Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Surprise, surprise!

I'm not actually sure who is more surprised, you or me! My two cats, one special and one a rescued 'moggy', were always part of the plan when we moved here, but dogs weren't. However we are really upset by the number of abandoned dogs there are out here. Some of these are from Spanish people who find themselves with unwanted puppies. They have a different attitude from us about animals and the vets refuse to put healthy animals to sleep, so they just dump them, often near a British house as they know we are more soft-hearted when it comes to animals, and we will take them and try to find homes for them. Unfortunately there are also a lot of ex-pats who for financial or other reasons, have had to return to UK, and if they cannot re home their pets they leave them at the rescue centres which are inundated with strays right now. So we talked about possibly taking a young dog in, as company for us, and to encourage us to go walking more. I know everyone thinks of me as the cat woman, but Chris has always preferred dogs, and has a particularly soft spot for Alsatians as his family had a beautiful one when he was a boy. So when we heard that there were a pair of Alsatian-cross puppies abandoned up at Cantoria, who were being cared for by the English lady who found them, but who desperately needed a permanent home, we said we would go and meet them. Of course I fell for the dark one which is a girl, (I think she is like a big teddy bear!), and Chris liked the lighter boy. They are used to one another's company and would have been very sad had we separated them, so we said we would have them both. The dark one we have called Michaela, but she'll usually be MIki, and the pale one is Chico which is Spanish for 'boy'. For strays who have looked after themselves so far, (the lady who found them runs a business so they have been on their own all day), they are remarkably well behaved and friendly. We think they are very trainable, and of course, we now have the space, and the time to give them lots of attention. Even with the kittens, they have been very good, and both the kittens stand their ground and hiss and growl if the dogs get too close. In fact the dogs get on better with the kittens, than the kittens get on with one another. When we first brought the puppies home, Chris was sitting on the floor with them and I brought the cats out to meet them. At first they both took refuge in Chris' lap and stared out wide eyed at these huge intruders. It's the first time they have shown a united front. But before long they were teasing the dogs and then hiding under something small where the dogs couldn't reach them. Both the kittens came from homes where there was a dog, so they are sort of used to them, and it seems to be making them more tolerant of one another. I even caught them feeding together this evening. You can see from this photo how much Paco has grown already. When we took Destino for her first visit to the vet, they wanted to weigh her but she didn't register anything on their scales. Even when the assistant weighed herself, and then weighed again holding Destino, there was no change, but when I got home I put her in a high sided basin on my cooking scales and she was just 460 grams, (around 1 lb). She's just a ball of fluff really, but Paco is quite a solid little body now. He weighed in at 996g, more than double Destino's weight. I can see we are in for some fun over the next few weeks, but I am sure very soon we will all be one big happy family!

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