Gemma works with Sonia and Caridad, helping save galgos and podencos and find them permanent homes abroad. This is her story.
Gemma spent the first 27 years of her life being afraid of dogs, until her sister bought a cocker spaniel. So to find her heavily involved with galgo rescue nowadays is a far cry from her youth.
About 5 years ago, at the same time as she adopted her first street puppy, Gordi, she went on the Internet and discovered other people wanting to help the Spanish galgos, refuges and shelters desperately needing help, and rescue associations prepared to transport galgos and podencos out of Spain to permanent homes elsewhere.
There is no hunting in the area where she lives, but she works in close contact with Sonia and Caridad, who are not so lucky. They work at a couple of the refuges where galgos may be taken by people who find them abandoned, injured on the road, starving on the street. At worst, hung from a tree but still alive.
She works mainly with L’Europe des Levriers, a French association which works at finding foster homes for the dogs, and forever loving homes. And that is on top of her full-time job as an infant teacher.
As well as Gordi, she has now taken in another street puppy, Peludeta.
Her hope is that one day there will be no street puppies in Spain, and no need for the galgo rescue associations. She looks forward to the day when there are Spanish laws prohibiting the uncontrolled breeding and hunting with galgos, and protection for all dogs.
'I am very grateful that there are now more people outside Spain who are aware of the bad things that go on, and are helping us fight against them.'