The true story of a ginger dug

For many years in Spain, I edited and published a monthly English language features magazine. It was a great wee gig, it allowed me to be self-employed, to have no boss, and provided was a nice little income for many years. It was a job I could do from home, and it was doing the magazine that taught me how to write quickly and to meet deadlines. There’s nothing like an impending print date to concentrate a writer’s mind.

However, after the Spanish economy went down the toilet pan, it became harder and harder to keep the magazine going. It was free to readers, and funded exclusively by advertising, but with the problems in the Spanish economy, the magazine was no longer paying for itself and I took the decision to close it down. This happened as my partner Andy’s health had started to deteriorate, and he needed me to stay at home, so I didn’t return to work although I’d received a number of job offers in Spain. Financially things were tight for us, but looking after Andy was more important.

Every month, I used to publish photos from local animal rescue charities of dogs and cats which had been rescued as strays and which needed a good home. There is a huge problem with abandoned cats and dogs in Spain. In rural parts of the country it is sadly not uncommon to come across a dog which has been abandoned and left confused, sad and lonely to its own devices. And those are the lucky ones. Some in the Spanish hunting fraternity have been known to hang dogs they no longer want from trees. I informed everyone that the magazine was no longer being published, and no longer received details of poor doggies and cats who tug at the heartstrings.

Over a year later, I got up one morning and while making Andy a spot of breakfast, he told me about a vivid dream he’d had the night before. He’d dreamed that we had acquired a ginger coloured young male dog, with a rough coat, a wide head and short muzzle, and a curly tail. “It was such a vivid dream,” remarked Andy, “We called the dog Ginger, and we were living in Scotland. And Scotland was independent. It was very odd.”

Neither of us thought much of it, especially the independent Scotland bit, this happened a few years before the SNP won their landslide victory and the referendum became a reality. After breakfast I went and switched on the computer to check my emails. Out of the blue I’d been contacted by a local animal charity I’d not previously worked with, who had found the magazine contact details from an old copy of the magazine and hadn’t realised it had ceased publication over a year before. The email contained photos and details of four dogs which had been rescued just a few days earlier.

One of the pics was of a ginger coloured dog, with a wide head and a short muzzle, he looked just like the dog Andy had described in his dream. The dog had been rescued two days before from the banks of an irrigation canal near the town of Elx, just to the south west of Alicante. He’d been dumped there a few weeks previously, according to the local residents who had been leaving food out for him.

I pulled the photo up, and called Andy over to the computer without telling him what the photo was.

“That’s the dog!” he exclaimed. “How did you get that photo? Does the dog belong to someone we know and that’s why I dreamed about it?”

I told him what it was, that it was sheer coincidence and the dog was newly rescued and needed a good home. At the time we had another dog, an elderly bitch called Lottie who was the love of Andy’s life. She was pining for another dog we used to have, who had died a few months before.

“It’s a sign,” said Andy. “It’s not a coincidence. We need to get that dog.”

So I called up the doggy rescue people, explained that the magazine was no longer being published so unfortunately I was unable to help them with that, but that we were very interested in adopting the ginger coloured dog in the photo.

Within 24 hours, Ginger was with us, and he’s been a much loved part of the family ever since. He was in shocking condition when we got him, his spine and ribs were sticking out and he was severely malnourished. He’d been badly neglected for a long time. He didn’t have a name, so we called him Ginger. For the first few months we had to feed him extra and make sure he received extra care, but he’s a healthy animal, and was soon bouncing about full of the joys of doggy life.

Like many rescued dogs, he has “issues”. Ginger was clearly not properly socialised with other dogs when he was a puppy, and is nervous and can be aggressive around other dogs. He learned to tolerate our other dog, and never displayed aggression towards her. She died about a year later at the advanced age of 15, and since then Ginger has been noticeably more relaxed.

But he adores humans, even though some humans have clearly been cruel to him in the past, and apart from having to keep him away from other dogs, he’s the easiest dog to look after that we’ve ever had. He’s a real joy.

When Andy’s health deteriorated further, it became clear that we would have to return to Scotland. Andy is English, but I needed the support from my family and friends in order to continue looking after him at home, so we came back to Glasgow instead of returning to the south of England where his sister lives. She has health problems of her own. Naturally Ginger came with us.

Ginger took very quickly to life in Scotland. He loves the grass under his paws, the smells that the wet ground holds much better than the dry dust of southern Spain, and he loves that Scotland has a dog-friendly culture. In Spain people do not generally approach strange dogs, but Scotland is full of folk who love dogs and give the local doggies treats. Ginger is in his doggy element. He loves being a Scottish boy.

One part of the Ginger Dream has already come true. We have a dug called Ginger and we live with him in Scotland. Let’s make the other part of the dream come true too, so Ginger lives in an independent Scotland.



