If you saw my note on facebook yesterday or read my blog entry, you'll know that yesterday we returned from a blissful weekend on Formentera to a missing Jake. We spent the better part of the afternoon searching the streets of Barcelona and making calls to those we hoped could help - a big shout out must go to Dosrosas Dog Hotel - the kennel we use when we are away. Without them I probaby would still not know where he was. They were amazing and immediately got on the phone with authorities trying to hunt him down.
When the kids came home, they were pretty devastated that Jake was missing, especially Liam who is enamoured with Jake to no end. They are inseparable. With Josh still on the street hunt, I settled down to make some posters. Sadly I had done this before for Sailor and knew just what to include, only in Spanish. And apparently my Spanish wasn't quite right because Brian sent me corrections (which is exactly why I sent it to him!). I started putting the posters up around 6ish, just wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood which Josh fed the kids dinner.
My friend Cristy had offered to come up to help me put the posters up so I figured I'd get a slight head start on some in my neighborhood and then we could spread out. But right before she got to our place I had a phone call, in Spanish, from a woman whom I believe was telling me she saw Jake and that Animal Control had him. I was almost positive that was what she was saying. But to confirm it, I called Brian at Dosrosas and asked him to please call her just to make sure. Great news is that yes, my Spanish is decent enough that I interpreted most of the conversation and did not miss out on anything such as he's been hit by a car and is dead because that would be pretty bad to misunderstand. He told me that he was at the Protectora de Animales de la Rebassada, aka, the Pound.
I was beyond elated as was Josh and the kids but at the same time we didn't want to celebrate anything til we had him. All the signs pointed in the right direction - he was found less than 2 blocks from our apartment at 10:30 in the morning - he'd been lost right around that time. Apparently his microchip did not have our Spanish information which would be my fault for not updating it and now we will actually get him a Spanish chip as well (scheduled for this week!). He also was not registered here because of that which I was honestly unaware of - I had stupidly assumed that the service we paid to bring Jake and Sailor here had to register them in order to bring them in the country. But apparently not. So I will take care of that as well (thru my vet hopefully).
The pound didn't open til 11 this morning but my good friend Cristy offered to join me once again to try to collect him. I didn't know what to expect since now that we knew he was unregistered, there was concern about having to deal with typical government beaurocracy and paperwork. I brought a bunch of cash with me just in case they couldn't use a credit card and just kept my fingers crossed that not only did they have him (at this point no one had actually spoken to the pound since they were only opening at 11 for the day) but that they would release him to me.
La Protectora is up in the mountain by Tibidabo, so at the north side of the city, out where there is grass and trees. And no accessible public transit. So we took the train as far as we could and then hopped into a cab hoping to get there ok. Only there are 2 locations. So we looked at the info Brian had sent and hoped we all had the right one. Thankfully we did!
Upon arriving at La Protectora, I showed the person at the main desk the poster I had made of Jake. Now I want you to remember that this happened to be the closest face shot I had of Jake and that it is several years old. Most of my photos now have the kids and I really didn't want to plaster pictures of the kids around the neighborhood.
This is the poster:
The man looks at it and says "no tengo", I don't have. My heart started to race and I was freaking out. This is where I was told to go and this is where he should be. He starts typing on the computer and I don't think much about it til he turns the screen and shows me this picture:
It's then that I realized that Jake is much older than that picture I had put up of him and that I probably should take a more recent close up of him. Yeah, can you see the difference??
I give him Jake's passport information and he also needed my passport information. Should be interesting since I used my Irish passport and yet Jake arrived from the US. But they can figure that out later. He mentioned to me (I believe) that his chip didn't register with them and I tried to explain in my broken Spanish that I thought my service had done that and that I would contact our vet to get a new Spanish chip put on.
He went outside and just moments later he brought Jake out. I had tears in my eyes as I hugged him tight!! I could tell he was happy to see a familiar face! I also told him never ever to do that again! 40 euros and a nice donation later, we were on our way in a dog friendly cab (didn't even know those were an option til today - might have avoided bringing Sailor in a stroller to the vet when she hurt her knee if I'd known that!) heading home. Our kennel had told me that we may want to give him a flea bath upon arriving back home since he'd been at the pound.
So happy to see my boy!!!
Ok, again I admit, he's older than the picture... look at all that gray :(
Me and my baby in the cab
Rather than bathing my 80 lbs dog in the tub myself I decided that we should go to the pet store where they have a grooming area, similar to Petco but on a much smaller and less clean scale. Cristy and I brought him in and tried to explain that he needed a bath and we thought he might have fleas. She went out back for a moment and then guided us out back.
After some explaining to which I was half listening and half trying to figure out how to say fleas, Cristy leans over and says "I think you have to give him the bath". Even then I wasn't 100% with it and didn't quite get it. After all, I'm in a grooming salon, why would I need to groom him? If I wanted to do it myself, I'd do it at home But as she said it again I realized she was right because the woman was explaining all the tools, etc. And then she left - we were on our own.
We were laughing so hard over the situation that it made everything that had taken place in the last 24 hours such a good experience in the end. We learned a lot, we navigated more than we could have even just a year ago, and in the end, Jake was safe! And now he was clean too... from us washing him!! The added insult to the end, she charged me 10 euros to wash him myself!!
My very patient Jake getting a bath
We were absolutely soaked by the time he was done, but hopefully he's flea-free now!
A special thanks to Cristy for coming with me today and for laughing thru all the ridiculousness that was the groomers. All I can say on that one is Ahhhh Spain! Jake it's good to have you home buddy :)