Sunday, April 15, 2012
Dog Days in Albox
Today's Voz de Almería has an article in it about some British women. As often happens, it makes them look, and by extension all of us, slightly foolish. The ladies come from Albox and appear to have managed to miss most of life's attractions in Spain (which, it goes without saying, explains why they ended up in Albox). Their thing - is about dogs. Abandoned, raddled, mangy and hungry.
I imagine the Spanish must wonder about these Brits who have come to live here. They appear to show no interest in getting to know the culture and the language, travel, history, the food and the drink (beyond cerveza and wine in a carton), the politics and the social life of the Spaniards, their family and their education. Not for them the traditions, handicrafts, misas, matanzas and toreo. The only thing that appears to interest these funny new neighbours (so must think the Spanish) is their extraordinary hang-up on charity... and not even on human charities: the nuns, the poor, the disabled and the weak. Just the dogs and cats.
The thing about animals is simple: you can talk to them in English. They won't mind.
There was a time a few years back when the entire corporation of a town hall in Alicante was arrested for the usual fraud so common in those small towns with too many builders, rural land and eager clients, and just one councilor escaped, making him suddenly the acting mayor. This worthy was an Englishman (cynically stuck on the lista to make up the numbers and get a few extra votes for the party in question from the extranjeros). His department in the ayuntamiento was 'doggies and moggies' and he spoke not a word of Spanish. On hearing the thrust of the eight-hundred page report, the Judge, once someone had slapped him hard on the back a few times finally managing to dislodge a lump of tostada con tomate from his tubes, ordered the arrested to be sent back to their town hall. 'ASAfuckingP', added the beak, thus breaking a judicial tradition that has lasted centuries in Spain.
The local dog charity in Mojácar, whose job is essentially to look after Spanish abandoned dogs, reportedly spent 145,000 euros last year - which all came in contribution from the extranjeros. Mostly items sold in a charity-store for a euro or two. Not only the dogs and cats benefited from this British largesse, the owner of the shop got a bloody good rent as well. The local mayoress has now ceded a new shop for the charity. No doubt for charitable reasons.
What is it about the local dogs here that ignites our cold British passion? Poisoned, garroted, abandoned, tortured and starved?
So the ladies in Albox. One of them, who gets the headline, has thirty three dogs in her home. Just imagine that for a moment. The report begins by huffily pointing out that the British 'if they don't respect animals more than we Spanish do, at least approach them in a different and more organised way'. Whatever that means. Well, we don't string them up in the campo with just a sausage roll full of poison for company.
Then we learn that the lady in question must leave for England for an operation and may be delayed or perhaps not return. Cue the 33 dogs. Someone apparently wants to buy the house (cleaned and dog-free) and the dogs could all be sent to Holland with the money, where they will all live in the lap of canine luxury - no doubt comfortably near to a cosmetic factory. But that's just me talking. Don't the Dutch have their own strays... why would they want so many Spanish ones? And why do they prefer those little ratonero dogs with pop-eyes?
The problem is, of course, simple: 'the Spanish don't castrate their dogs', says the second lady to the journalist.
Through an interpreter.
'The Spanish neighbours give us their spare puppies', say the ladies indignantly, 'or abandon them on our step and scarper, or else they just toss them into the garbage'.
The article ends with a plea from the by-now converted hack not to buy a dog, but to adopt one.
Of course, and here's a thought: if they can't sell them, the breeders can always throw their spare puppies into the skip.