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Save The Galgos Dogs: One Photographer’s Passion

Advocacy 08.03.2018
By Jill Caren
Galgos as Royal Dog
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I saw an image that made me stop in my tracks. It sucked me in and made me want to learn more about the subject and meaning of the image!

That is what great photography does – and Travis Patenaude, from Stink-Eye Photography nailed it with his personal project to help the dogs of Spain (images are below) – known as the Galgos or Spanish Greyhound.

This is a great example of exceptional animal rescue marketing! Showcasing animals in unique ways that represent them in a more positive light is such a powerful message to engage more supporters and encourage adoptions!

I would like to thank Travis for allowing us to share his story – and images. All images are copyright Travis Patenaude of Stink-Eye Photography and are not to be used without his permission.

Because I only just heard of the Galgos recently I wanted to do a little intro about the Galgos so you too can learn more about these regal dogs and understand more about the breed and why they are suffering and need our help!

Sadly, like the traditional Greyhound suffers in the United States, the treatment of the Spanish Galgos in their home country of Spain is far worse.

History Of The Galgos – Regal to Ruins

The Galgo is considered part of the sighthound group of dogs – meaning they are talented hunters that use their sight to track prey. The breed was created to hunt hare and rabbit in open fields and on rough terrain. Although they look like our English Greyhound commonly found in the United States, they are not related and the lineage of the breeds are vastly different.

The history seems to have some variations, but one thing that seems consistent is that the Galgos were brought to Spain by noblepersons and were held in high esteem then, hence their “regal” status. But after many years of theft and random breeding – they seemed to have lost their regal class and became viewed as a “trash dog” – which remains to this day.

Sadly, in more modern times they have been bred for hunting and hare coursing. Hare coursing in itself is a controversial event where a rabbit is let loose and and Galgos are released to catch it – of course people bet on this so-called sport so a lot of money is involved. But the lack of care in breeding and over-breeding have made this breed prone to large scale abuse and murder.

The Abuse Of The Galgos

Every year during hunting season the Galgos are used to hunt – for extended periods of time and when not hunting they are typically caged with no human interaction lack of care for injuries and fed substandard food. They are often beaten for not listening to their owners as well, it is a horrific life for any living thing – but especially a dog.

But then the reality is – hunting season ends. The dog is no longer needed.

And, because – well you know dogs are disposable – they are murdered.

When the hunting season is over – and the hunter no longer wants to care for the Galgos, they will just kill them. It is estimated that up to 100,000 Galgos can be killed at the end of a season. They are murdered in horrific ways like drowning, hanging or simply being thrown into ravines where they have no chance of being found or rescued. Just pure suffering simply because they are “used” up and no longer offer the owner value.

The lucky Galgos are turned into the rescues – but are often maimed and have overwhelming medical injuries due to lack of care.

The Galgos are not considered “pets” in Spain so many in shelters that are controlled by the government are euthanized.

Another photographer also worked on a project with the Galgos that was featured in National Geographic. This article outlines even more about what this breed of dog faces in their country.

The below video is hard to watch – but if you want to see what groups like Galgos del Sol Animal Rescue deals with at the end of hunting season – this is eye opening.

There is also a documentary that has been created to tell the story visually of the suffering that the Galgo deals with which you can learn more about at Yo Galgo.

Is The Galgo In The United States?

Thankfully yes! While they are not bred here and you will not see them a lot – you can find them in a few rescues that bring them here to find them loving homes.

Ironically, I actually met one just a few weeks ago at a local dog event. I thought it was a greyhound, but the woman shared the history of her 2 Galgo dogs with me and it had me in tears. Then I saw Travis’ post in a Facebook group and knew I had to get the word out – it was like it was a sign!

You can view the resources at the bottom of this post to find out how to foster or adopt a Galgos here in the US!

About The Galgos

Physical traits – the Galgo dog looks close to the more common greyhound with a long lean body. The Galgos can be a smooth coat or wire haired and they are known for their agility, speed and strength. They are not as fast as the greyhound – but were bred more for their endurance than speed. They are available in a variety of colors from white to brindle to beige tones and more.

A male Galgos can measure on average 25″ – 28″ in height and weigh 60-65 pounds while the females will be smaller coming in at 50-55 pounds and approximately 23″ – 26″.

Temperment – a calm breed, the Galgos will do well in most homes and is an affectionate breed that will love his family. They may tend to be on the cautious side with strangers if you are adopting an older dog because of their past. They are quiet dogs that love their sleep and can be trained fairly easily.

Adopting A Galgos

There are several rescues in the US that work with the rescues in Spain to bring the Galgos to the US for adoption. But it is important to remember if you choose to adopt a Galgos (and we hope you consider it!) – that the dog you get may have many issues due to their horrific past.

