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RDLP in spring 2018 with dog: canine companions?

Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#1
hi ... i think i will do the RDLP beginning of april with my (basque) dog txola, maybe starting in merida, depending on the time available. i did this trip on a bike a few years ago in summer and i think i met about 8 other pilgrims.

ill bring a tent and do some camping so im looking for likeminded fellow dog lovers. walking with dogs is great fun, they are the ultimate nomadic companions. unfortunately most spaniards dont think that way and dont want them inside the house.

so the idea is to form a small prehistoric posse with dogs and humans and sleep in the desert, should accomodation be a problem. my dog is a survival expert and was with me on a similar trip through spain 2 years ago.

thats her:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1beo8lTIeKlRzMwQTNXTUJTU1E/view?usp=sharing
 

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Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#2
ive been reading a few posts about bringing a dog on the camino, mostly advice not to do this because of all the problems a dog will create. let me counter this with my own experiences:

- depending on where you walk a dog will make accomodation municipal more difficukt but not impossible. my feeling is that many of the albergues are seeing more dogs on the camino and come up with solutions. ie. 2 years ago my dog even got her own room in in the albergue municipal in bilbao, likewise in markina the hospitalero was a dog lover. after all dogs are much easier to accomodate than people!

- the only place that was impossible to walk with a dog was portugal, for some reason they seem to hate dogs. no hotel, albergue, busses, beaches, even train rides are difficult with dogs. so after five days i went back to spain - after having to wait for three days in lissabon until i found a basque driver who would take my dog in the car, go figure!

- if you are travelling alone a dog will naturally provide a lot of security. attach it to your maleta while you are visiting a church and nobody will take either, on lonely trails a dog will tell you if you are being approached and defend you if neccessary ... and lastly you will make a lot of new friends with a friendly dog. my dog is a basque shepherd from a shelter near san sebastian and all the basques love her.

- just imagine back in the middle ages where the camino was a dangerous trip a trusty dog was an invaluable pilgrims companion!
 
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MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
#3
Hi! Those teeth look good...! :D

I've never had dogs who appreciated long distance walks for days on. My best walker, a German Shepherd would do 20 kms during a day and take a rest day the next.
Current dogs are rescues too, like yours, but they are Dedicated Sleep Dogs, they will run in all directions for about an hour each day and spend the rest of the time on the couch, with some loud barking when the postman arrives.

It never bothered me to walk in the woods or to walk late at night, untill I went those same walks without my two big black dogs (now in heaven). Was shocked to discover that I had borrowed all my courage from them, and that I am a much slower walker without them pulling me forward.

I hope you find your posse. Will be fun! and let us know how it goes.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#4
im good if i can do 20 km every day! the only thing that seems to stop my dog is excessive heat. we were walking down the costa del sol from malaga to gibraltar in june and then on to puerto santa maria through andalusia and if it got too hot she would just flop on her stomach on some cool stone in the shade for a while and then continue. after a while i became smart myself and took siesta during the hot hours of the day.

but i should tell the whole story from the beginning. on the frances i was walking for a few days with two argentinians who were travelling with two dogs i think all the way from italy. one dog was a huge white dogo argentino / pitbull mix called shiva and she was the cutest girl. the other dog was a 13 year old black dachshund mix called nero who was the boss of the pack. these dogs were treated exactly like family, they had their own tent to sleep in and it was amazing to see how they would take care of the group. shiva would always scout ahead and report whats going on while nero had his command post behind the group.

from left to right: nero in the shade, enrique, shiva, myself, his sister and her boyfriend at the end of the frances with cape finisterre in the back.


shiva, the dogo argentino baby ;-) these are btw the most powerful hunting dogs known to mankind. not shiva!



