I've never had a dog before, not me personally. My parents had one when I was a child, an Irish Red Setter called Fliss. My memories of it was the slobber that cascaded from her mouth when she ran, and how people side-stepped as she ran past, either because they believed her to have rabies or didn't want to get covered in the goo that was tossed about quite freely. And then, one day, she wasn't there, she had to be put down.
Fast forward a few years, my first husband tried to home a dog. In a flat with a highly allergic wife. As you can imagine, that proved a complete disaster.
I decided when I grew out of my allergies and the time was right, I would introduce a dog into my life, and that dog would be called Mojo.
“Where's my Mojo?”
I love walking, and walking with a dog helps to give you confidence, energy, and enthusiasm, so the name seemed very apt. Here in Spain, Mojo is a garlic and oil sauce, so it would be quite humorous calling that name out!
So, five months into our new life here in Spain discussions naturally got round to adopting a dog. With a large secure garden around the house, and shaded areas at any time of the day, it seemed an ideal opportunity to give a deserving dog a new home. We thought hard about it and initially decided it would be best to ensure we had fully settled before taking on the commitment… but then fate played a hand. After an intruder was caught on camera jumping into our garden and approaching our house, we had the security of our home and ourselves to consider.
We already knew that we wanted to adopt a dog, there are so many dogs out here looking for a home, with many dog shelters full of stray, homeless or ill-treated pooches. So we visited one locally and we both immediately fell in love with Henry.
Henry had arrived at the kennels a week earlier, he hadn't been there for years like many of the others. Henry was the only dog to interact with us both during that visit, allowing us to play and even have our hands in his mouth, what a gentle soul. He had a cheeky personality, beautiful white teeth and a health long pink tongue. He was a healthy looking chap. I surmised that he must have been a missing dog from a loving home, rather than an abandoned one (I hated to think otherwise). When we got into the pen with him, he hugged us, his large paws hooked over our shoulders with what looked like a big grin across his face. This tan Ridgeback Podenco Cross melted our hearts right there and then. We decided that he would make an excellent addition to the Bartlett family. He was just perfect. And we were very excited to give him a forever home and bestow him with all our love.
The ball was put into motion. Once his quarantine had finished in a few days, Henry would go to the vet to be checked over, neutered, chipped and given a passport. I was super excited to foster him from that Monday, post op, with a view to adopt if we all got on well. I was keen to show him the walks I've discovered in the Almanzora Valley. I excitedly visited my local TODO Chinese shop with a friend and bought lots of blue dog accessories, choosing nervously like an expectant mother! My husband started to build a kennel from wood off-cuts and we had many dog related discussions. Both of us were very excited to welcome Henry at the start of the following week.
A message came through before the weekend that poor Henry had been rushed to the vet with Gastroenteritis and couldn't have his op until he was recovered and stronger. Although disappointed we sent our love and wished Henry a speedy recovery. We were in contact with the kennel over that weekend with much hope, but Henry's health kept deteriorating. Our hearts grew heavy. I wanted to visit him, to let him know we were thinking of him. To stop him from feeling alone.
Monday morning, the day we should have been welcoming Henry, I was sitting outside enjoying the Spanish sun, when from nowhere clouds gathered and a chill filled the air. The message came through to say he had passed away. My heart broke.
That day was the day I lost my Mojo.
RIP Henry. You may not have had the chance to feel our love, sleep in the kennel built for you and play with the array of toys chosen for you. But rest assured that we will save them for one of your canine friends. Just send us the right one when you have a rest from playing with your new found friends on the other side of Rainbow Bridge.