A Story from Malaga by Vera Thorenaar

Freedom - Story from MalagaGRINers, Vera first contacted G.R.I.N. in 2008 asking for help for ARCA Sevilla.  She works with many different shelters and we asked her if she would like to write a story for GRIN's website.  I think it is very good as it adds light to how things work in Spain for this group, Greyhounds Rescue Holland.  Here is her story...

"My name is Vera and I live in Malaga, Spain since 26 years. I am an animal lover and have lived in countries like Ivory Coast, Brasil and Uruguay.  If in Spain things are bad, imagine in those countries!  I have always been involved in saving animals and colaborations with animal protectors.

Since Febuary 2008 I am a member of Greyhounds Rescue Holland (I was born in Holland) (www.greyhoundsrescue.nl).  This organization is based in Holland and looks for adoption families in Holland and Belgium for galgos/greyhounds. It is a very serious organisation.  They first do the home visits once a family is interested in adopting a galgo.   They try to find the best caracter and circumstance between adoptants and galgo.  Once decided which galgo the family will adopt they contact the shelter and organise the transport, normally with volunteers flying from Spain to Holland.  Once the dog is united with his new family the organization does a follow up during 6 months.  There is a total guarantee in rare cases that if the dog does not fit in his new family, they will take the dog and bring it to a foster family until a new adoption comes up.  This happens in very rare ocasions.

I started helping out at the airport when a passenger takes one or two dogs under their responsibility to fly the dog(s) to Holland.  I worked at the airport for 25 years so I know the howabouts.  Quite quickly I started taking galgos at home the day or two before their flight to Holland.  Those dogs are send to my home by MRW, a transport company.  This avoids the volunteers to bring them themselve from Seville or Cadiz, a journey of 2 and 3 hours respective.  I have them here for a day or two and take them to the airport.  It is quite an adventure because most of them are very scared and nervous.  We have 4 other dogs so it is always a job to get everything working in peace.  From there we have now started to foster a galgo.  I always felt very frustrated having a galgo at home for only 1 or 2 days.  I started to love them very much and missed the satisfaction to make them feel confident and show them the love people can give them.

So our Freedom is our first try.  He is with us since two months now and What a change.  He seems to be another dog.  We had lots of problems with him when he came because he was (still is a bit) very scared, especially with men.  I dedicated two days to show him that we would not hurt him, and he took me as his protector.  In a week he was much better with my husband although he is still scared sometimes if my husband makes an unexpected movement.  Poor Freedom.  He must have been mishandled very much.  He did not get on well with our dogs either and bit them quite a few times.  Fortunately my dogs ( 3 females and 1 male, Freedom is a male) are very very sweet and have accepted him well.  Once Freedom noticed that they would not fight him, he is now totally relaxed and plays the whole day, running like mad and having great fun.  In the beginning I had problems with feeding them together because Freedom wanted to be the only one to have the food out of the 5 recipients!  So he bit the others.  Now they all eat toghether, changing from one recipient to the other.  He now knows that there will always be enough food for him.  He was found wondering around on the street, very thin and eating from rubish.

We are already suffering thinking of the day he will have to go to his adoptants.  We love him and will miss him very much, but that is the system.  Instead of him staying in a shelter with many dogs in the same cage, he is having a wonderfull life at home.  When he will be adopted he will be looked after and cared for in the same way we do and then we have place for another one who is staying at a shelter.

I hope we will have the strenght to let him go..."