Living in Spain we are surrounded by heartbreaking stories of mistreated and abandoned animals all year. The sheer scale of the problem of the treatment of animals here beggars belief at times. But, if it weren’t for the tireless work of many volunteers of all nationalities, often with little or no thanks and or money, the problem would be far worse.
Coming up to Christmas we thought it would be appropriate to share one of the stories that ends happily (many don’t). Meet Spud. Spud, although he doesn’t know it yet, is very a lucky boy. Spud is proof that there’s always hope, even for the toughest of cases.
Before being rescued from the local perrera (“pound” if you don’t live in Spain) by Clair Spettigue from Give a Dog a Home Rescue Málaga, Spud’s future was not looking good as recently as November. At the time he was scared, malnourished and unhappy, he was also suffering from a problem with his eyes and from leishmaniasis (a common problem with dogs here in Spain) which needs controlling with drugs on a regular basis. Despite all these issues Clair took a shine to spud, who’s around five years old, and rescued him and his two cell mates from almost certain death. Spud was so scared at the time he was unable to walk and had to be carried out of the perrera to the car. As they say, the love of a good woman can solve many problems and Spud has now returned to good health after an operation for his inverted eyelids, some decent nutrition and a lot of tender loving care.
As if getting rescued from the pound and getting nursed back to health wasn’t luck enough. Spud had some more luck in store. Sat in the UK and following his progress on Facebook are Bronwyn and her husband David who, unbeknown to him, had absolutely fallen head over heels in love with this handsome chap. When I saw the photograph of Bronwyn with Spud on Facebook I felt compelled to find out a bit more. What kind of wonderful or perhaps crazy (or more likely a bit of both) person can fall in love with a dog in this way? So much so that they’d fly out for 24 hours with the sole purpose of meeting him. So, I got in touch with Bronwen to find out….
Alan: Did you know Clair and her organisation from travels out here?
Bronwyn: We had actually never met Clair and knew very little about Give A Dog A Home Malaga until we saw the post of Spud shared online. It was from there that I got in touch with Clair and became part of their Facebook group which allowed me to see the extent of what Clair and her extraordinary friends do.
Alan: How did you come across Spud?
Bronwyn: By accident! Or fate? I think the original post of Spud’s story had been ‘shared’ on Facebook over 500 times to date. I saw it shared into a dog-related Facebook group that I am a part of. There were so many comments and already a lot of people had shared the post on their timelines; so I thought he was sure to have been offered a home already. I sent the link to my husband and e-mailed Clair that evening.
Alan: What was it that got you hooked on him enough to fly out for a 24 hour visit?
Bronwyn: Clair invited me out to meet Spud and initially I declined. Not only is December a very busy month for us but I thought it was crazy – flying to Malaga to be met by someone who was effectively a stranger and be taken to see a dog that I’d only seen a few pictures and videos of. But clearly I like to walk on the wild side because, having slept on it, I messaged Clair the next day and told her I’d be delighted to come. The only time I could fit was over a weekend and meant that I’d be in Malaga for less than 24 hours but I wanted to meet the dog whose heart-wrenching pictures had captivated me and whose videos I had replayed over and over.
Alan: During the visit, what was it about his character that made you commit to having him?
Bronwyn: I got to spend some one on one time with Spud, which was great. He is such a gentle – albeit wary – dog. While we were sat on the terrace I opened a can of Coke and the noise scared him so much that he ran to the other side. I had to slowly coax him back and eventually he came and sniffed the Coke can and then tried to lick it! I like that about Spud, he’s curious and inquisitive. There’s no denying that he’s a bit of a broken dog but he has buckets of potential. Once it got a little bit chilly we came inside and he hopped up onto the sofa, wrapped himself into a ball and went to sleep. Well, I thought we’ve got a Spud-sized place on our sofa that I think he’d love!
Alan: …and the big one. When will he get to you?
Bronwyn: We are expecting Spud to make his journey over to us with PETS Transport in January. And of course, we can hardly wait! I am particularly happy to be rehoming a dog through Clair and the ladies with whom she works – Sarah and Dawn in particular – as it is no secret that they do not have the many resources that some of our UK rehoming centres do. I am pleased that we can relieve them of a dog and make space for another to take Spud’s place.
He doesn’t know it yet, but all Spud’s dreams have come true!
With Christmas coming remember Clair and the many other individuals and organisations around the country who give their time, money and energy to help animals just like Spud all year round, often fighting an endless battle with little thanks. You all have our respect and admiration for what you do!
You can contact Clair and her friends via the Give a Dog a Home Rescue Malaga Facebook group if you want to adopt a dog, help financially or offer any other support.