THE FAIRY DOG MOTHER
Texto: Emma Nathan Fotos: www.noamofir.com
Summer 1964. A young Australian woman boards a boat from the UK bound for Palma, Mallorca. The boat stops in Ibiza and she disembarks. The young woman never arrives in Mallorca. But this story is not a sad one. It is a love story. The young Australian woman fell in love with Ibiza. She fell in love with a local young man. And she fell in love with dogs. Lots of them. Known to some as Doggy Lyn or Aussie Lyn, today Lyn has 80 of her own dogs. Yes – 80! In 47 years on the island, Lyn has had helped, cared for, nursed back to health, and homed thousands of dogs, yet still she has the energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm of that young adventurous girl.
So how does one find themselves with 80 dogs? Least of all a young Aussie girl who had dreams of travelling the World? It began in 1965 whilst Lyn was working on a farm as a ‘mayoral’. Naturally animals were part of the scenery and after having settled in, she happened across her first dog, Matta, (who she named after her hometown of Parramatta), unfortunately Matta contracted Distemper and was incorrectly treated by the vet and later had to be put down. Lyn, so distraught, had to return to Australia. However, her love of Ibiza, and of dogs, could not keep her away for long. ‘Dog’ was the first. Then the one eyed dog that ‘belonged’ to the neighbour, who decided to stay when the neighbour left. ‘Pelosin’ joined them when her partner rescued him from being destroyed. Three dogs were enough for anyone, even living on a farm. But it wasn’t long before the law of attraction went into play again so when the fourth dog turned up, Lyn just could not take another dog, so heartbrokenly made a deal with the local vet to look after the dog – to which the vet agreed, if Lyn paid for its food.
Lyn loved all her animals equally and remembers with great joy the piglet, the sheep and the 3 dogs running down the street together to greet her on her return from shopping. However, when the pregnant Podenco turned up Lyn just couldn’t find it in her heart to turn it away, so when the puppies arrived, they where six… and little by little, like created like, more and more and even more dogs arrived.
Lyn recalls not all the memories were happy ones: the boxer who had been so badly abused with cigarettes stubbed out on his back, the small black dog with his ears so infected from being crudely cut off the infection ate out his eye, the skinny dog with knife stabbings down its spine were just a few of the unfortunate ones. Some survived. Others didn’t. Lyn always helped, cared for, nursed them and loved them.
When people heard about Lyn and her brood, it was easy for them to rid their guilt and their responsibility. Pregnant dogs became a favourite to dump over the (1.5 m) fence in the dark of night. Even today it continues; only last month on the morning walk Lyn discovered a pair of flea ridden Pointers, the bitch still lactating, and the male totally blind, dumped at the far end of her property.
Like all good dog owners know, routine is essential for dogs to thrive. Lyn’s these days is made easier with modern technology but hardly anything has changed over the years. Dawn is when Lyn and her pooches take their first walk of the day around the 11,000 m2 property, where they are all free to roam. Next the ‘farming’ is done only these days with her ‘bionic pooper scooper’ an industrial size plough, no longer by hand. After a quick tea break and cat feeding (currently 20), she commences preparing the food for her canines – a combination of rice, dog food and also fresh meat (thanks to the local butchers’ generosity) followed by another walk. After breakfast, morning duties include a little shopping and perhaps a trip to the hairdressers but not for Lyn – for the dogs! Summer time sees many of the pack needing to be shorn like sheep in the island’s heat! These days a trip to the vet is simply a short journey to Ibiza town, rather than a furgoneta filled with furry friends on the ferry to Palma. After everyone’s afternoon siesta the following day’s meal is pre-prepared followed by the evening walk but not before the cats are fed again. Lastly, as nightfall approaches Lyn can settle down and watch a little TV, having only had it for five years, it’s still a novelty!
Lyn’s ‘family’ is a happy one. There are no fights. Lyn’s experience has taught her how to integrate new members of the pack. That’s not to say there isn’t the odd altercation, like in any family, but never any fights.
So what has nearly 50 years of experience taught Lyn? She states simply that dogs need 3 things: food, space and love. She also emphasises if we want to rid the suffering of our island’s animals, the only way is to spay and castrate them. It would save so many needless deaths of unwanted animals running wild and being killed or having to be destroyed. Her wish is that there would be less cruelty from the human kingdom towards the animal kingdom. I am sure the animals wish the very same.