The alarm goes off at 3.00 am, the start of what is going to be a long day. First I have to go from Salamanco to Medina del Campo to pick up the truck in which we will bring the dogs to the shelter. We have already one hurdle to go but it won’t stop us, the car in which I have to go to Medina has a broken transmission only 27 km from reaching Medina so at 3.45 we warn the road assistance and at 5.00 things have been solved and I pick up the truck where we start our trip that will get us to Sevilla, Huelva, Badajoz en Caceres before we return to Medina del Campo, a trip of over 1600 km. At 8.15 the first stop is Santiponce, where a mother and daughter and two girls hand over 6 galgos, one of them with a broken shoulder, one of them a baby of just about 6 months that they found when it was tiny and had to bottle feed, these are sad moments of hope when they hand over the first dogs on a long list. At 11.00 the second stop is Sevilla, where we think we can pick up 12 galgos, 9 of them cannot be handed over because the galguero is not at the agreed site. I can still see the face of the girl and her tears for the fate of these 9, we can only take 3 galgos but we will do our best to get in touch to be able to pick up the other 9 later on, but unfortunately we can’t. 12.40 we arrive in Ingueros, Huelva where someone I know awaits me, 7 dogs more and we pass by the doghouse for 10 podencos that we have to get out of there.. after driving 30 minutes we arrive there and what a surprise there is no trace of these 10 dogs! We do our best to get as many of them out of there and at this point in the journey I will pause to describe the most horrific images I have seen since I started working for the shelters.. everywhere I look I see dogs that are just flesh over bones, I see mange, fear, mange, a lot of mange, 5 big sized dogs with just two feeders meant for a Chihuahua, more skeletons and more mange. My god, I just think about how well our dogs are in the shelter (at this moment while writing this tears are coming to my eyes). I see a pitbull that is only a pitbull in name, because he should weigh abt 35kg and now weighs only abt 7 kg with a terrible wound on his backside, in very bad shape and I ask myself where the veterinary doctors of this place are? (At the end of the trip I got word that the dog died, certainly for lack of food). We continue looking in zone 6 which is even harder, where I see two skeletons one of which has just become a mother and the other, a Bodeguero who will soon become one. I don’t know how the pups can walk, they are so hungry and you can only tell that the Bodeguero is pregnant because of the protruding belly out of her skeleton. What will become of her and her pups? More mange and hunger, what is happening in this place? I have to be strong because the girl that came with me cannot stop crying, we try to get as many out as possible but only the ones having a chip can get out.. very clever because of the 200 in there we can only get the one with chip out, of course paying for the corresponding tax. I am not saying anything to the one responsible there as not to ruin the work of the girl in the neighbourhood because they would not let her enter there anymore and continue her wonderful work which is saving as many dogs as possible from being put down. (Most probable the fate the 10 pondencos have met). Those who know me, know I don’t shy from saying what needs to be said but in this case I have to keep my tongue in check. I leave the place with the hope that our loyal friend will go back there for the pregnant Bodeguero (when writing this, I was informed that she has given birth in the meantime and has eaten her young, which would be normal because she needs to eat something).
16.45 we arrive at Badajoz for a quick stop, clean and well organized by the guys in this area, 11 galgos of which only one in bad condition, 18.00 arriving in Caceres where 2 girls and 4 galgos are waiting for me. They were worried because on the trip of December 25 we could not pick up about 10 dogs they had collected in the previous days, so they were happy to be able to hand over these 4 galgos. 21.00 we arrive at the shelter and take each dog to its respective patio.. 18 hours later I am satisfied of the work we have done as a group in each city we have been, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth because of the gate of the 9 galgos we could not pick up and the horrific images in the doghouse that I have seen. Thanks Scooby for letting me be a part of their big family and hope for a better life for the animals