21st November 2007 - the day my blog Galgo News was launched. The first of its kind, my remit was to give publicity to the plight of the galgos and podencos in Spain and the Spanish Islands, sharing information from the rescue associations working 'on the ground' and supporting them in their fundraising and efforts to rehome these fabulous hounds, so maltreated by the Spanish hunters.
Galgo News was born 3 years after facebook was launched, and was a trailblazer in promoting all aspects of galgos and podencos...especially the annual massacre and abandonment of tens of thousands of these innocent and loyal animals, so abused by their galgueros and cazadores.
Having had a greyhound in the UK, when I moved to France in 2002 I was searching for an association through whom I could adopt a greyhound again, and came across the galgo. I joined L’Europe des Levriers and in 2007 travelled with their team to Spain to collect my first galga, Karmel. I wrote an article on the trip which was published in the Weekly Telegraph and you can read the story of the trip on this weblink.
That trip opened my eyes to the enormous problem the galgos and podencos face in Spain, at the end of the hunting season and, as a journalist, I determined to raise public awareness as much as possible. Through a friend I was introduced to Craig McGinty, another journalist, who created my blog Galgo News on Typepad. His expertise and support have been invaluable.
Important to remember that this is 2007 – only 3 years after facebook was created – animal rescue associations used their websites to publicise their dogs and Galgo News became the primary medium through which any and all associations could advertise their work and their dogs for adoption.
During my research I came across an Englishwoman, Charl del Rio, living in Spain who was also writing articles about these hounds for the Inland Trader and we started to work together. She rented a couple of stables and began rescuing galgos and podencos, which I publicized on Galgo News for adoption.
Not long afterwards I was contacted by another Englishwoman, Tina Solera, who was a volunteer at a Spanish dog shelter and wanted publicity for the galgos there. When she too found some kennels to keep galgos, I donated to the cost of building materials. At the same time I ran appeals on Galgo News for donations to pay for food and vet fees for the hounds they rescued. As Tina’s rescue work increased she decided to form an association and Galgos del Sol was born. When it came to the time that she needed help with admin, I was pleased to put her in touch with a lady who had adopted one of her galgos, whom I had fostered for a few months. The rest, of course, is history as both GdS and 112 Carlotagalgos have grown; I am proud to have helped start them on their way.
Through the medium of Galgo News and Podenco Post over the years I have given publicity to many rescue associations in Spain and the Canary Islands. In particular the plight of the podencos on the Islands has concerned me greatly; they are abused and maltreated but their only real chance of a forever home is to leave the Islands, which is costly. Finally, over the course of the last couple of years and through the medium of Facebook, mainland associations are now working with local associations to rehome many Island podencos.
The past 4 years has seen an explosion in the use of Facebook as a medium for helping the hounds. Far more rescue and rehoming associations have been created, volunteers visit the Spanish shelters and as a result many hounds have been found forever homes in Europe, Scandinavia, US and Canada. It’s also far easier to organize and publicise fundraising events supporting the shelters.
Unfortunately most associations now overlook the importance of keeping an up-to-date website! Not everyone is on facebook nor wants to be and they still look largely to Galgo News and Podenco Post to keep them abreast of current news and developments. I get frustrated when I want to link to an association website in my articles, only to find it hasn’t been updated for months, sometimes years!
NOTE TO ASSOCIATIONS - please update your websites!
The journey with Galgo News and Podenco Post has been very emotional: many are the times I have sat weeping at my computer as I post stories of murdered dogs, abused dogs, starved dogs, injured dogs. I will never understand how someone can starve a dog till it can barely stand, or ignore its suffering from severe mange, or beat it about the head to try and kill it! It sickens me through and through that hunters continue to ignore the bad press they get – and still claim to love their dogs! Those in the minority who do look after their hounds are as guilty as those who don’t – because they turn a blind eye or claim cruelty doesn’t exist!
Here is a link to the first story published on Galgo News.
Because of the mass of publicity about greyhounds and the cruelty in the greyhound racing industry, galgos - so similar in physique - began to receive the same attention.
Not so their poor compatriots Podencos, so Galgo News trailblazed in telling the world about their suffering too. Here's a link to the first podenco story on Galgo News, my first foster podenco Jazmin.
After regular trips into Spain with EDL, I became aware of the lack of publicity and knowledge about podencos and decided that they deserved their own blog to concentrate the better on promoting awareness of their suffering, and what fabulous pets they could make. In January 2011 Podenco Post was born and this is a link to the first story on Podenco Post.
I’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all my faithful readers who share the posts on Galgo News and Podenco Post and donate generously to appeals for help for sick and injured dogs. You too have made a difference to the lives of many hounds.