Tuesday, 26 August 2014

When writing takes a back seat to a dog.

I try to write, I really do. At my last sitting a put down 2,500 words, but that was three (four?) days ago now and I haven't been able to get back to it at all.

Animals and the Spanish

Animals are partly to blame. You see, I live in a country where animals are treated merely as a commodity, with very little love shown to them if any. I live in Spain, a country famous for its bull fighting and bull running and numerous other 'traditional activities' which usually mean an animal has to suffer to please the people.


In the small region where I live (La Rioja, pop: 320,000), 5,000 dogs are abandoned each summer when families take off for three months vacation, the dog being nothing more than a costly nuisance. If it is there when they come back, they might even take it in again.  Over 300,000 pets are abandoned in Spain EVERY year, the worst country for abandonment in the European Union. After 10 days, Spanish law says they must be killed.


Me with Pitbulls ELTON (L) and Rasta (R)
Elton cuddles up to my wife
What's this to do with my writing? Well, due to my love for animals and in an attempt to make up for the Spanish indifference to their animals, I recently went to the local charitable dogs' home, (AsociaciĆ³n Protectora de Animales en La Rioja) with my wife to see if we could help at all. The amazing volunteers there collect dogs from the local government killing houses and attempt to give them a longer life at the shelter, trying to have them adopted by people who care. We sponsored two Pitbulls, simply because they told us NOBODY will have anything to do with them due to the negative publicity re the breed, and because they were two of the friendliest dogs I have ever met. It means that we now drive the 25 mins to the shelter each day and take the two dogs out for a walk. They love it, and so do we.

Own dogs

This is on top of my own two dogs. Nina the Dalmatian was bought in Spain and - due to inconsiderate breeding - is 100% deaf. She is now 12 years old and doing fine, capable of understanding at least 15 hand signals. Adah is a 9 month old German Shepherd we bought in La Rioja. Today we confirmed that she has severe Dysplasia in both hips and needs an operation. She is in so much pain and I feared we were going to lose her. Dysplasia is very common in Spain, as most people just breed any dog to make a profit with little thought for the welfare of the dog.

Adah (L) and Nina (R)
I'll never BUY another dog in Spain as I can't trust the people to care enough to breed healthy animals, but I will go to the shelter and adopt dogs from there. If I had space, I'd take in Elton and Rasta tomorrow.

As for my writing, it seems a tad irrelevant right now.

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