. Meanwhile Dirk watched with suspicious eyes Darco, the big mastiff who had bitten him in his buttocks, arms and back at the crossing to the ladies’ residences.
When we reached the newly given birth mothers and checked the newborn puppies to determine how many males and females there were tears came to my eyes. They were two emaciated females, one of them was extremely young for a litter and she had 7 dark grey brindled very tiny puppies, the other one had only 5 white and beige-white puppies out of 7, 2 were stillborn. Despite their misery and hardship, they had given the best of themselves to their children and they watched worriedly with big eyes how we carefully took them away. Not for long I reassured them, and I added that both could come to Casa Belgica when their puppies would be a few days old. Dirk agreed and he said hesitating do we have to take care of 7 or 19…Well they may already have “luck” in life I thought, and that “luck” was to meet two crazy Belgians who would take care of them and their offspring!! (we could not have known that the 7 tiny puppies of the youngest mother would all die in the night!!). Before we left, I asked Marie-Carmen to bring the skinny pharaoh-podenco puppy to take him along to Casa Belgica. After all it was 25 years of GINB and during the entire 2021 there will be a party every day!! Today there is a big party because there were 13 greyhound puppies and two mothers safe. Anyway, once it is made public, we would get criticism from certain readers via our FB account. On the one hand that we get dogs and puppies out of Spain while in the Belgian shelters, which is true, many dogs are waiting. Hence, we only give the greyhounds a chance without being buried under criticism, although… On the other hand, we are criticized because we only save greyhounds and no other breeds!!! Understand who can understand…
Once again, we rescue greyhounds because they are on their own and because the greyhound problems in Spain are of the most gruesome and scandalous horror stories in Europe. Greyhounds have not a single chance in their own country, after a miserable life only a more terrible death is awaiting them when we close our eyes and do not help them. We strictly stick to the greyhounds because the other dogs in the Spanish shelters are the same as those waiting in Belgium, “fashion breeds” and hybrids. Hence, we do not want to import those to Belgium in order not to take away their chance for adoption so far… For your information, whatever breed they may be, all dogs in Las Nieves benefit from our help to the galgos. When we are back home Dirk had to carry the puppy that I named Francisco inside because he was panicking when he saw our dogs crowding at the fence to subject him to a “welcome examination”. When peace had returned and all had looked enough, smelled, and examined everybody was happy and he could walk around. It was a confrontation with reality we only could see then how unstable he stood on his too big paws and how weak he was. This was something we could remedy immediately because it is dinner time for our dogs. Miraculously his hunger was greater than his fear, under my supervision he was eating in the kitchen his complete bowl with pasta, meat and bouillon and installed himself clumsily with his too big paws and too large, wrinkled head on a cloth, a basket was unknown to him, but not for long. I looked endeared at the bunch of misery and I wondered what kind of person could treat an animal like this. After 25 years I still do not have an answer.
In the afternoon Marie-Carmen calls telling that she has sent a mail message to the government informing them that in Valmojado they do not want or will help us and that she received a reply that they must register us and that tomorrow we must sign up again at 10:00h. And so, in the company of Marie-Carmen we returned to the Medical Center where after her explanation and a copy of the government mail message they still argue whether to register us. Marie-Carmen would not be herself if she would be discouraged and she starts a discussion. She makes the woman call to the government office and she gets what she wants. We get our sanitary card and our vaccination… But what did you expect, although my age they decide that Dirk can be vaccinated first on Monday the 17th of May at 18:20h in Valmojado!! They will call later for my vaccination. He cannot understand that he can go first and wants to know how this is possible etc…etc. Before he gets lost in an endless worrying, I make it clear to him that I do not bother to wait. We will see I decide, I am fed up with the corona and vaccine hassle thanks to the daily news on the Flemish TV channels (we have TV Flanders in Spain and are informed about the ins and outs in Belgium). Beyond all expectations I received today Thursday the 13th of May the good news that I can get my vaccine on the 28th of May at 9:00h in the morning in Calypo. Exit Dirk’s worries, I hope. My thoughts are more with the deceased puppies who have missed their chance than with my vaccine… Tomorrow we go to Dr. De Frutos.