Suntan lotion, check. Beach towel, check. Sombrero, check. Dog booked in at the kennels. Yes, sadly, check.
As Spaniards embark on their traditional month-long holiday in August, many are forced to leave their pet pooches at home because of a ban on large dogs on the country’s national rail network. But all that could be about to change if a petition to force the state-owned railways operator, Renfe, to accept large dogs is successful.
“This summer, many families in Spain may not enjoy a holiday with their best friends: their dogs,” the petition says. “We, as lovers and friends of the dogs, are obliged to... give them a voice. ”
Spain is a nation of dog lovers and, so far, the petition, organised through the website change.org, has attracted more than 17,000 of its 25,000 target signatures. Some small dogs are allowed on Renfe trains, but only those that weigh less than 10kg, or 22lbs – not much more than a Chihuahua.
Owners of anything larger are made to pack the family, and the dog, into a car for a long, hot journey to the coast, or take Rover to the kennels and forget about him for a month, though exceptions are made for guide dogs.
The campaign has attracted celebrity support. Not long after its launch, television presenter Sandra Barneda, posing with a picture of her dog, tweeted: “We now have over 7,000 signatures in 24h!! Thank you! Let’s... make it happen!”. Comedian Angel Garo also tweeted support.
Renfe trains, while not the most profitable, are among the most comfortable in Europe, with much more leg room for passengers than on, say, the West Coast Main Line in the UK. The petition organisers have been careful not to alienate passengers that would put creature comforts behind their own. Dogs would be assigned to special parts of carriages, they say, or there could be allocated carriages to people travelling with their pets.
According to The Local, which first reported the story, even the UK’s Network Rail has a more progressive policy towards dogs on trains, with passengers entitled to take two pets, of any size, on board.
In pictures: The Crufts dog show 2015
In pictures: The Crufts dog show 2015
1/15 Crufts 2015
An English Setter looks out from its bench at the annual Crufts Dog Show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham
2/15 Crufts 2015
Irish setters rest in their sleeping area at Crufts 2015
3/15 Crufts 2015
Dogs walk with their owners at Crufts 2015
4/15 Crufts 2015
Knopa, the Scottish Terrier, with handler Rebecca Cross, after winning Best in Show during day four of Crufts 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham
5/15 Crufts 2015
Sue Ellis exhibits Alaskan Malamute, "Bart", winner of the Working Group for the Best in Show category at the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham
6/15 Crufts 2015
A Toy Poodle is groomed on the fourth and final day of Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre
7/15 Crufts 2015
Yasmin Kelleway (L) Claudia Kelleway (C) and Joshua Limbrick pose with Great Danes Ruby and Madison during the second day of the Crufts dog show
8/15 Crufts 2015
A dog jumps a hurdle in the agility section at the annual Crufts dog show
9/15 Crufts 2015
A Yorkshire Terrier is pictured on the fourth and final day of Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre
10/15 Crufts 2015
A pair of Chinese crested dogs named Mia (front) and Mugly, sit in a pushchair during day three of Crufts 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham
11/15 Crufts 2015
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are paraded in a show ring as they compete on the second day of Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Centre
12/15 Crufts 2015
A great dane with its owner after they finished first in their class during the second day of Crufts dog show
13/15 Crufts 2015
Isobel, (C) aged 8, shows a Shetland Sheepdog on the second day of the Crufts dog show
14/15 Crufts 2015
Reuben the Springer Spaniel waits outside in his onesie before day one of Crufts 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham
15/15 Crufts 2015
Laura Barclay arrives with her Irish Wolfounds during day three of Crufts 2015 at the NEC, Birmingham
Of course, for a nation of animal lovers, there are some who might ask how Spain’s love of dogs squares with its tradition of bullfighting, even if nobody is proposing taking a bull aboard a Renfe train.
On Thursday a bull named Guapeton, or Handsome, was shot dead in the street in Coria, Extremadura, after a goring a 43-year-old man to death during a traditional bull-running festival. The Civil Guard is investigating the incident.Reuse content