Persecuted pup comes home to Stafford
Little Calina snuggled up with blankets on the couch behind her new mom, already comfortable in her Stafford County home.
She was napping the morning away before new pals would be over for a doggie play date.
“You don’t know how lucky you’ve got it, little girl,” said April Lamb, sharing the story of her family’s new addition.
Life didn’t always look so plush for the 12-week-old puppy, a Spanish Galgo recently transported across the world.
In Spain, the ancient breed—which is related to the greyhound—is used for hunting. When the dogs are no longer needed, they’re brutally disposed of, according to several rescue organizations.
Adoption coordinator Telma Shaw, of Galgo Rescue International Network, said the dogs aren’t viewed as living creatures, but rather as tools of the trade.
“What do you do with a tool? You stick it in the shed until you need it again. That’s the exact mentality of these hunters,” Shaw said by phone from her Oceanside, Calif., home.
Already the owner of three Italian greyhound rescues, Lamb, 53, learned about Galgos just a year ago when pondering fostering another dog.
Barbaric images posted online haunted her for days, and she made a promise that she’d share her love with one of the dogs.
She found GRIN, emailed with Shaw for months and finalized the puppy’s adoption in December.
Calina—known as Lola back in Spain—made her big journey earlier this month. She and her sister, Mariposa, had been turned in to a shelter in Malaga, on Spain’s southern coast, and Shaw saw them on a Facebook page.
Sharing a large travel crate, the pair of dogs flew from Madrid to Miami with two other dog parents-to-be, then were driven to Georgia to meet Lamb, and finally up to Virginia. When all is said and done, the process costs adoptive families about $1,500.
Mariposa is still awaiting adoption. Calina, meanwhile, is getting used to her name, which means “mist” in Spanish. Lamb has high hopes that the brindle-patterned pup will be an ambassador for the breed, clearing the mist that she says has been hiding the fate of the Galgos.
Lamb’s family had a fit when they learned of her plans, however. Why not adopt from a local shelter, where there are plenty of dogs that need homes?
But Lamb, who has worked at vet offices and as a nanny, set her heart on helping the breed. She described herself as the child who brought strays home—only to be told that she’d have to wait until she had her own house one day to do that. Now, she’s making good on that promise.
“She’s been following the dogs for a while. She really, really wants to get this known in the United States,” said Shaw, of GRIN, which has facilitated more than 40 adoptions in the past year.
A Virginia group, Sighthound Underground, also facilitates adoptions. So does Save A Galgo Espanol, based in Pennsylvania.
Playing in her fenced backyard in North Stafford with her siblings and new pals recently, Calina hid behind a stack of firewood. Her bright purple coat gave her away though, and Lamb scooped her up to bring all the small dogs back inside.
Bigger paws indicate she’ll grow larger than the adult Italian greyhounds, perhaps up to 50 pounds.
Friend Beth Gresko was excited to meet the puppy.
“I just love the look of her muzzle,” she said about the long, narrow and dark face.
The calm puppy doesn’t know she’s been put on a mission here in America.
“She seems more content to lay down and watch,” Lamb said.
Unlike her owner.
The Galgo, or Spanish greyhound, is used for hunting in Spain. But at the end of the hunting season, the dogs are often abandoned or killed, rescue groups say. For more information, visit galgorescue.org or sighthoundunderground.com.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975