Friday, March 26, 2010


Charity can mean many things to many people. Charity means to give or help with no thought of reward. The gratification is in the giving. It can be as little as giving a beggar a dime or sponsoring abandoned animals, helping the Red Cross or any other NGO. Charity can mean spending time with an old person or volunteering at a children’s centre. Giving of your time and/or money to disaster relief groups is another good way to help. There are hundreds of associations in your community and starving or abused children all over the world. There are also the veteran’s charities, helping them find jobs or giving psychiatric work to help them over the traumas of war. Everywhere you look there is someone or some group that desperately needs your help. Give what you can whether it is time or money. The meaning of charity disappears if you go around telling people how much you gave or if you expect people to be impressed with your achievement. Just give from your heart and if you are a good person people will know, you don’t have to advertise it.
It is nice to help in your local community but there are a lot of countries where disaster has struck either by force of nature or war; these people are just as needy. Some of us have money and some don’t but everyone can find a few minutes in their day to give to a charity. The reason I am mentioning this subject is because I have seen so many articles printed about people bragging about how much money they have given or what they have done. In my opinion this behaviour takes away from the meaning of charity and is just boasting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Throughout my life I have had a lot of fantastic dogs. Each one, with their own special character and personality. In one way or another they have all left a special imprint on my life. They have each been different from one another but each one added something to my life. They all had tricks and words that they knew but I had never had a dog with a sense of humor until I met Chico. He was very loyal and guarded the house and us. He had boundless energy and never ate one shoe or piece of furniture in his life. He had a toy-box under the bed and you could ask him to choose one and he would always get the right one out. He loved soft squeaky ones and he never destroyed them, after playing he would always put it back in the toy-box. He never ate or lost one toy from the day we got him. He was a Briard that Lenox bought for me as an anniversary and birthday present. His real name was Hychyko de Dasilva because we had a few minutes to come up with a name that started with H. That is how the breeder kept track of each litter of puppies. The reason I chose Hychyco is because there is a wonderful girl in Belgium called Caroline that trains dogs for the disabled and her association is called Haichicko. I couldn’t think of a better name. Caroline came to Spain several times to help ANIMO show what service dogs can do.

I wanted to spell it the same way she did but the breeder preferred the ys. It sounded the same and had great meaning for me as I thought how much these dogs help us in our daily lives. A Briard is a French sheepdog with long silky hair and not much of an under-coat so they don’t really shed or get there hair in knots. The hair hangs over their eyes and their ears are up and round with long hair hanging over them. Their back feet turn slightly out making them look like a ballerina. They run like rabbits with both back feet together and have the extra toe which for some reason is so important in a sheepdog. Chico died unexpectedly last night; we sat with him and talked to him until he passed away. I hope our voices helped him. I will miss Chico very much, especially his companionship. He was a funny dog but beautiful and well behaved. Maybe one day I will get another puppy because he is the second Briard I have had and as a breed they have really stolen my heart. The only dog that comes close for me is an Irish Wolfhound.
I have found a few cute pictures that can let you see what of character he was. He loved the water. He would be in the pool first thing every morning when you let him out and in the bath with you if he could.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cruelty to Animals

We have all seen a lot of cruelty to animals here over the years. I have written about many instances of my children bringing home boxes of puppies thrown out of car windows and puppies put in plastic bags to suffocate, dogs chained to a barrel and not fed or cared for, donkeys carrying loads that are too heavy with no food or water, hanging grey hounds from trees by their neck and the list goes on. The worst of these atrocities, I think, that I have witnessed here, was a box of puppies abandoned in a parking lot. The local children aged about six had cut off their toes and noses with a razor blade and were driving them around the parking lot like little trucks, removing their stomachs in the process. I stopped the boys and collected the puppies. Here is a picture of one of the puppies with no toes or nose. Because I already had a box of abandoned puppies that were thrown over the bridge I knew I couldn’t take all of them so I went to all the neighbors to ask for help. One restaurant owner said he would take two and I kept the other two. When they were old enough I found good homes for them along with the eight puppies from the box. It takes dedication, money and lots of time to bottle-feed so many animals not to mention the kitten that was left in our driveway which we still have. I am very pleased that we were able to place so many animals but the cruelty or lack of education is astounding even though the education is slowly and reluctantly improving. When I lived in the village the local sport for young boys was to take a piece of bamboo and put a nail on the end and poke the eyes out of the cats. The parents actually seemed proud of Junior for his achievement. Another gem was to wire the animals up with a coat hanger in some imaginative way.
I am glad that animal awareness has improved since I came here because we don’t see so much of the cruelty any more. They still abandon the puppies and kittens though and that goes for the English as well as the Spanish. Because I had so many animals the people, with a conscience, seemed to think that if they dumped the unwanted pets in my driveway they would be taken care of, and they were; but you reach a point where you can’t take any more or find good homes for them and the price of worming and vaccinations makes it impossible these days. I take in way fewer strays than I used to and I guess I have gotten a little harder in my way of thinking. An animal needs lots of love and care but you can only have so many and I have reached my limit.