58 comments on “The true story of a ginger dug

  1. craigevans15 says:

    Brilliant Story: How does it end????

  2. Brotyboy says:

    Paul, I think Andy is a seer. Thank you for this.

  3. Illy says:

    That brought tears to my eyes.

    Here’s to prophetic dreams, and to hope!

  4. Brought a tear to my Panda eye.

  5. How amazing a coincidence is that?
    Nice to hear Ginger’s story too. Nothing better than seeing a dug with an unpromising start to life make good.
    Aye. I really hope the rest of Andy’s dream bears fruit too.
    It’s been a nice day this and a wee bit emotional too with that dose of Welsh/Catalan/Cornish love-bombing!
    And now back to cleaning out my terrifyingly messy car!

  6. Hazel Smith says:

    What a great story. Thanks for sharing it. Let’s ensure that the last part, an independent Scotland, comes true.

  7. When my daughter was at university she felt somewhat stressed out and on her own, so she got herself a rescue dog – a beautiful white collie with a black ‘saddle’ on his back, and called him Morgan. He was the most wonderful, intelligent gentleman of a dog. When he saw us his vocalising was extraordinary, almost as if he was telling us how great it was to see us again. He became a very loved member of the family, now greatly missed.

    It’s obvious Ginger has brought you both great joy, and fingers crossed Andy’s dream of independence will also materialise.

  8. […] The true story of a ginger dug […]

  9. I am a dug person, all my life.

  10. wendy smillie says:

    Every time i read your blog i either laugh or cry. Sometimes both. Definitely another hanky moment.

  11. I have never been a cat person, per se. I have no problems with cats but I just like the fix that ai dugs.

    Cats grow on you.

    I seem to grown on cats.

  12. fix = fact

    ai = is


  13. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    Dogs steal your heart (and the occasional steak sandwich when you are answering the phone). When they die you swear “No more, that’s it!”…

    …and then you see a puppy, all pink tongue and whippy tail…

  14. Conan

    I used to have a Bull Terrier, thick as mince but, what agreat pal.

    150% unagressive, and a great burglar alarm.

    No Gitanes and no speculatifs at my French domain.

    He would have licked them to death.

  15. Conan

    Are you offloading any puppies?

  16. JGedd says:

    Well, that was a great read, Wee Dug, about Ginger Dug’s life story. He ended up well. Hoping for some ease and comfort for you and Andy, too.

    Now, since we are talking about dreams…. I had one several months ago which i was reluctant to share since it seemed, well, like simple wish fulfillment. Anyway it too concerned the referendum but I’m still not sharing in case I jinx things. So there!

  17. Capella says:

    “There’ll come a time, however long it be, when the people of Scotland will be led by a wee ginger dug, and once more enjoy freedom in their own land”. (The Glesca Seer)

  18. macart763 says:

    That’s the second time today this site has resulted in some dust getting in my eye.

    Need to clean this keyboard (mutters).

  19. diabloandco says:

    Love the tale of Ginger – dug person myself , cats are OK but I like birds so there are times when I soak any moggy that comes near my wee garden.

  20. Helena Brown says:

    Aww Ginger I love you, mine loves humans too, never been abused but I had a rescue so I know that life isn’t easy for all of them. He suits the name Ginger, and Andy is a seer, let us hope it all comes true, well ginger did so why not.
    Sleep tight Ginger, you are loved.

  21. Hugh Wallace says:

    Lump in my throat.

    “Pipetual” – love it!

  22. Och Wee Dug I’m glad you found them.I knew a dug like you who saw me bein the best roast lamb cook in Scotland.Bubba would watch me put it in the oven go for a wee kip then sit in front of the oven door when it was perfect. Took me awhile to realise but when ah did by jings I got the praise an he got the bone !!! Never underestimate a dug!! As the sayin goes Dugs can speak they just choose not to !! Cheers.

  23. WRH2 says:

    Loved the story of the Dug. When I was about 2 a large stripey cat turned up on the farm where I lived. My Dad was worried about him as he didn’t seem friendly. Then one day Dad saw me sitting on the grass with the big cat and we had obviously become friends. And that’s the way it stayed until he died when I was 12.

  24. eezy says:

    Some things are just meant to be Paul….

  25. stuart says:

    My wife is a spiritualist medium, and she says we’ll get a YES vote.

  26. cuddyback says:

    A great, heartwarming (curly!) tale, and very glad to see that someone is better together!
    Yes, wee can!

  27. YESGUY says:

    great piece Paul.

    We are a nation of pet lovers . I had a couple of border collies , wonderful wee pals and now i have two cats. They are very clever , always knowing when to jump up for a pet.

