Guest Author: Colin Beryl
In 2015 we saw a GWP on facebook, He was called Paton and he had been in a dog pound in Spain for most of his life (he was about 6). We were very interested as our first crazy wire Boris had passed away way too soon (11.5) and we wanted company for our old hagwire Eva who we had rescued previously in the UK. The wonderful SeBPRA founder Pepe set everything up and put us in touch with the pound which was in Xativa. We had decided to pick up Paton in person. No small feat seeing as we lived about 2250km away in Potsdam, Germany. So we decided it would be a cool road trip, booked a beach house for a week for introducing Paton to Eva. She had Cushings and was very defensive aggressive toward other dogs. So we spent a small fortune on aircon, brakes and wheels to get our 17yr old Saab down there. The pound address had to remain a secret for fear of vandalism and people throwing dogs over the walls. Later I found out also to keep the delicate balances within the various packs of dogs there. Therefore in true spy style we had to meet a german lady in a McDonalds carpark who helped at the pound to take us there.
So we reached the compound, a series of packs of up to 30 dogs in separate group enclosures. We didn’t know that we were the first ever end receivers to visit the pound! Dogs are usually shipped to the people taking them. So we were given a tour by all the volunteers of the pound to see what its like at the coal face. It was amazing seeing so many dogs in once space and I then realised why the volunteers all wore heavy duty suits and wellies, the hounds are not exactly clean as they all live together outside AND they are all desperate for love and attention. Lets just say I needed to change my clothes. So we toured the pound and then we all had a big group photo with Paton and all of the volunteers that had turned up to see him off. In hindsight the few boxes of dentastix we had brought weren’t going to stretch very far.
Full of trepidation we took him back to the beach house to be introduced to the mean old hag to see the inevitable aggression. Paton just looked at Eva and that was it, the benevolent dictator had arrived. I think it was the first time he had ever been on a beach given the grinning mega run he did.
So the week of gently bringing the 2 dogs together turned into half an hour or so, But it left us with a memorable time with them. Made more so by the fact that the turbo blew in our car and we had to stay in France for a few days extra while a car big enough for us was found by our awesome german break down cover. There Paton discovered what would become two of his all time food favourites, Pizza and Croissant..
He spent the remainder of his life travelling, visiting Denmark, Czech Republic, France, England and Poland. He attended a wire meet of about 14 wires last year on the NE coast of England. It may have been his life highlight but I think that may also have been the Chaise Lounge the wife bought for her and him.
Maybe it was his nature, maybe it was his pound life, but he spent the rest of his days known as the diplomat. His ability to diffuse situations with other dogs was astounding, he was a unique beast. Eva died 13.5 in August 2018. Paton died of Lymphoma peacefully in July 2019 aged about 10.5.
Don’t shop and deny dogs like Paton a chance, ADOPT
In 2015 we saw another facebook post about a GWP rescued off the streets in Merida southern Spain, he had a badly broken leg. His leg was arranged to be fixed by the wonderful Pepe who then drove for 5 hours each way to save the little man who was to be known as Basil. He was then placed in a foster home in Gijon while his leg was recovering. We thought we should take him, Eva was getting old and Paton had never been alone. We decided yes and made plans.. Paton’s trip had been a long one, we weren’t blessed with much time, so it was time for organisation.
- Order dog travel box and send to Pepe
- Sort flights from London/Berlin to Madrid
- Stay in Hotel at Madrid Airport beside car hire
- Pick up Basil
- Overnight in Gijon
- Fly back to Berlin
Finally we meet Pepe ! The grand dog rescuer and her family ! Lovely person but the hill she lives on gave our gearbox and handbrake cause for concern ! We followed Pepe into town to meet the foster owners Ruben and Suzzanna, they were very sad about saying good bye to Basil, more so when their dog also jumped into the car. It was a very emotional night. These people put so much love and time into rescue. But it meant another dog would be saved. Wee man about 10cm smaller and 10kg lighter than our first is very resilient owing to being a street rat, the dog box only fell off the luggage trolley a couple of times and he was in a plane and now with strangers…but then he met Paton and everything was good. Paton would become his protector, mentor, and big brother. Zeel’s broken leg came back to haunt him, the plates were taken out and he was finally fixed again. He has now been diagnosed with Leish but he’s still the same happy go lucky hound we picked up in 2015.
When Paton died in July we were crushed….and wee Zeel was unhappy alone he’d been in foster with 2 and then with us and our 3 was now it was just him. Paton and Basil were Eva’s wingmen she was so much more relaxed knowing she was covered. Paton was Basil’s big brother, guide, muse, git. It seems now in hindsight such a short space of time to get another wire but the opportunity arose via SeBPra not to fill the gap (impossible) but at least to give Basil a buddy. So, this time, we were even more constrained for time. This was going to be, because of work and holiday commitments, a smash and grab. SeBPRA co-ordinated with another rescuer to transport Chispas from Spain to Hannover where we would drive to pick him up. So the Frau, Sara was to meet at a carpark beside a service station. It was closed, so she had to meet at another one. She was at the right place! There were cars with Berlin plates and Galgo Taxi stickers ! More rescuers of Spanish dogs! Basil met Chispas in Greek food beer garden in Hannover. Chispas had never seen stairs, never mind a hotel, literally everything is brand new to this guy. Made a note to create a Chispas cleaning kit until he can handle richer foods. He spent only 2 days at our place in Potsdam, we then followed the Frau to Prague for a week for work, she gets about. A week later we then had another road trip to meet family in the south of France at a house we had hired. So that’s Austria, Italy, France and Czech off his list. Chispas loves getting in the car more than outside stuff or indeed getting out! But like all wires before him the view of the open road and its opportunities is intoxicating. Chispas and Basil spend most hours every day either biffing each other, tug of war, or eating, sleeping. It is a great match.
My point, all of these wires have been bred for a specific purpose and have been rejected from this role. All of them have enjoyed fulfilling, engaging and enjoyable lives and a wires stimulation does not have to be channelled through hunting. They just need challenged, through exercise and through their brain.
My blog (think more War and Peace) has to be long, I have to explain context, our decisions and how they led to actually meeting so many of this loose network of front line rescuers, fosterers, co-ordinators, carers, donaters, house checkers, transporters and idiots like me who are the receivers of these nutters. My part is the easy bit. Part with cash, get dog. I am proud to have been able to have a glimpse into this network, and to have met some of the caring, dedicated, wonderful people from across Europe who share one ideal. To give these dogs a second chance…
SeBPRA and associated rescue people.
Thankyou for the time we have spent with:
I’m typed this in a rental apartment in a rainy Swinoujscie on the Polish coast. Chispas in on a dog bed looking out of the balcony. Basil on the chaise (no dogs allowed on the furniture or bed)