Sunday, April 22, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Eight - Scooby Medina del Campo

Darrell - Last Day at Scooby
Hola, Amigos and Amigas, 
It is with heavy hearts that we spend our last full day at Scooby. The time flew by all too quickly, and we enjoyed every minute to the fullest. It was another rainy, cold day, which somehow makes it all more memorable; as these types of days seem to get ingrained in our memories.
Bless' Brother?
This beautiful brindle, long-haired Galgo was in the same Quarantine pen that Bless was in last year.
He was so shy and timid. He wanted to come up to be petted, but never made it to my hands. So sad to see how timid some are. One only knows what he's seen and experienced.
On this last day, we cleaned a few pens and made some dog food. But our main focus was on making certain that everything was ready for taking Benji and Rayo home to the USA.  We put their water bowls in the freezer in the Scooby kitchen. Darrell loaded their carriers into the van. We picked out a couple of cute donated coats and blankets for them. Helen, our wonderful colleague, brought several gorgeous collars for the Scooby dogs, and offered two of them to us for Benji and Rayo. The two handsome Scooby dogs would arrive in New York City in style, thanks to Helen! :-)
Rayo - Sweet Long haired Galgo. Came home to the USA (New York) with us!
Benji - Padenco mix. Lively and loving. Also came home to the USA (New York) with us.
We had a late lunch at the wonderful cafe across the street from the hotel, near the church, and then went back to Scooby to say our goodbye's to the volunteers, staff and dogs.  Turned in early, around 7 p.m. Our alarm was set for 2:30 a.m.  Blah!

Wouldn't you know it... the weather was improving, so they had fireworks that Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, which woke us up a couple of times. We wished we could have been able to enjoy the festivities with the others, but needed our rest for the long journey home to California. In spite of all of the emotion and hoopla, we slept well on this, our last evening in Spain.

We All Feel Like We Own Scooby -- Or Rather, Scooby Owns Us and Our Hearts...
It had been almost exactly one year since I had visited Scooby to volunteer and pick up Bless, and I still remember every detail as though it was just yesterday. What is it about this place that burns such passionate feelings into our minds and hearts? The sights, sounds and smells of Scooby are unforgettable (some good, some not-so-good ;-) ). Why do all of us who visit take such an ownership over what happens to Scooby and the animals there, and even those who have never visited?  I think it is the passion that we feel for the dogs, and the good that is being done there. There are so few places where there is great need, and where we can see the difference that we can make right away, by sponsoring or volunteering. Scooby has such an incredibly strong, dedicated and supportive team of global volunteers, who take so much ownership for the success of this wonderful place. It's truly touching and inspirational.  When we visit Scooby, it becomes even more of a part of us. We get to know the dogs. We get to see what it's really like there. We get to see the difference that we all are making, and it just takes hold of us.  Aside from that, since my visit last year, I ran into many of the same great staff and volunteers at Scooby, including my mates from the UK, and even staff at the airport, which helped make me feel at home again.

For those who have never visited Scooby, or those who have one time or one hundred times, here's to you!  A tour of Scooby - welcome home and please come back again - we know you have the sweetest dreams about this place. We sure do! :-)  

Entrance to the Main Building at Scooby
Note the collars and leads

This is the Hallway of the main Scooby Building
First left - Scooby Kitchen, Second left - Men's Shower/Locker Room, Third left - Women's Shower/Locker Room,
Right - Dog Bathing Area, Straight back sharp left - Oldie's Den,
Left - Dog Coat/Supply Room, Right into 4 Paddock Shelter Areas and Many Lovely Galgos!

Sweet things: Many birds Nest within these Walls as well - Everyone is Welcome!

This is the Scooby Kitchen, in the Main Building
Has two Fridges, a Stove, Microwave, Cupboards for Supplies, Table and Chairs for Eating, and Two Clothes Washers

Women's Locker/Shower/Storage room at Scooby

Dog Coat/Supply Room - Filled with Dozens of Donated Coats, Collars, Leads and Blankets
from Wonderful Folks Who Have Donated to Scooby

This is the "Oldies Den" - The older Scooby dogs have a paddock garden area and even a small block house with furniture where they can hang out and experience life in a home, even if they never get to their forever homes. So wonderful!

