Shopping cart

Your shopping cart is empty.

Spain update Sept 2020 - Sat12sept

Posted on
18 September 2020



Saturday 12th September 2020

Meanwhile you all know that despite our speculations and our plans B and C we almost, and I emphasize almost, became victims of corona specialists and the related political decisions because to our surprise Spain was suddenly declared red zone by Belgium and as of Friday the 4th September starting at 16:00h no Belgians were allowed to travel to Spain and those who were staying there had to be repatriated!!! This was not Dirk’s problem, he had his recognition as international transporter, idem for Dirk Buffalo who was co-driver on duty. He would arrive on Friday at 12:00h with Iberia and had no intention to let himself be intimidated with the necessary documents in his pocket and enough hair on his teeth. Anyway, on Friday the 4th September as the only Belgian he got on the plane that was  occupied for 1/3 and he arrived in Barracas 2 hours later in an airport with a closed terminal where Dirk was waiting outside together with a couple of other people. An hour later they were home and the travel mode could start…


After a day and a half of preparations and jobs they left on Sunday morning after having loaded 34 dogs, including Clémentine, who like the ladies would be dropped off at Marianne’s where Kris and Roel would be waiting to help with unloading and to accompany them to Hof Rosa Canina. Clémentine stayed with “tata” (aunt) Marianne to check and take care of her “tumor wound”. The gentlemen and a few ladies who were sterilized already continued their trip, after having dropped off the ladies for baby proof care, to Hof Rosa Canina where Christel was waiting for them. As usual I was kept informed until late in the night of their progress. When around 5:30h Dirk informed me that he was home I had peace… well, peace… at 7:00h Christel called me asking if Triton, who out of pure enthusiasm had hurt himself while loading at the shelter could be taken to Marianne because our “arrival veterinarian” would be late, sigh… Anyway, I agreed and Roel drove him back to Marianne just to be sure and the unfortunate Triton made an extra trip for his own good.



After this last news I realized that my 9-day retreat in isolation started because Dirk would only be back on Monday the 14th September late afternoon, after a terribly busy week with 4 adoption days and many other obligations. I had no other choice than to stay here, flying means 2 weeks in quarantine. These 2 weeks meant that my planned operation on 22nd September, which I had accepted despite fear and reluctance could not take place and until further notice I had to endure a few open vertebrae that did not grow together which is very painful, literally and figuratively.  The most painful is that I would be alone with our 9 dogs (and Vali…) for 10 days in Casa Belgica and I could not attend the adoption days. Was this the beginning of the end I wondered because missing adoption days and personal contact with new adopters was a fright that only happened a few times due to force majeure after almost 25 years of GINB. Like so many in the cemetery I thought (and think) that I could not and cannot be missed… So much for my sense of reality…



I already had a hard time with the fact that the walks as well as the events could not take place and hence I had to miss the physical contact with our familiar adopters and their dogs not to mention the gigantic crater caused by the corona conditions and the loss of the “Warmest week” in our budget. This and the fear that Covid-19, despite the support of our sympathizers, would cause a bankruptcy gave me heart palpitations, of course Casa Belgica and the new van had to be repaid to the bank and banks do not take corona into account when it comes to money.  In addition, there were also major concerns by the sudden illness of Marie-Carmen and the related transmission of responsibilities and our not insignificant share in this putting even more weight on our shoulders. Anyhow we had to face it and we must survive. One thing was certain, in this period of loneliness I had a lot to worry about.


Because I phoned all adopters whose dog was “available” as from Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th September to explain the situation and had given everyone an arrival hour, Dirk organized the day after his arrival two mini-adoption days with a small group of co-workers, one dog was exceptionally collected on Thursday, the others on Friday and Saturday.  Meanwhile I was kept informed of everything, I was called from everywhere and I received photos and messages of all locations etc.…  Nevertheless, I had sleepless and short nights and not only because the dogs in Dirk’s absence were not behaving but also and mainly because there were gun shots in the fields all nights and the hunting season was not even officially open.  One time it sounded so suspiciously close that I got up and saw light beams behind Casa Belgica that were meant to chase the “field residents” out of their “houses”. It is an uneven battle for the fluttering “wild” and the rabbits that in tried to escape in vain. I thought of something an adopter replied to one of the FB updates, a reaction in which she specified what she wishes for the hunters… Just like the lady I hoped that the gun would explode in their hands.  Unfortunately, the animals would pull the short straw, also this time.