While the rescues in Spain work hard to help the dogs in their care learn to trust and just be dogs – sometimes it will take a special family more time to help them really feel confident and loved.

Because of their abusive pasts and lack of socialization some Galgos dogs may take a while to really feel a “part of the family”. This is a new concept for them and the last thing they need is to be adopted and then dumped again if you do not give them enough time to acclimate.

While they are typically friendly with animals – because they are meant to be hunters we would recommend making sure you are open with any rescue you may be working with to adopt a Galgos. Some may not do well with small animals, but the rescue will be able to guide you to ensure you get the right Galgos for your home!

Why Travis Got Involved With The Galgo

In February of 2015, Travis volunteered with The BaasGalgo Association and because of this experience he wanted to help the dogs he saw in their care. As he watched so-called owners drop off their dogs at the pound in horrid shape and learned more about how hard the volunteers work to give these neglected dogs a better life, he wanted to honor their work.

And honor their work he did! Not only through an amazing photo project, but a book honoring the volunteers and by starting a rescue here in the US to further assist them.

The Galgos Photo Project

Travis wanted to make a difference through his photography for this amazing breed. His focus was to create a photos that would show the Galgos as they may have been cared for in their royal past. A reminder to not how people see them now in Spain – but what they deserve to be seen as now!

I am totally – madly in love with these images. As a photographer, I think they are exceptional! From the creative elements used to capture that royal feel to the lighting and mood. No detail is missing in these images – and of course – they story they tell is one of love, care, compassion and status.

A reminder that the Galgos matters.

The Galgos deserves more than what they currently deal with.

A reminder that we can do better – and that every dog deserves a life filled with love.

Abuse of Galgos in Spain
Galgos Dog Photo Project
Travis - Galgos Dog Awareness Photo
Galgos as Royal Dog
Spanish Greyhound Abuse Awareness Project
Abuse of the Galgos In Spain

If you would like to see even more photography from Travis Patenaude, please visit his portfolio at Stink-Eye Photography.

How Can You Help The Galgos in the US?

I am so glad you asked! The Galgos needs all the help they can get! Thankfully they have a lot of people and organizations rallying around them, but of course with the amount of dogs undergoing such abuse and misery – the more who get involved, the faster we can help them.

Love Hope Believe Rescue – Illinois

Travis himself, with his wife started a nonprofit called Love Hope Believe Galgo Adoption in 2013 that is based in Illinois. Through them you can adopt or foster a Galgos dog! They have successfully brought 60 Galgos to the United States to find their forever homes and all the love they deserve!

You can also support them with donations or the purchase of his photo book, Galgo Espanol. After the Hunt,  which showcases images of the Galgos in Spain and the workers who care for them. Proceeds from the book will help more Galgos at the Baas Galgo shelter in Spain.

Galgos del Sol – Spain & US

Tina Solera started Galgos del Sol after moving to Spain from Britain and learning about the plight of the Galgos. She established the charity and then were given the opportunity to have some land to house kennels to care for the dogs. That turned into a new facility where all their dogs ( 150+) are housed at one facility, the Galgos del Sol Education and Research Center. The Galgos have indoor/outdoor areas to run, piped in music, exercise areas and more. They are a registered 501(c)(3) here in the US as well.

They do adoptions in the United States but you can also support them in many other ways. So head on over to Galgos del Sol and learn more and get involved!

Galgos Rescue International Network – Colorado

The Galgos Rescue International Network (GRIN) is focused on raising the awareness of the plight of the Galgo’s all over the world. They are a registered non profit totally run by volunteers that acts as an extension for the Galgo shelters in Spain to connect them with the animal lovers of the world to build awareness, raise funds and help with medical costs and supplies.

They also assist with rehoming of the Galgos in the United States.

Save A Galgo Espanol – Pennsylvania

A small non-profit based in Pennsylvania, Save A Galgo Espanol (SAGE) was founded in 2011 and works hard to educate people about the Galgos. They support 3 of the biggest Galgos shelters in Spain by donating and assisting with the placement of Galgos in homes in the United States. You can support them by adopting, fostering, donating or volunteering as well as a few other ways.

The currently adopt dogs to homes within a 6 hour radius of Harrisburg, PA.

Other Great Galgo Resources

Galgopod.org – offers tips, articles and new about the Galgo dogs. How much is it to adopt one and how they can be brought to the US and more.

Scooby Medina – one of the Spanish shelters that care for the Galgos breed.

112 Carlota Galgos – Galgos rescue based in Spain

Have You Heard Of The Galgos?

Were you familiar with this breed before this article – or were we able to teach you something new?

