* Hat tip to Bruvver Eccles for the title, from Twitter last night:
Twitter conversation late last night when I was discharged from hospital.
It is my normal custom to check the donkeys at the last moment before I retire to bed. I make sure they have enough water for the night – particularly in this hot weather – and everything is secure and safe for them on the field. I usually take a torch but last night I forgot it. I could have done with the torch last night: for within five minutes of arriving on the field I was dripping blood from a wounded right arm and phoning the police for assistance.
The house nextdoor – a traditional Spanish farmhouse ruined by an oversized satellite dish and English headbangers
Some weeks ago my neighbour in the house nextdoor moved back to England and I waited – somewhat anxiously – to see what kind of people would move in when the house was rented out again. After three days of the new “neighbours” who arrived on Thursday, I have the answer to that question: headbangers.
The house has been rented to some young English people who are accompanied by others in several cars and I understand from a local source that one of these vehicles has been seen outside an English bar known to be a drugs bar. From the very first day, my main concern was the treatment of a very neurotic and out-of-control dog. The man who appeared to be its owner was hitting it full on with a broom, then in another incident holding it down and punching it in the head. This was distressing to see. Finally, I summed up the courage, stood on my balcony – which overlooks their garden – and complained that enough is enough! That was the first day. Things did not improve, so I spoke to my landlord, who owns both properties, and he said he would come around today and speak to them. Unfortunately things moved on more quickly…
The low wall at the entrance to the donkey field
Last night – with the new neighbours out for their Saturday night on the town – I was left with their ceaselessly barking dog for several hours. Barking at me through the fence. Little did I know that their fence gate had not been properly secured. It is a very short distance from that house to the donkey field and Aitana was standing near the low wall by the water tank when the dog arrived to attack.
I was checking the far end of the field and saying goodnight to Matilde, Rubí and Morris, who were all sitting down under the lemon tree. I stroked Matilde’s ears and Morris was snoring nearby. The sudden commotion of the dog attacking Aitana sent me racing across the field and all I could think of was protecting my donkey: the olive twig that I quickly snapped off a tree was hardly more use than a feather as a weapon!
As Aitana fled, I stood between the dog and the donkey and swatted the beast across the head with my silly twig. The fact that I had no torch was crucial: I could have dazzled the dog. Instead I felt his fangs sink into my right arm. I kicked him in the head and he ran back over the short distance to the neighbouring house.
My arm after hospital treatment.
I phoned the Policia Local in Finestrat and they were very prompt arriving. The owner of the dog arrived home by coincidence at the same moment the police arrived. My friend Carl and his parents arrived too, having cut short their evening out in Finestrat.
Having given my statement to the police, I left them to deal with the culpable owner and I followed their advice to go to hospital straight away. It was nearly eleven o’clock at night but my friends kindly offered to drive me to Marina Baixa hospital. The waiting room was full of the Saturday night casualties of the Costa Blanca, but I was immediately processed and seen within three minutes to have the bite wounds dressed. I then had to wait for a doctor’s decision on whether one injection would be sufficient (anti-tetanus) or two, and I was dreading a possible rabies injection, as I’ve heard that is a big needle in the stomach. Thankfully the decision was made to go for the anti-tetanus alone!
Aitana inspects the wounded arm of her gallant protector
This morning my landlord came around and spoke to the people nextdoor. I have no idea what was said, but he was already aware of the incident in the night because the police phoned him.
There goes my quiet life here in the country… but for how long? I have had four years of quiet and simple farmyard life with the donks: a pleasant retreat when I come home from my full-time teaching job. And how I was looking forward to my summer holiday after another year’s teaching!
Note: Some changes have been made to this post and some images removed, following my decision to launch a “denuncia” against the dog owner, and the matter is now in the hands of the Guardia Civil.
Update Monday 4 August midday:
This morning a friend and neighbour of mine telephoned the commandante of the Guardia Civil in Finestrat on my behalf, as the commandante is a personal friend, and he assured me I should go for a prosecution and the Guardia Civil would issue a “denuncia” against the dog owner. Consequently, I arrived at the Cuartel de la Guardia Civil in Finestrat at 9.30 and explained to the duty officer, then the commandante. They got the information from Saturday’s incident from the Policia Local (in the office fifty metres away!) and I passed on all the information about the comings and goings next door.
The guy who owns the dog will receive the “denuncia” from the Guardia by the time I get home. The dog is still there, indoors as far as I am aware. But now the denuncia has been issued it will be taken away and quarantined for 30 days and an analysis will be made .
The denuncia will finally come before a judge in court and he/she will pronounce on the matter, but that could be a couple of months hence. These people could be long gone by then.
Do keep me in your prayers. I am still concerned for the safety of my donkeys, as I still have these headbangers nextdoor. I now have a sign on the fence next to the donkeys, with the phone number of the local police, just in case. It is worrying.
At least I’m not getting bored on my “holiday”. (Sigh.)