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Spain update oct 2020 - Thu22oct

Posted on
04 November 2020



Thursday 22nd October 2020

It is not yet 7:30h when Dirk leaves to the shelter in the dark wet morning to pick up the male galgo of barely 10 months old, in fact a pup, and the teckel with the broken leg.  When he is back, he seems to have brought in extremis a third guest, a skinny limping black/white female who has a lump bulging through the skin of her deformed shoulder. For all three I made an appointment and together with Coco, Bella, and Clementine we will visit Dr. De Frutos who will receive us first due to the number of patients. I do not know why but when we leave it starts raining again and for the umpteenth time we drive to Talavera in the pouring rain.  When we arrive in the provincial town it is still dark and still raining cats and dogs.  If we had thought to find a parking place for the van so early in the morning, we were wrong… After we drove around “the block” a few times Dirk finally parks the car in front of Dr. De Frutos’ back door, in fact the artists’ entrance and walks to the clinic through the alley next to it.  A few minutes later Dr. De Frutos opens the door and we can enter via “backstage” with our 6 patients.


Bella and the young male, who looks like a clumsy foal with his skinny body and long legs, are both blood tested and made baby proof and pending the surgery they are put in the recovery which to our discomfort is still showing traces of Tito’s passage…The others go to the reception room where documents are drawn up and I have to give the dogs a name. The foal I name Eusebio, the female with the shoulder Emérence and the teckel Electra. Once the documents are ready, they are ready for Dr. De Frutos.  The teckel Electra as well as Emérence have complicated fractures, one at her paw the other at her shoulder.  Electra as well as the foal Eusebio and Bella will still be operated today.  Emérence who is too weak and too skinny still must gain strength for at least 10 days before her operation can take place.  Then it is Coco’s turn who after examination is praised for the still perfect condition of her external frame or her “Eifel tower” as I call it, only she will have to endure it for another 4 weeks, sigh…


Clémentine is another problem, notwithstanding the tumor wound at her front leg has healed very well she loses weight, and she has difficulty eating. After the blood test it appears that her values are OK only the creatine in her blood is too high.  The ultrasound shows that one of her kidneys is in bad condition and has the strangest form.  Given her age there is no other solution but medication.  While I try to hold back my tears, I think of the doom scenario of our poor Hercules who died way too early… When we leave Dr. De Frutos we can take along Clémentine, Coco and Emérence much to their relief. The other patients can be picked up at 17:30h. During our trip home I think of the fact that last week 20 galgos arrived in the shelter and this is just the beginning… Imagine, more than 20 galgos in a couple of days, how many fractures and trips to Talavera this will mean, where do we keep getting the money? Bella, Emérence and Eusebio are the lucky ones and are under the care of GINB but many will still follow…  In the afternoon, the first invoices of this morning’s examinations and surgery arrive.  So far, we are already at 1841 Euro….


During his visit to the shelter Koen Falise had an idea of the extent and the horror of the galgo suffering…When in the quarantaine he saw his first 7 “outcasts” he was very impressed and the image of the just arrived terrorized and brutalized mistreated males, trembling shadows climbing against the wall out of fear, kept haunting his mind.  I knew what he felt because many of these images are haunting my mind, images burned on my retina and will never disappear anymore… At 16:30h we leave for Talavera, after a few km it starts getting darker and darker and, in the sky, threatening formations are appearing which are promising nothing good… When heaven’s locks open and we drive into Talavera with more water than a self-respecting “carwash” produces, it is even worse.  After having received the necessary explanation and prescriptions we drive under a pitch-black sky back to Calypo. Dirk’s phone announces one message after another, they are all the same, at 40 km from us there is a lightning strike, at 30 km, at 20 km… when we are almost in Casarrubios we see the straight down lightning strike touching the earth with a crackling bang. I can only think of our pack in Casa Belgica because most of them fear everything that gives a bang.