 
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Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Sanabres (2018) Frances reverse(2018)
#5
hi ... i think i will do the RDLP beginning of april with my (basque) dog txola, /QUOTE]
Great photos and sentiments. I would have loved to encounter you both on the Plata this year but we aren't synchronised unfortunately.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#6
so in these few days i learned a lot about how to team up with dogs on the camino and it seemed a perfectly natural ways to travel like this. they were camping out most of the time but quite a few albergues dont seem to mind if the dogs sleep outside. besides sleeping in a tent can be quite a pleasant experience after weeks of heavy snoring in crowded rooms ;-)

on the way back i walked from bilbao to irun which is my favourite walk along the stunning basque coast between deba and zumaia. i ended up taking the coastal walk which goes right along the breathtaking flysch rock formations. the camino is further inside but if you feel adventurous take that detour, its extremely exhausting but you will never forget it :)

anyways at the end of this walk there was a lonely farmhouse with three dogs CHAINED to the house, a mother and two puppies. they were pastor vascos which are the national basque shepherd dog, a ancient dog breed that can be traced back to prehistoric times. i fell in love with one of the puppies and asked a passing basque who they belong to as the house seemed uninhabited. he said he doesnt know but brings food for the dogs every time he comes by because nobody seems to take care of them. i almost took one of the puppies with me but then didnt ... but thats where the idea was born to rescue one of these wonderful dogs.

a days later in zarautz i start asking around where i can find a pastor vasco and i meet sofia from portugal who knows about dogs while i had no clue. we end up walking together until the french border in hendaye and on the way i was told is the dog shelter of gipuskoa, its actually just west of san sebastian along the coast, almost on the camino. sofia helped me select txola which was the only pastor vasco they had. txola is a sweet girl who was already locked up in a cage for 6 months with about 10 other crazy dogs, so she was quite happy to come with me.

if you ever want to save a dog i can highly recommend this shelter, they seem to do a wonderful job in a country of mistreated dogs. you pay 100 euro and your dog will have all the medical exams and a european dog passport.

the stunning coastal walk between deba and zumaia:



the pastor vasco puppy i almost rescued from the chain:



sofia from portugal who helped me select my dog:



txola after i picked her up at the dog shelter of gispuoka. txola is short for "txotxola" (pronounced tschotschola) which means "she is crazy in a good way" in basque ... thats what they called her in the shelter:



happy ending at the beach in france hendaye. this was already 1. nov and a stunning day!



2 years later in malaga. this is actually her summer outfit, i cut her hair really short and she looks like a prehistoric coyote. she definitely has the cutest nose in the business ;-) i think this is always a good idea if you walk with a dog in the south as their main problem seems to be body heat regulation. they can actually go without food for days ... unlike us.

 
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Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#7
here is a video from the dog shelter in gipuskoa. this is as good as it gets in spain but just imagine being locked up in a cage for months like that. after a while the dogs either become super aggressive or depressed. txola was bitten badly and still stays away from other dogs as much as she can. she also panics very easily probably from being traumatized but those are just the things you have to deal with in shelter dogs.


so here is an idea for all you lifelong peregrinos. next time you walk the amazingly organized caminos of spain and you feel like giving something back to the spanish culture dont give money to the people, they are doing fine. rescue a dog!

if you are walking on the camino del norte just stop by at the dog shelter close to san sebastian and pick up a dog. if you do it at the beginning of the camino you will have a completely new team adventure, if you do it at the end just bring the dog home with you. if you dont fall in love just find another owner who will take good care of the dog. its a small thing to organize nowadays but it will change the life of a caged loving soul forever.

just my twopence ;-)

here is the location:

https://www.google.de/maps/place/Asociación+Protectora+de+Animales+y+Plantas+de+Guipúzcoa/@43.2944889,-2.0675403,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0xd51b0e1d2315bf3:0x1d868e4ac5b4cdbd!8m2!3d43.2944889!4d-2.0653516

.
 
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Micah26

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first Fall 2018
#8
Dear Lilakmonoke,

What a wonderful story! As a dog lover I have rescued all of my companions but one. All dogs have their quirks usually for me they become the most endearing of the individual personality.
Congratulations on your adoption! We think we rescue them when I think most times dogs rescue us!
Long Life and great joy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#9
We think we rescue them when I think most times dogs rescue us!
this is absolutely true in my case! taking care of a shelter dog is all about giving and the more you give the more you shall receive.

