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NEO , first dog with Xacobea Credential

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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Neo, first dog with xacobea credential
Mari Carmen Astirraga talks about the difficulties she encountered to make the Camino with a pet
XOAN A. SOLER

P. CALVEIRO
SANTIAGO / LA VOZ 03/24/2018 05:00 H

Neo, a 5-year-old border collie, will go down in history as the first animal to obtain the xacobea credential for pilgrim dogs. He achieved this achievement with his owner, Mari Carmen Astigarraga, a Gipuzkoa with whom he has lived for three and a half years since he adopted him. They undertook the Camino on Monday, following the French route, from Sarria. And yesterday they arrived in Compostela, where the Protective Association of Animais do Camiño (Apaca), gave him the document that accredited Neo that, although it has no official nature, responds to the growing demand from people with pets who decide to share with them this experience.

"I had already done the Camino before, about seven times, although always alone or as a family," says the 52-year-old Basque. The idea of going with Neo, he says, is because "we always do all the activities with him. I looked at last year how to do the last stretch together and I found many complications, starting with accommodation and infrastructure, but it had to be achieved in some way, "he says. Coincidences of life, Mari Carmen Astigarraga, who in addition to being a Doctor of Philosophy is an animal therapist and communicator, came into contact with Apaca. "It was the signal that it had to be done," he says.
The Camino with a pet has nothing to do with doing it alone, he says. «You have to be much more attentive. There are many animals in the loose villages and they came out behind us. There is no veterinary assistance, so I had to come with a kit for Neo. This means more weight in the backpack. The accommodation becomes more expensive and it is difficult to find it, it is almost always in the larger towns, at the end of the stage. You have to accommodate what they put you, because there is usually only one that accepts animals. Of course, in those who have been have been very good, "he says.

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They found problems in Arzúa, for example, "where I could not go anywhere," he laments. «The Way with a dog is subject to being let in or to be on the terrace dead of cold. It is much more complicated, but very rewarding on a personal level, "says Astigarraga.
Neo is used to walking, although to travel so many miles in a row without stopping he received special care. Her owner applied a special cream to her pads every day, for example, and then the tiredness made her fall exhausted in the boarding house until the next morning.

«I wanted to go with him into the churches, but they would not let us, and the third day, when we arrived in Arzúa, the sacristan let us through. In the end, Neo managed to seal his credential in three, they gave him cookies and they even threw blessed water to both of us in Melide, "he says.
Explain that in the Basque Country and begin to ask to follow in their footsteps. «My idea is to recommend it and that so many people start to come that they have to enable, yes or yes, a zone for dogs in public shelters, I do not say they are with everyone. When they see that economically they can obtain benefits they will begin to see it, as always, "he adds.

Animals have an important role in their lives, recognizes Astigarraga while Neo barks at the garbage truck. «It has happened very close. It is a shepherd dog and, before the movements, they react, "he says. The father of the Guipuzcoa was a hunter and this was a reason for discussion at home, "but he looked after his dogs very well, although he saw them as work". «I was clear that I did not want to have that same treatment when I had animals. In fact, Neo could be a dog for perfect therapies, but his function is not that, it is being my pet and accompanying me and he already has enough with that, "he says.

Today the Basque will try to get the official compostela for Neo. "After all, dogs are creatures of God," he lets loose with a cheerful voice. And his next challenge, he says, "is to continue raising awareness and doing work in schools, because children still have that intrinsic ability to communicate with animals."
Alternative therapies. The Basque applies therapies based on floral essences, acupuncture and other stimuli for animal welfare that complement the veterinary.
Animal communication The "heart to heart" technique helps to know what the animal feels and helps them assimilate sudden changes such as moving or duels.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
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When I volunteer at the Pilgrim Office, this issue arises every year. The verbal arguments and abuse hurled at staff by pilgrims are sometimes epic. I hope to dispel that issue here.

The short and simple answer is that there is no official Compostela or other certificate for animals accompanying humans, PERIOD! Not for donkeys, dogs, horses, cats, or even ferrets (there was one last July IIRC).

In my experience and knowledge, the ONLY accommodation that is ever made for ANY animal is for a blind guide dog. You need to ask about that. AND, you had better be blind or certified as such and thus needing a guide dog. Please do not try to game the system.

Just buying a "guide dog" or "service dog" harness off the internet will not do it. I have checked. It is possible to buy anything online.

Those of you who are legitimately sight challenged know that you carry documentation to prove the animal's use, and your status. Then there is the whole striped cane and bumping into stuff thing. Hey, I am sighted, albeit with complicated lenses, and still bump into things regularly... So, I am NOT making light of this.

I am not anti-pet. I love pets, like children, as long as they are well behaved and in the care of a responsible human other than me. Just as an aside, my personal pet affinity runs to cats. Although my last passed in October and I am presently sans a fuzzy buddy.

Unlike Europe and in Spain specifically, here in the US, we have legally recognized "service" animals for just about every real or imagined disability. I am NOT discounting the disability. I respect the legitimate problems that many of us, myself included, have. SO PLEASE, let us not go there. I am merely highlighting the possibility of abuse.

The US law changed some years back to allow for a wide variety of service animals to assist or provide emotional comfort to people with a broad and "squishily" defined list of problems. Most of these are for folks with physical limitations, well beyond lack of sight. Many are for non-apparent emotional conditions. As a consequence, virtually any person can claim to have a service animal, and no one can tell simply by looking. Unlike being blind, in most cases there is no uniform documentation system for establishing proof. That has created an entire cottage industry in the US of folks constantly trying to game the system.

For example, there was even a fairly recent example of a woman's emotional support peacock (yes, a peacock) being denied boarding on a commercial aircraft. In the US, service animals are permitted onboard with the owner. The disability may have been legitimate, but the photos were hilarious.

