The darker side of Spain

It’s not all sangria, sombreros and sunshine. Personally I would never go to Spain unless I had to, nor do I buy Spanish produce if I can possibly avoid it, the reason being the unbelievable cruelty to animals that is practised in that country. I’m not only talking here about bull-fighting, stabbing donkeys with scissors and pushing them from rooftops, or shoving small creatures into clay pots and then stoning them to death.

I’m talking dogs, specifically the dogs used by Spanish hunters, the Galgo – similar to a greyhound, and the Podenco, a smaller hound.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of these gentle, sociable dogs are routinely tortured to death in the most barbaric fashion by their owners. Hanging by wire, setting on fire, dropping down wells, breaking of legs and abandoning are just a few of the ways they meet their death – not forgetting dragging behind cars. It’s impossible to get inside the mind of a human being who can treat a helpless creature in such a way, even more so when that creature has worked for and trusted that person. Actually, it’s impossible to believe that people who do such things are human beings. They’re certainly cowards – sin cojones.

Luckily not all Spanish people are sadists, and there are many working to rescue these dogs from the desperate conditions they find themselves in; and there are many groups throughout Europe who support them, fund-raising and rehoming those animals lucky enough to survive the ‘attentions’ of their owners.

French-based journalist and dog-lover Beryl Brennan took up the cause of the Galgos and Podencos several years ago, working with various rescue groups to raise money to help the sanctuaries in Spain, and to collect and rehome dogs, having adopted a couple herself. Now she’s written a book about the Spanish galgos, their origins, their treatment by their owners – the Galgueros, the volunteers who work so hard under harrowing conditions to save them, and the lucky ones who find new homes. Beryl’s book is now available as a digital download:

From Heaven To Hell - Ebook

Click here to buy

A print copy of the book will be available from 14th June, and you can read the first chapter here.  A percentage of the cover price will go to Beryl’s Galgo Fund.

To learn more about the plight of the Galgos and Podencos, visit Bery’s website: Galgo News. There are many tails 😀 there which will touch and warm your heart.

Keep the tissues handy, and raise your hat to the people who fight the corner of the dogs, and have the courage and compassion to deal with sights and situations that many of us would find impossible to handle.

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Wednesday WOrd

Aliquot


Explanation courtesy of  The Compact Oxford English Dictionary:

• noun

1 a portion of a larger whole, especially a sample taken for chemical analysis or other treatment.

2 (also aliquot part or portion) In mathematics a quantity which can be divided into another a whole number of times.

• verb divide into aliquots; take aliquots from.

— ORIGIN from Latin, ‘some, so many’.

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The trouble with holidays ..

.. is that when you get home, there is a mountain of mail, the grass is a foot long, the weeds have taken over, you have a car full of clothes and linen that need washing, the email box is overflowing and the answering machine is clogged up. There is so much to do that just thinking about it makes me feel in need of a holiday.

Anyway, here’s a photo I took of a cormorant’s head, which, if I say it myself, is rather good. Click on the photo to see a larger version, and look at the beautiful colour of its eye. And that’s all for now, folks, until the house is under control. 🙂

PS  Among the dozens of emails that have accrued while we were away is an enchanting thing called a Lotus Touts, which promises wondrous happenings if I pass it on to other people within 6 minutes; but, if I do not, something frightful will happen to me. Well, thanks a lot for sending me that! Guess what I didn’t do with it?

Dobbie’s week

The week that was.

THEY were running back and forward to the car, stuffing all kinds of things in, all over the place. I could see THEY were going away, and I was worried they wouldn’t have room for me and Tally, so I just got in and sat there and took no notice when THEY tried to get me out. I wasn’t going to be left behind – NO WAY.

Then we drove away. THEY have a small box with little people in it (you can’t see them, but you can hear them talking.) They say things like: “Turn left in 500 metres,” or “At the next roundabout, take the third exit.” After a couple of hours the little invisible person in the box told them to go the wrong way, so HE began hassling HER to sort it out. THEY both got angry, so SHE threw the little box very hard, and all the little people must have fallen out, because they didn’t talk any more, and THEY had to find their way from a piece of paper.

We were in the car a long time, but that’s OK, because Tally and I love being in the car, even if we were a bit squashed. Then we got to this place, and there were bits of water falling out of the sky. THEY brought all the stuff out of the car and put it in our new house, and most important of all, THEY put our special blankets (we call them our nounous, because they cuddle us and make us feel very safe) next to the box where the wood goes in and makes the room hot.

We all went for a walk down a long lane; there were birds singing, and a small thing that flew like a bird, but wasn’t one. THEY got very excited about that, and we stood and watched it. THEY called it a bat.

When THEY went to bed, Tally was a bit anxious and tried to follow them, but SHE told him to stay on his nounou next to the fire, and everything would be OK. Sometimes I do wonder why Tally worries so much. I don’t worry at all, about anything, except getting left behind.

When we got up next day, there wasn’t any more water falling out of the sky and it was sunny. We all had something to eat, then we went in the car to a place called Pointe du Van. It’s high up, and the sea is down below, and THEY kept going ooh and ahh about all the coloured things growing in the ground. We ran. Really ran. Sometimes we stopped to smell things, but mostly we ran. Then we went in the car again to a place where the ground is yellow and very soft, and when you run on it it makes patterns. At the edge is a lot of water, which runs towards you and then runs away. This place was very quiet, because there was only us there. THEY ate things and pointed their boxes at us, and we ran until I was really tired. Tally never gets tired, and he wants me to run with him all the time; sometimes I wish he’d calm down and let me chill out a bit.

We had such a great time. Every day we went to the high place and the soft-ground place, because those are the places we liked best, where Tally and I could play all the time safely, and THEY said that this holiday was all about us, not them.

After some days, when we went to the soft-ground place, the water had gone all funny. Instead of running in and out quietly, it rolled itself up into a big thing, and then it jumped into the sky, and went white, and fell down on the soft-ground making a lot of noise. Then it ran away, and started all over again. It was funny.

And another thing that was funny was when I wanted a big pee. Two ladies had come and were lying on the soft-ground, so I went over to them and peed right beside them, which made them laugh. I  peed and peed and peed, and all the time they laughed, so I peed for just as long as I could to keep them laughing.

And there was another funny thing! Some boys and girls were playing with their round thing, and Tally went to play with them. He understands how to play with the round thing; I don’t. Anyway, he took the round thing and ran around with it, and the boys and girls tried to get it back, but he wouldn’t let them, and they laughed. Suddenly the round thing wasn’t round any more. It went a funny shape, and Tally threw it away. So I got it, and I shook it and shook it really hard to kill it. By the time I finished with it, it was really dead. And everybody laughed.

Yes, we had a lot of fun that day.

Now we’re back home, and we’re missing that place. We both haven’t eaten any food, and we’re not going to until they take us back. Still, at least we have our nounous.