Do you own a Galgos and want to share more about them as pets?

Leave a comment to get the conversation started so we can learn more about this fantastic and beautiful breed!

Jill Caren

Jill Caren Bio Logo

Jill Caren

Jill is the owner and creator of CharityPaws and has been involved in animal rescue for over 12 years as a volunteer and board member for Jersey Animal Welfare Society. You can read all of her articles here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Blair says

    I adopted two Galgos, Reyna and Frank, after having retired racing greyhounds for many years. Reyna is the poster hound for the long term affects of the abuse that goes on with the hunters in Spain. Her physical and emotional scars are deep. I’ve had her for four years and she’s still terrified of most men, pretty much fearful of all strangers. She is perfectly content and happy with just me and Frank around and is a wonderful sleeping partner! Frank, on the other hand, left all of his baggage in Spain. He has never met a stranger and is as easy as any of my racing greyhounds. He’s a large flashy tuxedo boy who loves to strut his stuff on walks. Galgos aren’t for everyone but if you are experienced with some patience to help the shy, skittish ones out of their shell you will be hooked for life. I have always loved the work Travis does and am getting ready to order the book and I believe he also has a calendar out. By the way, take some time to research Podencos, another Spanish breed that also suffer the same abuse at the hands of hunters.

    • Julie says

      Thank you Blair for sharing your story and for adopting Galgos! It is horrific what both of these breeds (Galgos and Podencos) go through and it is hard to fathom humans hurting innocent animals for greed. I also have a severely traumatized dog (pitbull) – so I can relate to what you go through with Reyna. It breaks my heart that these dogs will never be “100%” mentally healthy and happy – but giving them the best life we can is everything to them! Thank you so much for showing them a great life!!! Jill

  2. KathyL says

    My husband and I adopted two Galgos from Amanda and Travis ( Love Hope Believe Galgo Adoption). We became aware of this breed through Amanda in 2016. Our female, Dali, is the most intelligent dog I have ever shared my home with. Loving and always eager to learn, she is my rock. Our male, Miro, has suffered more trauma than Dali. We take it a day at a time and give him all the space he needs. He loves soft beds and sofas. We are so incredibly blessed to share our home with Dali and Miro. They have brought so much joy and laughter back into our lives ( we are empty nesters). Please consider a Galgo if a dog is in your future. Amanda and Travis are always looking for foster homes within 6 hours of northern Illinois. Fostering is a wonderful way to get to know the breed and to help make room for more Galgos to come over from Spain.

    Thank you Amanda and Travis for all you do.
    ❤️
    Kathy

    • Jill says

      Thank you so much Kathy for saving these babies. You sound like such an amazing home for them! Wishing you, Dali and Miro a beautiful life together…..Jill

      • Tisa says

        My friend Lee Ellen Rush is also working to save the Galgos thru FORG friends of retired greyhounds in Colorado. All of us together can make a difference.

        • Julie says

          Could not agree more! Send a thank you to Lee Ellen for us! Jill

  3. Alexa says

    Thank you to all the heroes!!! Let’s keep fighting til this sickening madness ends!!! RIP to all these precious beings that have been abused and killed.

  4. Karen McClain says

    I just saw a story on the news of a Detroit area vet who rescued several in Spain and brought them to Michigan. I was totally unaware of this breed or this practice and the killings and treatment of these dogs in Spain must be halted!

    • Jill Caren says

      I am glad to hear they are talking about them on the news more! Most people are not aware of this breed which is why we wanted to write about them and their plight! There are a lot of people working very hard to make change for the Galgo dogs!

    • Beth Travis says

      Her name is Dr. Karen from Serenity Animal Hospital in Sterling Heights. I have adopted 3 Galgos from her. My latest one she brought back from Spain 2 years ago and he is now a therapy dog at the hospital. These are wonderful, smart, gentle dogs that love attention and get very attached to their owners. Their poor treatment needs to be stopped.

  5. Cathy Armato says

    I haven’t heard of the Galgos dogs, but my heart is breaking and I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t watch the video, I’m too scared. Thanks for bringing this issue to light. These photos are extraordinary, what a talent Travel is!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Jill Caren says

      Thanks Cathy – and it is definitely hard to watch. It almost broke my heart writing this post because of what I found in my research. There is a large support group trying to help them – and we can only hope one day Spain cares enough to stop what these people do to these beautiful dogs. 🙁

  6. Michele Wright says

    I first learned about Galgos about a year ago. I believe it was one of Travis’ post in a dog photography group we are both in that caught my eye. I have always loved Greyhounds and when I saw this photo and description of the Galgo, I had to learn more. The more I learned, the more I knew I wanted to do something to help get the word out about this beautiful dog who is treated with unspeakable cruelty. I am planning on doing a photography project myself to get the word out here in Canada. Although my photos will be nowhere near as gorgeous as Travis’. My goal is just to get people to look and then learn about the Galgos and Podencos and what happens to them and hopefully people will help in any way they can.

