María Castro: "It is easier for a human to bite my golden retriever Momo than the other way around"

900,000 people have witnessed the great intuition and sympathy of our furry friend today, Momo (Vigo, 2013).

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
11 March 2024 Monday 10:25
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María Castro: "It is easier for a human to bite my golden retriever Momo than the other way around"

900,000 people have witnessed the great intuition and sympathy of our furry friend today, Momo (Vigo, 2013). This incredible Golden Retriever knew, in advance, the sex of the baby that was imminently going to join his family. With his arrival, Momo will become part of a large family composed, until now, of Maia, Olivia, José Manuel and his beloved María Castro (Vigo, 1981).

What can I tell you about María? At the outset, I will tell you that she studied journalism. She also, that she is an actress, presenter, dancer and former artistic gymnast. You will have seen her a lot of times on TV, in the cinema and on stage in productions such as Tierra de Lobos, Amar es para siempre, La vida stain by Enrique Urbizu, La coartada, La Promesa and, if we look back, we will remember her. playing Jessica del Río in Sin Tetas no hay cielo, a role for which she won the Ondas award.

She is usually the one under the spotlight in her day-to-day life, but once she leaves the set or the curtain falls, the focus is on our protagonist today.

Momo, Maria…

How are you?

Momo has a good-natured face... With his light golden color he appears looking at me as if to say "And who are you?", nothing defiant, quite the opposite, full of affection. María appears with a big smile that shows, to a large extent, that happy and energetic personality that characterizes her.

Well, we are very good and, in my case, it also fills inside. As you can see, Momo has less energy because, in May, she turns eleven years old, which means he is a grandpa. She still thinks he's a puppy but his legs realize that he's not one anymore, of course.

Well, first things first, how are you handling the final stretch of your pregnancy?

Well, I feel very good, if I'm honest, because, although I prefer to be at home resting, I also love my job. In addition, they presented me with several options to be able to integrate and reconcile pregnancy with work until the end and then return. They behaved phenomenally, that is, the producer Josep Cistern gave me everything on a plate. In fact, his question was, “What do you want to do? Do you want to leave?”

At no point do I think it ever crossed his mind that my character would end. He adapted completely, as he says, to life. “This is not a problem, it is life and I am here to help my workers have a life,” he told me. Of course, he is a businessman and I would have understood any decision he would have made on my behalf. But nothing, the truth is that there was not a single problem. Physically, I don't gain any weight because I'm very skinny and, of course, I have two daughters, I work on the series, which is daily, I work on social networks, I have a very active life, and, apart from that, my genetics don't help much either, so I've taken about five kilos. That's why I don't have that feeling of a heavy, pregnant woman at the end, who can no longer handle her belly... It's all belly, yes, and, although the baby is the size she needs to be, I feel agile.

Still, with everything, I am tired because I have two daughters, work and so on, but not so much because of the pregnancy. Surely, I have been more tired in previous pregnancies and adding two girls to one belly, well, it is also exhausting. But the girls are exhausted, of course! (laughs). But I feel fine, I feel fine. When you see negative experiences, you live them and so on, you just want to be told, in each ultrasound, that everything is fine and how, now, everything is, without any scare and without anything, well I only ask that it continues like this until the end. What I can tell you is that in this pregnancy I am in a greater hurry to reach term, something that, with the others, did not happen to me. With Maya, who was the first... Everyone told me, “Don't you want to see her face?” Yes! But it was like I had learned to have the baby inside, but I wasn't sure if she would know how to have it outside. So it was like, “look, for now I'm fine like this.”

When I had Olivia, it was like "I know how to be a mother of one, but I don't know if I can be a mother of two" and yet this one, since it's the last one I'm going to have, it does make me want her to be born. Now, even if it is the last pregnancy and I don't feel this sensation again. In reality, I already know it and have lived it. What I want is to know that the five of us are now well and healthy, you know? Like knowing that I have already achieved what she wanted in life and saying, here we all are! Now we just have to take care of ourselves, protect ourselves and make sure everything goes well.

I say "you carry" because I am convinced that Momo perceives it...

