Sunday, September 2, 2018

Spring 2018: Best of Times with Marie in Germany and with Nancy and Nancy in Spain

Spring 2018 Trip
Galgo Puppy :-)

In April, 2018, I made a visit to my dear friend, Marie in Aachen, Germany, and then met up with my two other dear ones, Nancy Young Hanson and Nancy Waddell, fellow Scooby volunteers, in Medina del Campo, Spain. I am so overdue in telling you about this wonderful trip.

Me and Marie!

Flew into Aachen via SFO to London. Great flight with extra seat in between made it more relaxing. Fun to be in London for a brief time. I so want to spend more time there!  Crazy gate change had all of us running to our connection to Aachen. All worked out and, once again, had an entire row to myself on the connection. Arrived to meet up with my dear, Marie and beloved Scooby dog, Abba, at the airport. I'm always so delighted that Abba remembers me, every time I visit. Dogs have such an amazing memory!  Marie and I had such a wonderful visit, as always. I had a lot of time to rest and catch up on sleep, while she tutored her pupils on the piano. Brilliant work, and she loves and cares for each and every student so much. The highlight of this visit was having one of the best dinners ever with Marie's Mother in Trier.  She had a very special 4 course dinner for us, and it was so fabulous. I will never forget it! We also had a lovely tour of Trier, which is a magical German  village that everyone would love to visit. On the morning of my flight to Spain, we ran into terrible traffic on the Autobahn, which caused me to miss my flight by about 15 minutes. Marie came to the rescue and we had another unexpected day to enjoy together, which ended up being another gift.  Thanks you so much, Marie, for your hospitality and for everything. Looking forward to our next visit!

Marie's Mom, Me and Marie!
Spain and Scooby
Since I had to change plans for my connecting trip to Spain, I decided to fly in as soon as possible, which ended up being late evening, and then booked a hotel room right by the train station, so that I could leave from Madrid to Medina del Campo early morning. Worked out great. Price was right, nice hotel and walking distance to the station. Got into Medina early afternoon, checked in, freshened up and met up with Nancy and Nancy, my two fellow volunteers from the East Coast, USA. We had a nice chat and then on to Scooby to meet the dogs! We spent some time there, as they had already been the day before, and then went back to the hotel and town for dinner and then rest.  Two lovely companion travelers, and we all had so much fun! :-)
Happy Scooby Galgo :-)
We had a fulfilling visit and time working at Scooby. We met and fell in love with the dogs, cleaned pens, socialized them and helped where needed. For all of us, it is soul food to be at Scooby with the animals.
Scooby Galgos Going to Forever Homes :-)

Surprise Trip to Segovia
Much to our surprise and delight, our friend, Sabine, who lives near Medina del Campo, offered to take us on a special trip to Segovia, one of the most beautiful places that I've ever seen! She picked us up at the hotel and took us on the grand tour of the entire village. It was unbelievably gorgeous! Thank you so much, Sabine, for this wonderful, magical day! :-)

A Few Days in Madrid
We had three nights in Madrid, staying at a wonderful Hostel, downtown, that Nancy Young Hanson booked for us.  Loved the staff, place, room, peacefulness and so economical. What a find! We walked all over town and into interesting places that I've never been. Madrid is so walkable and safe. I always feel at home there. We went to the Prado Museum and enjoyed our day there, as well as visiting our familiar haunts. We saw another excellent Flamenco show, visited some very cool restaurants and bars that Nancy Young Hanson had the genius to find, and had a fabulous time. 
Our Hostel

Me and Nancy and Nancy :-)

Flamenco Show in Madrid

Bringing Timon and Aurin to California
On this trip, I brought two very handsome galgos to the USA, Timon and Aurin. I had met Timon in June, 2017, and knew that he was a very shy male, found with a little girlie puppy, Nymeria, who has a wonderful life in Vancouver. They thought he may be her daddy. To date, he is still being fostered and will be placed in the perfect home in NorCal.  Aurin is the other galgo that I brought, and he has since been adopted to a wonderful home in NorCal. We traveled from Madrid through JFK and then to SFO, and all went well. We brought both dogs to our home for one night, and then Julie, from Greyhound Friends for Life, picked them up and took them to Windsor.  Both are happy and doing well! Thank you GFFL!

24 Scooby Galgos Come to the USA!
On another note, we had the good fortune to join forces with Daphne Legacy Tour Group, headed by Christina Azharian Taylor. She and her partners rescued and brought back 24, yes 24, Scooby galgos for adoption in the USA. Their efforts were astounding and we love them so much for loving and finding loving homes for the 24, including Jayne, adopted by Christina and Dray. We love you so much! :-)
Aurin and Timon!
Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog. Bless sends her blessings! Sara sends smiles!  Bones sends kisses and hugs!
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!

