Who can believe that six months have gone by so quickly!! There have many ‘highs’ and quite a few ‘lows’ but I’m still smiling!! The highs include the fabulous weather, the wonderful new friends I’ve made and having so many of my family visit and help with getting things straight. The lows include constant power cuts, the well running dry and an over-flowing cesspit – it is amazing how you take clean running water and a proper sewerage system for granted when you’re in England!
Inevitably the dog family has grown from two to four!!!! In January Chloe and Kiera were joined by Becks a Breton Spaniel. Becks and his sister (Posh!!!) had fallen into a deep manhole near Malaga and it took several days to get the equipment to get them out. A local lady threw food down to them but unfortunately Posh didn’t survive – they were only five months old and it is thought that Posh may have been poisoned as well. Anyway, Becks was fostered by the Last Chance Animal Rescue in Malaga for a week and he then came to live with me. He settled in immediately and that was me content with three dogs …. until ……. a new big sister arrived a week later!!! Honey is a Spanish Mastin who I’d seen roaming around the area outside the fence for a few days and assumed she belonged to a local farmer but soon realised she had been abandoned. She was very thin and, shockingly, had had her tail and ears cut off which is quite a common thing that hunters do to their dogs. It goes without saying that I started feeding her and whilst being very friendly, she was also very nervous of me and wouldn’t come onto the land. It took a fortnight of coaxing her before I managed to get her into the kennels which was heart-breaking as this was February and the weather was bitterly cold. After spending a week in the kennels getting to know Chloe, Kiera and Becks through the fence, she slowly came onto the land but then the process started again as she was too scared to come into the house as she clearly hadn’t been in a house before. Eventually, she plucked up the courage to come in, lay down by the fire and didn’t move for hours!! A visit to the vets confirmed that she was about two years old and had had at least two litters so probably used for hunting, breeding and then dumped! So now a family of four dogs – definitely no more!
Having dealt with all of the ‘plumbing’ problems (and spent a small fortune) I decided that the current kennels were not up to scratch and after a general tidy up and a fresh lick of paint, I was still unhappy with the outcome. I had to think ‘would I leave my dogs there?’ and the answer was probably not so I realised that something drastic had to be done. Therefore, a full refurbishment has been started. Although the original individual enclosures have remained, every other aspect of the kennels is being changed with the main improvement being a new roof and large terrace area. The original roofing was not sufficient to prevent the individual kennels from getting wet in the winter and overly hot in the summer. The new roof is over twice as big and keeps the kennels dry when it rains and shaded throughout the hottest part of the day. New metal grills are being constructed to replace the chicken wire either side of the doors and on the roof of three kennels which are designed to house cats. Of course, a touch of luxury is also required so each kennel has lighting, heating and piped music!!!
The Spanish lessons are ‘happening’ but I don’t practice anywhere near as much as I should so still very much a beginner. Fortunately, the local people are very patient and just happy that I try – I have conversations with the vet, the guy behind the till in the supermarket and the owner of the local hardware store in what is known as ‘Spanglish’ – a mixture of Spanish and English – and little bit of google translate if we’re desperate!