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I have always struggled with depression, ADHD, and dyslexia. However, in October 2012, I found myself in an especially dark place. Fortunately, a moment of clarity allowed me to realize what I was about to do, and I stopped myself. That same weekend, we discovered two Galgos had just arrived in Chicago and were available for adoption. The following weekend, we adopted Leena. When I learned that Leena's previous owner planned to hang her from a tree because he deemed her no longer useful, the irony was not lost on me.

We spent months helping Leena learn to trust people again, and in the process, my focus shifted away from my own depression. Leena literally saved my life. She has also taught me to be more open about my struggles with depression and has given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone.

After adopting Leena and witnessing her trauma, we wanted to learn more about her past and the lives of hunting dogs in Spain.

More info: Instagram | Facebook | stinkeyephotography.com

The Plight of the Galgo Español

Galgo Españols (Spanish greyhounds) are primarily used for hunting or coursing hares in Spain. During the hunting season, which runs from October to January, many of these dogs live in deplorable conditions, confined in dark sheds when they aren’t coursing. They are neglected and subjected to barbaric training techniques, such as being towed behind cars, trucks, and motorcycles at 30 mph for 15-20 miles.

Hunters, known as Galgueros, dispose of Galgos at the end of the hunting season in horrific ways: hanging them from trees, throwing them into wells, starving them, beating them to death, or simply abandoning them. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of Galgos are killed every year in Spain.

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A Lifeline In The Darkness: How A Galgo Español Saved My Life

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SlothyK8
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1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for posting this. My bestie adopted a galgo four years ago and he's the best boi. My partner and I lost our two greyhounds in 2022 and 2023 and we're not planning on adopting more (we have cats now...sigh), but if we were it'd be galgos. They are SO badly treated and deserve homes where they can be their loving, affectionate, goofy selves..

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One particularly cruel method of disposal is called “piano playing.” The Galgo is tied by the neck and hung from a tree so that it can barely touch the ground with its hind paws. The dog struggles to balance on its back legs to avoid strangulation, experiencing panic, anxiety, and immense pain until it eventually suffocates. This slow, agonizing death can take hours or even days.

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If abandoned, these dogs are often hobbled to prevent them from returning to their owners. Those that survive abandonment languish in state-run shelters, where they ultimately die.

A Mission of Rescue and Rehabilitation

In response to what we learned; we started an adoption group for Galgos in Chicago called Love Hope Believe Galgo Adoption (www.AdoptaGalgo.com). Despite having never been to Spain, knowing no one there, and not speaking Spanish, we were determined to help.

Our first transport brought four dogs from Spain. To promote them for adoption, we needed good photos, but my initial attempts were subpar. Fortunately, a professional photographer from HeartsSpeak.org helped us, and her images inspired me to improve my skills. I watched countless YouTube videos and bought photography courses. My goal was to join HeartsSpeak.org and offer my services to dogs in need. A year later, I achieved this goal.

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The Power of Photography

When I began in photography, I was advised to “shoot what you are passionate about.” My passion became telling the story of Spain’s hunting dogs. During a volunteer trip to a shelter in Spain, I photographed a very scared, scar-covered black Galgo. When I shared this photo, people were moved by the dog’s evident fear and desperation, and they wanted to help.

This experience showed me the power of photography to tell a story. As someone with severe dyslexia and inattentive ADHD, I have always struggled to communicate. Leena gave me a new voice through photography. When we had to say goodbye to her in April 2015 due to cancer, I promised to be a voice for Leena and the hunting dogs of Spain. I learned photography specifically to raise awareness and share their story.

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Capturing the Soul of a Dog

I love photographing dogs because their emotions are so unfiltered. I aim to capture their personalities and show people the beauty I see in these animals. Understanding dog body language helps me communicate with them, making them comfortable in the studio and allowing me to capture their true expressions.

Inspired by Tim Flach’s book “Endangered,” I learned to evoke emotions by isolating animals as subjects, highlighting their individuality and fostering empathy. Applying this approach to my photos, I can now show these dogs as I see them: beautiful, intelligent, athletic, fragile, and loving.

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How You Can Help

If you feel compelled to help the hunting dogs of Spain, here are some ways:

–Raise Awareness: Share their story. The more people know, the more pressure can be put on the Spanish government to change the laws and protect these dogs.

–Volunteer: Spend time at a shelter in Spain, whether it’s for a day or a week. Veterinarians can perform spay and neuter surgeries, and dog trainers experienced in positive reinforcement can help rehabilitate abused dogs. Shelters also need help with social media, fundraising, and finding foster and adoptive homes.

–Adopt or Foster: Galgos are intelligent, good problem solvers, and excellent jumpers. They require a 6-foot fence or commitment to leash walking. They shouldn’t be off-leash in open areas as they can reach full speed quickly and run for miles. They usually get along well with other dogs and can live with cats and small dogs.

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–Transport Dogs: If you travel to Spain from the United States, you can help transport dogs to adoption groups in the USA. Flights need to be direct from Spain to the final destination in the USA.

My main goal is to raise awareness about the plight of these dogs in Spain. By sharing their stories, we can put pressure on Spain to change its laws and protect these wonderful animals.

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A Lifeline In The Darkness: How A Galgo Español Saved My Life

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Houndywoman
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1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Beautiful in black! I have a rescued ex-racing Greyhound. Got my first in 2015 following a nervous breakdown and learned about their plight but also that of the Galgos and Podencos. I can't bear to read about the cruelty any more but do what I can to advocate for rescues (and donate when I can). Beautiful photos.

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A Lifeline In The Darkness: How A Galgo Español Saved My Life

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Jackie Wacky
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4 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This sweet pup almost look like a deer with his long ears ♥️♥️♥️

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