Hola Pablo! Our Spanish Rescue Puppy

Pablo with Manza and Jojo, the other two puppies found in the water pipe

Pablo with Manza and Jojo, the other two puppies found in the water pipe

Enjoying the Sagrada Familia toy I bought from Barcelona when I was 17!

Enjoying the Sagrada Familia toy I bought from Barcelona when I was 17!

It’s been three months since we saw the first glimpse of Pablo on Facebook, rescued by two lovely ladies in Spain who run a rescue home called Buddies. They named him Henri.

He was found in a water pipe on the side of the road, abandoned with two other puppies when they were only a few months old, their docked tails suggesting they were bred as working dogs but eventually cast aside, surplus to requirement.

We don’t know anything more about him except that Spain has some of the worst animal welfare laws in Europe, not surprising when bullfighting is a national ‘sport’.

Every year, hundreds of dogs are abandoned, abused and neglected in Spain, the lucky ones saved by the many rescue homes who pick them up, give them love, and find them somewhere new to live.

Fortunately for us, our friend Catherine happened to spot the abandoned pups on Facebook and, knowing we were looking to adopt a rescue dog, sent over the link.

We were immediately doomed - how could you see those faces and not want to give one a home? I was completely drawn to Henri - those doleful eyes, speckled nose and auburn splodges were impossible to resist, and within half an hour we had filled in the adoption form and asked to reserve him.

He spent the next few weeks having the correct jabs, losing his balls, being trained to walk on a lead and learning to live around people and other dogs. The ladies who rescued him were unbelievably caring - keeping us updated on his progress but also not arranging transport until they were sure he could cope.

Finally, his behaviour improved so much that he was ready to leave Spain! Over three days he visited the government vet, had his passport stamped, and was then transported over in a special vehicle.

He arrived at 7am on Saturday 27th October, and he’s exceeded all our expectations! Not only is he gentle, quiet and affectionate, he loves meeting other people and has already latched onto us so well that we’ve been able to let him off the lead on long walks. He’s amazing!

We’re still not sure what breed he is, but our best guess is a mixed podenco, the name given to a group of Mediterranean hare-hunting dogs.

Fortunately he doesn’t seem to be interested in hunting anything, although he has been stealing socks and balls of wool from my knitting basket. He spends most of his time asleep on the sofa in the sunshine, and we can’t wait until we move into our new house in the next few weeks so he’ll have a garden to explore, too.

We are absolutely besotted!

I’ve wanted another dog ever since our golden retriever Murphy died while I was at university - he lived for sixteen years, which is a long time for such a big dog! He was just the most beautiful creature in the world, and when I moved back to my hometown from London, I really felt there was a dog-sized gap in my life.

When I went freelance earlier this year, I finally decided it might be time. I gave it a few months to decide if freelancing was right for me (it’s amazing!), and then the wise universe plonked Pablo in our path and he found his way home to us.

I’ve always wanted to rescue a dog. There are so many out there looking for homes, and although there is extra effort involved, the rewards are so much greater.

We renamed him Pablo to honour his Spanish origins. A couple of people have asked why we adopted from Spain when there are so many dogs in England that need homes. I found the question perplexing - dogs don’t have nationalities, and a Spanish dog is just as much in need of love as any other, particularly when they are exposed to such low standards of welfare.

I didn’t care where our dog came from, and in the end I was able to give Pablo (full name Pablo Rescu-bark) the Sagrada Familia toy I bought when visiting the famous cathedral in Barcelona almost ten years ago! I rediscovered it while I was decluttering, and decided it would be the perfect welcome home gift for the new addition to our family. Hopefully it will remind him of his Hispanic roots.

Pablo is now nine months old and loves sleeping, chewing socks, running downhill and howling if we ignore him for too long. We’re now going to carry on his training and start transitioning him to a more plant-based diet - contrary to popular belief, dogs are omnivores like us and don’t need meat and dairy to live. In fact, the oldest dog in the world was fed on a vegan diet. Watch this space for more updates!

¡Te amamos, Pablo!