This is a sickeningly tragic story which was been published on Save the Galgo on Facebook. Tom Brown has sent it to me to share with those of you who have not read it. Apologies to Tom, as it got lost in all the posts.
'Pasha – The bitter sweet story of a Galgo in Spain
We came to Spain over 7 years ago and built a house and studio in the mountains of the Costa Blanca. Our ancient whippet lurcher Bill came with us and lived in our shed while we built the house. We decided to give a home to a Spanish galgo, so the timid but very beautiful Mia joined us in our first year. Old Bill made 16 years and actually made it into the new house and claimed his spot. When he died we took on another Galgo Pasha who already came with an interesting and checkered history.
At about 5 years old she was found starving and abandoned as is the fate of many other galgos. She was brought back to health by Mandy and Alan of Maserof kennels. Pasha was lucky to find a home eventually with somebody but the man had not had much experience of dogs. He made the mistake of tying her up to his trailer while he went fishing. In her struggle to get free she badly smashed both bones in her front leg. The man felt very sorry and to his credit took her to the vets and spent a lot of money having the leg rebuilt with steel pins and an external cage. He found it difficult to cope and after two weeks took her back to the kennels.
Mandy did a wonderful job nursing her back to health but Pasha was left with a leg that would never really mend and no home. At this time old Bill died and Mandy gave me a call. We decided to give her a try. She was about 7 years old by this time and the first 3 days settling in with Mia were a rough ride with a number of battles as they established the basis of their relationship. Pashas’s first love for food gave her the edge at feeding time and Mia’s attachment to her new home sorted out the accommodation arrangements.
I have had several lurchers but Pasha very soon turned out to be a character above them all. For a galgo she was very clever or should I say cunning. A life on the road had turned her into a bit of a Fagan character; she was a thief like any good running dog and always worked on the assumption that she could not really depend on where the next meal was coming from. There were many instances where she was caught slipping past the window like a spirit with a cake or a loaf of bread in her mouth sneaking off to her little casita. When guests stayed shoes, cardigans, i phones and on one occasion a double D cup bra would disappear during the night.
She had had nothing in her life so she collected like a magpie and to give her credit when you checked her place in the morning you could see that she had a real flare for interior decoration. She spent her days no more than 3 meters away from me and was wonderfully affectionate with all the grandchildren, completely happy that this was her new adopted family. To be fair she was lucky in that the next five years of her life were very happy ones.
On September 28th things came to an abrupt end. For ten days she had a wonderful time playing with 4 grandkids, greeting them often with her own garbled howl talk. We took the family to the airport in Alicante in the afternoon and on our return she was gone. Of late we often left the dogs around the house when we went out. It is in the mountains with hardly a soul around and Pasha was at least 13 and Mia 10 so they were very content to lounge around galgo style with perhaps an occasional stroll down the hill. We searched everywhere and considered all possible explanations. I visited all the neighbours and left posters in the best places. I repeated searches using Mia and her good nose and drove endlessly around the whole area.
48 hours later I was revisiting a place when Mia’s nose lifted and she took off. It was spotting with rain and the day was heavy with an ominous thundery atmosphere, I had a feeling I was going to find her so I ran to keep up with Mia. We struggled though the gorse and pinchos along and up the bancales until even I could smell her.
The picture I witnessed is fixed in my mind and will be for many years. She was caught upside down in a cable snare; a simple lasso made of 4mm cable and attached to a log. She had come from the bancal above, got caught in the snare and fell over the edge. The body had gone through the loop of wire and had caught her around the narrowest part of her stomach. She was left suspended upside down and left to die. In her struggle to get free the wire had cut deeply into her skin and blood poured over her body; she must have been blown by flies within minutes. The poor old girl died in agony and despair.
I am writing this only four hours after I found her with my eyes so full I can hardly see. I am wrecked at losing her and I am angry, so in that time I have become resolved to do something positive on her behalf and maybe to help other galgos in Spain. It was so hard but I have been back to photograph her so that I have the evidence that will provide a shocking contrast to the other wonderful photos that show Pasha as a happy contented dog.
I want to make it as real and as extreme as I can so that people are moved. There are lots of photos of poor dogs and terrible cruelty to nameless galgos but Pasha had a name and was real with her own life story that can be told in detail. The first part of her life was clearly one of neglect leading to near starvation as a result of the appalling attitude that some Spanish hunters have towards their dogs. The end of her life was also at the hands of hunters setting illegal traps to catch wild boar,Jabalis, a particularly cruel way to die.
If she had not died in the snare it could have been the pieces of bone with the marrow laced with strychnine supposedly left to kill foxes so that the hunters would be able to kill more of the red legged partridge, the perdiz. Or it could have been that the hunter simply shot the dog having seen little else to kill that day.
I have seen a so called hunter with 6 song thrushes threaded onto a wire on his belt only 100 meters from my house and delighted with his days hunting. This is not supposition or exaggeration; I could quote several examples of all these instances from my valley alone.
I am not against all hunting, especially in Spain, that would be unrealistic. I just want that some of the Spanish hunters change their attitude and become more responsible and caring about what they do and this alone could effectively prevent far less suffering of hunted animals and the so called hunters' friend the dog.
Before I came to Spain I knew little of what goes on here. The story of Pasha is the sort of story that is real and therefore could interest people in other countries and therefore be used to exert some sort of pressure or at the very least awareness on people who do not know.
If anybody has links with publications who may be interested then please contact me. I am happy to rewrite or expand the story of Pasha so that she did not suffer her terrible death in vain.