This is one of the paddocks. Note that there is an indoor shelter with beds, food bins and heat, a patio area where there are more food bins, and then an open paddock for exercise and sun. Every paddock has a shelter and open space.

This is the Quarantine Area - Most of these Dogs are Going to their Forever Homes and/or Other Countries

This is the Scooby Warehouse - Food Supplies, Cats Hanging out, Blankets, Washers,
Clothes Lines for Drying, Storage Shelves for Blankets and Coats

Scooby Van Next to Dorm/Store and Office Buildings
They use these Vans to transport the dogs to and fro for adoption, even into other countries.

We'll fill you in on our journey back to the USA in the next edition. Please stay tuned!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.

Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!

Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food? Please let me know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Seven - Scooby Medina del Campo

Surprise! It snowed today. Who knew?
Darrell in Front of the Hotel on a Snowy Morning
Yep! It snowed this morning. April Fools! :-)

April Fools!  :-) When we awoke this morning, we were surprised to see great big snowflakes falling all around us.  It was chilly, but we had not expected this. They actually canceled the Good Friday and Easter Parades because of the snow and rain. Imagine that, in this small Catholic Spanish town where Easter is a BIG deal. 

We dressed for a cold day and went to the hotel cafe to meet our UK mates for breakfast. Once again, we had a couple of wonderful cafe con pana's and split a bacon and egg sandwich on crusty bread.  We then headed for Scooby for our third full day of work, eagerly anticipating being with our galgos and other dogs.
This is one of the Alphas in Paddock 4. He was beautiful with his perfect markings and brown eyes. He guarded the perimeter of his paddock with his side-kick brindle day in and out. Barked up a storm. It's amazing to see the pecking order of dogs!

These are the beautiful galgos that you'll dream about, once you visit Scooby and catch Scooby Fever!
This the the shelter inside one of the paddocks. All of the Scooby Dogs have an indoor place where they can cuddle up, and they have open space in the paddocks where they can run, play and bask in the sunshine.
Such beautiful Galgos! There is something really special about the markings on the Galgos. Painted special by God, I think. :-)
I know he cries when he sees how badly his loves are treated by so many on this Earth, and then smiles about their lives with Scooby and beyond.
I sat down in their wooden 'bleacher' area, and at least a dozen came to smell me and give kisses.
So gentle, so loving. Bless them all.
More Lovelies. Aren't they gorgeous?
I love this little blonde/white long-haired Galgo girl. Sweet Pea followed me everywhere.
 It was so cold, I got several nice coats and put one on her and a few others. I think she's going to France and I hope to hear good news about her.
Today, I cleaned a couple of paddocks, and then went around to various paddocks petting dogs and taking photos.  Darrell was much more productive. He helped clean the quarantine area and then got the dog kennels ready for Benji and Rayo for their journey to the USA. 

Another surprise in the afternoon!  Our other UK mates, Heather, Jacqui and Helen came directly to Scooby on this day from their long journey from the UK. No breakfast, lunch, dinner, checking into the hotel, relaxing, or anything. Just came to Scooby straightaway! They could not wait, and I know how they feel.  At the end of the day, we all joined forces to make dog food, twelve barrels for 300 dogs that day.  It was so much fun talking and joking and sharing stories while we all made the food.  

This is the Most Wonderful Scoobette, Jacqui. She is truly the "Heart". All love and all of the animals know it and love her right back. Trevor is the background. He is our super-rock-star mason, who has built many of the Scooby buildings.
This is the lovely Helen, and wonderful Heather in the distance.  It was Helen's first visit to Scooby, but she already has the fever. Heather is a Scooby Rock Star, volunteering all the time and raising lots of funds for Scooby. Trevor is in the background of this photo too. He works so hard to build the kennels and other buildings
This was the last evening that we could get together with our Scoobettes, so we went to the traditional delicious pizza parlour for a late dinner. We chatted and had some great laughs and then all walked back to the hotel together to get some rest. 

