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Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays.

Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays is about the many and varied dogs that we find around our village. Many are abandonados, some are just plain lost, all are real characters, mostly streetwise but occasionally foolhardy.
These are some of the stories...

Self appointed, Involuntary, Guardian of the Abandonados...
30 November 2010

Little did we know when we moved here five years ago the way things would turn out...

When we arrived here it was in the company of two well balanced if slightly loopy hounds; one a Saluki male, the other a small greyhound female. They settled into the life relatively easily, but this being a farming community free running off leash was difficult; the local shepherds didn't take to kindly to two ultra fast dogs trying to round up their sheep and /or goats; justifiably so of course because the two dogs were quite capable of killing much bigger prey. We found a large abandoned tennis / 5 a side football court at the top of the village which was totally fenced with just two access points and this became their normal exercise yard, big enough to allow plenty of frantic racing and chasing without the hazard of sheep and goats.

Three years ago we had an addition to the family; an abandoned Podenco bitch who had recently given birth and had then been chucked out. She arrived at 3am in the middle of one of the worst thunderstorms we had experienced. She sat on the doorstep and howled; she was scared out of her wits, soaking wet, cold, hungry and desperate. Being the soft touch that I am I let her in, if only to stop the noise! She was surprisingly accepted immediately by the other two; in fact the greyhound took it upon herself to make a fuss of her; quite the little mother, but she is the Alpha female of the pack anyway. Needless to say we kept the abandonado; I took her to the vets to get her problems sorted out; her coat was matted and infested with parasites she had worms and was generally in a sorry state but with lots of TLC she came out of it quite well and is now as loopy as the other two!

Fast forward then to January this year; whenever we all trooped out for a walk we were being followed by a neighbours dog; a happy go lucky bitch something like a cross between a Spanish Water dog and a Westie. Slowly but surely she worked her way into the pack but always returned to her home. Her owners have two boys of junior school age but one is autistic and he makes constant demands on his parents time and patience. When they both lost their jobs as so often happens unfortunately, poor Luna the dog got turfed out. So it was that one morning when I took our lot out for their walk, it was noticeable that Luna wasnt with us; same the next day and the next; these among the coldest nights of the year with temps way down below freezing. She had been missing for over a week when I caught sight of her in the village, walking very slowly, she'd lost a lot of weight and was in a bad way. I went to pick her up and she screamed, literally...I tried to contact her owners but to no avail, so I bundled her into a blanket and took her off to see the vet. After xrays he found that where she had been scavenging for food she had swallowed something whole and this had blocked her intestines, other 'food' she had found and eaten later was fermenting in her gut. We eventually got her sorted out and for a while at least she appeared to get back to normal, but then she went into season. By this time we had taken over her care from the neighbours.

A couple of weeks after her season she was still spotting and having trouble urinating. Off to the vets again, he diagnosed a bad UTI and treated her accordingly with antibiotic and antiinflammatories. She appeared to get well whilst on the pills so I made an arrangement with the vet to have her spayed to avoid a repeat problem with her next season. However big trouble was brewing...what the vet had diagnosed as a UTI was in all probability pyrometrosis; something which if not dealt with quickly and successfully can be fatal...the day before the op was due I took her to see the vet...Luna was in some discomfort and the vet suggested that the planned surgery would be the answer, getting rid of the UTI problems and spaying would lead to a more healthy dog. So we came home and the following day at 8am we were back at the surgery. I was asked to leave her and to call back at 5pm to collect her. I left my mobile phone number with him in case of problems. Sad to say that as she walked away to the holding area that would be the last time I saw her...Movistar chose that day to have a problem with the cell towers in the area and the vet couldnt get in touch with me. I went back as planned to be met by the vet who took me into his office. Seemingly Luna died on the operating table. Her gut was a total mess with peritonitis and a ruptured intestine. All of the signs were there but we all missed them, concentrating on the suspected UTI. it's even possible that the damage occurred just after she had been kicked out of her previous home. She was a lovely lovely dog, not a bad bone in her body; I just wish we'd been able to do more for her.

And so to a coupleof months ago...out for our mid afternoon walk; it was raining so Izzy the greyhound wasnt too keen (she doesnt like getting her feet wet!) but suddenly all three are pulling like hell on their leads dragging me towards an area between a tree and a wall.

"OK," I thought I'll play your silly game...It's obviously important..."  Not so silly as it turns out...curled up beside the tree two little black and white pups; can't be anymore than six or eight weeks old...both cold and wet, but my lot weren't about to let me leave them there...Have to say that this tree is on the outskirts of the village, the pups have to have been abandoned; there is no way they could have got there on their own. Some heartless ba***rd had just dumped them; no doubt because as it turns out they are both males and therefore not breeding stock. O.H. was in the shower when I got back to the house; I explained what we had found;  what was I to do? Leave them there? At that age they are incapable of looking after themselves; I cannot in all good faith contemplate euthanasia nor risk it by trying to find a shelter to take them on; they didnt ask to be brought into this world.

So far so good...Izzy the greyhound and definitely the boss, keeps wandering over to check them out and then comes over to me for reassurance.

Off to the vets with them the following day; as I said the pups are both males but one of them has a problem straight away...Normally a dogs penis is totally sheathed, but with one of them there is no evidence of a sheath and his penis is totally exposed from root to tip; this is something completely new to me, Ive never come across this problem before. I'm hoping my regular vet will have some ideas. He was also born tail-less...

