Monday 29 Feb
Partner decided to walk her into town to the vet, we couldn’t feel a microchip, but who knows?
The vet wasn’t open. In fact most of town wasn’t open, unlike our village. Town was taking the 29th as a holiday because Día de Andalucía had fallen on a Sunday. Partner walked back, unimpressed. The highlight of their trip had been talking to some Canadians and an Argentinian about Gibraltar and Podencos.
Tosca (her temporary name) seemed to be gaining in confidence, and happy with her new home. A full dish of food, a water dish, two rugs inside and no one to hit her. Why would she not be happy? Beats living on the street.
Although she did try and jump over the wall when Partner took Snowy out on his own.
Tuesday 1 March
Partner and Tosca walked into town again. The vet was open. He just wasn’t there, only the dog groomer was working. But he’d be back in the evening, or on Wednesday. Partner and Tosca had another wasted 80 minute hike (about eight kms).
‘I’ll walk her in again tomorrow, I don’t like driving them in, the walk gives them time to settle down.’
After lunch, a shower, and a non-existent siesta, he announced, ‘I’m walking her in now. We’ll get this sorted.’
So off he went, on the 80 minute loop yet again. He walked part way with our neighbours who were out for a paseo (a promenade). As he approached the town, a couple stopped their car and got out.
‘That’s my dog,’ said the man (in Spanish).
‘No it isn’t,’ said Partner. ‘And she’s a bitch not a dog,’ (perra not perro).
Then he saw the number plate. Belgium.
‘Do either of you speak English?’
‘Yes,’ said the woman.
‘I’m taking her for her annual jabs to our vet so if you wish to come along with me you can. Otherwise **** off.’
‘We’re very sorry,’ said the woman, ‘we made a mistake.’ And they scuttled back into their car.
And this is the irony. Every single street dog we have homed in Spain, has been suddenly wanted by someone else. We’ve been offered good money for Pippa and Snowy, and now someone else wants Tosca two days after we rescued her. Albeit they just wanted to snaffle her.
The difference is, no one wants a raggy stray dog wandering around looking timid and fearful. Even a few days in a home with water, food, a bed, and affection, makes a difference. The tail no longer hangs low in a defensive position. The head and tail are carried high, and the walk is jaunty and confident.
Pedro spent ages going over Tosca with machines to detect a microchip. ‘If there is one, I can’t do anything. Unless there are obvious signs of abuse.’ Clearly being thrown out on the street doesn’t count as abuse. Pedro added: ‘This is Spain you know.’
The eventual verdict though: no chip. Big phew. So, she was jabbed, chipped, passported and registered to me for ninety euros. Because Podencos are hunting dogs, Pedro advises having them registered in my name, presumably on the grounds that I’m less likely to go hunting than a man.
‘She’s pretty,’ he said, ‘and it’s a lovely name.’
So after eight months with only one dog, we’re back to more of a pack.
Wednesday 2 March
We took them out early morning. The village was busy at 6.30 with three of the bars open, full of men drinking coffee and anís or maybe cognac. Campo workers were waiting for lifts, and hopefuls were hanging around on the off chance there was labour needed.
Tosca pulled like mad. Not impressed. Where was that shy, reserved dog of two days ago? I pulled a muscle in my back. Next, when we returned home, she took on guard duty as Snowy and I went for a nap. Bark. Bark. Bark.
Friday 4 March
Partner decided to pump up the tyres on the Land Rover. We’d taken it in for some new oil seals and the mechanic had advised there were some cracks. Cracks? Um.
I started emailing for prices.
Monday 7 March
We’d got prices and decided to go with a local firm up the coast. These are pricey tyres :( But, the price included IVA (VAT) and fitting. No deposit required either. Didn’t realise trust still existed.
Wednesday 9 March
Antonio had emailed me the day before to say the tyres were in. We drove up to Nerja, having no idea where the garage was. Decided to employ the usual Spanish tactic of opening our mouths (mine, invariably) and asking. No need. As we drove up the main road into town, there it was. Estupendo!
We pulled in, and I wandered up the street to see if any bars had wifi.
‘Excuse me,’ I said, when I’d got wifi signal on the iphone at one bar, ‘do you have wifi for customers?’
‘Yes,’ replied Señor Chatty.
I hotfooted it back to the garage, told Partner where I’d be and returned. I ordered a San Miguel, a sandwich vegetal, and the wifi code.
So, the toasted sandwich arrived on a plate, which luckily was huge, as the sandwich was overflowing with: lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, asparagus and egg. Plus a salad garnish of sweetcorn and grated carrot.
I was offered a sachet of tat mayonnaise and asked for aceite and vinagre instead. Some classy bottles turned up, bearing the name Flor de Málaga. Whether that was what was actually in them was anyone’s guess, but still, it was good enough.
I’d only eaten half a sandwich when Pesky Partner arrived to report on tyre progress. So my peaceful wifi interlude was speeded up, the rest of the sandwich was shovelled in, and the remaining beer was swiftly glugged.
I may not have had much wifi time but the sandwich was hellish good for €3.50. For anyone going to Nerja, El Camionero is on Avenida Pescia. The main road through town, up from the bus station/stop. They probably speak English, it is Nerja after all.
On the way back, we took a country road detour to our local market town. We’d got the address of a vet, who our neighbours recommended, for getting Tosca spayed. We knew roughly where the clinic was, but it looked like another ‘Where is … ?’ scenario.
We parked up and walked around the streets we thought it might be located in.
‘Hey, there’s a streetsweeper. Let’s ask him.’ And as I said it, I looked up and saw a sign with animals on. Bingo. Off we walked up the street to the tiniest clinic ever.
Eventually, one of the staff came out.
‘How much to stop our new dog having puppies?’ we said in wonderful Spanish. (We didn’t know Spanish for spay although everyone around here calls it ‘castrar’. Of course.)
‘Bring her tomorrow. Nine thirty.’
It had turned into an expensive two weeks. Although the tyres were still more expensive than homing the dog.