Category: Gone to the Dogs


22 October / Gone to the Dogs
Our leonberger, Bruno lost his brave fight against cancer today. In the last 3 days he deteriorated rapidly. After amputation and 2 chemotherapy sessions the vet told us today that the tumors had metastasized. In order that he didn’t suffer, we had no alternative. We shall miss our big-hearted, noble Bruno. There will not be another quite like you. Descansa En Paz my friend! Our leonberger, Bruno lost his brave fight against cancer today.
22 August / Gone to the Dogs
The 10 Commandments from a dog’s perspective My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful. Give me time to understand what you want of me Place your trust in me.. It is crucial for my well-being. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
Yes it’s true. We had a good day’s skiing yesterday in the Sierra Nevada with our dogs, Bruno (leonberger) and Khumbu (siberian husky). We parked at the Hoya de la Mora above the ski town of Pradollano and made the 45 minute traverse on a good road and track towards the middle ski station area called, Borreguiles. Just before arriving we found some old ski pistes still intact, so decided to follow these uphill.
An acequia is a community operated waterway and most were established more than 200 years ago. The Arabs brought the technology to Spain during their occupation. The acequia is how we irrigate our land and is a source of great entertainment for our dogs. Our water comes from the snows in the Sierra Nevada and is collected in a lake called the Laguna de Lanjaron high up in the mountains. As the snow melts it flows down the various channels.
31 May / Gone to the Dogs
Now here are a few photos of Khumbu when he was allowed to run free. It wasn’t until we put the photos on the computer that we could see the crazy facial expressions from Khumbu. They will make you laugh. This is not a daft one but a nice one of Khumbu and Bruno together Khumbu running and Bruno walking These are a set of photos showing the facial expressions of a husky putting every effort into running
Sadly my first dog, Rocky, died on Friday 22nd May 2009 after losing a battle with the horrible disease, Leishmaniasis. He was a great dog and faithful companion. I remember coming out to Spain in 2001. My pickup truck was filled with all my worldly possessions, so Rocky had to sit in the passenger seat all the way (illegal now of course). We had some great fun coming down through France and Spain at the motorway toll booths.
Well, we’ve had the busiest February since we arrived in 2002. Spanish Highs Mountain guides have been working hard at the winter mountaineering and alpine courses and ascents of Mulhacen recently. I seem to have been demoted to “office boy” and whilst others have been out doing all the “mountain” fun things, I’ve been running to/from Malaga airport, sorting out gear, equipment and accommodation issues, as well as keeping the flow of clients coming in!
19 December / Gone to the Dogs / News
13 November / Gone to the Dogs
We have been doing a lot of repair work on our cortijo recently, and had some materials left over, so decided to pull down the old dog shelter and make a new one. This is very smart and made out of local stone instead of concrete blocks. in fact, the quality of build is probably better than our own house! As you can see from the photo, our Leonberger dog, Bruno, is quite at home here in his new dog cave, although he does sort of swamp it.
28 August / Gone to the Dogs
Yesterday went up the 3009m high Cerro de Caballo above Lanjaron with 2 of our dogs, Bruno (leonberger) and Khumbu (Husky). It was a bit warm for them but as you can see from the photos they seemed to have a good time and managed to cool off in some high mountain streams and lakes. View Alexis Coltmans excellent photos from the day.
20 July / Gone to the Dogs
We have a small spanish terrier that my neighbour, Antonio, was going to get rid of. I’ve has him for 2 years now. He’s a fiesty little devil and is typically noisy. We call him “Tapa”, as he is just a bite sized piece for my other dog, Bruno, who towers over him, rather like the Matterhorn dwarfs Zermatt. We got our own back on Tapa for a few sleepless nights yesterday.
Our dogs, Bruno and Khumbu made it to the top of Mulhacen yesterday after a 5 hour ascent from the ranger station above Capileira. They were part of the Spanish Highs “team” that was helping in the ascent for a UK woman, who’s brother was killed on the mountain in 2006.
The mad leonberger in question was my dog Bruno, of course. He loves the snow and tends to get “carried away” by it all. Trouble is that the origins of a “Leonberger” are a mix of Newfoundland, Pyrennean Mountain and …. St Bernard. This makes him believe that his sole role in life is to save peoples lives, especially when he is out in the snows. When some clients tried sliding down a snowslope today he ran to their rescue.
Ok, it was just an idea. Sounded great. Get a husky and train it to pull us uphill on skis. It’s a large and growing sport evidently in North America and Scandanavia. Well we may live in the driest part of Europe, but if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. Right? Couldn’t be too hard to train a husky because that’s what they do isnt it?
Life really changed for “Bernie” our imaginatively (not!) named St Bernard dog on the day we walked into the pet rescue centre in Granada. He had spent all of his year-long life tied up, and had obviously been a problem to his then owners, hence the rescue centre was called in. He was in need of much love and care as these big dogs will develop problems without it. He was a bit scary at first because of his size and ferocious sounding bark and growl.
NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rocky and his most favourite bits of his anatomy have finally parted company. The final straw came when he disappeared last week for 3 days. We looked all over for him and alerted most of the countryside above the villas to be on the lookout. The search was on for “El Perro Negro”. It was 3 days of worry, wondering if a wild boar had had him or if he had been short by an irate farmer for “worrying” goats (an expression used in this case by Rocky to mean “fornication”!
_“Just had a great day out with my Dad. He took me in the car for a long ride but instead of him leaving me in the car while he went to the pub, he took me on a long road up a big hill. He kept saying how great everything looked but I just thought it was really boring. We parked up and then went for a walk. To my big surprise instead of green, the world was white, just like last year!
After a hard morning’s shopping, came back to a right mess! Big holes in the drive way. All the gravel had gone and the holes went right down to the soft soil below. Mud all over the place. Now……who could it be? Alfie…………….surely not, he’s not that energetic, Leo…………….looked all innocent which means it could be him, but I think he’d be proud of it if it was him Cassie………not interested, Who’s that in the corner, hiding away?
Whilst on a horse trek in the hills the other day we came across a scrawny brown dog sitting on the path. Very emaciated and thin, the dog was obviously on its last legs. It followed the horses for about a mile then left. Sarah, the owner of the stables, said the dog was always there and always did the same thing. She thought the dog had been “dumped” by its owner.
Had a few interesting times these last few weeks. Firstly, I had some unusual clients, a couple of Hells Angels whose names were Sean and Clare. Both dressed in black and were covered in tattoos. Clare wished to be called and known as “Bear” (for some obscure reason). She was covered in tattoos of Bears. Everytime I pointed out some of the magnificent mountain scenery (over 3500 metres high!) they kept insisting it was very much like the Peak District, only not as interesting.
Got stopped by Guardia Civil Traffic cops yesterday. Didn’t have registration document for car with me so I got fined 60 euros ….bugger! Nightmare really. Leo wouldn’t stop barking at them and they were getting annoyed at the racket he was making.Then when they let me go they insisted Rocky and Leo were in the back of the truck. Thats all very well but Leo and Rocky don’t speak Spanish! Just as I began to set off they both jumped in the front again.
Oh dear, gone a bit “pearshaped” today. Took Emma, Claire and the boys for a walk on the beach. Lovely hot day. Sun shining brightly. All started well. The boys went in the water. Rocky loves fetching sticks out of the surf, you know. Then he got a bit giddy and went on one of his “mad minutes”! Completely out of control he dashed over to the nearest sunbathers. They happened to be a middle-aged Spanish couple.
Tracy, who always looked after Rocky when I went on my travels whilst in the UK, has been looking after my boys here. She is looking at investing in the property market here as well so we may team up and form a rental business. She has brought Rocky’s mate ……her dog called Alf. A big drooling loppy eared Italian Spinone! Whilst I was away up the hills she looked after the dogs.
After waiting for the last 3 weeks for a telephone line to be installed, the little man from the telephone company arrived. He duly had a good look round for 15 seconds, spent 10 minutes asking if he could mate Rocky with his black Labrador, then said : “The telephone. It’s not possible today. The house is too high up and we cannot run a branch line the 20 metres from the main line”.
Rocky and I had our first trip up the hills yesterday. Objective was to suss out the way off the western end of the Sierra Nevada ridge line. This entails dropping down from the last 3,000m peak (Cerro de Caballo) and landing hopefully at the villa in Lanjarón. As we would be above the snow line I took full winter gear. We started out early and made good progress, but the altitude and deep snow stopped up at about 2,300m.
Yesterday I became a proper Spaniard and bought ¼ of a pig (well a full leg anyway) that’s hung up from the kitchen ceiling. The meat is cured at a village called Trevelez high up in the hills. Its fantastic..melts in the mouth. Also hung up are rows of red peppers linked on string. Looks really rural my kitchen does now! Anyway, last night Leo started jumping around most excitedly. I saw he had something in his mouth.
I hear the weather isn’t too good there at the moment so I’d better not tell you about the weather here. Won’t mention the fact that there’s only been 1 day of rain in 3 weeks or that the temps were in the upper 20’s yesterday. I’m very lucky, you know. Out of a hole in the wall at the bottom of the garden flows the “Fuente Hoya del Grillo” (The Cricket Spring Hole).
Accommodation update: Toilet - doesn’t flush so needs filling up before leaving it ‘cos not good news if the situation is desperate! Will be fixed “shortly” (Spanish for “whenever”). Bath - takes half hour to fill up bacause of trickle of warm water that exudes from tap. Soon to be resolved ….again “shortly”! Kitchen - not enough space to swing a cat, sorry… Terrace - the sun gets there at 1.
Greetings from Andalucia! Nice thing is that the email/internet connection between my laptop and my Spanish mobile works a dream (via infrared connection)! Movistar, the Spanish mobile network is light years ahead of BT. There I was expecting a load of hassle and I just turned the things on and …received all my mail. I now feel that I have connection with the outside world and the world Ive left behind in the UK.