It has been ages since my last blog post – life has become very busy and unfortunately the blog has slipped down the list of priorities, as it often does.
As well as editing and freelance writing (the day jobs) we have been settling into our new home, and getting to know everyone in the village, and now the run up to Christmas is gathering pace.
As if that wasn’t enough, we have also just welcomed a new member of the family – two dogs and a cat aren’t enough apparently, so we’ve adopted Charlie.
We had always planned to get another dog, but possibly not just before Christmas. But my daughter was home from uni the other week and she showed me a heart-breaking video.
I had to find out more. And what I found out was terrible. I have long been involved in animal welfare, campaigning, donating, protesting, particularly pre-children. I even worked for an animal welfare charity. I’ve seen and heard some terrible things. But I have to say that some of the things that happen to these dogs are the worst things I’ve ever heard or seen. Bred for hunting, they’re cheap to buy, so those that aren’t up to scratch are kicked out, or worse. If they fail, they can be tortured – to repay the debt and alleviate the ‘shame’ of the hunter. These beautiful dogs are tortured, burned alive, buried alive, kicked, beaten, run over, even hung.
So caution went out of the window. I got in touch with Galgos del Sol and Charlie arrived from Spain a week ago. He was rescued by the charity when he was about one. He’d been abandoned, living on the streets and was absolutely covered in fleas. It took a very long time before he’d let anyone show him affection. He’s been at the rescue for two years.
He’s nervous, shy, a little bit skittish. But he’ll let me cuddle him and stoke his very long nose, and adores an ear scratch. He was soon settled enough to have a long sleep – he had had a very long trip from Murcia all the way to West Wales!
Our other dogs have accepted him without question and, fingers crossed, all is going well. He’s had lots of walks and his first trip to the vets, where he’s been given a clean bill of health.
Galgos del Sol takes in so many dogs. It’s unbelievable how many are abandoned and hurt. They’re found running along busy roads, living by motorways, thrown in skips, in bins, in wells. The founder, Tina Solera, and the staff and volunteers work tirelessly. They’re devoted and they must feel sometimes like they’re fighting a losing battle. They’re trying to educate, to change opinions, to get people to question these horrible ‘traditions’.
I know that a lot of my followers and a lot of my online friends are animal lovers. If you’re looking for a charity to support, please consider Galgos del Sol. And if you are ever thinking of adopting a dog, you can’t do much better than a galgo. Charlie, despite everything he’s been through, is fast asleep at my feet as I write this. The trust he already has in me is humbling; he doesn’t know that I’m not going to hurt him, starve him, abandon him. But his incredibly long tail thumps every time he sees me.
I know it won’t be easy, that we’ll have ups and downs, that it will take time. But he’s turning out to be a really lovely early Christmas present!