Day 163: TRYING TO CATCH A LOST GALGO ..(CONCLUSION)
Angry, hot, frustrated and vaguely drunk. The rescue story comes to a conclusion. Or does it?
I had a few hours to wait before I was to go back and meet my Spanish dog-catching women to try and rescue the Galgo and Podenco.
Let’s call them Biggy and Smalls for now, we can only hope their mother’s loved them enough to give them proper names.
I found myself back in the carpark of Lidl at 3pm feeling decidely tipsy and staring longingly through the window at the three-for-two offer on the white chocolate bars.
This was not good.
The only other male on the trip, my interpreter, had to go home to his kids (a really lovely chap, he had lost his long-standing job in the recession) and so I dropped him at our inital rendevous via a trip to the local pub for some tapas. His suggestion.
I’m a lightweight drinker and a heavy weight eater. This is a bad combo in Spain where child-sized portions of Spanish omelet are served with man-sized local beers. It turns me into a child-man of sorts. I got very upset to see that a lovely pet dog in the bar – owned by a local old man – also had a mark on his stomach from some sort of wire. What is wrong out here?
I ran a few circles around Lidl like a confused Englishman. I drank water and chastised myself. I shook my head like a duck coming out of water. . Sober up Martin…for the dogs. For the readers.
A few hours later I felt a little better. Thank god Spanish have siestas and few people saw me.
Sign language, bins and nets
As the sun started to set I met with my four Spanish women again.
They had a net with them. I had no Spanish. I was now so desperate to catch the suffering Podenco that I tried to explain my plan: I wanted to climb on top of one of the tall dustbins by the side of which we woudl lay some food and then jump down with the net onto teh dog. Like that! The women looked at me confused. I wondered what the spanish word for ‘idiot’ was. I decided I would let the experts take control.
We didn’t ahve to wait long before the dogs appeared in the late evening sun. We stationed ourselves a little away from the bins where we had left some food and where we knew they would come looking for scraps. As darkness quickly descended we waited for our moment.
They approached along the side of the main road. My heart paused as I watched both dogs drift toward the traffic in the ever decreasing light. Neither the dogs nor the cars seemed to care of each other and it was astonishing no one was hit. Head lamps swooshed past and lit up the dog’s silhouettes revealing their fragile forms. I had seen enough photos of broken Galgo legs to not want to see any more.
They then came toward us and took some of the food.
A dance of hope
Carmen, one of the most experienced with dog rescue, approached gingerly. Barely visible in the dusty night, she came within a few feet of the dogs. She then moved away from them a little, teasing them nearer, they moved closer to her, she then moved closer to them, they moved back. For a long time there was an agonising and protracted dance of longing and distrust . The dogs wanted food but not the human hand that came with it.
These back and forth movements were symbolic and deeply sad to me: there in micocosm was the task facing the world on a much larger scale – the need to heal the broken divide between man and the animals we abuse and I was watching the effort fall short. No fault of Carmen. Fault of the hunters.
The Podenco, Smalls, was – of course – far behind Biggy, sitting in his own darkness and doubt. Leave that task to my big brother, too risky for me.
If only they knew. If only they knew how much better they would have it if we could reach them and let Charlotte’s love touch them.
I’m sad to say that we didn’t catch these dogs. It was impossible.
This is not the ending you, or I, wanted.
Since my flight was the very next day I write this from England with a heavy heart. I very much wanted to tell you about the neat happy ending and about cutting off that barbed wire or string from Smalls’ waist – CLIP….ahhh – but I think, in a way, that this is a better story.
Why? Because it is true. Happy endings are rare in this game. Both of these dogs are still out there, cold at night, dodging traffic by day.
So why carry on reading this story and blog?
Please please don’t turn away at this point. It would be easy to shut down and switch off because there is no simple ending. But this is all the MORE reason that we must keep our eyes and hearts open. It is because we can’t always help that when we do have the opportunity to help we must seize the moment.
Does that make back-to-front sense?
Charlotte told me today: ‘we see these souls and we cna’t reach them. This is what is hard..’
So…helping is not the challenge. NOT helping is the challenge. And if you read this words and feel bad, then that is already something positive. It may not seem so but it is something.
I heard today from one of the Spanish women, via an english lady of course (hand signals don’t work over the internet), that they had gone back again to try and get Biggy and Smalls. Apparently the Galgo can be reached but not Smalls, the Podenco – he is too terrified and it is impossible. They made the decision, rightly, to not separate them but they will try again and go back. I will keep you posted.
Ow. That hurts.
I’m meant to be moving on to part TWO of this journey, working with wild animals (in India) but I have to say, despite my previous statement, this one is hurting me deeply. Maybe I should go back and try again. Another flight, more hotels, more photos. But for what? For not reaching this dog? Maybe he has already been hit by a car. And altough the days are warm the nights are deadly cold. I am torn between head and heart on this one.
If anyone has any further thoughts on what to do I’m all ears.
Please hope and pray for both these dogs.