I am also convinced because, in fact, when I was pregnant with Maya, I rested my head on my belly a lot. Now, it is more difficult for her to stand on her legs because she has hip dysplasia, a characteristic disease of this breed. In fact, when we arrived with Maya, a very curious thing happened to us. He is super attached to me and, of course, at that time, I came with a cesarean section, which, as you know, is a major operation, with a baby and look, he didn't come close to me! But at no time was it from jealousy. It was from the respect of saying, “I have nothing to paint there, we are going to let them get to know each other.” It wasn't until two months later that he came to the girl's side. Then, yes, where the girl was there was the dog. That is to say, if I left her in the hammock, the dog next to her, if he crawled away from her, he would always stand at the door until he could see her disappear.

You said that 900,000 people, your Insta followers, witnessed Momo's great intuition... How did you know which of the two dolls it was?

I thought, how do I involve him in this? Momo has to tell it, because he, as the furry older brother, is responsible for revealing the sex of the missing one. Since he is a saint, a holy man!, fearful, who fears balloons, and the wind because he moves curtains and papers, I thought he had to be part of the discovery of the baby's sex. Let's see, there was a bit of cheating, because it is true that the Peppa Pig character had a cookie on her back and, since the Goldens eat everything, she said "I'm going to get the cookie" and, furthermore, she went out to the first, because it is very good.

You recently moved house... How is it going?

Well look, very good. The truth is that she adapts to everything. In fact, when we have to take long trips to Galicia, these lasting six hours, he is never the one who asks to stop. Unless he had a bad stomach, which you say, I have to stop, because my poor thing is going to burst, he can do it for six hours at a time and, furthermore, you don't notice him in a hurry at any time. He goes in the trunk with his harness and lowers his head to the point that, sometimes, I say to him... Momo! So that he can look out and see in the rearview mirror that he is fine. He doesn't bark either! I think that, since he was born, he has done it five isolated times and one of them was to the Rumba that we have to clean, that he moved around the house and didn't really understand what it was.

The day Momo came into your life... How was it? The whole day… 8 in the morning…

Well, look, my parents and I, at that time, because I still didn't have a partner, we looked for a kennel that had Goldens to be more sure about the issue of dysplasia. Although they told me he didn't have one, at six months old I heard him walking down the hallway strangely. I saw that his hind leg was hanging a little and that's when we discovered that, indeed, he had dysplasia. Today, if I were to repeat the operation again, I would go directly to an animal shelter to adopt one. At that moment, it is true that I wanted to make sure. I wanted to be a mother and both Golden and Labrador are some of the breeds that are best with children. Right now I would do it differently, but at that moment... Furthermore, I was super nervous and it was at a time in my life when I needed to feel accompanied and I was looking for someone to be waiting for me with excitement when I got home.

When we got there, there were three little brothers, all males, but there was one more robust than the others and it was this one. I always liked big dogs, with presence and so I said “for me the chubby one!” The truth is that he came to me himself, so we put him in a little cardboard box and, while I was driving, my father carried him in the back seat, in his arms. He didn't even move, I mean, it was like... It was like a reunion. I don't think it's just me looking for him, sometimes it's the same dogs that look for you. He was the one who approached... he was the chubby one…. He failed to say “Take me home”, like Rodolfo Langostino (he uses the same accent as in the advertisement).

At first it was funny because, since he is scared and he was a baby, he depended a lot on us, on me specifically. He followed me everywhere! It was like a sheep, whiter than it is now, but it was like a little sheep... drooping ears, legs, a lot of hair, I mean, it was like a little sheep. Then it began to grow disproportionately, just like dogs and children do. But I do remember that there was a step at home, which led to the terrace, and that he was not able to go up or down because he was afraid, so he would stay on the top step and call you, like when a child wants to come down from the bed and can't, same, same. It also had a very long hallway and I loved calling him because then he would appear from the back running and, as he ran, his ears would fly into the wind. Because it was all ears!

María perfectly reproduces, using her hands, the movements of Momo's ears approaching down the hallway at full speed. It's easy to understand why she remembers those moments with so much affection... Through all this, Momo is still there, calm, knowing perfectly well that here, the "protagonist" is him.