Bonesey sends hugs and kisses!

Traveling to Spain? Consider becoming a Flight Angel and transporting dogs to the U.S.A. 

Please support Scooby and Greyhound Friends for Life

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bringing Bones Home

Scooby 14th Visit: On a Mission to Bring Bones Home
My Bones, My Heart

Gotta Get Bones!
In September, 2017, I returned to Scooby to bring my heart dog, Bones (Huesos), home to California. It was another of my very best trips to Spain. The weather was perfect and all travel went smoothly.  In my previous blog posting, I wrote about Bones and how I had fallen in love with him. Fermin, Scooby President and Founder, agreed that I could adopt Bones because he knew that I would take excellent care of him and he would have such a great life with us in California. Off I went on another Scooby adventure!
NOTE: Follow Bones on Instagram: BonesTheScoobyGalgo. Hoping to get enough followers to raise funds for Scooby.
Bones When Rescued from Murcia

Bones Looks So Sad and Sick -  But.... He is a New Man Now!

Bones was rescued by Scooby from Murcia in the Spring of 2017. Of course, he was surrendered by his galguero, I guess. He was a horrific case of neglect, with Leishmania and was heart worm positive. They did the one month Leishmania treatment on him at Scooby,  but his kidneys were compromised. They did not expect him to survive. 

Enter Margie Easter, friends with super-hero volunteer, Melissa Beamish, in June 2017. Melissa introduces her special Bones to Margie and she falls deeply in love with him -- so much so that she left and decided to go back to Scooby to bring him home, if he could make the long journey to California, half-way around the World.  Fermin had more blood tests run on Bones and I reviewed them with my local Vet to ensure that he could make the trip. He felt that they could truly help Bones, so I booked my ticket and returned in September to get my Boy!
Melissa is the One Who Saved My Bones for Me - Thank You!

Journey to Scooby
Had a smooth flight on American Airlines from SFO to JFK and then on to Madrid. Took the train from Madrid to Medina del Campo and then a cab to the comfy Reina Isabel Hotel in Medina, freshened up and then Melissa fetched me from the hotel to Scooby.

Downtown Medina del Campo
The first place we visited was Bones' pen in Quarantine #9. He remembered me!  It was such a joyful reunion.

Melissa took me around to visit all of the dogs and shared their most interesting stories. I was tired because of the 9 hour time change, so she took me back to the hotel and I turned in early to get a good night's rest and to be ready for my first full day at Scooby.  

Days at Scooby

I am Going Home!
Galgos All Ready to go to Forever Homes
Gorgeous and Friendly Brother and Sister

Fantastic days at Scooby, working with Melissa and the other volunteers. Lots of loving for the dogs, cats and other animals, including visiting the farm horses, goats, sheep, cows, ducks, geese and perimeter dogs.  
The Scooby Farm
Special volunteers this visit included four ladies from Slovenia, two from Belgium and a couple from Switzerland. Everyone worked so hard and seemed to enjoy their experience at Scooby.

Bones is Spoiled by the Belgian Volunteers

Bones Being Spoiled by the Slovenian Volunteers

Nymeria:  A Happy Story Resulting from My Blog :-)
Nymeria (was Linda) Now Lives a Grand Life in Vancouver, Thanks to this Blog!

I met Linda (now Nymeria) in June 2017 on my Summer visit to Scooby. She had come with an older male galgo, Timon. Everyone assumed that he was her father, but who knows? He was very shy and she was a firecracker puppy, all full of joy and play. She looks to be a podenco mix and is gorgeous. Serendipitously, a woman in Vancouver found and read my entire blog. She so wanted to adopt a Scooby dog, and she specifically selected Linda for adoption. We spoke on the phone. I told her about Scooby and the adoption process and she was determined to get her girl. During my June visit, I spoke with Fermin about her wanting to adopt her in Vancouver. There was a good chance that she would have gone to Holland within the week, but with the Canadian contacts, lots of effort from the adoption Mom (even a GoFundMe) and other things, Linda, now Nymeria, lives happily in her home in Vancouver, B.C.  I could not be happier about the outcome! (BTW - Timon still needs a home. He is an excellent boy. Check him out.)  

