I have finally arrived!! My long-term dream was always to retire from work and open a kennels as I’ve always been passionate about dogs as all of my family, friends and colleagues know. I have always thought that the kennels would be in England, so it was as much a surprise to me, as it was to others, that I ended up buying a property with boarding kennels in Andalucía, southern Spain.
Dogs have always been a part of my life and, until recently, I owned three dogs – two golden retrievers and a rescue springer spaniel. Unfortunately, I lost one of my retrievers, Rosie, just before I moved to Spain and Wagtails will be renamed Rosie’s Retreat in her memory when it is re-opened. She was the most fabulous dog and is deeply missed – anyone who has had to make the decision to put their dog to sleep will know exactly what I mean.
I purchased a property in Alhama de Granada, which is just over an hour north of Malaga and forty minutes south of Granada. Basically, I’m an hour away from miles of sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast and forty minutes from luxury skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountain range! The town of Alhama itself retains the charm and culture of a traditional Andalucían town whilst having the main amenities required – i.e. bank, health centre etc. Although everything closing between 2.00pm and 5.00pm every day for siesta takes some getting used to!
The property is perched on top of a mountain (1000 metres above sea-level) with beautiful views of the town of Alhama and the Sierra Tejeda to the south and the Sierra Nevada to the north. I’m told that unlike the Mediterranean coast, the location of the property causes a ‘dry’ heat rather than a humid one which is much more pleasant in the summer but can mean frosts in the winter – I think I should be able to cope with that as ‘winter’ starts in February and ends in March!
One of the biggest selling points for this property was that it already had an existing boarding kennels called Wagtails. The property and kennels are situated in ten acres of almond groves on relatively flat ground and within a secure fenced area. These benefits are rarities for this very mountainous region where the local council are reluctant to let people fence off their land.
There is a small ex-pat community in Alhama who are very friendly and helpful. In some of the more well-known areas of Spain the ex-pat communities are much larger and the local Spanish people speak English, but it is very different in Alhama. There are about fifty ex-pats – English, Dutch and Belgian and they are fully integrated with the local people, local businesses and local culture, and very few of the Spanish inhabitants speak English! Finding someone to deliver lessons and learning to speak some Spanish is fast becoming a priority as its getting embarrassing having to use google translate for everything!!