Rick and Lesley Beauchamp are based in Leicestershire in the UK, and each year they travel to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to bring home som Podenco Canarios, whose only hope of a forever life outside the SARA Lanzarote shelter is to be adopted on mainland Europe.
Here Rick talks about the project and the 3 trips he has made so far. What is hidden is the true International co-operation which goes on to bring the dogs to the UK; from them choosing the dogs in Lanzarote to arranging flight partners to take the dogs to Europe; to enlisting help from the German population to meet the dogs at the airports; to the absolute exhaustion that Rick and his friend Daryl submot themselves to over a couple of days.
'Well I can keep my eyes open without the aid of matchsticks now so I thought that I’d drop you a line to let you know how things went.
First and foremost all 4 dogs are fine, all travelled well, all have settled in very well indeed. Cristina's new owner adores her ,R&R are responding very well to their training and can even now be walked out together by one person on choke chains! They are shitting for England but they are having 3 large meals of dried food with a raw egg on top( real eggs not from Battery hens!) but I’m really impressed with them and already they are looking better in their coats and flesh. Speaking of coats ,the Greyhound peoples coats have been brill! R&R live in them as they are in kennels and the weather yesterday was terrible but they seem fine and are acclimatising well. Orlando is a house dog! He sleeps on Charlies bed , shares a sofa with the mastiff and is rapidly becoming one of our pack! We must find him a home bloody quick or else we may not let him go. We are taking him to see someone on Thursday who has just lost her Lurcher, lovely lady so fingers crossed.
Journey wise, my friend insisted in coming with me and I couldn’t argue as it was his van. What I didn’t realise was that his van is in about the same condition as the old SARA one! Hell, we had to stop every two hours and walk about for 5 minutes just so that we could stand up straight! Daryl decided that we would stay at one of his clients “Hotels” in Romford which was a knocking shop! I slept fully clothed in case I caught crabs from the bedding! We got up at 5am to get down to the ferry, big breakfast at a greasy spoon in Dover and a good ferry crossing to Calais even though the sea was choppy- these ferrys have come on loads stability wise. Calais through Belgium , Holland to Germany was trouble free we had a good break at a roadside café just over the German border- what a pleasure that was! Bright, clean, excellent food, spotless bogs- god knows what they must think when they visit England no wonder they seem superior! Then we hit the road again which was fine until we hit Bremen,well I say fine,I’ve never seen so many trucks in all my life and driving on the wrong side of the road in a van that could only do 120k flat out with the wind behind wasn’t particularly pleasureable.
Anyway, back to Bremen, we sat in a traffic jam for best part of 3 hours! Fortunately Kristen was on standby and she travelled to the airport to meet the plane, but our plans of getting there early booking in and putting our feet up for an hour or so went out the window. Also once we picked up the dogs ( which is no problem at all at the airport ) we struggled to find our motel as I’d borrowed a mobile sat nav but was too knackered to work out how to put a new address in so we called the motel and the dipstick receptionist gave us awful instructions twice! It took us over an hour to find the motel which should have been around 20 mins. The annoying thing was that Kristen had advised us to change our booking to a hotel nearer to the airport but we thought that getting out of the built up area would be better for dealing with the dogs.
Anyway, we got the dogs out , fed and walked them and decided to take them to my room rather than leave them in the van. We parked the van near the room and lifted the boxes through the open window into the room, very handy and the dogs followed the same way! In fact they went in and out that way a couple of times- we got some strange looks- I’m surprised we didn’t get arrested as it must have looked as though we were nicking stuff!
So we got to bed around 2am, Cristina slept on the bed with me and Orlando went in his cage as he was mooching around and I didn’t fancy a pile to clean up at 4am!
The following morning whilst Daryl walked the dogs I showered and put on clean clothes which was a magical experience after sleeping in my clothes in Romford! We decided that these two dogs didn’t need containing so we gave them the run of the van which as Daryl said they couldn’t damage anyway! So we put them in the van whilst we had breakfast in yet another very clean dining area .The Germans allow dogs everywhere which is fab and there was a very sweet little kid with a black terrier in the restaurant, we saw her mum walking the dog afterwards and got talking- this terrier had recently come from SARA amazing coincidence eh!.