Wonderful Pizza Roma - Jacqui was kind enough to let us take a photo of her pizza.
She had a craving for chips (fries), which we all ordered and enjoyed.
I never would have thought of fries with pizza, but it's a great combo.

Readied ourselves for our last day at Scooby. So sad to leave our beloved dogs. But many of them are already prepped for transporting and adoption in Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the USA, so it's all good. We shall savor our last day, and look forward to our next visit to Scooby.

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Six - Scooby Medina del Campo

Scooby Dogs - Galgos & Other Breeds - All Lovelies!
Today is a special day. It is the day that Lucinda, Trevor, Ruth and Alice from the UK arrived in the morning. We headed out of the hotel, recognized Trevor, and greeted our UK Team. Then Lucinda joined us. We had our introductions and then discussed meeting at Scooby to begin work.  We agreed that we'd take care of cleaning the quarantine pens, and they would begin working on the paddocks, and Trevor on the building of the kennels. 
Alice, Ruth and Lucinda
Darrell worked on cleaning up the Tool room and fixing various tools.  
Darrell's Handiwork - Clean Tool room
Ana, one of the most wonderful of all Scooby Volunteers, took care of getting us the jumbo dog carrier that we needed for bringing back Rayo.  With that and our carrier for Benji, we are ready to bring both dogs back to the USA.

Returned to the warehouse to find one lovely Spanish volunteer making dog food, aka dog food lasagna. Joined her to help. Soon, there were several of us making dog food for the galgos and other dogs.  When Scooby is low on dog food, we make dog food lasagna. Recipe: one layer of bread, one layer of cat food, repeat.  As I've mentioned in almost every one of my blogs, Scooby needs a regular supply of dog food for 300 dogs/per day. Know anyone who can help? Please let me know. 
Dog Lasagna. Yummy!
Darrell and I found this wonderful little gourmet cafe across the street from the hotel with local fare.  They serve one appetizer from a choice of a dozen, then one main course, and one dessert each, plus wine for 11E per person.  The food was some of the best we had in Spain, especially the sopa (soup)!

We met up with our UK mates and had an evening drink and fun discussion in the nearby bars.  Everyone was tired, so we turned in early.

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Five - Scooby Medina del Campo

Smiling Galgo - Welcome back to Scooby, Margie and Darrell!
This is our first full day at Scooby.  We ate breakfast at the little hotel bar/restaurant on the corner, right next to the Hotel La Mota, which was a bacon and cheese on crusty bread and good strong espresso coffee.  Bought two extras for our lunch, as we knew we'd be working hard and need something substantial.  

Drove over to Scooby, grabbed our rubber work boots and working coats and headed to clean the 12 quarantine pens, where they generally keep dogs that are prepped for adoption inside and outside of Spain.  For those who would visit Scooby, a tip: there are all sorts of extra work clothes that other volunteers have left in the men's and ladies' changing rooms/bathrooms, including work boots, coats, hats, gloves, slacks, shirts, sweaters, shorts and other items. So don't worry about bringing lots of extra stuff when you visit.  

Darrell and I cleaned the twelve pens in about an hour, then spent time petting the dogs, which is the best thing about being here.
Cleaning the Quarantine Pens -
Cleaning the Pens and Paddocks is a Great Way to Get to Know the Galgos
Wow! There are so many beautiful dogs just waiting for good homes.  I'm so happy for those who are lucky enough to adopt, and even happier for the adopted Scooby galgos and other dogs who will have the loving homes that they deserve.

