Cassie and Charlie - a tale of two Spanish puppies rescued from being drowned.
When my husband and I moved to Spain in 2003, our cat Rika aged 12, and dog Suki, aged 11 came with us. (I shall write about the logistiscs of getting them from the UK to southern Spain over a 5 day journey in another hub!).
One thing we were both very clear about, was that these were going to be our very last pets. As much as we had loved all of the animals that had shared our lives over the previous 30 years, we now wanted to be free to explore our new country, take off for exotic locations, or even return to the UK to visit friends & family as the mood took us, without worrying about who was going to care for our extended family.
We were just settling nicely into our new lifestyle when, one day, while sitting outside a café in our local village, we spotted a young tabby kitten dodging the crazy traffic to make forays under the tables to gobble up any stray pieces of food that may have landed on the pavement.
We were back at the café the next day, and so was she - and, after watching her almost being squashed under the wheels of a truck, we made a decision - she was going to come back with us to our house in the campo (countryside) and take her chances there. She was not, definitely not, going to be allowed in the house - we were just giving her giving her a chance of surviving her kittenhood.
Inevitably, within a couple of days, she was happily making herself at home on the settee and, her favourite resting place, on top of the nice warm TV. She, of course, now deserved a name so we named her after the Coviran supermarket where we first saw her and Covi-cat now became an official family member!
She and Suki also became inseparable friends as the dog became older and frailer - and as the dog aged and started to go blind - little Covi-cat was never far from her side at all times.
One day, about two years after we had moved to Spain, I had a frantic phone call from a friend - did I know any one who could home a puppy from a litter of five that had been born the previous day? My friend was having some building work done in her house and the Spanish builder turned up every morning accompanied by a couple of his dogs.
One of these, Sara, was pregnant for the third time and when it came to having her pups, she decided that my friend's bathroom was her preferred nursery! She duly produced five adorable pups - four dogs and a bitch and when asked if he had homes ready for them, he replied that - no, he'd simply leave them with the mother for a couple of days to drain off some milk and then take them away and drown them - unless she could come up with an alternative plan - hence her frantic ringing around everyone she knew.
I looked at my husband and explained the situation, could we possibly ......?
We eventually decided to go and "take just a look" at the little female - yes, fatal I know! When we got there the little female pup was lying entwined with one of the little dogs - "they're always cuddled up together" said my friend - and that was that - six weeks later our family increased by two more!
Homes were found for the other three, my friend adopting one - plus his mother - who was subsequently spayed so that she could enjoy the rest of her life without bringing more unwanted pups into the world.
When they were about seven weeks old, we went to my friend's house and collected them - complete with a comfort blanket which had familiar smells to reassure them in their first few days in their new home. We named them Charlie & Cassie - it just seemed to suit them - although for the first few weeks we referred to them as 'the gremlins' as sometimes they were hard to tell apart as they scooted about the house at lightening speed.
It was hard to keep tabs on them all the time as they were so adventurous and energetic, usually together, but often running off in different directions. Our house is on a hillside with many sheer drops off the terraces - not to mention the 6 foot deep swimming pool! It was exhausting keeping up with them, so my husband made a large play pen out of chicken wire that was moveable so we could put it on a shady terrace in the day time, and it made a safe sleeping place inside at night.
Gradually, of course, they became more aware of their surroundings and gained in confidence spending hours exploring the land around our house always together and looking after each other - on one occasion we were walking with them and they were exploring a dried-up river bed, Charlie managed to scramble up the steep bank to get back to the path but Cassie was struggling and started to slide back down - Charlie immediately grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and pulled her up to the top of the slope! I was glad that both of us saw this happen - I don't think anyone would have believed us on our own.
Now, eight years on, they are happy and healthy, have had a lot of fun in their lives and have given us so much love and affection - they have been a joy to look after - as for 'no more animals' ........ we currently have six rescue dogs and four rescue cats!
Some of their stories will be added soon.
Local animal charities in Spain are trying to help.
Sadly there are so many abandoned, abused and neglected animals here in our part of Spain although, gradually, things are starting to improve with better education of children and more acceptance of the need for a neutering programme to keep down the numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens being born.
Several charities have started up in the area, CAS - the Costa Animal Society has links to charities based in Germany, Holland, Austria etc. These countries tend to have a more stringent neutering programme and consquently there are far fewer stray and abandoned animals therefore many people have started to adopt puppies and dogs from Spain.
They are generally flown out to be greeted by their new families at the airport amongst scenes of much happiness and waggy tails! It is great to hear the success stories and lovely when their owners send photos of them settled in their new lives.
The Axarquia Online Animal Rescue/Re-homing group was recently set up as a spin off from the Axarquia Online Carboot group where people where asked to make donations to help animals whenever they bought or sold goods - it has gone from strength to strength helping with adoptions and raising funds to pay for neutering and general vets fees - making a huge difference to animals in our small part of Spain!
They now have a website for anyone to access information who may not be on facebook
STOP PRESS! ..... If you shop online please follow the link to donate much needed funds to AAR ... It costs you absolutely NOTHING. and all the major online retailers - amazon, John Lewis, M&S, Next etc etc are there.... all you need to do is to register with Easy Fundraising...
To do this click on the link and start DONATING TODAY.
Paws For Thought - also on facebook - have a great track record in rehoming animals from southern Spain -