Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This story is about my recent experience with a Spanish family and an airedale terrier named Brandy.

Anyone who has ever had an airedale will completely understand. Before I decided to adopt Brandy I remember reading “airedales have a mind of their own and are not for the faint of heart.” At the time I was intrigued by what that meant and I felt a little concerned. Now that I’ve had Brandy for 3 ½ years I can look back on that moment and say with certainty that I should have been a LOT concerned.

Of course what makes airedales so endearing is that they are full of spunk and character and they are mischievous till the last drop. I’ve also read that airedales have heighted senses, meaning that they see, hear, taste and smell everything far quicker and more intensely than other breeds. This is why they can appear to be so hyper and spastic. They are really very intensely curious and very smart. Of course they are also stubborn and therefore difficult to train.

I brought Brandy and Whisky, a standard poodle, with me from the US to live in Deia, Mallorca. I’m renting a lovely house on a cliff with a very large yard, which is great for the dogs. The first day I was there I noticed that there was a hole in the fence, in front of a pretty dense bunch of bushes and knew that Brandy would eventually discover it and try to go for a little walk on her own. I made a note to cover that hole as soon as I could find the right materials and tools.

I left the dogs in the yard on several occasions for outings to the store, running errands, etc. Each time I was gone for periods of time of anywhere from one to five hours. For the first few days nothing unusual happened and the dogs were right there at the gate, wagging their tales and ready to greet me enthusiastically as soon as I walked through the entrance.

Then on one Saturday, I came home at around five in the evening, after being gone for a few hours. Whisky was at the gate and was behaving a little more excited than normal, and Brandy was not there. I walked through the gate and looked everywhere for Brandy and no Brandy, anywhere. I quickly figured out she had escaped through the hole in the fence and took Whisky with me out on the trails in front of the house looking for her. My hope was that she went out for a little wonder and that I would find her quickly. The search went on for about 2 hours and there was no Brandy around. I went looking for her in the car, through the neighborhood and in the village, and still no Brandy. By then it was dark so I decided to go home.

Later that night I was lying in bed worried about her and resigned to do nothing until the morning. My biggest worry was that she would be out there hurt and with no one to take care of her. I wondered if she had fallen off a cliff or had been run over by a car. I hoped that if anyone decided to “adopt” her that it would at least be a nice family who would take care of her. Then suddenly I remembered that her collar tags have my US phone number on them and that if someone found her they might try to call that number. I checked for missed calls on my US phone and sure enough there was a missed call from a Spanish number.

I called the number right away and it was a family who had found her on the main road going into the next town of Soller, about three miles from the house. Mom and dad were in the car with their three kids going for a Saturday afternoon drive into Soller. They saw Brandy strolling back and forth across the road and slowed down when they saw her. My friendly Brandy went right up to the car to greet them, wagging her tail and looking at them with her teddy bear eyes. At first the family thought she might be with the hikers who were also on the road. They drove off and later decided to turn around and go back because they wondered if she was really with the hikers, or all alone.

When they reached the hikers they slowed down and asked them if Brandy was with them and they said no. The family decided to take Brandy into the car and take her home to figure out what to do with her because she was obviously lost and in danger, zigzagging all alone on the main road with lots of traffic on a Saturday afternoon. They said she was shaking and afraid when they put her in the car. She quickly warmed up to the kids in the back seat and they instantly fell in love with her.

So that is how Brandy ended up in the home of Tony and Ana and their three kids, Ana, Alvaro and Irene, 12, 10 and 5 years old. Tony went to the police station in town to report that he had found Brandy in case her owner would show up there looking for her. When he got home he called the number on her tag. Tony also saw that she had a tag for a microchip from a company called Home Again. He looked up the company on the Internet and sent them an email message. They fed her and later commented on how much she loves to eat chicken and rice!

This nice Spanish family not only took great care of Brandy by bringing her into their home and feeding her but they also went through great lengths to try to find her owner, and luckily with success. We have since become friends and they have even helped me to take care of both Whisky and Brandy when I had to go out of town for a couple of days.

There are very kind people in Spain!!! I feel the warmth of the people and I'm really enjoying my time here.

I don’t regret having an airedale and I love Brandy but it is definitely true that airedales are NOT for the faint of heart. Oh, and yes, I covered the hole in the fence.

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