Morena (now Lilly) Adopted by My Friend, Mora

Morena (now Lilly) - Selected by My Friend, Nancy, in June, Brought Her to California
My Friend, Mora, Fostered and then Adopted Her

Another happy story! When we were at Scooby in June, my friend, Nancy, selected this very sweet girl, Morena, and was determined to get her adopted. Since I was returning in September, she was the perfect choice to travel with Bones to California. Ended up that my friend, Mora, fostered and then adopted this girl and she is living the BIG life in her new home. So happy! :-)

Bones and Me
Here are gratuituous pictures of me and Bonesey at Scooby. I love him SO MUCH!

I Love Madrid!

Took the train from Medina to Madrid. Once again, I stayed two nights at one of my favorite hotels, the ME in Madrid. They even upgraded my room so that I had a view of the Plaza. Did a huge walk-about and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

The Journey Home
On this trip, I flew American Airlines from Madrid to JFK to SFO.  All went well!  The young Steward at the JFK airport was golden. He even took us to a dog park so that I could take the dogs out to refresh them for the second leg of the trip to SFO. It was another very long day, but it was worth every single second to get two precious souls to their comfy and loving forever homes.

Thank you to to Scooby for saving these two lovely galgos. Thank you to Melissa for saving Bones for me. Thank you to Nancy for selecting the very special Morena/Lilly, and to Mora for adopting her. Thank you to Yoshi for saving Linda/Nymeria.

I may have great news about a possible linkage with UC Davis Vet School. Stay tuned!
I will be visiting Scooby again in late April to volunteer again with Nancy!
Bones is doing fantastic! Cali Boy! Look at him!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog. Bless sends her blessings! Sara sends smiles! Bones sends hugs and kisses!
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!
Bones, Our Handsome Galgo

Traveling to Spain? Consider becoming a Flight Angel and transporting dogs to the U.S.A. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Scooby is in My Bones - My June 2017 Visit to Spain

Meet Huesos (Bones) - We Fell In Love and He's Coming Home with Me In September 
Visit #13
I returned to my favorite animal shelter, Scooby Medina del Campo, in Spain in June 2017 to volunteer and to bring back two galgos for adoption through Greyhound Friends for Life, our San Francisco Bay Area rescue organization. This was my 13th visit to Scooby, and one of the very best volunteer trips I've ever experienced.

Nancy and Me - We Met at JFK in New York and Flew to Madrid Together.
Perfect Travel Companions!

Travel Companions on Another Adventure
Nancy, my Scooby buddy and fellow volunteer, traveled from Pittsburgh, and I flew from San Francisco.  We met at JFK in New York and flew to Madrid together. We had great seats at the back of the plane, where we could stretch out and chat to our hearts content -- which we certainly did! The trip seemed short because we always have so much to talk about.  

When we arrived, and during our entire trip, it was HOT.  It was in the 90's and 100's (Fahrenheit) every day. We picked up our bags and jumped into a cab to get to the Chamartin train station.  Once there, we bought our tickets and had a chance to grab a quick bite before our train arrived.  We were thoroughly enjoying our journey from Madrid to Medina del Campo (about a 90 minute trip), when suddenly, the train began to lose power.  I think that the extreme heat was the issue. The train started and stalled several times.  When they could not go forward any further, they backed up the train to a tiny village, Santa Maria de la Alameda, and asked everyone to disembark.  There was no one there to help any of us, so everyone headed up the hill and settled into a friendly little tapas restaurant for a cold drink and some food. We weren't sure what to do, so I texted Jacinta, who was visiting Scooby from Holland, and she kindly offered to make the hour drive to pick us up.  We all had a nice time traveling back to Scooby and getting to know each other a bit more.  Jacinta is truly a super hero to have come all of that way to help us. We can't thank her enough!

Santa Maria de la Alameda,
Teeny Tiny Station Where our Train Broke Down Because of the Intense Heat

Nancy and I Spent a Couple of Hours in the Local Tapas Bar Waiting for Jacinta to Rescue Us

We Saw El Escorial on the Way to Scooby - The Residence of the King of Spain - Most Impressive 
Nancy and I Stayed Two Nights at Hotel Reina Isabel in Medina del Campo and
The Rest of the Nights in the Comfy Scooby Dorm

We were super tired, so we opted to go straight to the hotel to check in, freshen up and take a nap.  We talked about meeting for dinner, but I was wiped out and decided to sleep until morning so that I'd be fresh for our first full day at Scooby. Nancy is an adventurer and decided to go into Medina to do a bit of exploring. We met early in the morning for coffee. Jacinta picked us up at the hotel, took us to the grocery store and then to Scooby, where we all stayed for the next several nights. 

