Kindred Tales | Victoria and Santi
We chatted to Victoria about the important role dogs have played in her life and how Santi is always by her side ready for every new adventure.
What are your first memories of dogs being in your life?
I grew up with dogs (and many more animals). I actually learnt how to walk holding onto our ‘nanny’ Loulou, one of our family dogs, and lived my whole childhood with them. I have learnt emotions such as (unconditional) love, respect and happiness thanks to always having a dog by my side. I adopted my own dog Carlos when I was 21, he’s taught me so much more than I would have ever expected and hoped, he was my best friend and most faithful ally.
Tell us about Santi and how he came into your life?
Santiago/ Santi is an American Staffordshire I rescued via the amazing charity Underdog international. About a year after I lost Carlos, my sister Clemence and Maggie (our other Frenchie) felt ready to welcome a rescue boy into our life. I subscribed to Underdog newsletter and got an email titled ‘dogs needing a home’. He was the first on that list and his picture, eyes and description broke my heart. I immediately emailed Eve (head of adoption) and a few weeks later, Santi joined our life.
Santi is currently suffering from a rare neurological syndrome (PRN) which is fully paralyzing him. He should walk again soon we hope. We are doing hydrotherapy and a lot of work together to get there. This has again proved me how much of an amazing and brave boy he is, happy and loving despite his condition.
I couldn’t have hoped for better; he is everything to me and despite some health challenges (entirely independent from his background), there isn’t a thing I would change about him. Rescuing is a beautiful thing to do and rescues tend to become the best dogs.
How does Santi fit into your day to day working life?
Santi comes to work with me, I left my London job recently, a super dog friendly office where he was everyone’s best friend and now moving to Barcelona where dogs will be again our most serious office managers. I need Santi with me to feel relaxed and happy. He comes wherever I go; and I am so lucky and grateful to work for people who respect and understand that Santi is my priority.
Where is your favourite place to go for a dog walk?
When we lived in London our favourite places to go for walk were Victoria park and Camber sands. We had our routine and knew every dog owners and their dogs around Hackney. We have recently moved to Barcelona and love to go to the dog friendly beach ‘platja Llevant’ and the Montjuïc, in the heights of the city, here again we’re already feeling part of the amazing dog community.
You have recently moved from London to Spain. Do you have any tips for anyone planning to relocate with their dog?
I had actually moved from Spain to London with Carlos in 2014 and the biggest difficulty was making sure we could pass the border with him, having his passport and jabs up to date (always always triple check rules to avoid yourself and your dog any stress). Then London just made everything easy for us, being so dog friendly.
Now moving back to Spain with Maggie and Santi, we’ve made sure to inform ourselves on travel and city requirements well in advance. We picked Barcelona as not only it is our city of heart, it is also a super dog friendly city despite a lack of green parks. I would say, my best advice before deciding to move, is to visit the place and look where dog owners go, chat to them and lookup ‘dog friendly’ places in the city. Try and think for your dog ‘would he like this place? How would he feel about this park? And, how do other dog owners behave and think around here?’. It is a very big change and a huge decision to take. We wouldn’t have felt happy in a city where they (our dogs) wouldn’t be at ease. We breathe, sleep and love dogs to a point that our happiness truly depends on theirs and so Barcelona is the one.
Finally, if you could be any breed of dog for a day which breed would you be and why?
That is a very tricky question, tempted to say French Bulldog as they are my first love but also Pitbull type, seeing how amazing Santi is. But really, I’d love to be a rescue/ mongrel, to watch people question themselves about who/ what I am, and just be whoever I want to be.