Then, there was a previous example of a person with a pet Vietnamese pot bellied pig being denied a similar accommodation by an airline...there are no limits to this. Some of it is comical, but the entire notion is alien to Europeans.

I fly often and see all manner of animals wearing little "service animal" bibs, pennants, or even shirts. I KNOW that a percentage of these claims are bogus. Hence, I sense that some people, as is usual fo humans, are trying to game the system.

But, I digress... (as usual)

Bottom line, unless something has changed in the past eight months, there is no Compostela or other certification for animal system at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. So, PLEASE do not presume otherwise.

I do hope this helps avoid disappointment, and I hope this helps.
 

Iriebabel

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Del Norte & part of Lebaniego 2019
When I volunteer at the Pilgrim Office, this issue arises every year. The verbal arguments and abuse hurled at staff by pilgrims are sometimes epic. I hope to dispel that issue here.

The short and simple answer is that there is no official Compostela or other certificate for animals accompanying humans, PERIOD! Not for donkeys, dogs, horses, cats, or even ferrets (there was one last July IIRC).

In my experience and knowledge, the ONLY accommodation that is ever made for ANY animal is for a blind guide dog. You need to ask about that. AND, you had better be blind or certified as such and thus needing a guide dog. Please do not try to game the system.

Just buying a "guide dog" or "service dog" harness off the internet will not do it. I have checked. It is possible to buy anything online.

Those of you who are legitimately sight challenged know that you carry documentation to prove the animal's use, and your status. Then there is the whole striped cane and bumping into stuff thing. Hey, I am sighted, albeit with complicated lenses, and still bump into things regularly... So, I am NOT making light of this.

I am not anti-pet. I love pets, like children, as long as they are well behaved and in the care of a responsible human other than me. Just as an aside, my personal pet affinity runs to cats. Although my last passed in October and I am presently sans a fuzzy buddy.

Unlike Europe and in Spain specifically, here in the US, we have legally recognized "service" animals for just about every real or imagined disability. I am NOT discounting the disability. I respect the legitimate problems that many of us, myself included, have. SO PLEASE, let us not go there. I am merely highlighting the possibility of abuse.

The US law changed some years back to allow for a wide variety of service animals to assist or provide emotional comfort to people with a broad and "squishily" defined list of problems. Most of these are for folks with physical limitations, well beyond lack of sight. Many are for non-apparent emotional conditions. As a consequence, virtually any person can claim to have a service animal, and no one can tell simply by looking. Unlike being blind, in most cases there is no uniform documentation system for establishing proof. That has created an entire cottage industry in the US of folks constantly trying to game the system.

For example, there was even a fairly recent example of a woman's emotional support peacock (yes, a peacock) being denied boarding on a commercial aircraft. In the US, service animals are permitted onboard with the owner. The disability may have been legitimate, but the photos were hilarious.

Then, there was a previous example of a person with a pet Vietnamese pot bellied pig being denied a similar accommodation by an airline...there are no limits to this. Some of it is comical, but the entire notion is alien to Europeans.

I fly often and see all manner of animals wearing little "service animal" bibs, pennants, or even shirts. I KNOW that a percentage of these claims are bogus. Hence, I sense that some people, as is usual fo humans, are trying to game the system.

But, I digress... (as usual)

Bottom line, unless something has changed in the past eight months, there is no Compostela or other certification for animal system at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. So, PLEASE do not presume otherwise.

I do hope this helps avoid disappointment, and I hope this helps.
My 2 centavos: you are correct many do abuse the system and I for one do not believe you hate dogs I think you are speaking practically as to how such a walk and the trials of travel can affect the dog and the owner. I think people must be realistic and know the limits of the animals and be prepared for conditions they will encounter.

Service animals and emotional support animals are two different things. A service dog has to go thru some rigorous training to get certified. And also needs the training to provide additional specific service to do the task the owner needs. Service dogs do provide other services other than for the blind. Mine is a sezuire detection dog. Not all disabilities are obvious so I always traveled with a letter from my doctor and my dog was a toy fox terrier...extremely smart and well behaved

I know all this because I had one due to my military injuries unfortunately after many thousands of dollars spent on training and ongoing training I developed severe allergies so I can no longer have my beloved dog. He is with my niece now I see him often but cannot pick him up . I love animals and I would like to think animals love me .
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
Oh my....
First and foremost, and I feel the need to say this disclaimer. I don't hate dogs. I don't hate pets of any kind. I love dogs. I have owned many. I have owned many cats. When I was a child I had a pet tortoise, too. I have the utmost respect and trust with working dogs. I have been in situations and jobs where working dogs work, and kept us safe.
Alright, then. That being said, I will admit to shaking my head at the notion of a dog, cat, horse, peacock, bird, cow or whatever receiving a compostela for accompanying its owner on any of the routes of the Way of Saint James. I mean, c'mon now. Please. I'll just say it, and if I get censored, fine. It's silly.
The previous post about pilgrims becoming rude to volunteers in Santiago at the pilgrim's office because they won't issue a compostela for Fido the dog, or Fluffy the bunny, or Sylvester the rat. Very disappointing. Offensive. Anybody like that reading this, I hope not to see you on the Way.
 

JohnCP43

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances 2013; Camino portugues 2015; Via francigena 2016
It would seem that in this discussion a very important fact is being ignored. The Compostela is granted by the Cathedral "to all faithful pilgrims who come...as an act of devotion...that...has visited devoutly this Sacred Church in a religious sense." Yes, dogs, horses, even peacocks are God's creations but do not have the ability to have pietas causa, religious sense.
No, I do not wish to get into a debate as to whether Fido will be in heaven.
 
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