There Were Storks Nesting On Two of the Churches in Medina.
They Must Have Been Hot up There on the Roof. It Was a Scorcher!
Melissa Introduced Me to Bones, and I Fell Head Over Heels for Him

Bones (Huesos)

When we arrived at Scooby, we settled our things at the Dorm, and then Melissa, super Scooby Volunteer, took us around to introduce us to the animals. She knew that I would fall in love with one particular galgo, named Bones (Huesos) who had been very sick with Leishmania, an illness that is not contagious and is spread via the Mediterranean sandfly.  He was so thin, and his kidneys had been impacted. He had been through one round of treatments, prior to my arrival, but the staff did not know whether he would survive. I took him for walks every day, fed him sausages, sat in his kennel and gave him pets and love.  He worked his charms on me!  I found it difficult to leave him, and thought about him all of the time after I left Scooby. Spoke with my husband to discuss adopting him, provided he was well enough to make the trip to California. We took it one step at a time. Scooby did more blood tests to see if he had improved. I asked my vet to review his results, and he felt certain that he could make the trip and that we can treat him here.  I so want to give him the very best life possible for however long or short his time will be.  He is a dear and sweet boy -- always wagging his tail, loves people, very mellow and easy going. I am traveling back to Scooby in mid-September for another visit, but primarily, to bring Bones home with me. I am so excited to give him a great new life.  I'll keep you posted regarding his status and progress. Bones is now on Instagram: BonesTheScoobyGalgo, if you want to follow him.  We'll be posting photo and video updates regularly.

Bones Will be Ours - Bringing Him Home to California in Late September

Bones is Absolutely Irresistible - All Joy and All Love

Volunteer Work and the Scooby Animals
One of the highlights of every day was when Nancy and I helped Melissa with taking care of the dogs who were in the infirmary.  We cleaned their pens, fed and watered them, took them for walks and showered them with treats. We really got attached to these dogs, and are happy to know that most of them are now in their forever homes.  

In addition, we spent lots of time cleaning kennels and paddocks and socializing dogs.  It's always such a pleasure to get to spend quality time with these lovely animals.

Every Day, Nancy and I Cleaned the Infirmary Kennels, Took the Dogs for
Walks and Spoiled Them with Sausages
Proud Momma with Her Brand New Puppies

Nancy and Melissa Enjoying a Visit with the Very Sweet Puppies 
Scooby Had So Many Adorable Puppies in June.
Many are Already in Homes.

It's a Pod Party! Aren't They Lovely?

It Was So Hot, Over 100 Degrees Fahrenheit.
The Dogs Rested Most of the Days and Were Active When the Sun was Setting.
Nancy with Two Lovely BIG and Friendly Dogs

Don't You Just Want to Hug Me?

These Galgos are Trying to Escape the Scorching Spanish Sun on This Very Hot Day 
Nancy Enjoying a Visit with a Gaggle of Galgos

Did I Win the Cutest Puppy Award?
Tick Prevention
Melissa asked me, Nancy, Jacinta and our other fellow volunteer, Shantal, if we could visit most of the paddocks to put tick prevention medicine on each dog.  What a great job! It meant that we had the chance to meet almost every single dog at Scooby.  Having four of us really helped. We worked together to catch the dogs and to apply the medication to every dog.  It's not easy catching the shy galgos, so we had to ask Melissa for help in some cases, as the dogs know and trust her.  It was a fun couple of days doing this very important work, as the ticks can be horrible in the Spanish Summer.

Jacinta Helps Round Up the Dogs for Their Tick Preventative.
She is our Super Hero. She Rescued Us from the Town Where Our Train Broke Down and
Gave us Rides to Town. Such a Kind Friend!

Chantal Pets the Galgos After We Wrangled
Them to Put Tick Preventa
tive on All

Only Melissa Could Catch Some of the Shy Galgos to Apply the Tick Preventative
Here's Sweet and Adorable Zuki.
She's Doing Great, Living with Fermin and is Very Happy!
Zuki Update
In my last blog entry, I mentioned meeting a lovely petite and sweet galga named Zuki. She had an infection that resulted in her losing her toes on both of her back paws. Fermin, Scooby Founder and President, adopted Zuki, and we had a chance to have a short visit with her while there.  She is doing so great and is very happy.  I brought her two new pairs of shoes, which I hope she's been able to use since my visit.

Transport to Holland
I always feel so lucky when I get to help the Scooby staff and volunteers with loading up the van to transport dogs and cats to their new forever homes.  On this visit, Nancy and I were able to help load up over 35 dogs and a cat for transport to Holland.  Since this was now a couple of months ago, my heart soars to know that these animals are in homes. This is why we do what we do! Scooby saves hundreds of animals each year and frankly, I don't know how they do it with such limited resources. But they do it, and I am so thankful that Scooby is there to help so many animals that would never have a chance at a decent life.
Transport to Holland Today!
Melissa, Chantal and Ana Discuss Which Dogs Will be Going.

