G.R.I.N. FALL 2012 RESCUE TRIP
How do you begin to share a two week rescue trip to the south of Spain? We met with so many amazing rescue people and dogs that each one is a story in itself. I would have to write a book , but for now I will try a summary as I am sure our GRIN readers like to hear a bit about what it is like to visit Spain and bring Galgos and Podencos back to loving homes in the U.S. This is my second trip to Spain and it was a whirlwind as was the first!! Survived on great Spanish coffee, passionate conversations and the excitement of the work involved.
It is exhausting, and it hits you once you are home! I think anyone who has done this trip will say the same thing, but it is also exhilarating, fun, exciting, touching, educational, heart rendering and amazing! So let me quickly run down the highlights.
First week I spent in Malaga. I thank Vera and Antonio for their hospitality! Felt like home, with their two galgas, a shepherd and two small doggies welcoming me at every step! Vera is the founder of Galgos en Familia and runs a “small” shelter with up to 24 dogs at any given time. She has a wonderful group of volunteers to help her do kennel shifts but the work never ends and Vera is a whirlwind of energy..running the kennel, making runs to the vet, to the kill station, arranging adoptions, hours on emails, planning events as well overseeing the care of all her dogs..I jumped on her wagon and we were off running every day!! No resting here!
In the next few days we took time to go up the coast near Nerja and visit another really beautiful shelter named Canta Lobos newly built but unfortunately sitting empty due to government hang ups..a sad situation with so many dogs in need. It can hold about 150 dogs. Karin the founder and daughter Yaiza have a dream of helping many dogs but for now it is on hold, but there may be some interest brewing for the future..fingers crossed. I met two amazing galgas there and a cute Podenco named Cappucino..I hope he has been homed by now.
A few days later four of us headed north from Malaga to a small town called Ecija better known as the Sarten de Andalusia or the “frying pan of Andalusia” it is so hot there in the summer thus the description. It adds a sense of urgency when you consider how all the shelter dogs have to endure this heat in the summer. The shelter we visited called Aprenda does a great job taking care of their dogs. It is hard work with over 200 dogs there and little resources. Vera has begun helping them to move some of the galgos in their care. They are in the midst of hunting areas so it is another sad situation with so many abandoned galgos and podencos. One galga was very lucky that day because she came back with us. She is a six month old cream colored galga with a long nose. She was thrown over the fence two days before we got there. How sad to see this baby, so afraid in the shelter. She was skin and bones and covered in fleas. Yaiza a young lady who wanted to help one galga by adopting spotted her and said I will help her! We were all so happy that Saba would be coming back to the coast with us, fleas and all! She is now living like a princess with Yaiza and family in Spain.
Also as an aside, one black mamma galga named Dixie and her eight pups were taken in by Vera from this Aprenda shelter. Dixie had suffered so much with her babies, chained in the hot sun, unable to move, until she was rescued. So now she is coming to the US and all her pups have been homed in Europe. Much of this possible because of our networking and the help GRIN has been able to give to Galgos en Familia. Also the pups and Dixie lived at Veras shelter for months, protected by a special dog house donated to her shelter by Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue of NH!
Another friend of G.R.I.N.’s that I spent time with is Char del Rio of 112Carlotagalgos. Char had been dreaming of moving some day to a finca (small ranch) so that she could have her rescue dogs near her. I spent a few days following Chars footsteps and hard work taking care of her 9 galgos and podencos at a stable she had rented for a few years. That was her shelter for the dogs that came to her and it served its purpose and many were saved because they had somewhere to go and Char and her family to care for them. While I was in Malaga, Char was in the process of making the final arrangements to move, to the finca, with existing kennels that needed lots of work, but a place that will fill the needs of her association. Congratulations Char on your new place. I know the dogs and your family will be so happy there! Chars work also never ends, with rescue, care, and adoptions.
WEEK TWO MALAGA AND MURCIA
OK now on to week two. Marylou Hecht, GRIN’s newest board member met me in Malaga at Veras. We visited the local kill shelter called, ironically, El Paradiso. The irony being that right next door is one of the nicest boarding facilities I have ever seen. Beautiful grounds, spacious kennels, lots of workers and very clean. Even the kill station next to it was very well maintained. This is where Marylou and I crumbled! We found two souls on death row, a Canario Podenco we named Arlene, my middle name, and a little terrified Ibizan Hound we named Nobela Marylou’s middle name. So of course we starting devising a way to help these two. Thanks to Vera’s flexibility and her probable sympathy for our tears, she said “OK..we will find a way for them”. Glad to report we were able to arrange with Ibizan Hound rescue for their future care..they were saved that day!! Again thanks to GRIN’s donors we have been able to help these two with medical care and boarding costs until adopted.
A wonderful wrap up to our time in Malaga was a volunteer networking lunch that GRIN sponsored for all the hard working dedicated rescue people of GEF. We are happy to show these folks our appreciation for all they do, and have to endure in Spain facing the abandonment and ill treatment of so many beautiful and lovely galgos and podencos. These folks are passionate and hard working and in the trenches. The lunch lasted 7 hours as is the custom in Spain for an event!! I was exhausted once again since I was translating everything for Marylou, but it was such a joy and pleasure to be amongst all these wonderful people knowing how hard they are fighting for the dogs we all love so much!
Next entry, Murcia and Galgos del Sol update.