The Goldens are gluttons and what was most difficult for us, in terms of education, was that they did not eat anything they shouldn't. I even considered putting a muzzle on him in the street so that he wouldn't eat anything that would make him sick. They don't care about a napkin or rotten fruit or whatever. You have to have 150,000 eyes on the road. But his adaptation was very fast. I think he felt very good in that house, although, surely, he would have been in any other house, due to the way he was.

He arrived, I was with him for about 15 days, and then we had to go to Galicia because the summer holidays were coming. He was still unvaccinated, so I couldn't put him on the ground, but, since my nephews wanted to meet him, I put him in a shoe box, put him in the back of the trunk with his harness, and off we went. He didn't move from the shoe box the entire trip! I was the one who stopped in the middle of the road because I thought he would have to pee. But he didn't ask for anything. He was a saint and he still is. I think he still thinks that he weighs 4 kilos, which is what he weighed when he was born. In fact, when he sees me sitting on the floor, playing with a girl or picking up something, he immediately sits on top of me. But, as we Galicians say, “en el colo”, that is, he turns around, puts his ass on my legs and sits as if he weighed nothing. But he weighs almost 40 kilos!

You can already imagine the picture… Poor María…

Of course, if you do that, the way I am now, I can't get up anymore. He totally blocks me. That's because, in his head, he thinks he's still a baby.

María… To what extent is it essential in your life?

He is the eternal infallible companion, he is the one who is always there. The one who, no matter what happens, has a little leg to put on you, he has a little face to look at you and lean on your knees. He is always there. It is true that we cannot say essential, because none of us are. Plus, he's turning 11, which makes me very angry. Our oldest girl is very sensitive and I don't know how I'm going to explain it to her. Because, no matter how many stories we tell about them going away with the stars, the reality is that one day she will come home and the dog will not be there.

I just hope that Momo, in the process, doesn't suffer. May it not deteriorate much but rather remain, as we wish for the people, agile, happy and healthy until the last day. It makes me quite sad that she can't play with other dogs because her hips can't support her... As soon as they play around being rough and climb on top of each other, she spends a week limping afterwards. Yes, she walks a lot, but like old people, as I say. We are going to walk, but we are not going to run or throw the ball, that phase has already passed. So, of course, the day I'm gone is going to be hard, especially because I don't think I'm going to replace one dog with another. I had never had a canine companion until now and it is true that the connection is total. When he has seen me cry, without saying anything, he comes and supports your head. I mean, he has a special sensitivity. Well, in fact, that is why they are also used in children with some type of problem. People are not stupid, that is, they use them as therapy because they are therapeutic. Really, not only is it a companion, dogs are therapy.

Does it scare you?

Yes Yes. One is always afraid to feel, but we have to remove the blindfold a little. In other words, feeling is not bad, that is, if I have to cry, be sad and be depressed, I also want to teach my daughters that that is okay. That is, feelings are okay to have, it's okay to show them, and it's okay to live them. It is true that coming home and noticing such a great absence will be noticed, but it is also a way to remember him. The way to remember him is for you to arrive and he is not there and, every time we remind him, he will be present in some way.

Also lucky that today we have information, videos and memories through which you can be present. The little one, who is yet to come, will surely no longer remember it, because, man, no matter how long the story drags on, Momo, she is going to turn eleven. Large purebred dogs last as long as they last. But, for example, for Maya I think she is going to be an unbeatable friend. Then Maya also had Olivia and vice versa, which has made Momo present, but not as integrated into the game, he is more observant. But Maya combed his hair, went back to the nursery and removed his blemishes with wipes, cleaned his teeth with a brush, brushed his nails, dressed him, measured his paws... All of this, to her, was unknown. It will erase him and it will remain as a memory that, in some way, also influences him. Respect for the animal world, knowing how to share, because sometimes they are watching TV and, although they are tired, we have to take Momo down and I can't leave them alone at home. So, we put on our coats and put the dog down. It is also a way to educate and teach respect and generosity towards an animal that is not a person but has its needs.

I understand that you have gone on tour together, you have shared studio nights... Come on, it suits you perfectly... And you him?

