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A Touching International Effort To Give Abused Dogs A better Life

In 2007, Christina Azharian, a Denver woman traveling to Spain, learned of the plight of the Galgo when she met a couple who made it their mission to help rescue these dogs. Seven days later, when she departed Spain for home, she was accompanied by Daphne, a Galga who had been recently saved by SOS Galgos in Barcelona. Christina’s mindset was that she could save at least one dog.

Fast forward ten years. After a well lived life, Christina’s beloved pet Daphne took her last breath. Christina realized the best way to help Daphne’s breed was to make sure the plight of the Galgo was well understood by the American public. In Daphne’s honor, she pledged to bring as many Galgos to the US to live out their lives knowing the love of a family and the comfort of a good home.

In the spring of 2018, Christina’s Daphne Legacy Tour arranged and brought 24 Galgos to American soil. American Greyhound, a sighthound rescue organization based out of northern Indiana, received these 24 dogs. 12 were transported to the Denver area and 12 stayed with American Greyhound.

Erin Floyd, a local woman, was asked to foster one of the dogs. She had never heard of a Galgo but quickly learned they were one of the most abused dog breeds in the world. Galgos are considered tools, used to hunt hares in the Spanish Countryside, a 5.4-billion-dollar industry. These dogs are cruelly treated and spend their lives in damp, dark sheds deprived of daylight, exercise, or affection. They are typically fed only stale bread and water.

According to the Barcelona-based Affinity Foundation, in 2021 at the end of the hunting season, it is estimated a staggering 167,000 Galgos were inhumanely disposed of or abandoned. It is less expensive for a ‘Galgero’ to buy new dogs every single year than it is to keep them and feed them during the off-season. When the hunting seasons ends on February 1st, they dispose of Every. Single. Dog. It’s their culture. Tragically, they believe that the more painful way you dispose of your Galgo, the more luck you will have the following season.

Floyd says, “Galgos are gentle, loving, and loyal companions once they learn they can trust their humans and their environment. You will often see Floyd out walking in the Waynedale area with her own two Galgos and any foster dogs she has at the time. Galgos are bred for endurance and can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, however, they don’t require an excessive amount of exercise.” The Spanish Galgo is a medium sized hound, 50-65 lbs., with a short coat and a narrow, lanky build. These dogs resemble the English Greyhound dog breed. Galgo’s are athletic, but are typically calm in the house and normally do very well with a family.
Spain recently passed an animal cruelty law, however; it specifically excluded the Galgos and other hunting dogs. As the seasons permit, Azharian and Floyd will continue to travel to Spain, bringing back as many Galgos as they can. To date, 146 dogs have been rescued. It is their hope that increased awareness will lead to further action from the Spanish Government to protect this breed.

If you have questions, or are interested in donating, fostering, or adopting a Galgo, please visit americangreyhound.org to learn more. The Galgos thank you!

The Waynedale News Staff
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