We toured the Scooby grounds and checked out the new kennels that are being built. They are looking great and should be ready for guests soon.  Lots of hard work from staff and volunteers to build these kennels -- truly labors of love.
Darrell Checks Out the New Kennel Area
Thanks to the Support of Many Volunteers and Donors

The New Kennels are Looking Great!
New Kennels - Almost Ready 
Did you know that Scooby has many types of rescued animals, besides dogs? Others include cats, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, bulls, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and raccoons. Big hearts like to save needy ones, and Scooby does it!
Scooby Cats 
Scooby Chickens 
We had our picnic lunch with the galgos and then went back in to clean one of the paddocks.  So many lovelies! I fell in love with one particular blonde and white long haired galgo.  She followed me everyplace while I was there. In this paddock, she was my galgo. :-) 

The Blonde and White is My Galgo in this Particular Paddock - Soooo Sweet

Another Photo of My Galgo Girl - Shy and Sweet 
Darrell in a Sea of Lovely Galgos in the Paddock
We cleaned up from our work and then headed out for the evening. Every day you're there, it's more difficult to leave the dogs.  Once you have "Scooby fever", you simply must return. They tug on your heartstrings forever...

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Castillo de La Mota, which is one of the most well-preserved and impressive castles I've ever seen. It was built in the 1400's and is a "must see". Be sure to walk around the entire structure to see all of the craftsmanship that took oh-so-many years to complete.
Castillo de La Mota - You can see it from Scooby
Right next to the castle, up on the hill, we noticed that there was a beautiful cemetery. It's interesting to see how cultures honor those who have passed on, and we were curious. We found that their tombs are above the ground, and couples are buried side by side. All have lovely flowers.
The Cemetery Next to the Castle
Found a tapas place for a light dinner. Returned to the hotel. Took another nap (yep, still jet lagged and the hard work and fresh air also did us in). Got up and watched a bit of television and caught up on the blog (yesterday's).

Our UK friends arrive tomorrow. More adventures and photos coming soon. I may not post again for a couple of days because, quite frankly, we are having such a great time immersing ourselves in the Scooby World, we don't even track the time of day too much! So please watch for the updates that will be forthcoming in the next few days and pardon the pause.

We are having a wonderful time. Wish you were here! :-)

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Four - Scooby Medina del Campo

Margie @ Scooby = Happy :-)
Awoke with joy today at the thought that this is the day I return to Scooby. We decided to take a cab to the airport. It was smooth sailing. Cost 33E and took about 30 minutes.  He dropped us at the Delta counter. 

First, we went to the Avis counter and secured our rental car.  The two kennels that we are using to take the adopted dogs back to the USA are large and jumbo size, so we inquired about getting a larger vehicle. They upgraded us from a station wagon to a van, which is perfect.  It cost about 50E more, but will be well worth it.  The agent was very kind and helpful, and he gave us flawless directions to Medina del Campo (even though I had mapped it out -- his directions were clearer).  We picked up the kennel for Benji from Left Luggage and headed out. It was only an additional 11E for the storage of the carrier, and I ran into the same people at the airport over and over who had helped me last year when I brought Bless home.

We loaded up the kennel and luggage and headed out. There was a gentle rain on and off during our trip from Madrid to Medina del Campo.  The traffic was low, and it's a relief to drive in a Country where the car has the steering wheel on the left, and driving on the right, as we do in the States.  When you're in an unfamiliar place, driving on the "other side" is yet one more confusing thing to deal with.

It was misty and foggy as we drove through the green belt and mountains.  We stopped at the same road stop where I had stopped with Diane and Lydia last year on our way to Scooby.  Had delicious cafe con panna and breakfast sandwiches.  Arrived in Medina del Campo around Noon and checked into the Hotel La Mota. Many fellow Scoobettes stay at this Hotel during their visits, as it is only about 3 miles from here to Scooby.  The Hotel and rooms are modestly priced, have simple amenities, and are clean and quiet.  The UK Scoobettes (mainly Lucinda) and others have created a very helpful, "Guide to Scooby and Medina del Campo", which we've found to be invaluable for directions, information and tips. 

Back at Scooby!
Drove to Scooby and entered the sanctuary.  As we walked up to the gate, one of my favorite sounds -- the song of the Galgos, or the Galgo Wave -- broke out.  It's kind of like the wave that people do at football and other games. It starts with one or a small group of howlers, and then gradually builds to a crescendo where all of the dogs are howling in unison. 
It generally lasts about 2-3 minutes, and it truly is beautiful to hear.   