what i find amazing is how little effort it takes to keep a dog happy. a little food and attention and they will stick with you through everything and never complain. i think thats the reason why dogs get so badly treated and otherwise sane people think its ok to chain a puppy to a deserted farmhouse. lets just hope somewhere in the universe there is a karma counter but i have my doubts :)
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#10
There are so many unwanted dogs! After returning from one Camino, we were inspired to adopt a rescue dog in USA. Our new dog, we named " Grazi" as we were so thankful and blessed to have him! Rescue dogs often have behaviors that need an owners loving patience. Our Grazi can not tolerate buses, joggers and skateboards! When we first adopted him he was a bit distant! Two years later he is happy and loving and still going after those buses! IF you can not bring one back from the Camino, there are plenty of rescues waiting for a pilgrim in your neighborhood!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#11
:) a lovely story and grazi is a cute little bugger. those little terrier dogs are bred for hunting small animals, so most of them dont seem to be able to tolerate anything that moves without their permission. yes, somehow dogs and pilgrims go together really well, i would love to hear more stories of pilgrims walking with dogs.
 

Micah26

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first Fall 2018
#12
I have not walked the Camino yet, but I will share a dog story. I rescued an English cocker spaniel 14 yrs ago. She was found by a vet at the back door of her clinic as she left for home. Cody bear was in the middle of birthing puppies and she was just left to manage on her own. Of course, everyone wanted the puppies, no one, the mom. An urgent plea was sent out-this beautiful 8 mo old baby herself was to be euthanized.
Obviously, I adopted her and she had a wonderful 13 yrs as my companion- the last 4 she guarded my elderly mother. Cody became mom’s constant companion. Early in the morning Cody would station herself at mom’s bedroom door so she could hear her wake up and alert me to start the day. Mom and dog would eat breakfast together then took their morning nap with Cody’s bed placed next to the tv, right in front of mom’s chair. When mom got up, Cody got up, escorting her each and every time she walked, even adjusting to a walker and a wheelchair in time. They became inseparable. If mom fell and I was in the garden or in another room, Cody would race to get me, barking urgently for help. When I went out to do errands, Cody payed at the door guarding until my return.
I decided after my dear friend died from cancer when mom passed away I would walk the Camino in honor of both these women. Mom and I watched The Way together so she would know what this Camino thing was about. I grew up Catholic and mom was very religious so she was happy I decided to take a break and make a pilgrimage was a bonus. I started to buy my kit and share stories from this forum. Last June, I started to train, walking 5 miles a day. Mom and Cody would walk with me-pushing mom in her wheelchair- she would walk a little, ride a little, all with Cody by her side. We had a glorious summer and Fall together! The stories that we shared walking together... precious!
A week before Halloween, life suddenly changed. Cody woke up unable to walk and in terrible pain... kidney failure. I brought her home for mom to say goodbye, a week later, she passed on. Mom’s heart was broken—this woman who had seen her husband of 60 yrs and 2 children predecease her could not recover from this little spaniel who had became her constant companion and guardian. Mom passed 2 weeks later. Cody’s ashes were spread on mom’s grave.
My first Camino is scheduled for Sept 2018. Now I will walk in memory of my friend Nancy, my mom Evelyn, and a little dog that loved so much!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#13
hi ... i think i will do the RDLP beginning of april with my (basque) dog txola, maybe starting in merida, depending on the time available. i did this trip on a bike a few years ago in summer and i think i met about 8 other pilgrims.

ill bring a tent and do some camping so im looking for likeminded fellow dog lovers. walking with dogs is great fun, they are the ultimate nomadic companions. unfortunately most spaniards dont think that way and dont want them inside the house.

so the idea is to form a small prehistoric posse with dogs and humans and sleep in the desert, should accomodation be a problem. my dog is a survival expert and was with me on a similar trip through spain 2 years ago.

thats her:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1beo8lTIeKlRzMwQTNXTUJTU1E/view?usp=sharing
totally love this post content. they ARE our companions. NOT our pets!!!!
for long before we made them cushy - they were our protectors I understand. I miss my boy every day, he passed on in 2017 and I await his instructions to lead me to find my next best friend to join me on this walk of life. thanks for your lovely post.
best from Oz.
 

Bala

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (fall 2018)
#14
What a beautiful, touching story, @Micah26 . Thanks for sharing. Peace be with you.
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#15
It's too far, too hot and too complicated for us to take our dogs with us on the Camino, but I have always enjoyed the company of Spanish dogs along the way. Our dogs have always done their bit on training walks, we used to fight who got to walk with my dog so had to get a second one for Scott to walk with. Oh, the kms we clocked up!

