Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ambivalence and other breeds

Spaniards are odd about animals. It's very usual to see little dogs being cuddled and nursed by young and old alike - Jack Russells, Yorkies and Chihuahuas for instance. Huskies are very popular, apparently because they have blue eyes, and those dogs that look like pigs are big amongst the tough young man set. Yet, equally it's almost accepted practice that when summer comes and the family disappear to their holiday destination the dog is put out on the street and left to fend for itself.

Our next door neighbour keeps a couple of Boxers in his back yard and he only pops up to feed them every now and again. Their world is a small enclosure until he drops by for an occasional weekend or during the couple of weeks in the summer when he's here and the dogs get to go out for a run.

Castration or sterilisation of animals is considered to be a form of unacceptable mutilation. Apparently better to abandon the puppies or kittens to an uncertain future wandering the streets or country roads. Dead dogs and cats along the roadside are a common site. Dogs chained up with the earth trodden hard in a circle around the central post are everywhere - not pets, not guard dogs - more like prisoners.

Brits, of course, have a reputation for being animal lovers and it is not unusual for some Brit who has a few dogs to find puppies abandoned where they will find them - often in the nearest rubbish skip. I know several people with at least three dogs only one of which they "chose" to keep.

Our cat Eduardo was born in a friends house when the mother dropped by for a snack and a warm place to give birth. Our second cat, Harold, was living wild near the bins by a local farmhouse when he popped by to see if there was anything on the tele and even now hasn't quite decided whether he prefers to sleep on our settee or down by the goat shed.

These are our cats: Eduardo is on the left, Harold on the right


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