Yes, I think that to have dogs in apartments, even if you have a terrace and so on, since they have their needs, you have to like them a lot. There are demands that include taking them out in the morning, at noon... Sometimes, for filming, they pick me up at 6 in the morning so you already have me on the street at 5:30 a.m. I promise you that I have never said or felt... "What a pain to go down now"... and he is still sleeping and looks at me as if to say "do you really want us to go down now?"... But he goes out the street and turns into a puppy. So... that's why I tell you, you have to like him very, very, very much.

Because your life, in some way, you also subordinate it to the dog. If not, don't have it. And it's not going to last a year! I hope it lasts a long time. In fact, at first I thought about getting a dog from the Civil Guard or from the blind, one of those that are socialized first, but then it makes me angry to think that the more affection you have for it, after those two years of socialization, you will They remove it. But I'm telling you, I think you have to be very convinced of what a dog means.

About the study nights, I sense that this is when you prepare your characters... Do you do it with him?

At night is when I dedicate myself most to my memorization work, which luckily is very good because my head is so trained that when I study it I learn it. Of course, being a mother, during the day I don't have that time. At night is when my real work begins. I study a lot on the way, on the way to the production company, on the way back, gaps that I have during the series, but if I have something left pending, it is finally at night and there is Momo, he is my flashlight.

It doesn't surprise me that he refers to Momo as his flashlight because, every time I look at it, I can assure you that it gives off its own light.

A baby arrives, but Maya, Olivia and José Manuel are also at home... What role does Momo play there? How they relate?

He sticks to whoever he is. If they are watching TV, there he goes. If they are playing with dolls, he joins in and if it is his turn to put on a hat, then he puts it on too. I mean, he doesn't want to be alone. He will never be anywhere else in the house. In fact, you see... he is here!, always attached to the one who wants to take care of him and take care of him, although if you don't take care of him, he will be the same. That is, he, by participating, should not be left. So he adapts to who he is. If it's my parents, who live across the street and sometimes take him over so he's not alone, he adapts perfectly to them. Even if I have a very hard week at work, my father says, “I'll take it” and Momo, so happy.

In the end, what dogs always want is company and to be alone all day, well, I do try to reconcile parenting with grandparents, too. Now, that I am with a daily series, my father does tell me from time to time, “I'll keep it for this week.” Also, my father is happy, because this summer he will be 78 years old and by having Momo he moves a lot more. They are the two old men of the house but they are phenomenal.

How does it contribute to the development of the family and vice versa?

There has been constant adaptation in both senses. When the girls were born, since at first Momo was the baby of the house, he still couldn't go out when he needed to, but sometimes you had to wait a little longer. We had to adjust to the needs of the girls, but they also adapted to the biological and vital rhythm of a dog's needs. So, Momo has looked for her place, and as more girls appeared, new needs arose. At first, he was close to Maya, never letting her out of his sight, and now he is more relaxed because there are two of them, although he is always in the room where they are. At most, you will have it one meter away. Even though he doesn't bark much, I know he would let me know if something happened.

It is a fact that they have the ability to surprise us day after day... What was the last time?

Look! The other day, Olivia fell asleep on the couch, something very strange because my daughter never falls asleep, since they are both fireproof... Well, Maya was in the back room and suddenly I realized that Olivia I was asleep because I saw that Momo was not with her sister. When I went to the living room, I saw that it was attached to the couch where Olivia was sleeping.

He positioned himself so that if she turned and fell, she would fall on top of him.

He was right next to the couch. Who knows, maybe he put himself there to prevent her from getting hurt!

Golden Retrievers are a breed that needs a lot of exercise and you are always an athlete... What do you do? Likes?

Now walk. We can't do more because, first, I can't either, but he can't either. He can walk long distances, yes, but he can no longer speed up his pace, run, or play ball, which he loved. Now, when he sees one, his ears go up as if he were going to go for it, but as soon as he makes two races he has a bad week. Although I give him some calcium pills, he is almost 11 years old and his dysplasia is very advanced. We wanted to operate on him when he was a year and a half old, but when he went to sleep, the poor guy had diarrhea and they couldn't. I think he said, "I don't have surgery!"

