Once upon a time there was an English woman living in Seville who dreamed of having a dog. But every where she looked she saw grey concrete, areas of dust passing themselves off as parks, and the sad sight of dogs crouching embarrassedly as they do their business on narrow pavements. And so the aforementioned English woman, sensibly decided not to have a dog or puppy, after all, dogs are meant for running through green pastures, bottoms in air and noses to the ground as they follow the scent of a rabbit or some such wild creature of the region.
Sometimes though she played at owning a dog, looking after a furry friend for a weekend while its owner was away, or taking others for walks when their owner couldn’t. But this just further acted to cement her position, until one fateful day when on just such an occasion of walking an incapacitated friend’s dogs, she came across a terrified, disorientated stray bitch, wandering lost on one of the main thoroughfares circumnavigating the city centre. What to do? Turn a blind eye and walk on? Or pick the little thing up, tuck her under her arm and save her from getting squished by the passing traffic.
You may have gathered by now that I am that woman. And as I’m writing this piece, it’s not difficult to figure out the decision I made. What you won’t guess however is how I went from picking up one little dog from the streets of Seville, who is incidentally called Sunday, to now having 7 of them in my two bedroom flat. You see, dear sweet Sunday, little more than a puppy herself at just one year old, was about month pregnant, and after much soul searching and attempts to track down any owners, I decided to bite the bullet, give Sunday a roof over her head, and somewhere warm and safe to have her puppies.
Dog abandonment is a serious animal welfare issue in Spain. The social networks are rammed with animal shelters trying to find homes for every variety of canine who has found itself homeless and more often than not badly treated and neglected. Even those that are lucky enough to belong to a loving home, experience a very un-Anglo Saxon style of animal welfare, where leads are frowned on and running wild in public spaces and on the city’s streets is de rigueur. This laissez-faire style of dog discipline comes at a price, one being a greater likelihood to find yourself squishing a freshly laid dog poo as the owner is no where to be seen, or more seriously can lead to extra incidences of unwanted pregnancies as dogs are left to ´socialise´ with each other without any supervision from their owners.
At just over a month since finding Sunday, my life has been transformed. No more lie-ins until 10am, if I want to find my flat puddle free, it’s a matter of pulling on my tracksuit bottoms, throwing on a coat and stuffing my pockets full of plastic bags with a view to pounding those cobbled streets until she’s done what she needs to do and I scrape up any left over evidence. You see dog walking has become a rather functional activity, I couldn’t understand it in the past when I saw uninterested looking owners wandering the streets without a particular destination. But now I get it, in darkness at 7am in the morning or indeed last thing at night, the last thing on your mind is a nice stroll, it’s more a matter of ´let’s get this over and done with´ so I can get on with my day or go to bed.
But it’s not all doggie doom. Thanks to Sunday, I’m now part of a whole community I didn’t know existed. For one I’m now ´intimate amiga´ with all the doggie walking fraternity, from the widowed grandmother who lives for her Yorkshire terrier to the working class couple from the corner shop who regale me stories of their bull mastiffs. And when you throw taking in an abandoned pregnant dog into the equation, I’m practically a local celebrity. And that’s without even mentioning the joy that this precious little creature has brought to my life, from her total adaption to co-habiting with me, the ubiquitous rousing welcomes whenever I’ve been away from home, even if it’s just for ten minutes, to the privileged front row seat to the birth of her six puppies with all the accompanying miracles of nature. I wouldn’t change a thing.
So this blog post is a personal plea, please spread the word of my quest, it’s a tough one, but not impossible. Join my group, share it with friends, and help me find these little cuties loving homes.