From street life to sweet life….
The above heading is borrowed from Galgos Del Sol, one of the charities we are supporting, but it sums up Chica’s story perfectly..
In October 2016 we lost Finn, my beautiful lurcher. We had been together for eleven years and I was completely devastated. I know we all say this, but he was a very special dog indeed. I was booked to go to Spain with a friend two days later and though I would have rather stayed under the bedclothes and wept for ever, I went along.
But it seems that nature abhors a doggie vacuum! Two days later, as we were sheltering in a bar from the pouring rain, someone brought in a pup they had found stuck in a storm drain. She was dripping wet, cold and terrified, and clearly half-starved.
No-one in the bar was interested in a stray dog so we took her back to our lodgings, dried her off, fed her and gave her a comfy blanket. She finally stopped shivering and slept. In the meantime, we learned that she had been hanging around the village for a while, trying to eke a living on the street. She had apparently belonged to a local hunter who bred a litter every year, took his pick and chucked the rest out. It’s a common enough story!
I doubt she had ever had enough to eat and we had to feed her carefully to stop her gorging. Even now, four years on, she will still eat until she nearly explodes, given the chance. They never forget the time when they were hungry. We took her out on the lead and she trotted along beside us clearly thinking that things were looking up and she’d stick with us. She was perfect in the car too. Even when we left her for ten minutes (but within sight), she just curled up and went to sleep. She seemed to understand that she was safe now.
Chica means ‘little girl’ in Spanish and it suited her so we decided on that, at least temporarily. But it stuck and Chica she remains, (though now this often gets corrupted to Cheeks or Squeaks). We had a lovely week taking her for walks and watching her gain confidence. I had called Tom back in the UK the day we found her and being at least as soft as I am, he told me to do whatever was necessary – he’d cover the cost. She had a check-up and a rabies jab, necessary for her to get a passport. She was fine and although underweight, she was already filling out and looking much happier.
There is however a waiting time of 45 days between having the inoculations and being able to travel so we were going to have to leave her. She couldn’t fly back with us anyway. We found a good kennels where we knew she’d be well looked-after, but it was still difficult to walk away.
Just after Christmas, Tom and I drove down to Spain and Tom met her for the first time. She was well (but fat) and very happy. She was introduced to our other two dogs, Arthur, the lurcher, and Merlin, the patterdale, and they spent the next few weeks getting to know each other before we headed back to the UK. We had a scare at Calais when Chica’s passport was declared invalid – the vet giving her the rabies jab hadn’t stamped it. So we had to rush to a Calais vet to sort it out. Chica is therefore a Spanish dog, with a French passport living in the UK.
She, of course, couldn’t care less – she’s warm, well-fed and loved. It could have been so different.