My old dog is now well over 15 yrs old, he walks the first section of our route then heads off to the shade to wait for us to come back. Since Scott died, his dog has been my constant companion, she bounds over hills and nudges me on when I lag behind. I'll be sorry to leave her at the farm when I head back to Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#16
@Micah26: incredible story, i hope you can walk the camino soon, one step at a time ;-)

a friend of mine works as a therapist with elderly people suffering from dementia. his partner is his therapy dog, an aristocratic black poodle. in later stages of dementia, these people are often socially isolated because they dont recognize even their closest family members - but they will recognize the dog! he told me in one case a woman was close to her death with her family around her but only when the dog came close to her bed did she raise her hand to pat the dog and smiled.

@KatefromOz: thats one of the points of this post: instructions to canine companions :)

@hel&scott: thats a bit like going to disneyland and leaving the kids at home but i see your point :) i always find a car on the internet to go to spain - berlin - spain with my dog which is no hassle at all. often its an enjoyable ride in a camper van via blablacar.com

here is another legendary canine peregrina i met on the frances. she is a border collie called emma and she was definitely the star of the show, just check out those two colored eyes! you know how you always meet new people on the frances and then hear a story about somebody you already know? well, after a while no matter who i met, they always had a new story about emma.

EMMA or how to enchant 99 pilgrims per day and never stop running:

 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#17
@Micah26 Thank you for sharing your story of your faithful Little Dog, Cody! Your story brought tears to my eyes! I am sorry for the recent losses of your mom, friend and your precious spaniel. I think Mom and Cody will accompany you in Spirit on your Camino in September 2018. BLessings!
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#18
here is a brilliant video about "the border collie that changed the world:

"dogs dont live long because they come into the world already knowing how short life is, while humans (live long) because they take a long time to realize how precious life is." how true that is!

 

Micah26

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first Fall 2018
#19
@lilakmonoke

Thanks for the “border collie that changed the world”. No dogs do not live long but their days are full. They bring joy to so many!

I have had three dogs that I used as co-therapists- I’m a trauma therapist. When I worked with kids mostly sexual and physical abuse the dog would start the relationship build the trust several sessions and once they could place their head in the kids lap my work could begin! Unspoken patience if edging forward time after time until accepted... just intuitive!

@ Marbe2 thank you for your comments...I will need all the angels beneath my feet on this journey!

@Bala thank you Pax st Bonum!
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino primitivo, camino de la costa
#20
...I will need all the angels beneath my feet on this journey!
you dont need any but it will be splendid if they come along ;-) i did two caminos on my bike and then thought about walking for 2 years before i had enough courage to actually do it. then i realized its just one step at a time which turns into one day at a time which turns into one camino at a time - only to get to that point is a different journey for everyone.

Unspoken patience if edging forward time after time until accepted... just intuitive!
i can imagine! i think the mystery of the dog-human relationship lies somewhere in the fact that dogs can communicate to us without words things like "eternal love" or "unconditional support". long forgotten values that we have lived with for millions of years and that are engraved in our prehistoric soul.

if you ever do the camino del norte make sure to stop at the altamira cave and visit the museum to learn about the prehistoric culture that existed along the north spanish coast about 20000 years ago. these culturally highly evolved "cavemen" were organized in small groups and surrounded by huge predators like cave lions. whats most interesting is that these groups would not fight but mix and support each other because thats the only ways they survived. hard to imagine after our history of 5000 years of robbing and killing?

in some of these caves they found skeletal remains of dogs that are 12000 years old and genetically identical with the pastor vasco dog from today - so i actually have a prehistoric dog. i find that amazing!

man and his dog in the altamira cave ...



surrounded by ...

 
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Micah26

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first Fall 2018
#21
So much to experience so little time! I plan on making a few side trips... the caves are one of them. Here’s hoping our little world gets back to cooperation and communion values the Camino seems to inspire in people!
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#22
thats a bit like going to disneyland and leaving the kids at home but i see your point :) i always find a car on the internet to go to spain - berlin - spain with my dog which is no hassle at all. often its an enjoyable ride in a camper van via blablacar.com
Yes, but it's a bit difficult coming from NZ, the long haul flight would be bad enough but then she would have to spend months in quarintine before being aloud back home. They say dogs don't have a concept of time, but they are happy enough to mooch out on the farm and are always pleased to see us come back.
 

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