Hoover, Ana and Chantal Load Up the Dogs for Holland
Ana Says Goodbye to the Scooby Dogs as They Head to Their Forever Homes in Holland

Visiting the Scooby Farm
It's become somewhat of a tradition for all of us to take a nice long walk out on the Scooby farm grounds, where we visit the ducks, geese, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep and perimeter guard dogs. On our last evening, we all enjoyed our visit to the farm. There was a cool breeze, and it was a great way to relax and celebrate another fun and rewarding volunteer visit.
On Our Last Evening, Nancy, Melissa, Jacinta, Chantal and I Took a Nice Walk
at the Scooby Farm to Visit the Pond and the Large Animals (Horses, Goats, Donkeys, Sheep)
Here's Donald, the Scooby Duck - Rejected by the Other Ducks, He Lives with the Goats :-(
Nancy and Chantal Visit a Friendly Scooby Donkey

Jacinta, Nancy, Chantal and Melissa - Visiting the Scooby Farm and the Perimeter Dogs
Tapas with Scooby Friends
Scooby staff and volunteers gathered on one of the evenings for a goodbye party for the vet, who was moving on to another position.  It's so much fun to experience the "real" Spain, with locals and friends who love to share stories and memories.
Goodbye Tapas Party for the Scooby Vet
Goodbye Dinner for the Scooby Vet.
Trevor, Melissa and Chantal Enjoy Some Tapas in Medina del Campo.

A Few Fun Hours in the Countryside and in Valladolid
Our friend, Sabine, lives in a small village about 40 minutes from Medina. We were fortunate to be able to spend time with her, visit with her dogs and cats, and see her lovely home.  She then took us to see part of the Camino de Santiago Trail, and then into Valladolid, to meet a friend. We only had about an hour before our train was to leave for Madrid, but they were able to take us to four tapas bars that had some of the most interesting food I've ever seen.  It was a short, but enjoyable visit. It was very kind of them to show us around their city.

Camino de Santiago Trail

Sabine and Nancy on the Camino de Santiago Trail

A Whirlwind Visit in Valladolid - Lovely City

Valladolid Had Some of the Most Interesting Tapas I've Ever Seen

A Few Fun Days in Madrid
Nancy always does a lot of research to learn about fun things to do while traveling. We had a blast and covered a lot of Madrid during our adventures.  Highlights: celebrated my birthday with some great eats, drinks and shoe shopping, visited the very cool rooftop bar at Circulo de Bellas Artes, went to the Sunday flea market, listened in on an excellent concert that we stumbled upon in one of the main squares, ate mushrooms, peppers and shrimp and drank cava and sherry at some specialty tapas restaurants, saw a flamenco show, and visited the museum of modern art.
Rooftop Bar in Madrid,
CĂ­rculo de Bellas Artes

Stumbled Upon an Orchestra on the Plaza 

The Gigantic and Fun Madrid Flea Market - Sundays

Figures at the Seaside, Pablo Picasso

Sipping Sherry at La Venencia - A Must Visit

Pride Celebration in Madrid

The Beautiful Madrid Skyline

Dante and Azafran
Two Scooby galgos, Dante and Azafran, made the trip back to California with me, and thanks to Greyhound Friends for Life, they are in their forever homes.  Our journey from Madrid was not without the usual airline drama.  When I arrived to check them in with American Airlines, they said that the plane that was to take us from JFK to San Francisco was not large enough for the dog crates. The Madrid rep spent an hour with me, trying to find an alternative route. Finally, he verified that we could fly from Madrid to LA and then to SFO.  Thank goodness! That worked and we made it back safely.

Dante - One of the Two Galgos That I Brought Back for Adoption in California,
Through Greyhound Friends for Life.
He is in His Forever Home.

Azafran - The Second Scooby Galgo that I Brought Back to California
for Adoption Through Greyhound Friends for Life. She is in Her Forever Home.

Next Trip September 13
On September 13th, I'll travel to Madrid, take the train to Medina del Campo, and then work at the shelter for a week.  My friend and fellow volunteer, Mora, will be joining me mid-trip. We'll spend a few nights in Medina and then a couple in Madrid to relax.  Very excited to return, to bring back Bones and three other galgos for adoption.! I'll take lots of photos and share afterward. 

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog. Bless sends her blessings! Sara sends smiles! 
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!

Traveling to Spain? Consider becoming a Flight Angel and transporting dogs to the U.S.A. 

Please support Scooby and Greyhound Friends for Life