Vicki Thomas used to live in Spain but has now returned to the UK. She left behind her podenco/labrador Leon until his pet passport was in order for him to join them. She decided to bring him back from southern Spain by car, and to adopt another podenco to take back to the UK at the same time. She contacted me through Galgo News and I was able to give her the names of 2 associations in Spain who were likely to have podencos with a pet passport for the UK.
Vicki tells the story of her adventure.
Leon was found along with his 7 brothers and sisters dumped in a rubbish bin in La Cala, Mijas. They were a couple of days old and were suffering from chemical burns but had managed to fight their way through the rubbish so that they could be heard from the street.
At six weeks all of the puppies where given to a kennel,apart from Leon who was too sick to go. He stayed with the family that found them until he was a year old, when they gave him to a rescue centre as they couldn’t look after him anymore. Six months later, we discovered Leon, and took him home. After another six months we found out that we had to go back to the UK, and started the pet passport procedures to make sure he could come back to the UK with us after the 6 month waiting period.
Being really upset to leave Leon, and knowing that he had already had such a bad start to his young life, I searched far and wide to find a kennel that would look after him. I wanted to make sure he would be allowed enough exercise, be treated with love and care and which would also not charge the earth. To my great relief I discovered Alpha Dog World in Cadiz. As a rescue centre, kennels and dog training school,they really looked after him through the dark cold winter months.
I knew that I could not afford to have Leon sent to the UK by plane, so resigned myself to the fact that I would have to drive him back. I had driven from Spain to the UK a few times before but had never taken any pets with me, so was a little apprehensive about getting him to the UK. Even so, I knew there were so many dogs in Spain either stuck in kennels or, at worst, like the poor galgos, suffering terrible mistreatment, and thought that I should or could do something to help.
I started emailing various kennels and galgo associations, saying that I could adopt another dog, and bring it back to the UK with me when I picked up Leon. At first many of the charities said that they didn’t know of any dogs with UK pet passports in place. I was given the names of Pro-Galgo which had 2 dogs which were being adopted in the UK and needed to travel back there at the same time as I would be driving there. I was also told about Ibizan Hound Rescue in Almeria, who had quite a few dogs ready to adopt with their pet passports in place.
Dolly was found wandering around a nearby petrol station in Almeria. She was rescued and had been in the living in the kennels for about a year. So before I knew it Leon had finished his waiting period and I had adopted the lovely Dolly and had a further two dogs to bring back with us to the UK!!
I have to admit I was quite nervous about bringing the dogs back, especially as I would be travelling alone with my young child. I needn’t have worried though, as the network of rescue associations I had spoken to helped and advised me of all the fine details. They even arranged for us to stay with them before picking the dogs up, had arranged an overnight stay en-route and even had Leon brought up from Cadiz to Barcelona to save me some travelling time.
All in all it took just a couple of days to drive across Spain from Barcelona through France to Dieppe where I was picking the ferry up. The dogs were brilliant, they slept most of the way and hardly made any fuss at all, especially as two of the dogs were quite nervous, which meant we couldn’t take them out for long walks, just occasional stops. When we got to Dieppe, they sorted out all the paperwork without any fuss and then sent it onto the UK, so that it was already sorted out being even stepping on the boat.
The looks on the faces of Leon and Dolly when they had their first taste of the English countryside was completely worth any slight apprehension I might have had before setting out on the journey. It gave me an enormous amount of satisfaction in the knowledge that we done just a little part in helping two other rescue dogs find new homes too.
I would do it all again tomorrow if I could and knowing that there are so many eager dogs just waiting for a chance of a new home probably means that I will do it all again, some day....'
If anyone is inspired to do what Vicki did, then don't hesitate to contact the associations and myself, so we can give you all the help and support you need to rehome these very deserving galgos and podencos.