Our regular vet is of the opinion that he can probably retore his man-bits to some semblance of normality and, at th same time surgically correct an umbilical hernia that he has, but we should put off any thoughts of surgery until he is a little older and more capable of undergoing anaesthesia.

We are now raising them; I'd forgotten about pups and how destructive thaty can be, particularly after a meal when the high protein puppy food kicks in and they go berserk...they are making life hell for the others, tormenting Sox who seems to have taken on the role of surrogate mum. Toilet training is nigh on impossible because whereas the older dogs can hold their water for qite long periods, with the pups its a case of 'when you gotta go, you gotta go...'  We have no garden or outside space so the bathroom has become the focal point of their toilet training. Tena, the people who make those dreadful incontinence pads also manufacture an absorbent pad that measures 80 x 60 cms and we have two of these in use at any one time; one in the crate where the pups normally retire and the other in the bathroom. Hopefully we can soon get them out for regular walks with the others; at the moment they dont like the outside world very much and resist any collar and lead training. It really is a full time job just keeping an eye on them. Hopefully we can avoid the sort of havoc wreaked by Izzy and Leo when they were pups in the UK; they totally destroyed a brand new three seater settee...

So now we have 5...Looney Tunes is about to start all over again...Our little house can just about cope with the three we had, mainly because they are quite happy to chill out in between walks; dont know what to do about the newcomers.

Fate seems to have a way with us...our village is built around a cross roads with all roads out leading to other villages; it has become something of a dumping ground for unwanted pups and bitches who have been bred from and then abandoned and whereas the locals can walk past the abandoned dogs seemingly uncaring, I'm afraid I cant, and neither can my wife.

One thing I have learned since coming here; you can never know whats around the corner; the only way to live life is to wing it!

When I first submitted tis story to EOS that was as far as it went; scruffy and Spike the two puppies are progressing well enough but one needs the patience of a saint. Izzy and Leo have decided the safest place in the house is in our bedroom out of the way of the two whirling dervish pupps. Sox as surrogate Mum puts up with their shenanigans and only occasionally gets heavy handed with them.

Our latest encounter is with another Podenco bitch; she was abandoned in the village and came to my attention about a month or so ago when she would occasionally tag along behind us when I took the three seniors out for a walk. She always met us about halfway through one of our regular routes and then would break off and disappear off into the campo to a large natural rock formation. One one such walk she was a little late joining us; by now I had become accustomed to keeping an eye open for her; I saw her rounding up her family...five young pups...having sorted them out she came to me somewhat more slowly than usual. It had been a few days since I had seen her and she had lost a lot of weight. Once again I decided to do something about it...if Mum was thin and hungry then clearly her pups would be too. We finished our walk and I mixed up some pupppy food along with some of the Friskies Light that Sox has and the returned to where I had seen her marsling the puppies. At the base of the rock formation there is a small cave, seemimingly weatherproof and out of the wind and it's here that she has made a home for her family. She warned me off at first but it was a bit half hearted especially when she saw that I had food. She took first go at the food and then brought the pups out so I could see them properly...what a mixed bunch...tthree golden brown Podenco type, one white, and one a sort of chocolate over gold three males and two females. All thin and undernourished but seemingly otherwise in good health. They all dived into the food with a vengeance and in no time at all it was all gone. I kept my distance from them; I would dearly love to take them on but with our personal circumstances its impossible; we have neither the space nor the finances to support ten dogs...The pics below show the pups some days later after a period of fattening up...Mum is very camera shy and disappears every time I take the camera out so no pics of her.

Two of the pups disappeared, I suspect they were 'rescued' by someone else in the village so at the moment its mum plus three; having said that last Friday the white one disappeared too and mum was totally distraught.  I dont htink she slept at all over the weekend; it was cold and wet and she spent the entire time searching for the missing pup, calling out for him all the time. There is a couple in the village who are seemingly very hard up always scrounging from neighbours; before last weekend the lady of the house came to our house and was asking about taking on the white one...I told her it was nothing to do with me, that someone else had already taken two pf the pups and that I was just feeding the family to make sure they made it through the cold snap weve been subject to over the last few days. I have a sneaky suspicion that they may have  taken the white one...Anyway, when I went down to feed them this morning the white one was back with the rest of the family, looking a little less well fed than the others but obviously welcome back to the pack if the attention Mum was giving him is anything to go by.

The best solution would be for someone to take on all of I said we cannot do it. Mum goes demented if she loses one as we have seen. Talking to the local authority is a non-starter because here in Granada province there isnt a respectable rescue centre and most dogs rounded up are euthanised after just three days and my vet has told me in no uncertain terms not to contact these rescue centres directly; it's a virtual guarantee that they would be put down very soon after collection.

A few other villagers are keeping an eye on the family too; I feed them once a day and someone else is also providing tem with food too so its not all bad. I commented on the cold weather weve been having lately...we've had a couple of nights when the temp has dropped below freezing but the food mix I'm using should give them enough fat reserves to withstand the cold. I've also cut up a couple of old blankets and mum has dragged these into the cave shelter she has decided to call home.

Anyway pics...


So thats the story so far...

If anyone out there who is a full time resident wants a ready made family just let me know!


More news and pics as it happens.....later!








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