In between the adoption days Dirk went to the hospital to explain the situation to the surgeon and my operation was put “on hold”.  He assured that, as soon as I was back in the country, I could call, and I would not have to wait longer than 2 weeks for surgery. Despite the necessity I was somehow relieved with the postponement. The following days his fully booked agenda stated to pick up the 300 new dog coats and take them to be embroidered, which means a drive of about 200 km followed by a “working visit” to Claire and Raymond before returning to De Pinte.  On Thursday he had to pick up the dogs at Marianne’s and drive to Hof Rosa Canina where Christel, Kris and Roel were waiting for him.  When I got the movies and saw how impatient the ladies were at Marianne’s place to jump on board of the van I thought of the reactions when dogs at walks or events were sitting in the van, some thought it was bad and that it must be a trauma for the poor animals… Ah that ignorance and condemnation, the poor dogs know perfectly that the van is their escape to “victory” and they never forget it… While during the whole week Dirk was rushing around to get everything done our co-workers were busy practicing their “Jerusalema” …



Sunday 13th September 2020

Voilà it is over.  After the last 2 adoption days and the departure of the last elected ones the co-workers on duty, who were all happy to meet each other again after a long time, celebrated yesterday the last day with cake and champagne for the birthday people and not to forget more cakes for the 33rd wedding anniversary of Kris and Roel.  As the crowning of the festivities they danced the “Jerusalema” and then the worst was behind us (especially for Dirk). My contribution was to sing on the phone “happy birthday” etc… and to thank everybody for their indispensable presence and to apologize for my unwanted absence. A few hours later Dirk called informing me that he was home, he added that already a dog was returned because the brand new adopters, who already had a galgo from another organization, were scared and pretended that she growled and was “going” to bite their galgo and them and thus they put her in a bench and she had to leave, immediately!!  Dirk replied angrily that the animal did not come from Spain to sit in a bench and added that they must bring her back immediately. Then Mr. asked shamelessly if GINB could come to get the dog because they did not have a car!! When Dirk replied that they had to bring her as soon as possible the man called a few minutes later that they were underway… and thus Sortija arrived again in Hof Rosa Canina a few hours after her departure.  Incredible!!


I listened with open mouth to the story and repeated in disbelief “bite and growl” and they were scared!! Bite their dog??? A dog that had lived for months with more than 30 galgos in the galgo residence in the shelter and never had problems with anyone and since her arrival in Hof Rosa Canina last Monday did not have problems with the other adopted galgos and never had before!!!  Lies, I firmly said, and I added: could they not find better excuses? What a damper on the joy, how was it possible not to give the poor soul a chance. People, I said to Dirk, some are born comedians and cannot be estimated, not even after 1000 home visits. Poor dog, I repeated in shock.  Not a poor dog Dirk said, she already has been adopted and guess by whom, she was lucky. Of course, I could not guess, my thoughts were still with those who dumped her. Because he saw that I could not think of someone he said that she was adopted by Miriam, she is adopted by Miriam he repeated because I did not react. From the black ones I yelled on the phone... and then I yelled “it was meant to be”. 

It should be said that I was very happy and freed from guilt, nobody can imagine what it does to a person, to persons, because also the co-workers are suffering. Anyhow, some dogs must make a detour first before they arrive in the right place, but they will arrive.  Sometimes not immediately, sometimes it takes months or unfortunately maybe years but finally most of them arrive at their destination. I am firmly convinced that a galgo that was born to suffer somewhere in the fields in Spain in a desolate area is predestined for that one family waiting for him or her in Belgium… And for Sortija it was the Herremans family.  It was written in the stars and nobody can change that… Meanwhile, Sortija is with her new family who are full of praise for her and Dirk started his trip back to Spain this morning at 5:00h together with Clémentine whose wound was approved by Marianne and tomorrow my bachelorette existence will end.  Fortunately, I wish it were already tomorrow, alone is just alone. In fact, I was alone with 9 dogs and Vali’s twittering above my head.  When he is back, we will finalize the magazine, the calendar was already done before Dirk left, and it must be said the 2021 edition is beautiful thanks to the many photos submitted.  Incredibly beautiful…just to let you know… Now we must find buyers to get out of the costs, many buyers….

Monday 14th September 2020

My last day alone I think when Dirk calls me at 7:30h telling that he is ready to leave to drive the last 600 km.  When he asks if he woke me up I tell him that all  the dogs in the neighborhood and I woke up at 6:00h by hunters in the fields around the shelter who make the village unsafe…Vermin, I say before I hang up.  During the day I am informed a couple of times about his progress and at 14:00h I receive the relieving call that he will be “home” between this and 20 minutes. If he had not told me I would have known because 10 minutes later our dogs become impatient and start to run in and out. Fifi our opera singer is squeaking her vocal cords flat and the males have an irrepressible urge to irrigate the garden…

I hope they do not spray each other because yesterday Vali and I have washed them all until the sweat was running off our face. All of them except one, Tito does not like Vali for one or another reason, and his reaction was that of a wild mustang when I tried to put a leash on. It will be a job for Dirk to wash him… and this Dirk is coming, incredible how they know. Science always claims that a dog can hear and smell a hundred or a thousand times better than humans, but I think they also have more feeling, much more feeling. It is a fact that I saw and experienced several times, like now, even without phone call they know their boss is coming. Fifteen minutes later even before the gate opens, they start their welcome howling with unrestrained enthusiasm. I do not even have to bother to shout to be quiet and calm they do not hear it and as good and as bad as possible I stand in “formation” with my dog children to form a lane of honor. I am so happy and relieved that he is back…


I feel like a teenager, a teenager of 74 years old, it should be possible… After kisses from me a well as from the dogs we are spoiled with presents. Presents and candies for me and for the shelter dogs 750 kg food, and for our dogs Nic-Nacs from Dirk. He has not forgotten….