Friday, May 13, 2011

Journey & First Day - Medina del Campo

Journey to Medina del Campo

Up and ready to face the day at 5 a.m.  Took the Metro in Madrid to the Airport.  A bit confusing going backward on the path that I had mapped out, but with the help of one of the station attendants, was able to find my way.  Got there in plenty of time to get some breakfast.  Croque Monsieur's and cafe con leche seemed to be the breakfast of choice at the airport.  Good and filling.  Retrieved the dog carrier from the "Left Luggage" area, and then waited for Diane and Lydia, Scooby USA Volunteers.  Within about 15 minutes they came out of the arrival area, and met up with them for introductions.  Diane worked out the reservations for the large van, which would fit all of our carriers and dogs, and Lydia and I got to get to know each other a bit.

Once Diane had finished with the reservation, we paraded our dog carriers out to the vehicle, loaded up and headed for Medina del Campo.  Diane did all of the driving, which was much appreciated (plus stick shift, which I haven't driven in years).  In Spain, they drive on the right, and the steering wheel is on the left, like the US, which is great.  The traffic in Madrid and outskirts reminded me of our California driving. In the metropolitan area, it's somewhat surprising to see how much graffiti there is on every single concrete wall along the highway.  Every square inch is covered with "paint".

It was a beautiful drive over. We crossed the green belt of beautiful mountains and passed many small villages that looked as though they need to be further investigated, with more time. Numerous windmills along the way as well.  We stopped at a small rest stop area, about 30 minutes from our destination.  It was a truck stop with every service. Very clean and nice people working there.  As you get into the rural areas, folks tend to speak only Spanish, but you can still make your way, no matter.  With gestures and sign language, somehow you figure it out. :-)

Arrival at Scooby

When we arrived in the afternoon, decided to go to the grocery store first, to pick up items for the week.  It's always fun and interesting to shop in local grocery stores, and this was no exception.  It was obvious that we were outsiders in this tiny little Spanish town.  They noticed.  Not really friendly, and the fact that we didn't speak Spanish, did not help.  We browsed through the aisles and selected what we thought we'd like to share for the week and then checked out.  Food prices were very reasonable, and everything was presented much like in a smaller US market, yet different fare.

It was only about 10 minutes to get from the town to Scooby.  Funny thing is that the landmark to turn on to the road to enter is just in front of the potato chip factory, which seems to be quite lucrative and runs most shifts during the week. I'm sure it employs most of the locals, and there is another food company nearby who probably also are a big employer.

Once you reach the Scooby fences, you see the perimeter guard dogs, the pens for the doves, rabbits, raccoons, etc, and some very friendly Galgos, which belong to Fermin, Scooby's Founder.  Then, there ahead, is the gate to enter the facility.  The first thing that you  are struck with is the serenade of dogs howling and barking to greet you.  It's a beautiful thing, indeed.  The facility is composed of several buildings, all paid for by donations and built by volunteers, which include paddock shelters, a building with men's and women's locker rooms, a kitchen, storage and shelters, an office building, two operating rooms and treatment room, a medical storage and recovery room,  a store/dorm with sets of bunk beds for visiting volunteers, a research room, education room, and a warehouse area for storing the washers for bedding, clothes lines for drying, and blanket storage, food stores, and cat stores and beds. They plan to build a puppy shelter next, so if you want to donate to a worthy cause, please consider Scooby.

Scooby has hundreds of dogs (mostly Galgos), cats, horses, bulls, donkeys, pigs, chickens, geese, ducks, pigeons, rabbits, turtles, a blind fox, and pretty much whomever needs a loving, safe home.  Many of the animals are housed in large open field paddocks, where they can stretch out, run, and have their own open space.  The paddocks are separated by fences and each has their own area for feeding, and a shelter where the dogs can sleep at night. In the shelters, there are separate beds and fresh bedding is placed in their spots each day.

The dormitory is wall-2-wall with the quarantine area, which is a tiled, fenced area, where dogs that are being moved and adopted are located, prior to their moves. (My Bless was here.) Between the quarantine area and the paddocks, there is almost non-stop serenading all day and night long.  I like to call this "the Wave".  Many times, it would start far out in the paddocks and then move through the entire facility, until it reached our area.  It was beautiful!  If there were police sirens, that would also set off "the Wave". Wow, do I ever miss it!

I finally got to meet my new Galga, Bless.  She was in pen #2 in the Quarantine area.  First impression:  beautiful, friendly, peaceful, inquisitive, and the perfect dog to bring back to the USA.  How lucky was that to have picked her from her adoption photo! :-)

First volunteer effort was to do the laundry.  There are always dozens of blankets that need washing every day. So I emptied washers, hung blankets, and then reloaded with soiled items.

Everyone was tired that night, so we went out for pizza at an excellent restaurant in town, and then we turned in early to prepare for the next day.

That's it for now.  I will continue with my journal updates about the trip over the next few days.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Please support Scooby!

Hasta Luego!

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