If you have read ‘About Me’, you’ll know that my passion for greyhounds began over 15 years ago when we lived in rural Suffolk, England, and a stray greyhound turned up at our home. In those days, there wasn’t so much publicity about what good pets a greyhound makes, and so the shelters I contacted said they had too many greyhounds, they didn’t want to take another one.
As we had a dominant male borderline collie (99% border collie, 1% spaniel) and the stray greyhound was a bitch, we were able to keep Mollie – as I named her – and she converted me to the breed. We had 7 wonderful years with her, she became a much loved PAT dog – Pets As Therapy - where we used to visit a Retirement Home, the residents could talk about the dogs they had owned in their lives, and fuss Molly. They really looked forward to her fortnightly visit.
Mollie lived until she was 14 years old; she developed lung problems and was put to sleep in her own bed at home, and buried in our garden.We then adopted a lurcher bitch, Kesh, who moved to France with us. When she died, we adopted our French lurcher, Floyd, but he is my husband’s dog. So I HAD to have another greyhound.
That’s when Karmel came into my life. In July 2007 I travelled into Spain with L’Europe des Levriers to a refuge in Ciudad Real, 200 km south of Madrid. I brought Karmel back home with me, and I was happy, I had my Spanish greyhound to love.
It’s not always easy to settle into a new life abroad – I especially missed my PAT dog work, and other voluntary work which I did in the UK. And then I was introduced to Craig McGinty and we came up with Galgo News.
I can’t begin to tell you what a BIG hole in my life in France Galgo News has filled. I can’t begin to tell you what I have learned about the plight of the galgo. I am filled with so much admiration for the Spanish volunteers who cope, year after year, with the results of the abandonment etc of the galgos by the galguerros at the end of the hunting season. How these amazing volunteers in Spain cope, I do not know.
So, it is as a result of adopting Karmel that my life has changed dramatically, I have made numerous new friends around the world, and my life is all the richer for meeting the amazing galgos and podencos who pass through our lives at home; spending a night in our compound on their route from Spain to a new life in France.
I never cease to be amazed at the affection, joy, trust, which most of these dogs show, after an incredible journey; leaving a Spanish refuge, into a vehicle driven by a French volunteer; hundreds of miles out of Spain across the border into France; adopted by people who speak a language other than Spanish; in strange homes; how would a human cope with that, all in the space of 48 hours?!
So, Karmel has a more than special place in my heart – over and above all my other beloved animal pets – because adopting her was the start of Galgo News.
And I’d like to include here some of the lovely messages of condolence from other animals lovers………………May you enjoy life over the Rainbow Bridge, dear Karmel, my treasured friend…………..
David and I are so very sorry about the death of Karmel, there is no easy way of dealing with it so I will not offer mere platitudes. Needless to say our thoughts are with you.
David and Glynis
I am so sorry to hear your sad news . We all know that our best friends don't live for ever but we do hope that they will have their fair share of life, especially when they are now having a good life instead of a bad one. And you know that you gave Karmel the best. I know that at the moment you must be feeling awful. I remember the real physical pain that comes with the death of a much loved dog. When you can, remember all the really good times you had with her and all the joy you gave to each other. And smile.
All my love to you both,in tears too,Pauline xxxx
Life is SO unfair. This is not 'bad luck', it's unfair.How wonderful that Karmel and the Almighty decided that it was time, and one did not have to take the agonising decision.If you had never met Karmel, you would never have got involved with the Galgos, and you do so much for them. Think of all those dogs who spend a night, break their journey with you.......they can all say 'thank you' to Karmel (and you, of course). She will always have a huge place in your heart, but I have to say, that I, too, will always remember her elegance, her poise, her love of everyone.It's no real comfort to you at the moment...but you must be so proud of her, and yourself for everything that you did for her, and all the galgos.
