The chocolate brown eyes looked lovingly up at me from inside Manolo’s coat. ‘Oh you little darling’ I said, lifting the puppy from Manolo’s arms and taking the furry bundle into my own. ‘He is a gift for you and Pedro, a house warming present’. I looked at Manolo and smiled. It was very kind of him but I knew exactly what Irishman was going to say and, sure as eggs are eggs, the minute he came out of the house to see what all the fuss was about I heard the words ‘NO! ABSOLUTELY, CATEGORICALLY 100% NO!
‘But, please’ I begged, ‘Please Irishman?’ ‘He’s so sweet. You know if we don’t take him he will end up on the end of a chain somewhere, living outside like all the other dogs round here’ ‘Lottieness, we’ve got to be sensible, I know you love him but the house is in chaos, there’s rubble everywhere, the last thing we need is to be wading through puddles of puppy shit and pee and it’s not fair on him either. There’s enough madness already’ I knew that he was right; Now was not the time to be taking on the responsibility of a puppy. With a heavy heart I handed the tiny Podengo pup back to Manolo. ‘I’m so sorry Manolo, you are very kind but we really cannot take a puppy right now’ Manolo looked crestfallen as I handed the puppy back to him ‘I’ll have more puppies next year, you can have one then’ ‘Yes, maybe’ I said and then immediately regreted it.
We’d been living in the village for about a month when one day out walking we came across a very affectionate dog. He had the markings of a Jack Russell terrier but had longer legs, and sticky up ears. I made enquiries about him and found out that he belonged to the wife of a farmer down the road. I went and had a talk to her and she told me that he was a Rattonero Bodeguero Andaluz. I looked this breed up and sure enough they first bred in Jerez by an Englishman from Jack Russell stock. They were bred for the purpose of keeping mice and rats out of the wine cellars.
Irishman was still not sure that we were ready to take on a new pet but I was impatient. We’d agreed that whatever dog we got, it had to be a rescue dog. I registered on a site called Spanimal who in turn suggested that I should also join some groups involved with dog rescue on Facebook. It soon became clear that Spain has a lot of people working tirelessly finding homes and looking after the 1000’s of dogs that are abandoned or lost or strayed each year. I contacted a couple of people and began our search for a dog. There were so many beauties, so many that I longed to give a home to but we really liked the bodeguero type and I felt sure that somewhere out there, there must be one needing a home. I put a message out that I was looking for a Rattonero Bodeguero. Hardly a day had passed before I got word that there was a young male dog, fitting that description near Alicante.
Two weeks later Colin Snout landed in our lives. Irishman was working the UK when I went to collect young Snout. Apparently, his callous owners had left him tied up in their garden with just some biscuits when they moved house. Fortunately someone found him and he was taken to a kennels where he was looked after and cared for. For over a year he waited patiently for a new home.
Even though I fell in love with him at first sight, the first few days he was quite shy and very quiet. I was a little concerned as the days passed, that I may have just given a home to the world’s most boring dog. He didn’t bark, he didn’t play, he mostly slept and he only seemed totally relaxed and at ease when I took him to bed at night and slept with him in my arms (I’ve just read this post out to Irishman. He insists that I write that the short period when C.S slept in bed with me was when Irishman was away on business. There is no way that Irishman would ever entertain having a farting canine sleeping in our bed.)
And then one morning a miracle happened, he woke up and barked! Suddenly it was if we had a new dog! Colin Snout has now gone from strength to strength. He trusts us and loves us as we totally dote on him. He pretty much has us under his paw. He is incredibly bossy; if meals are running 10 minutes late or walks are postponed because of work or bad weather, he really makes sure to let us know that he’s not impressed. He stands by his bowl and then pushes it noisily with his paw or, he walks over to where his lead is hanging and then comes and nudges us as if to say ‘OY! Get off your fat butts and take me out!’ He is very good in the house and very clean considering that he’d been in kennels so long but around Christmas there was a spate of C.Snout leaving ‘Yule Logs’ around the house. Fortunately these days, C.Snouts ‘Yule Log’ production is mostly saved for outside.
Although there are literally hundreds of dogs abandoned and dumped in Spain each year, a few of the dogs picked up are just lost and could easily be reunited with their owners if they have a microchip. There’s a big push to get dogs chipped here and it’s not expensive, it could also save a lot of heartache for both you and your dog.
There a many charities for dog and cat rescue in Spain but I am listing here the ones that I have dealt with personally.
Here is the Facebook page of the fantastic HOVAR where we were lucky enough to find Colin Snout.
Please contact them if you are able to foster or give a dog a new home, or recommend them to friends. Donations are always welcome!
And, if you are interested, here is something about C. Snouts breed