Saturday, 1 September 2007
Blog O Dogs
Enough good works! I am now back at The Peaceable Kingdom, and not a moment too soon.
I think the big cosmic logjam broke on Thursday. The superstitious part of me says it´s the nuns´doing.
Wednesday morning I asked the Madres Benedictinas to pray for the house situation, seeing as we haven´t seen the Bozos for about three weeks now and Paddy was getting very low. The sisters were delighted. "People are always asking us to pray for them, but they almost never tell us what FOR," Sor Consuela told me. "It is good to have something you can get your teeth into."
They aimed for St. Joseph, the carpenter, and dedicated the Vespers service to the intention. And Thursday morning, out of the blue, Chief Bozo Mario phoned up Paddy and said he was "collecting the plumbers." Hmmm.
And yesterday morning at 10 a.m., there they were: Mario and Fran and TWO plumbers. They measured and asked Paddy lots of questions. They will dig up the yard and parts of the house early next week, and install the majority of the pipes mid-week. They say. (One tends to be a bit cynical about these things anymore.) But I gotta have faith. At least someone is TALKING about working here! Thanks, St. Joe! (and Frank, about paving the patio with bricks... Might this be the moment?)
And on a more mystic note... Paddy has been talking about getting another pooch to keep Una company when we go places. I am not so enthusiastic, as the more animals we have, the less flexible we can be with our spare time... And I am allergic to most dogs. So we´ve just waited, in the vague belief that another dog will probably wash up on this shore at some point.
And Thursday, while Paddy was out with Una for their morning constitutional, they met two pilgs walking with a small setter dog. It wasn´t theirs, they said. It had walked with them 30 km., all the way from Carrión de los Condes. It was attacked by the resident curs of Calzadilla de la Cueza in the morning, and he wasn´t doing so well.
Well, Paddy is a compassionate man, at least where non-humans are concerned. The brown and white hunting dog
is now curled up at his feet, filled up with dog food and fresh water and affection. He is a very affectionate critter, who adores Paddy and Una, and is doing his best to ingratiate himself to me.
Strangely enough, yesterday was the day for the veterinarian to come to Moratinos for the annual Castilla y Leon rabies check-up clinic on the church porch. We took both dogs over, figuring to hand the poor bureaucrat a double whammy: Finding the hunting dog´s EU-mandated ID microchip (and thus finding his rightful owner), and finding Una´s American ID microchip, which a vet a couple of weeks ago in Sahagun could not locate with either of his high-tech chip-scanners. (No chip, no rabies vaccine. Which sounds sensible until someone doesn´t bother, or you have a dog with an unreadable chip. Which means you have un-vaccinated dogs running around because of The Rules.)
It was an event for the ages, and a good number of villagers of several descriptions turned up to watch, play, sniff, fight, and have their ears scratched. The dogs enjoyed it too.
The vet, who looked like she just graduated high school, couldn´t find a chip in either of our dogs, and made as if she couldn´t do anything for us without extra paperwork from Valladolid. Our mayor Estebanito was on hand, and I told him we may need his help dealing with the junta.
Estebanito gave the vet a look. He handed her our yellow "Dog Travel" folder. Inside it is all of Una´s dog-import paperwork, which cost us a fortune last September, and it´s done up in two languages, stamped and sealed enough to ease the heart of even the toughest Spanish pencil-pusher. Estebanito said a few quick words to the niña. She then went ahead and gave Una her annual vaccine, and did her up an official European Union Dog Passport.
Estebanito handed it over with a smile. "Now you ALL are offical Moratinos residents," he said. He sent Jose, his brother, over to the house for some home-brew orujo. The men must mark every official occasion, sure as the dogs must anoint every tree in the plaza, with liquids that look identical.
The stray dog will need to be reported to police, but since he´s got no microchip he´s probably ours to keep if we want him. The vet looked him over. He´s about a year old, and still a bit dehydrated. We will have to register him in Valladolid before he gets a passport and shots. IF we keep him. Tomorrow we will bundle him into the furgoneta and drive to Carrión de los Condes and see if anyone is missing a gun dog.
This guy is valuable. He´s a good-looking Brittany, popular with bird-hunters hereabouts, and it IS bird season. After great discussion the people of Moratinos decided he was taken out last week for his first try-out in the field, and didn´t make the cut. A gun-shy gun dog is useless for hunting, so they just left him out in the field to fend for himself. He took up with pilgrims, who are often generous with chorizo and bocadillos. And et voila! He found Patrick, a sucker for a wet nose, prominent ribs, and puppy-dog eyes.
The other mystic (and rather sad and tragic) thing is this: When Paddy brought him home and opened the gate, the dog ran inside and encountered two of the chickens in the patio. He chased them into the house, cornered one in what was the Salon, and killed her instantly. (thankfully it was a Gladys, not Blodwyn.)
Oowee, thought me (once I got over my initial bout of shock and dismay)... blood sacrifice on the hearthstone. If Benedictine prayers don´t light a fire under the Bozos, this surely will! Mario hasn´t got a prayer, the poor old devil.
We don´t have much hope of finding the dog´s owner. We shall have to do some severe training to break him of his chicken-slaying ways. And we will need to find a name. Suggestions are hereby solicited!