With love, Sue (my friend Sue sent me the web address for L’Europe des Levriers, through whom I adopted Karmel – thank you, Sue)
So sorry to hear about Karmel...we lost a dog a year or so ago to that and it is horrible. Always horrible to lose a dog....especially one so special.Thinking of you....
lots of love Joanna xx (Joanna fosters dogs for Amigos de los Galgos)
Oh Beryl, I am so very very sorry and know how you must be hurting. So very sad, and you tried so hard and loved her so much. Lets hope she is pain free and happy at the Bridge now and the body left behind my help other poorly dogs.Cant stop crying and I never even met her, just saw her pics and heard from you all about her. Do hope sometime these bastards can be stopped from abusing these wonderful dogs.
love Dawn xxxxxxx
I am so very sorry about your dear Karmel and know how you must be feeling. I lost my friend of a lifetime last October and I still keep looking round expecting him to appear; he could read me like a book and there will always be an empty space in my heart for him.
I'm so sad about Karmel ! And very angry too. Please, send me some photos of her at the beginning and at the end, so that I'm going to write an article on the website. I want that everybody knows about that silly breeding of the galguero. I will send it to Spain too. You did right for the research that may help another galgo. This illness seems so unknown. Be strong, my dear friend, be sure that I'm with you with tears.
Béatrice (President of L’Europe des Levriers)
So sad to read about Karmel, I know she will have had a great time running around the fields with you.
Take care and speak soon, Craig (Craig is my webmaster and has supported me from the birth of Galgo News)
Sorry very very sorry to read the sad news of Karmel's death, Beryl......... she was such a beauty, and fought so bravely against her illness. My heart goes out to you at this desperately sad time for you and your family.
Kind regards, Jenny
I am so very sorry to hear the sad news..she was in my thoughts and prayers with every update. Be strong, she had the love she never had previously and that is what counts. My deep condolences from California. Run free beautiful girl…
How very sad............. Rest in Peace dear Karmel - your heavenly angels will keep you safe for eternity.
So sorry to hear your awful news. I remember her looking so wonderful at La Rochelle and her lovely sweet nature. Please accept our kind thoughts at this sad time.
Jan and Steve (Jan & Steve had adopted 3 galgos)
Oh no, what a terrible loss.Sending you good thoughts. Run free sweet Karmel.
Oh Beryl - I never knew her but the tears are falling down my cheeks, for you, for david, for her... Im so sorry. more no-one else could have done, you are an incredible example to a galgo mama, I will bless her and say a prayer as she has crossed over now to rainbow Bridge where she will be in full swing and clean health helping all those who need a galgo guardian angel. Bless you for all you have done for her, my deepest thoughts go to you now as I know this hurts. I send a big hug and god bless you all.
Run free Karmel.
Charl (del Rio)
We are so sorry to hear abouy Karmel but you gave her as good a life as she could have had, its always very sad when you loose an animal because they are more than just an animal they are friends and companions and loved ones we really do know how you feel.
Love Ivan et Thelma xxX
I am so sad in reading these lines!! I have seen again your Karmel at Ciudad Real, at least she has got severals months of happyness with you, she has been loved and it was the best present for her, she knows that and I am sure she stay around you for taking care of you and her friendBig kiss in these so difficult moment
Nathalie (Nathalie Pollet was one of the team from EDL with whom I travelled to Spain to collect Karmel from the refuge.)
About 20 minutes ago I had visited your website and read that Karmel was poorly again. Two minutes ago I had looked at your site again to confirm that I had the right email address for you, as I wanted to write to know how she was doing. Between times, she had gone. I was so distressed to read that. Poor little girl, and poor you. I know how you must be feeling, and there are no words that can help at the moment. What can one say, except that she ended her life having known love, comfort and care, when it could have been very different if she hadn't found you. I am so, so sorry.
Susie xx (Susie Kelly introduced me to Craig, my webmaster)
Sorry to hear the news. She, as you say, was a beautiful galga, we will always remember her gorgeous eyes. I know how you must be feeling...but at least she is at peace and not in pain or discomfort anymore.
June & Martin (J & M have adopted 2 galgos)
I read the news on Galgo News and felt terribly sad, I had followed your reports about her illness months after months, God, she had a fantastic, carring family, thank you for taking such good care of this beautiful girl... Karmel...