    The wee ginger one you have will be the “bairn ” now …. for many a real friend . Cracking story and a happy ending too. Got a big smile on my face as usual and if you notice my watery eyes , i’m with Macart . Got something in my eyes…… honest

  28. schrodinger's cat says:

    so up they gat and shook their lugs, and thanked the lord they werna men but dugs. ………I hate cats. but this one just sent a wee donation wgd. I wish you all the strength that Scotland can offer in the coming months. lang may yer lum reek

  29. liz g says:

    hi Paul
    loved reading the background of the wee dug
    dont know if you saw my last post

    actually my first post ever

    but my offer to dog sit for you and Andy if you need to be out and about for the campaign,
    still stands.

    I am assuming that you will have my Email address.

    If not
    just shout out here, I read everyday

  30. Fordie says:

    I love the creatures. Cats – Lucy and Kitty currently share my life – and the dugs and all assorted. The wee Ginger has brought joy and vv. That’s that they do.

  31. Eilean says:

    As a fellow wee ginger dug owner I could hardly fail to comment. Thats mine in my avitar her names “Eilean” surprise surprise!

    I was dugless for thirty years due to work commitments etc. As soon as the prospect of an early retirement looked likely I started to look around.for a dug. A Border or Cairn terrier were my first choices. I mentioned this to a friend who informed me that his Dad has a Cairn and his sister has a dug. His Dad was in hospital for a few days and left his Cairn with my friends sister. Nature had taken its course and there were some puppies on the way.

    I picked Eilean up at the beginning of December 2010. As we were driving home I noticed that the snow was beginning to get quite heavy. If you remember it hardly stopped for a month. No fun housetraining a pup when it is -15c outside. Having said that the snow was so deep that I just dug a pathway in the snow and I cleared a space for her to run around and toilet in. The wee soul was completely baffled when the snow eventually cleared and all this green stuff appeared.

    I know that everyone thinks that their dug is the best but I know that eilean is a real cute wee thing. The thing is she can be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. It turns out that her mum is a Patterdale terrier consequently “The Force is strong in this one!” But I love every hair on her head and the sofa and the carpet and the car…

    A wee plug for a blog that is bugger all to do with independence. It is written by a guy called Patrick Burns. I think his dayjob is a lobbyist in Washington and he works terriers as a hobby. It was he that wrote the article in “Dogs Today” magazine in America. It was picked up by the BBC and led to the panorama documentary that exposed the kennel club as one big fraud that doesn’t give a damn about the dogs. Check out his blog he has just acquired a Jack Russell terrier puppy so there are lots and lots of pictures of JRT puppies.

    Just to add. There is one article on Terrierman caled “Is it Time to Dump the Bulldog” seems appropriate for our circumstances.

    • macart763 says:

      Everybody’s dug is the best wee dug. πŸ™‚

      My own wee dug many years ago was blue roan cocker spaniel called Rhona (steady). Unconditional love and the stealth skills of a mad steak pie stealing ninja, and sometimes the odd sausage from your plate.

      But oh what a greeting whenever you came through that front door. If people greeted each other with that kind of joy every day, we’d live in a much better world.

  32. anne says:

    Wonderful, inspiring story. Wishing Andy all the very best, and I know his dream will come true for an Independent Scotland. I always share the “wee ginger dug” so I know his message has reached many more. Just remember “lock your dog & your spouse in the boot of your car for an hour, then see who’s pleased to see you when you release them!” Just sayin’

  33. Gavin Barrie says:

    The Twa Dogs, by Robert Burns. Recommend a read. i’ve had collies all my adult life. My current pal is Glen.

    “His honest,sonsie,baws’nt face
    Ay gat him friends in ilka place;
    His breast was white,his tousie back
    weel clad wi coat o’ glossy black;
    His gawsie tail, wi upward curl,
    Hung owre his hurdies wi a swirl”.

    Geez, I hope in this internet age we hold onto our Scots language and words.

  34. Sooz says:

    James Kearney: “Cats check the small print for terms and conditions”.


    That’s why I so admire all cats. They have such self-esteem.
    But, I am thinking of a dug, too, so I may have to get a veryweedug and a veryweecat so they can grow up together.

    Two out of three prophecies so far. Just a few weeks until no. 3 comes to fruition. Keep the faith!

  35. Linda says:

    A truly wonderful, uplifting story. Love your wee ginger dug. 3rd one will come true in September. I have a wee white curly dug called Harry, he’s a Scottish dug who also wants Independence! x

  36. Alasdair Galloway says:

    Last September I achieved one of my life’s ambitions, to get a dog (wasnt for want of trying to persuade my mum whose standard response was “I know who’ll end up walking it”), a black cocker spaniel we call Ceile (Gaelic for companion). McCart, you are bang on about the unconditional love you get from these dogs, but more than that is his political acumen. He has just turned 11 months but already has chewed up the UKIP Euro election leaflet and also the BT “Facts you should know” booklet (I will admit to giving him that one). However, I have always hoped that he would be a Scottish dog in an independent Scotland. Helping to achieve this is the least I can do for him.

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