This is the story of Kamal, an incredible survivor.. He is 14 years old, and spent 11 years of his life in a 2 x 2m cage in a refuge, lost in the middle of Spain. A refuge which is more of a prison for the dogs which end up there.
He was found in a terrible condition, living in his own excrement, and rescued by an amazing lady. Through her dedication and love, and the expertise of her vet, Kamal has been given a chance to spend the last months of his life in a loving and caring home in France.
Be prepared to shed many tears as you read his story.
Like thousands of galgos every year, Kamal was abandoned, and ended up at the refuge at Arganda, near to Madrid. For 11 years he lived in a cage 2 x 2m square, with 2 other dogs.
Kamal, this son of the wind, was no more to roll in the grass, experience freedom. He couldn't see the mountains around Madrid, just dirty wet walls and wire mesh. No one gave him attention, he was forgotten.
11 years passed - that's 77 human years! His muscles wasted, his heart suffered, his body became covered in sores. He became a shadow of his former self. He waited to die.
At the end of May 2008, his cage door opened, a lady appeared in a ray of light. She was blond, like the angels; Cristina, a volunteer with association Perrikus, had found him.
For several days Cristina had spoken with the people in charge of the refuge, who claimed Kamal was happy with them and it would be better for him to spend the rest of his life there! It has a name - Diogene - a denial of reality and refusal of help. There was no reasoning with them.
Not surprisingly, Kamal was very frightened of Cristina when she entered his cage, he trembled and his teeth chattered, he was ready to die. Cristina knelt down on the dirty floor, talked to him gently and took time to gain his confidence.
After about an hour, when Cristina felt he was ready, she picked him up in her arms - Kamal was incapable of walking - and carried him out to her car and away from his living hell.
Her vet gave him a complete examination. Not surprisingly, the diagnosis was not brilliant. Kamal had heart problems and was very weak. He also had terrible diarrhoea and his teeth were in a disgusting condition.
The vet only gave him a few months to live. Cristina determined that he should spend the rest of his days in comfort, knowing only kindness and love.
Every day he had treatment for his heart and antibiotics for his mouth infection. Vitamin supplements were necessary to help him find the strength to walk again. He became strong enough to walk in the park, watch the birds, even wag his tail!
After a month, Cristina felt he was strong enough to make the journey to France, where another guardian angel was waiting to adopt him. Kamal, the old hunter of Arganda, was going to spend the rest of his life as a domestic pet!
I had the privilege - and I feel it was a privilege to meet a dog who had suffered so terribly - to have Kamal in my home for a night, an overnight stop on his journey to his new home near Paris.
It was wonderful to see him walking around the garden, sniffing the plants, even just standing at the French doors looking out onto green grass, red and pink roses, bees on the purple lavender. His body carries many scars, his skin hangs over his bones, his muscles are wasted.
But he has survived 11 years of hell, and because of Cristina and the team at L'Europe des Levriers, he has a chance to experience what every dog should know, a loving home, a comfortable bed, plenty of food and water.
Rescuing Kamal from the refuge created many problems for Cristina, but now that Kamal is safe in France, she sent this message.
"Please post Kamal's story, because it is the story of so many other galgos who are somewhere waiting to die.
I don't mind anymore if this creates problems for me . Now I know he will be safe and you can be sure that I miss him so much...
I see him everywhere in my home. Where he was lying, when he made his joy dance while I was preparing his food...I see Kamal in every corner of my house and it hurts very much not to have his "good morning" anymore.
He has given me so much, that it is impossible to explain and I thank him for this. He has been the most important galgo in my life.
I thought I had nearly lived any situation with galgos, but Kamal....well he is a star from a different place. He is the king of galgos, the most magnificent dog I ever met, and he will always remain in his special place in my heart.
The saddest thought is that I probably won't see him again....and how will I ever thank him for teaching me so many things."
Thank you so much, Cristina, for being such a wonderful saviour to this poor old dog.