The Song of the Galgos - Beautiful!

The Scooby grounds are looking great! I couldn't believe how many new kennels they have built since last year. Amazing! I showed my husband, Darrell, around the place, and we met some of the new staff.  Was also lucky to run into Fermin, to say, "Hola!" just before he left for a vacation. Then we looked around for work that needed to be done.  Darrell went with Dannie to help with some electrical work, and I spoke with another volunteer from Holland who said that some of the paddocks still needed to be cleaned/scooped.  

Went to one of the paddocks and began scooping poop for the next couple of hours.  There were about 20 galgos in this paddock, and they all surrounded me to try to get a pet and/or kind word, as I worked my way through the scooping.  There were two in particular, a large beige and white male and small black female who were there every time I moved my hands to pet someone. The male came to hug my legs. He was 'my galgo' for that short time. What a lover! Whomever gets him will be lucky.  They are all so beautiful, and it was fun to see them playing, running and laying in the afternoon sun.  Reminded me that this is the pay-off for all of us who love and support Scooby. :-)  
Galgos - These are a few of my Favorite Things...
It was funny because at one point, it got warmer and the sun was partially shining, so I took off my coat and put it on a bench.  First one galgo was all over it, sniffing, and soon several were doing the same.  When I came back to retrieve it, they had dragged it across the paddock. They are just so happy to have love and attention. They even love the way you smell. :-) It's incredible!

We wrapped up our day and headed into town for tapas.  Jet lag still hitting us, we laid down for a nap. Awoke a couple of hours later and readied for our next day at Scooby.  I couldn't figure out the wifi login on this night, so wrote off-line and will post from Scooby tomorrow.

My fellow Scoobettes from the UK will be arriving tomorrow, and I can't wait to see them!  

I'm very sure that I'll have lots of lovely stories and photos to share about tomorrow's adventure.

Stay tuned for news from Scooby!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Three - Madrid

Our body clocks are out of whack. We stayed up late on Monday night and woke up at 7 a.m., feeling rested and ready to go on about 5 hours of sleep. (That's 10 p.m. in CA. Yikes!)  Guess the naps have helped.

We walked the opposite way today (West). Found a nice restaurant and had a good breakfast of scrambled eggs with potatoes and cheese, thick bacon and toasted bread. After that, we walked to the area where there are dozens of shoe shops.  Didn't buy anything, but it was fun to look around.  In that area, there was a very large grocery market -- Mercado. It was the coolest market that I've ever visited, even beats Whole Foods with regard to product display and store layout. 
The Mercado Grocery Market
Fresh Strawberry Pyramid - Mercado
From there, we walked to the Plaza de Espana where they had a small set of booths where vendors were selling jewelry, clothing, purses and other goods.  
Fountain at the Plaza de Espana
After that, we walked to the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Almudena Cathedral and through the Sabitini Gardens -- so much history and such beautiful architecture.  It's Spring break for a number of students, and there were many touring the City along with us.  The weather was partly cloudy and cooler, which was perfect for walking.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Almudena Cathedral
Sabatini Garden

There are many pan-handlers that provide musical and visual entertainment for a coin or two.  We saw some interesting new approaches, such as two people dressed in terra cotta colored outfits posing as statues.  But by far the most clever was the "invisible man" which was actually a petite woman dressed in a man's suit, sitting in a lawn chair reading the paper with her head concealed.
Invisible Man - Very Clever
Invisible Man - Reveals Himself for a Photo for a Coin

Made our way to a small neighborhood that is known for the best Tapas and hit three different restaurants. Excellent food and very inexpensive.  We then headed back to our hotel room to relax.  

We've had a wonderful time visiting and touring Madrid. It is a great City!  We will be up early to check out of the hotel, then return to the airport to pick up our kennel for Benji and our rental car.  We will then begin the most exciting part of our adventure, which is our visit to Scooby in Medina del Campo.

Stay tuned for news from Scooby!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.