A few minutes later we are home, and their suffering is over. The patients on board of the van must wait for the end of the umpteenth downpour before Dirk can unload them.  Once they are inside there is general consternation from both sides… While our dogs are watching the newcomers, Dirk installs Electra, the teckel, in the living room and Eusebio is waddling through the kitchen. Now that I can look closer at him not only his paws are long, also his nose is long, much too long for his under chin.  Despite the “top bite” he has a magnificent head with beautiful melancholic eyes in which you can read the misery that he endured in his young life. Nevertheless, he is kind and gorgeous and charming and above all heart conquering.  He is so sweet… While Eusebio is walking around clumsily Bella walks self-confident through our group and Emérence is lying on the couch as if she has been lying there forever.  Galgos, so much wisdom and human knowledge… not for everyone… 


And then there were 15 in Casa Belgica, 14 galgos and 1 teckel.  If Dirk and I are not softies I would not know, but I already said that. One thing is sure, with that magnitude together we will not be cold.  And when you think that we are living “the bohemian life” here you are wrong, ask the guests and co-drivers etc… As always it is spic & span here, Dirk and I want it to be “right” and no mess, everything needs to shine!! Thanks to Dirk and his personnel. When all of us go into the night everyone is tired, the new residents are happy with a place in our house and in our heart and enjoy the unknown comfort.  For the first time in their live they lie inside a house in a basket under the heating and they have peace!!! When the lights are switched off, we hear a soft whining, it will last for the rest of the night.  Eusebio is happy but he would be happier closer to us.  Being young and inexperienced he of course does not know that in Casa Belgica there is a golden rule that cannot be deviated, and that rule is… everyone sleeps in his own bed!!! Imagine….


Sunday 25th October 2020

In the afternoon I receive a phone call from Las Nieves telling that a male with a fractured paw has arrived, the poor soul is in much pain and according to a “witness” the fracture happened 2 weeks ago, they ask if we can help him. Despite it is Sunday I send a message with the detailed information to Dr. De Frutos who sends a little later a mail message that he is expecting us on Tuesday at 9:00h.  I inform Marie-Carmen that Dirk will pick him up in the shelter on Tuesday morning at 7:30h.  Looking around in the house I wonder where we will install the poor soul if he needs an operation.

Tuesday 27th October 2020

At 7:20h Dirk leaves to the shelter to pick up the galgo with the fractured paw and 20 minutes later he arrives in Casa Belgica with a beige wire-haired male with a seriously swollen ankle. It looks like a painful case because he cannot stand on it and he is whining softly. He seems not much older than one year and a half or maybe 2 years and looks at me calmly from under his hairy eyebrows. Another dumped victim. But this is about to change. When we leave a few minutes later the sun comes out and we drive in the delicate morning light to Talavera, what setting back an hour can do.  When it does not rain this time, the time difference has nothing to do with it. Anyway, I hate this ceremony and I hope it must have been for the last time that the gentlemen who have the power have manipulated the time. People…


Underway I name the dog Elliot.  Again, a name with an E you will think.  I have decided to give all dogs that come to Casa Belgica to be operated or to recover a name according to the year starting with the same letter.  Thus, for the rest of 2020 it is E.  As for Coco and Bella, Coco remains Coco and without B Bella can become Ella. It is a bit late that I had this idea but better late than never isn’t it?  Anyway, every nameless dog who comes to Casa Belgica in 2021 gets a name starting with F etc… A matter of keeping an overview. Although currently the influx cannot be kept up to date. In a couple of weeks 3 complicated bone fractures annex 5 babyproof operations, Emérence who must gain strength for her shoulder operation and now Elliot who most probably will also need surgery….

And ah, we sometimes get criticism, and it is said that it is an expensive clinic but better done well once than 3 times badly. It happened regularly in the past and for the dogs who had suffered so much before it was a disaster and for us too, especially for our wallet. So, it is better as it is now, especially for our peace of mind because we know everything is done to help them and they get the best care. And that our 17-year-old jeep must drive 75 km back and forth for each visit is the least. Orthopedics is a specialty which not everybody can perform, and we choose for quality, that is the least we can do for the abused and abandoned poor souls. What do you think??


After a 45 minutes’ drive we enter Dr. De Frutos’ cabinet and my fear for Elliot’s paw is confirmed.  It is a nasty fracture, the joints in his ankle and paw are broken and a tailor-made spindle needs to be created.  After the operation he will be left with a stiff paw the doctor says but it is better than the present pain and the deformity. The plate will still be made today according to the X-rays and he will be operated tomorrow.  After the surgery Dr. De Frutos will keep him for 2 days in the clinic for aftercare.  As always, he will keep us informed and let us know when he can go “home”.  Underway to Casa Belgica we talk about the newcomer Elliot, how confident he immediately was and how good and patient he has been during the examinations of his painful paw. He had instant confidence in us after going through so much with humans. He has done us a great honor.  Lost in thoughts we drive back.  What is next, what still awaits us I say to Dirk. Soon we will have too few “beds”, luckily ours are not covid patients…