I remember she pissed on my sofa, that night you stayed at our place , I still have the picture of her from that day...
You are doing a lot to help some other Galgos and Pods too, be sure she will watch you from the Bridge, smiling a hug GalgoSmile, she can really be proud of your involvement.
I watch my old Tina Galga who I have been fostering for a few weeks now, I hope she will soon get a nice family, like Karmel did... Take care Beryl, she will always be in our hearts...
Barbara (President Le Bulletin des Levriers)
So sorry to hear about Karmel, Beryl.
best wishes Lucy
Please accept my sincerest sympathies on Karmel's passing. I hope you are somewhat comforted by the knowledge that through adopting her, you began a journey that has helped scores of other Galgos on their journey to health and happiness.
Your story somewhat parallels that of my first adopted GH, Reebok, in 1995. I had a 10-yr old Doberman who was turning into a bored couch potato and wanted to adopt an older companion for her, but I was also raising and showing Siamese and Orientals and assumed that Greyhounds, a breed I'd admired from afar, were incompatible with indoor cats, and were adopted as young dogs.
A co-worker had seen a poster for a retired GH gathering in a town near mine, and asked if I knew where the street was. For no logical reason, I visited the event. When I got there, I encountered dozens of lovely people and their treasured pets, and noticed several hot-pink posters (I loathe the color, so it was like waving a red cape at a bull) reading "foster or permanent home urgently needed for 7yr old cat-safe Greyhound" . I found the woman who'd taken him in, and announced to her that I'd be adopting him. She looked shocked that a complete stranger wanted this dog, sight unseen and history unknown, but I explained that it was Fate. A local dog officer had called Helane because he knew she was a GH adoption volunteer. People had found the dog and kept him overnight before turning him in.
Through his tattoos, Helane tracked down his adopter. Reebok had been adopted straight off the track 3 yrs earlier, by people who'd given him no medical care save visiting a town-operated rabies clinic. The woman said he kept getting out of the house and raiding neighbors' trash cans, so she had given him to relatives who had 2 other large dogs. The dogs persistently picked on him, so he was returned to her. She claimed that she had him in her car when she stopped and opened the door to shoo a bee out of the front seat, when he leaped out and ran off. If that is true, she made no attempt to locate him. She told Helane, who already owned 6 retired racers, that she did not want him back.
Helane took him to be examined, vaccinated, and neutered through the adoption group for which she was a volunteer, so that I was able to adopt him from her house, eliminating a kennel stay that would have been yet another disruption for the poor guy.
Immediately, he settled in and I was a GH devotee. A month or so later, I noticed that one side of his forehead seemd swollen, in what turned out to be a retro-bulbar abscess that the vet thought had probably been brewing for a long time. She removed a large splinter of wood that had worked its way up through the back of his mouth.
He'd always urinated a long stream but I was not alarmed because he was much larger than my small Dobie, and I'd been told Greyhounds eat, poop, fart, and pee a lot.
Five months after adopting him, I noticed weight loss and even more urine - preliminary tests led to a kidney ultrasound-guided biopsy confirming glomerulonephritis, which is generally well-managed with steroids. But a couple of weekends later, he began panting rapidly. After an EKG at the emergency clinic, we were off to the hospital at Tufts Veterinary School, because he had an arrhythmia.
They admitted him, and later that night he developed DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation), which meant he had both leaking blood vessels and clots blocking several major organs. Specialists were called in overnight - they could have operated to remove the clots, but thought he was a poor surgical risk, and they had no way of preventing more clotting and leaking, so I felt that though I'd have liked to be with him at the end, it was unfair to prolong his suffering for the hour that it would have taken me to get there.
The intern who'd admitted him was already very fond of Reebok, and I was relieved that someone caring would be stroking him as he joined Sirius, free to run amongst the stars. It was also a consolation that in his final months, this dog, who'd so often been considered disposable, knew he was priceless.