Over the years, with that medication and monitoring the weight, because the Goldens eat everything, we have controlled it.

In that sense, the most serious thing was that one day, he was very bad, because he ate one of the girls' wipes. He threw it down, after going through the entire digestive tract, and lucky that he was able to do it because, otherwise, he would have needed urgent surgery. We always have to be very attentive in that sense.

I always like to say this... Complete the sentence... "The time Momo screwed me was..."

Well, the time Momo messed up with me was one when she ran away from me in the park. Sometimes you let her go off leash, but even then she always comes back right away. Well, almost always. That day he was taking a long time, so I went to look for him. Behind a bush, there was a bird that had been dead for several days and smelled horrible because it was decomposing. Apparently, Momo decided that it was too nice to rub in, so I had to take it home with a rotten smell that I didn't even dare put in the elevator. It was like the typical fetid egg... Of course, it's rotten meat...

Said like that, it's funny, but when you imagine the image, you think... Poor María! The best of all is that he looks at us as if saying “It will be less…!”

I put it in the bathtub, I washed it... Do you know how disgusting? (Laughter) Of course, since that day, I no longer let him go behind the bushes because, no matter what, he's going to rub himself. He also does not discriminate between clean water and mud water! So, he goes back and forth like he's from an Indian tribe or something... Of course, then you take him straight to the groomer and say, “Please give me back my dog!” (LAUGHTER)

When you see your daughters with him... Do you recover part of that girl who grew up in Vigo back in the 80s?

Of course, what makes me very envious. Healthy envy, because I would like to have had that and it couldn't be. I had other wonderful things, but I completely understand why my parents said no to a dog, because it is a huge responsibility. Furthermore, she already had an entire life dedicated to rhythmic gymnastics without, on top of that, adding a dog. It would have been an ordeal. But they make me envious because I think, “How nice that they can have this memory”, they are not going to forget this. Beyond the videos or photos that may remain, they will not be forgotten. Being able to live with an animal and learn everything they have to learn about respect, solidarity, patience and generosity gives you nothing else.

They sound familiar to you... Atreyu, Bastian, Fújur, Artax... What do they have to do with Momo?

Maneeeeee, The Neverending Story! They have to do with Momo and José, too, because it turns out that last year he was the official osteopath of the company. So I saw the performance several times and he was the one who lifted the dancers when they were injured and so on. Of course, Momo, in part, comes from there, of course. The mythical figures of cinema must always be respected and valued.

María, you belong to SOS Golden, an association to support and help animals... What leads you to go one step further and get involved in this cause?

Well, they are small gestures, which in everyday life do not consume anything financially, nor do they require additional effort, but, wow, there is so much need to help with so many things. Also, to me, the dogs have given me so much, Momo has given me so much, that I think it is a small gesture of gratitude. In fact, whenever a charity poster or animal calendar comes out I always tell myself why I think it's very important. They give us so much and it is such a small gesture for what they give back to us, that I think we have to do it.

María, it is often said that when an animal joins the family we are giving it everything we have and, in addition, an opportunity, but what opportunity has it given you?

Well, the opportunity to live that dream I had as a child. That she had to stay in a dream, because I wasn't in charge there. In reality, they ruled over me there. They loved me a lot and helped me with everything, but they never saw the issue of a dog. Furthermore, my mother was very afraid of them all her life, to the point of crossing the sidewalk if she saw one. That is, until Momo arrived, which I understand perfectly. It's easier for a human to bite Momo than the other way around.

Tell me a secret of yours.

Well, sometimes I give him food secretly, even though my father doesn't allow it. They are little things, little breadcrumbs, but since he immediately gets sick to his stomach and gains weight, it shouldn't be... But I let him suck on the yogurt container and, from time to time, he has eaten a doll that, from outside, , a figure that has mysteriously disappeared...

It is surprising to see that Momo is still exactly the same as when we started the talk. The same position and that good-natured face that comes from the factory. I assure you that I found the complicity that the two of them, Momo and María, impressive. After this talk we have gone on talking about 'The Neverending Story', 'Ghostbusters', Central Perk (the cafeteria from the 'Friends' series), the 'A-Team' van, but well... That's another story.