Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Love Scooby in the Springtime! - Bringing Tinga and Liam to the USA

Margie with Liam & Tinga - Ready to Come to the USA
Scooby in the Springtime
Spring Skies in Spain
In late May, I returned to Scooby Medina del Campo, my favorite animal rescue facility. For those who haven't been there in the Spring, I highly recommend it.  Flew American Airlines and traveled from San Francisco to JFK in New York and then on to Madrid. Outside of one delay, everything went perfectly.  I was able to grab lunch at the Chamartin train station in Madrid and catch an express to Medina del Campo. I've noticed that since this was my sixth visit to Scooby, the trip seems to go by faster each time. The weather was perfect in Spain - warm, sunny days with occasional rain, and cool, comfortable nights.  Luckily, I missed the heavy rain by one week, and it only rained one night during my stay. 

New Additions to the Clinic for Dogs and Cats
Nosy Galgos Watching Over the Grounds
The Scooby grounds are looking great, and construction is going on all of the time.  While I was there, the staff were building new quarters for the dog and cat clinics. It's impressive to see how hard the staff works day and night to build and maintain the facility, as well as taking care of the animals.  The volunteers help to offload the daily chores, which frees up the staff for other important work. Every volunteer's time and effort makes a big difference.

A Full House at Scooby - Animals and Volunteers
More Galgos
Gluck, My Favorite Podenco
Margie - My Namesake - Mixed Breed
Scooby Puppies
It was a full house, both with animals and volunteers.  There were dozens of beautiful galgos, podencos and other mix breed dogs, puppies, cats and kittens.  In addition, there were a number of horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks and geese.  The dorm and caravans were all occupied with volunteers from Holland, the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain and then me from the USA.  We were able to do a lot of work very quickly because there were so many of us to help clean the pens and paddocks.  That left time to make up the food, clean other parts that needed attention, and most importantly, spend time socializing the animals with hugs, kisses, treats, pets and attention.
Scooby Horses
Scooby Goats
I stayed in the same cozy caravan where I had during my last visit in November.  It's right near the chicken paddock and, yes, there are roosters who crowed anywhere from 5  to 7 a.m. Their clock was off. ;-)
My Caravan - Waking Up with the Roosters
Most of the time, I worked with a lovely volunteer from Holland, Debbie. I met her when she picked me up at the train station.  We paired up and cleaned 3-4 paddocks and kennels each day.  Debbie is a pet groomer by profession, so I had a lot of fun helping her hold onto some of the lucky dogs that she beautified right before my very eyes.  They were so happy and proud of their new "hair do's". They seemed so grateful, as this grooming prepared them well for the hot Spanish Summer.  
Debbie Grooms One of the Biggest Teddy Bear Dogs at Scooby and He Loves It!
Just Look How Happy He is with Debbie's Grooming

A Walk in the Spanish Forest
One evening, after we finished our chores, I had the pleasure of going for a walk in a local Medina forest with Sabine and her three dogs. She's able to let two of them off leash. They are in heaven as they run, sniff, and frolic.  No matter how far they explore, they always return to check in and know when it is time to go.  It was a wonderful way to end the day.
Sabine and I Walk in the Spanish Forest with Her Dogs
Sabine's Dogs Love Frolicking in the Forest
A Lovely Day for a Walk in the Forest
Pizza Dinner
On my last night at Scooby, we all went with Fermin Perez, Scooby Founder, to have dinner at a new pizza parlor in town.  The food and company were delightful.  Fermin gave us a short tour around the town, and we stopped at the galgo statue, which I had never seen. It was a very nice way to end my visit.
Fermin Perez, Scooby Founder
Debbie and Sabine at Our Pizza Dinner
Jacqui and Jackie from the UK
Lucinda and far right, Paula, UK

Galguero and Galgos Statue in Downtown Medina del Campo
One day while cleaning paddock 3, we noticed that one beautiful brindle boy was being picked on by his paddock mates, so we brought him into the kennel area to be alone with us while we cleaned. I fell in love with him.  I brought him sausages and treats, took him for walks every day. After that first day, whenever we peeked through the door of his kennel, he would be there waiting for us.  Coincidentally, Sabine, my friend and volunteer who lives at Scooby, had selected this very dog, named Cuco for me for adoption in the USA.  
Introducing Cuco
Me and Cuco
Cuco Helps Me Shop at the Scooby Store
I had forgotten that he was the one, and since I've returned, I was able to reserve Cuco for adoption in California.  I will bring him back with me in December when I next visit.  I'll be selecting another galgo to bring back with Cuco, and will be promoting both of them for adoption in the San Francisco Bay Area.  They will be adopted through our local Greyhound group, Greyhounds Friends for Life, who is now a partner with Scooby.  I'm very excited to bring the first two galgos here to bright, promising lives where they will be loved and adored as they should be.  I'll be doing a special blog posting about the two galgos bound for California homes, so stay tuned.

3 Nights in Madrid
I spent three nights in Madrid at a great hotel, Catalonia Las Cortez Hotel, in the hub of the City. Did lots of walking around, shopping, and met up with my friend Alejandro (fostered our galga Sara) for dinner and touring the area.  We had a wonderful traditional Spanish dinner at a lovely restaurant, and he took me to parts of Madrid that I had not seen, including the bull fighting arena. I am not a fan of bull fighting (nor is my friend) or animal cruelty of any kind, but it was interesting to see the arena, the statues and to see what a part of Spanish culture this is for some. For those in the USA, it felt like being outside of a baseball stadium before the start of a game.

During my time there, did some fun shopping for myself and bought a very nice soccer shirt for my husband, Darrell, had Spanish cuisine at outdoor cafes and attended a Spanish Catholic Mass on Sunday. I think Madrid is one of the coolest cities to spend time, and am looking forward to my next visit in November.
Beautiful Madrid Architecture
Lunch on the Square
Cocido - Yum!
Cool Madrid Landscape
Bull Fighting Arena - I do NOT agree with or endorse bull fighting/slaughter.
Cool Statue and Bull Fighting Arena - However, I do not endorse this awful tradition

Bringing Liam and Tinga to the USA for Adoption

Originally, I had planned to bring back two galgos for adoption in California. But knowing that Tinga and Liam, two mixed breed Scooby dogs, were waiting for transport to New York, I volunteered to bring them instead.  Tinga had been at Scooby for over 3 years, one of the longest, and Liam was her partner. They both were in the perimeter, in their own paddock, with lots of room to romp and play together.  Making the move to a kennel, and then being packed up into kennels for transport to the USA and flying for 7+ hours would be a massively disruptive experience for these two, but the pay-off of being in the USA for adoption would be well worth it.  

Ana with Tinga (right) and Liam (left)
Anna Gets Tinga and Liam Ready to Leave the Perimeter
Ana, super volunteer, had known and loved Tinga the entire time that she had been there.  She was kind enough to take me to their paddock, introduce me to Tinga and Liam, and helped to make them feel more comfortable with me.  A couple of days before the transport, Ana and Debbie helped by taking both of them on leads to the Scooby kennel area, where the dogs spent a few nights prior to the trip.  
Debbie in the Pasture with the Goats, Just Before Fetching Liam and Tinga
Debbie Leads Liam and Ana Leads Tinga to the Kennels - One Step Closer to Home
Liam and Tinga in a Kennel - Next Step - Trip to the USA
They put the carriers in the kennel area with the dogs so that they would become familiar with them.  This was a very good idea, but I did notice at the airport that they had chewed up the plastic on the doorways of each. ;-) 

On the day we departed for the USA, I arrived at the airport 5 hours early to meet up with Simonetta from Scooby, who brought Liam and Tinga to the Madrid airport.  She drove up, we unloaded the dogs in the kennels, wheeled them to the ticket desk to check them and me in, and then she moved the van and came back to help get them through the security check point. It was a last minute thing. They sent someone to take us to the security station downstairs. We had to take the dogs out and put their kennels through a scan and walk them through the scanner, a moment I had feared.  Simonetta brought sausages with her to smooth things out and it all went perfectly. We put them in their kennels, locked them down with plastic ties, and sent them on their way.  
Tinga is in the Kennel and On the Way to the USA
Liam in his Carrier on the Way to the USA
Next stop, JFK airport in New York.  I went through immigration, and by the time I got to Customs to claim my bags, the two dogs were already there waiting for me. A very nice baggage attendant helped me load up the kennels and my bags, we breezed through Customs, and met the 11th Hour Rescue Volunteers who were there to pick them up.  I had time to eat dinner and catch my flight to San Francisco.  Everything worked perfectly.
Liam and Tinga Arrive Safely in New York - Barbara (right) has Adopted Tinga!

Liam and Tinga Are Already Adopted!

Amazingly, Liam went out on trial adoption within seven days of arriving in the USA, and he is now in his forever home.  And Tinga, our longest Scooby resident, was adopted by none other than Barbara, the head of 11th Hour Rescue, who fell in love with this lovely girl.  

Sometimes, fairy tales do come true.  Scooby has so many of these happily ever after stories. It makes my heart soar!  

Next blog entries will be about my upcoming trip to Scooby in late November, when I will bring back Cuco and another galgo for adoption.  Please stay tuned for the next edition.

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

Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!

Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!

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