With all the horror stories recently, it's lovely to receive a heartwarming story of two galgos who found their forever home in the heart of Kathryn and her husband. Here she tells Gracie and Jake’s Story.
I first found out about galgos seven years ago when I was reading about rescue dogs on the internet. I came across the Greyhounds in Need website and read all about the galgos. I had never heard of the galgos and their plight and what I read was heartbreaking. I thought that my husband and I would be able to give a galgo a good home and contacted GIN to say that we were interested.
We had a home check and GIN said that we were suitable. They had some galgos coming across from Spain and they would be in quarantine in the UK and we could visit them.
A few weeks later we went to visit the galgos and they were all lovely. We decided that Gracie (formerly known as Queen) would be the one for us. She was a lot smaller than the rest and was very gentle. We were both worried that we wouldn’t be experienced enough to take on one of the bigger dogs.
Gracie was in a kennel with a very large white male galgo. He was a pitiful sight, with scars on his face and he had lost some of his hair and was very thin. He was also very, very scared but he still let me stroke him. He stood very still like a statue while I stroked him and I thought to myself that this poor boy must have been through hell in Spain. The next time we visited we brought treats, both of them really liked the treats! I stroked the big white dog again and as I moved my hand away, he pushed his head back into my hand. I cried all the way home.
At the next visit, both dogs were looking out of the kennel and when the big white dog saw us, suddenly he smiled a big greyhound grin! As we left that day, we looked back and there he was, looking out of the kennel after us. There was nothing else for it, because I had fallen for him, so we decided that we would give both dogs a home. So Gracie and Jake (formerly Morpheo) came to live with us and it was the best decision we had ever made!
In Spain, Gracie and Jake had ended up in a dog pound in Almendralejo. They were then rescued and brought to the UK by GIN. Gracie was seven and Jake was five. How they had survived for that long in Spain, I will never know. Gracie and Jake settled in well at our home but we soon found out about the terrible psychological damage and physical damage done to Jake. He was terrified of any sudden arm and leg movements, terrified if anyone walked behind him when we were out for walks. We quickly adapted to this and we never took Jake to a crowded place. I didn’t mind any of this, having both of these dogs was wonderful. Both dogs seemed to have no interest in hunting anything, nor did they show any interest in trying to escape from the garden. They both had so much love to give and we had lots of fun with them too.
Unfortunately, Jake’s physical abuse in Spain took its toll and when he was nine he began to suffer badly with arthritis. He had to have a toe amputated and had a major operation on his back for slipped discs. He was so brave and this operation gave us another eighteen months with him. In the last three months of his life Jake struggled with walking and we couldn’t take him out anymore, he struggled just to stand up. One evening Jake collapsed and couldn’t stand up again and we had to make the heart breaking decision of having him put to sleep.
Gracie doesn’t appear to have been overly affected by her life in Spain. She is wary of men but other than that she is a confident girl. What is amazing about Gracie is that she is now fourteen and as fit as a fiddle. She still likes long walks and loves nothing better than to whirl about the field with much younger dogs. She is a little sweetie and is adored by us and likes a lot of fuss and attention. I am hoping that she has a lot more time with us, as I cannot imagine life without her.
I love galgos; they are wonderful, sensitive, gentle beings. If anyone out there is thinking about giving a home to a galgo, then all I can say is that it is something that you will not regret. They are the finest of dogs.
Thank you, Kathryn, for sharing this beautiful story. So sorry that it had a sad ending for you, losing Jake. But he was a lucky galgo to know your love and care throughout most of his life, after leaving Spain.