When Martyn’s mother passed away we used the funds from her flat to buy a holiday home on a country club in Spain. During one visit we became aware there were a lot of stray dogs appearing. There were a pack of dogs that used to come down from the mountains in the evening looking for food and water, all shapes and sizes. Being softies, along with our neighbours either side of us, we used to put food and water down for them. Not everyone on the country club agreed with this but I just couldn´t see an animal starving.
On one particular occasion there was a massive storm with heavy rain. The gate blew open and the dogs came into the garden. We shooed them off but one little white one remained on the path soaking wet with a pathetic look on his face, as if to say please let me stay. Martyn persuaded me to keep him just for one night, ha, we still have him!! The next day the dog catchers came to round up the dogs and take them to the dog pound which is a story in itself.
I thought we could take him to one of the animal rescue centres but they were all full. What a dilema, we were returning to the UK in a few days time and no way could we put him back out to wonder the mountains. I tried like mad to get someone to take him in but no luck. Eventually a Spanish couple who ran a garden centre offered to foster him until we returned a few weeks later but it didn´t work out, so we had to fly over to get him. Our luck was still in, a German friend of ours agreed to foster him for a few months. He was safe. We called him Barney.
We were in the process of selling the last shop and planned to go to Spain until Barney´s passport was ready so we could take him back to the UK. We flew Tommy, from Battersea Dogs home over and they met and became the best of friends after the initial fight of who was boss!
When we came to the decision we would like to live in Spain we bought an old farmhouse and moved. We inherited 9 ferral cats who lived at the farm. One day whilst driving to the shops I noticed two puppies sleeping by the side of the road. We couldn´t catch them but used to go every other day to feed them. Eventually I managed to catch little Annie and brought her home. Teddy disappeared for a while then reappeared and we continued to go over to feed him for over 8 months. He eventually succumbed and we brought him home.
As we live in rather a remote place we thought we needed a big dog and it didn´t take long for us to get a phone call about a large dog roaming around on the country club. We went over and came back with Casper, a Husky/Mastiff cross. That made five, enough we thought, no more dogs but that wasn´t to be. Along came little Sammy who was roaming around near our property. Of course I put food down for him and eventually caught him when he was on his last legs having been shot in the eye. A rushed visit to the vets, his eye was taken out, what was left of it and then we found out he was blind in the other eye, so no way could we re-home him.
That made six!
Then came along Sophie found living in a dustbin!
No more dogs!!
We do our best to help any stray we come across and always carry food and water in the car. We have managed successfully to catch and re-home a few dogs but the situation is ongoing with people throwing out their dogs to fend for themselves, not only the Spanish but other nationalities.
I find this situation very distressing. All the animal sanctury´s are full to bursting and all the local councils here, only seem to have one way to deal with this situation and that is to round up any stray dogs and take them to dog pounds, where their fate in some of these places is indescribable. The Townhalls, so I am told, pay quite large amounts of money to some of these dog pounds. If only these funds could be made available to some organisation who would treat these animals in a caring fashion, try to re-home some of them and if there is no alternative but to put some of them to sleep, do it in a kind humane way. If only people would get their pets spayed or neutered, it will help so much with unwanted puppies and kittens all looking for homes. If only……..
Things are improving very slowly and one council run dog pound has a re-homing policy and a resident vet now but there are still many dog pounds who have no regard for these abandoned animals and the suffering they have been through, let alone the suffering to come in these dreadful places. There are many wonderful people with small rescue centres doing all they can with limited resources. But in the meantime we carry on as best we can when we come across some poor soul in need.
There are many many websites in Spain for animal rescue, cruelty to animals and the dog pounds.
Here are some sites you may wish to visit: