Thursday, November 17, 2016

Spring Fling 2016 - Celebrating My 11th Visit to Scooby

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

In April, I celebrated my 11th volunteer visit to Scooby in Medina del Campo, Spain.  Two friends joined me on this trip, Mora Gozani and Nancy Young Hanson. We all met in Madrid and then drove to the sanctuary. Here's the story of our travels!
Scooby Galgos in the Paddock Enjoying the Spring Sunshine

Hola, Galgos!
You are the Reason that I Love this Special Place

First Stop: Germany to Visit Marie

Once again, I was able to make my first stop in Aachen, Germany, to visit my Scooby friend, Marie for two days.  We had a special time, as always. Marie and friend, Julie, cooked me one of the best-ever traditional German dinners the first evening.  The next day, we visited the Eifel and went for a hike in the hills and along the river. We were on a trail that led to a quaint village with a huge castle. Our reward for a challenging uphill walk back was to stop at the church, which has a cafe that serves famous and delicious pea soup. They also took me to the storybook village of Monschau, where the best mustard in the World is made. Of course, I bought another crock to bring back home. It was a short visit, but rich and fulfilling being able to spend time with Marie, who always teaches me new things and is one of the very best people that I know. Thank you, Marie!

Marie with Abba and Lucy (Aachen, DE)
A Very Nice Hike at the Eifel in Germany.
Delicious Pea Soup Afterward.
Looking at the Village from the Castle (Eifel, DE)

 A Storybook Town Where They Make the Best Mustard in the World (Monschau, DE)

Next Stop: Madrid

Met Nancy and Mora at the airport. We loaded up the car and headed out.  It was so much fun to finally meet Nancy in person. (We're Scooby Facebook friends.) We all got on so well and had so much to talk about.  

Detour: Madrid Shelter Visit

We took a detour to a place that my friend, Helena ZaloƱa Laguna showed me last year, when I was stuck in Madrid for three extra days due to issues with KLM airlines. That place is the Madrid Animal Shelter.  Helena was away on vacation and could not meet us there, but she set everything up so that they knew we would be visiting and had a tour guide that spoke English ready to greet us.  The facility is so well taken care of and has many regular volunteers. They love each and every animal and treat them as someone special. I am very proud of these folks and the work that they do. Helene is a big part of this. Thank you, Helene, staff and volunteers at the shelter! 

Next Stop: Medina del Campo and Scooby

After the shelter visit, we drove to Medina del Campo, stopping along the way to have a meal at a small restaurant along the freeway. These little hole-in-the-wall places have some of the best food. We all enjoyed our meals, and then it was on to the hotel to check in. We stayed in the Hotel Reina Isabel again, which is perfectly located, inexpensive, impeccably clean and has a warm and loving staff who always treat us well.  

Once we were checked in and freshened up, made our way over to Scooby. To me, it's always like a dream when you drive up, do the turnaround at the potato chip factory, see the tiny Scooby sign, drive the dirt road leading to the entrance, and then, "Ta da" you see all of the familiar sights, hear the dogs barking, roosters crowing, donkeys hee-hawing, horses whinnying, cats meowing, birds singing and the Spanish breezes blowing. Feels like home. 
Love this! Two Galgos and a Podenco Spy Hopping

Nancy Young Hanson
Scooby Facebook Friends for Years.
We Finally Got to Work Together at Scooby!

Mora is in Heaven Giving Love and Pets to A Gaggle of Galgos 

My Love: Liviana 

When we arrived at Scooby on Sunday, we were catching up on things with Melissa Beamish, and we heard the buzzer ring at the entrance gate. A galguero wanted to leave two galgos (male and female), but Scooby isn't staffed to take in animals on Sundays, so he was asked to return on Monday. He did return and surrendered the two lovelies.  I fell head over heels for the white and black galga, named Liviana.  He said that she was deaf, and I was so worried about her being in the shelter with so many dogs and not being able to get the audio queues from the other dogs (barking and growling). I took lots of photos of her and posted that evening. By the time I awoke in the morning, the Slovenian rescue group was inquiring about her and was certain that they would take her for adoption right way. Happy story: Livi lives in Slovenia with her Mum Eva, who adores her. She has a fantastic life with people who love her, and I'm over-the-moon happy for all of them. Eva sends me videos and photos of Livi from time to time, and my heart soars to know that she is so loved.

Liviana - I Love You and Wanted to Take You Home - Adopted!
You Now Have the Best Life in the World with Eva in Slovenia. 
There were dozens and dozens of galgos and mixed breed dogs as well.  I think probably the most galgos I've ever seen during a visit, which is heavenly to me.  We worked together every day to clean paddocks and socialize the dogs. It was fun having two friends to share the workload, talk and fall in love with the dogs in every paddock and kennel. 

Nancy was looking to adopt another galga, so we all enjoyed helping her figure out which would be her girl. She and Kiva selected each other, but the surprise is that another girl that she was partial to, Laila, also came to the U.S.A. and Nancy and Doug adopted her too! So now, Nancy has three Scooby galgas and one greyhound. Happy family!
We Bought Bags of Apple to Feed the Precious Donkeys

I'm So Very Frightened, But I Know Things Will Get Better
We Are 3 Very Frightened Galgos, But We Are Learning to Trust
Julietta and Leonardo

We met the two Scooby galgos that we would be bringing back to the U.S.A. for adoption through Greyhound Friends for Life, Julietta and Leonardo, two black and white beauties. They both were so gentle and loving. We spent a lot of time in their kennel getting to know them, taking photos and videos to share back home.  Once they arrived, both were in a foster home within 24 hours and now both have been in their forever homes for several months. So happy for them. Thank you to Greyhound Friends for Life and Barbara for this partnership with Scooby!
The Lovely Miss Julietta, So Affectionate - Adopted! 
Leonardo is Such a Sweet and Loving Galgo - Adopted!
The Castle

Nancy had never been to the Castle in Medina del Campo, so we made a visit. Always impressive and one of the best preserved I've ever seen.
Castillo de la Mota - A Must See - You Can See it from the Scooby Sanctuary

Next Stop: Back to Madrid
Madrid is One of My Favorite Cities

We left Scooby and spent three nights in Madrid. Had a fantastic time. Walked about, shopped, visited the art museum, saw a fabulous Flamenco show, ate great food and went to the gigantic flea market on Sunday. Nancy is very adventurous and introduced us to many new places, including a tiny little goldmine restaurant called, Takos Al Pastor. Food was delicious, inexpensive and the line forms outside the door every day before it opens. She also found a place that sells some of the very best caramels that I've ever tasted. Thank you, Nancy! 

Highly Recommend Attending a Flamenco Show - Fabulous!

We Had So Much Fun in Madrid - Great Weather Too!

Tapas! Mora and Nancy Tried the Snails.
No Way for Me. ;-p

Next Stop: San Francisco via Dallas-Fort Worth

We set out very early on our journey home.  Nancy was heading back to Pittsburgh via Chicago, and transported four dogs. Mora and I also took four dogs to San Francisco, two for Greyhound Friends for Life and two for Hound Sanctuary, which came from two other Spanish shelters.  We had a nice meet-up with the folks who brought the dogs to us at the airport, Frank from Scooby and the other volunteers from the other organizations.  

Things went smoothly in Madrid, we said our goodbyes and were off.  Mora and I traveled through DFW. Once again, it was a nail-biter at the airport, as we only had a short time between flights and they took such a long time to get the dogs out to us. We still had to clear through Customs and then TSA.  We were stressing, running and sweating the entire way. In the end, we made it to our connection with about 5 minutes to spare to load the dogs onto the plane and we were off.  Once we arrived at SFO, my husband, Darrell, and another volunteer greeted us to pick up the dogs.  We all headed out for home. Julietta and Leonardo spent the night with us and were picked up the next morning to go to their foster home. Mora, thank you for all of your help and support! 

Madrid Airport - 4 Lucky Dogs Coming the U.S.A.

Great People Brought the Dogs to Us at the Madrid Airport.
They Patiently Waited for a Couple of Hours Before We Could Board.
It was another pleasant adventure. I never know what's going to happen on these trips, but it always ends up being good in the end. Recently attended our Greyhound Friends for Life reunion and had the pleasure of seeing four Scooby galgos there. Everyone loves these dogs and they have such rich and wonderful lives here. It's a very rewarding volunteer effort, which I'm honored to be able to do.  Thanks to everyone involved for your support. We could not do this without you.

Next Trip: Leaving Friday, 11/18

I'm Scooby bound tomorrow morning. This is trip #12. Will be traveling solo this time. Flying in, taking the train and staying at the shelter.  Looking forward to seeing and meeting the staff, volunteers and all of the animals.  Very excited and always introspective before I go. Will share loads of photos and videos during and after my trip. Can't wait to return!

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