I’ve got two dogs, Penny, a Spanish Podenco, and Tipsy, a mixture with some German Shepherd.

Tips making friends with a horse.
Penny the Podenco

As I live alone, they provide great company and give me much needed exercise. They are large but very friendly, if a little boisterous when meeting my friends or other dogs. Both are rescue dogs. Penny was abandonned in the countryside near my brother’s house as a pup and survived by eating avocados which were abundant. As it happens, she or her mother had created a ‘nest’ at the base of a mango tree and after she found herself alone (her mother presumably killed) she began stealing items of clothing drying on his veranda. Curious, Peter, my brother spied on her and following her found her nest. Penny was of course, very wary and it took a lot of coaxing and generous tidbits but eventually she was happy to come into the house and eventually she adopted Peter!

Unfortunately, Peter’s job required him to move to a city centre flat in Granada where large dogs were impractical. Luckily, I lived near Peter’s old place and Penny knew me well, so it was natural I’d adopt her and I’ve had her ever since. Every month we drive up to Granada and she always remembers Peter, going beserk with excitement when she spots him walking up to us.

Tipsy was also an abandoned pup living in a nest in an olive grove with six siblings. A farmer I met in a bar told be about the pups and I said I#d like to take a look. Five of the pups were all black but the sixth had gorgeous brown markings a la German Shepherds and I was immediately attracted to her.

I live in the south of Spain in the mountains behind the Costa del Sol. It is unfortunate that in such rural communities, there is still this Spanish attitude to animals, including pets, that they are “only” animals and sadly are treated accordingly. Dogs on farms and smallholdings live wild really and are not pets but are used for hunting, mousing or as guard dogs. If a farmer’s dog has pups it is standard practice to put them in a bin liner and dump them by the roadside. Some will even shoot or drown them.

The Spanish breed these for hunting large game – deer and hogs etc. Podencos like mine are for hunting game and rabbits.

Attitudes are changing thank goodness and in our village, dogs are actually very popular house pets, although usually left to roam the village all day. At least they are looked after, fed and watered. They are usually small breeds so when I arrived with my two monsters, it caused a bit of a stir. Many locals were truly scared by big dogs despite having small ones themselves. However, I always kept mine on a lead in the village and soon, everyone got used to them. So too did the small dogs with just two exceptions. for some reason, these two wound up mine with their yapping and they never made friends, unlike most of the other dogs who all got along.

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