We then wandered around Hamburg for a bit on our way back to the airport and took the dogs for a long walk in Hamburg park which is also a fab place- huge! We arrived in very good time at the airport to pick up R&R parked right outside the terminal ( no terrorist restrictions here) and waited for the flight to land. Kristen was picking up a Podenco herself off the same flight, which makes her dash for us the night before even more impressive. We heard one of the boys barking as they came into the building, he was objecting big style to being handled in this way! No probs with the pick up, said our thanks and goodbyes and headed off back to Calais.
We stopped off just outside Hamburg to let out R&R, both slipped their collars! But came straight to us which was a relief as we were in a picnic area next to the motorway! Anyway, after a walk feed and crap I slipped the boys half an ACP tablet each and they settled brilliantly back in their boxes.Cristina had settled in her box although the door was open, Orlando made himself a nest in the spare bedding I had taken along!
All went well until the sat nav took us off the main road and got us lost in the dark somewhere not too far from Arnhem and kept rerouting us. Eventually after about an hours messing around we got back onto the right route and kicked on again( well as much as you can in Daryls van!) All went well until somewhere in Belgium, Daryl was navigating as we’d decided to do our own thing and ignore the sat nav anyway the sat nav said bear right and Daryl said go straight on. As I’d overruled him when we listened to the sat nav and got lost previously I didn’t like not to listen to him so I followed his instruction. The prat was wrong and we ended up another hour out of our way. Consequently we arrived at Calais 5 minutes after our ferry was due to leave. Fortunately the ferries had been badly disrupted that day and our ferry didn’t go for another 1.5 hours. There was a slight problem with the recording of the tick and tapeworm treatment in some of the passports but the guy turned away to enable me to “rectify” the problem and make the passports read correctly- whew!
After that we got the dogs out whilst waiting in the que to board the ferry, and I have to say that orlando did the largest dump that I have ever seen from a dog! I nearly took a photo as it would without a doubt been a Guinness book of records contender!
The crossing was good and our trip up the M20 was only marred by Daryl falling asleep at the wheel twice! Needless to say I remained wide awake whenever he drove after this and we consumed more black coffee than was good for us, but we dropped Cristina off at 5.30am on the M25 , got a reminder of the standards of our countries motorway services- nearly threw up! Then we got home about 8.30 am, we emptied Daz’s van and he headed off home reckoning that a round of golf was on the cards! It was bollocks like that that nearly got us killed on the M20, he was as tired if not more than me- Pillock!
I threw 3 dogs,3 leads to Lesley and Charlie and slept till 2pm. Got up had something to eat, had some wine and slept until 9pm when Charlie woke me up to say that the house was on fire! Lesley had put hot ashes in the wheely bin which stands in a corner of our yard. The ashes must have smouldered all day and ignited. The bin melted, burnt up the plastic pipes and set fire to the downstairs loo window. Fortunately there is a hose nearby so I was able to dowse the flames but I called out the fire services to ensure that the fire hadn’t got into the fabric of the building! Luckily it hadn’t so although we have a small amount of damage we are ok! If the windows were’nt oak frames I think the fire would have taken hold and we’d have been in the shit big time!
Poor old Lesley she wasn’t really thinking straight, she had seen me put ashes in the bin but hadn’t realised that I only ever did so when the ashes were cold. Any hot ashes are distributed over the garden wall into one of the fields where the horses walk them into the soil! Lesley had been functioning on autopilot for 2 days because she had been told that one of our best friends sons had been stabbed and killed! Awful, we looked upon this lad as a nephew. It appears that he wasn’t murdered but it was a tragic accident, the facts are still emerging. Lesley had to handle this whilst I was on the jaunt so I can fully see how she didn’t put any thought into what she was doing- that will teach us for living in a cold country that needs fires!'
Thanks for sharing this, Rick, absolutely amazing.
There are two more stories from Rick about his trips to Lanzarote to bring back some podencos. Check them out here.