I am writing this in the hope that if you are in any doubt about adopting an abandoned animal from the street or from a dog pound I may change your mind.
Like many places in the world Andalucia has a serious problem relating to abandoned animals – but this is a problema not just confined to here. The municipal animal pounds where strays are taken have no alternative but to destroy perfectly healthy, well behaved animals for no other reason than to make room for more.
There are many people doing amazing work to raise funding and find safe homes all over Europe for hundreds of animals. This is however treating the symptom and not the cause.
The culture of not sterilizing animals and abandoning pups and kittens is often prevalent – it certainly is here. With education and assistance this can be changed, Here in El Valle de Lecrin for example there is an organisation called the Lecrin Animal Welfare Group which was started with the main objective to raise funds and, with the cooperation of the local vets, to educate and assist people in the area to sterilise their animals.
In the meantime we must try to look after the animals that need homes. Adopting an animal is not always easy as they can come with complex behavioural issues – but with kindness and clear, consistent discipline and routine they can settle in and feel secure surprisingly quickly
I do not under estimate that there is a risk in taking on the unknown. These animals come with very little historical information. But trusting your instincts is important when you find a dog you connect with.
Orange Blossom and Pip
My husband Chris and I have watched in awe the work and success of Jacqui Ross and her friends near Malaga and decided that despite having two large young (previously abandoned) dogs, 4 cats and a business to run, we would adopt a small bitch. On the 1st April this year we went to the Parerra in Malaga and met Jacqui (a force of nature and no mistake) and adopted Orange Blossom (Flossy). She had been in the pound 9 months. About three weeks later we discovered that Flossy’s brother was still in the pound after 10 months and was in danger of being euthanized. On the 28th April we collected him and brother and sister were reunited.
When they each arrived they exhibited behaviours typical of dogs that had been caged up for so long. They would not eat or drink sufficiently or normally. They snatched food from the bowl and ran to a corner to eat it. Within seconds of arriving in the house Flossy found a safe place behind and between the pillows on our bed and would not leave. Pip had more confidence but kept away from us and the other dogs and cats – retreating to the sofa.
Within two weeks of Pip arriving they were both eating normally and playing and sleeping with Rupert and
Very sadly Pip was diagnosed with an incurable disease a year after we brought him home and we had to let him go – it illustrates the unexpected, risks and sadnesses relating to rescue dogs. We were however able to at least ensure he was with Flossie, happy and comfortable until the end.
Flossie has only had to be put in her place a couple of times by the cats and now often can be found sleeping alongside them too. She now eats happily with the other dogs without fear and has her own pillow and lies on top of it – not behind it. This has gradually moved to a more suitable spot. She greets our guests politely and is teaching our two young hulking great over confident hooligans some manners! They all walk daily with my husband and sometimes with guests and come joyfully rushing into the house on their return smelling of the wild rosemary, thyme and lavender that grows on the hills around us. She is healthy, happy and safe and are already giving back more love and pleasure than we could have ever imagined.