Back when I still posting photos on this website I had an entire section dedicated to dogs. Naturally, I like dogs. I also like cats but the difference is cats typically view you as a source of food and litter box cleaning whereas dogs are your buddy. There are obviously exceptions but living in apartments for the last 15 years or so precluded having a dog of my own despite having one throughout most of my childhood in California.
After saying goodbye to the center of Barcelona a the beginning of 2014 and coming to live on the masia just south of nowhere in the humid butthole of Girona it soon became obvious that in addition to falcons, snakes, rabbits, boars, badgers, foxes, and who knows what else, the farm needed a dog. In Spain, there are plenty of dog pounds, especially in recent years as people have had to abandon their dogs for financial reasons. With a 50% unemployment rate, the problem is extremely bad in Andalusia and the dogs at the pounds there will often be shipped up north to those who can adopt them.
Initially we contacted one of these southern pounds as they had two puppies that were dachshund mixes. After stating that we wanted to adopt them and while in the process of filling out a lengthy questionnaire, they let one be adopted. That was a pisser and we changed tactic to adopt a dog locally.
In Catalonia, pounds are called the gossera which, if one were to literally translate it would be the “doggery”, a fitting name. Of course while there are gosseres for most counties in Catalonia, Gironès, where I live doesn’t have one despite having the largest town in the region, Girona. This meant looking around and while the gossera in Figueres is the unofficial one for Gironès, we opted for the coast as they see a huge amount of abandoned dogs. Whether it’s due to people living on the coast being assholes (which is often true) or tourists losing their dogs and not caring (also often true), I don’t know, but we ended up in La Selva.
This gossera they’ve wisely placed right next to sewage treatment plant. This is quite handy for how they wash out the cages twice a day in to large pipes that go directly in to it. Also, it’s noisy as hell at the gossera and no one would want to live within 2km of it which is pretty much how far away the nearest homes are. Any time a dog leaves, it’s like that scene in the third Batman movie whenever someone tried to climb out that pit prison and everyone else would chant them on. Picture that, except with dog barks.
You walk in and they let you browse the selection of 150+ dogs they have. It’s a motley crew of beasts. Some are giant, some are muttly but most all are selectively friendly. By this I mean that in the cages they seem like they’re your best friend. Then you can take them out for a little walk and you see the true animal come out. The first trial walk didn’t go so well as this female we took out pulled incredibly hard on the leash and didn’t listen to anything we said.
The next dog we took out was one who wasn’t trying the schmoozing approach and was just chilling in the back of the pack. As soon as he was out of the cages, he took a large crap on the side of the road. This to me was a good sign as it showed that he was much happier crapping outside and was, at some level house trained. After walking him a bit more we went back. The staff told us we could take him for a week or two, or three. They weren’t really concerned as he had been chipped and they had plenty of other dogs to worry about.
The first night was a lot of whimpering and initial scratching at the door. That stopped and he slowly got accustomed to walking around (or more correctly, through) the 26ha of fields and woods around the masia the next day. The next night, just a little whimpering and then to sleep. After a few more days he had fully adjusted and we knew there wasn’t going to be taking him back.
I won’t ramble on about his being a genius (he’s a dog, so by definition he’s not) nor the most handsome dog in the world (he’s a mix of pointer and something else so he has really long legs but only weighs 20kg) but he has a good deal of personality. As he was an abandoned dog they found by the town of Hostalric he’s a bit reserved. Belly scratches were off limits at first. Now, they’re demanded. The car was something not to be trusted. Now, it’s associated with going exciting places to go and he’ll try to jump in even it’s not a trip for him. He still stands on all four legs in the back seat like a moron though.
He was initially called “cep” at the gossera which means “grapevine” in Catalan. Maybe it was due to his long legs but basically the workers just toss some random name at the dogs while the chip papers stay blank. Once you formalize the adoption (which means paying 179€ for neutering, vaccinations, etc) you tell them the name you want. As he wasn’t really responding to that name, my mother in-law started calling him random names and while he was probably called “Duke” previously, he responded to the sound well enough that we decided to call him “Bruc”. This has no real meaning in Catalan as it’s a type of tree, but when I find him nosing through the trash and have to yell at him, it seems appropriate.
A picky eater he is not. Like many dogs he loves stale bread. Sandwich slices of turkey meat are like crack cocaine which I assume is due to them having plenty of chicken asshole in the blend. We tried mixing in some old quinoa with meat one morning only to find the meat eaten and the quinoa spread about the floor. A hippie palate this dog does not have. He’d probably not like kale either, but who the fuck does unless it’s slathered in bacon grease?
And so we set off on the adventure of this dog who I’ve found that local kids love mainly due to his size. Yesterday some five year-old invited him to her birthday party at the park as he became the focus and fascination of all these kids who must live in apartments and “dogs” to them are typically smaller than cats.
Of course I do feel sorry for all the rabbits that were living in peace in the forests before this hound came to town and started messing up their hood.