    • Jill Caren says

      This is wonderful Michele! If you remember – reach back out to us and we will add your photo project to this post as well! The more we work together, the more people we can reach! Good luck with the photos, I am sure they will be amazing!

  7. Sandra says

    We adopted two galgo’s and they are just amazing dogs! We already owned two whippets and four cats and they do all very well together. #adoptdontshop

    • Jill Caren says

      Thank you so much Sandra! I am so glad to hear people adopting these beautiful dogs, sounds like you have a beautiful family!

  8. Kathy says

    Two galgos and a podenco. Both galgos were rescued from Scooby Medina in Madrid. My pod came from Almeria. He was so traumatized- he is still recovering.

    I also have a retired racing greyhound who was not rescued as much as simply didn’t race well and was immediately placed up for adoption and landed on my sofa. My home of full of love and gratitude. And hair.

    • Jill Caren says

      LOL dog hair is a good thing, it means your home is filled with love! Thank you for all you do and for rescuing!

  9. Nancy Hanson says

    Always thrilled to see more great articles about Galgos! I’ve been going to Spain for 6 years to volunteer at Scooby. FBM and 112 Carlota Galgos. Scooby, in Medina del Campo, is the largest shelter in Spain. They have my heart, and my 3 precious Galgo girls come from there. I do everything I can to help. Much admiration for Travis and everyone working so hard in the US and Spain.

  10. Nancy Handon says

    Always thrilled to see more grest articles about Galgos! I’ve been going to Spain for 6 years to volunteer at Scooby. FBM andd 112 Carlota Galgos. Scooby, in Medina del Campo, is the largest shelter in Spain. They have my heart, and my 3 precious Galgo girls come from there. I do everything I can to help. Much admiration for Travis and everyone working so hard in the US and Spain.

    • Jill Caren says

      This is beautiful! Thank you Nancy for being so dedicated and working so much to help them!

  11. Gina Patton says

    Scooby, one of the largest and oldest rescues in Spain, is also where you will find very dedicated people who save Galgos and many other breeds and animals. They are located in Medina del Campo about 2 hours from Madrid. I visited there 6 years ago and adopted my beautiful Hermosa.

    • Jill Caren says

      Thank you Gina! I will look into them and will add a section to the post about them so others can learn more about them. Thank you for adopting!

  12. Deb LaFond says

    The Galgo Espanol is not the only breed of Spanish hunting dog that suffers horribly. The other breed is the Podenco, another Sighthound used to hunt rabbit and course hare. They are considered by Spanish hunters, the Galgueros to be even more expendable than the Galgo! They are known in Spain as Los Olividados…The Forgotten. Travis and Amanda were the flight patrons for my adoption of a sweet Podenca (female Podenco ) Suiza in March of 2014. Please help support Galgo and Podenco rescue. Another resource for adoption is The Galgo Podenco Support Network which is based in Oceanside, CA. and run by the tireless Telma Shaw, This organization supports multiple rescues in Spain that help both Galgos and Podencos.

  13. George Knott - Galgopod.org says

    Thank you for a wonderful article with beautiful, stunning photos and valuable information to help spread awareness of this wonderful breed. We too have a galgo as does my brother and they are so loving, gentle, kind and smart.

    • Jill Caren says

      Thank you so much George! And thank you for what you are doing to help the breed! It sounds like the Galgos have some amazing support helping them!

  14. Suzy Coleman says

    We adopted our first galgo 5 years ago and he was so amazing we adopted our 2nd one a year later. Both boys were from Galgos del Sol in Spain. They are just the most loving and affectionate dogs once they become comfortable in their surroundings. They love everyone… If you come visit us, prepare to be sandwiched between these 2 wonderful boys!! Thank you helping to raise the awareness of these beautiful creatures.

    • Jill Caren says

      Thank you so much Suzy for giving the boys an amazing home! I wish I could come be sandwiched between them, that sounds like an amazing thing to do. I hope some day to be able to get to know one in a more personal way – and maybe adopt one!

  15. Pat Bozeman says

    Excellent article. A friend of mine visited a rescue group in Spain and eventually adopted a beautiful little Galgos girl.

    I do think you need to educate yourself about Greyhounds in the US though. To put them in the same category of abuse as the Galgos is grossly incorrect.

    • Jill Caren says

      Thank you Pat! We did not put the Greyhounds in the US in the same category at all in terms of abuse – just wanted to show that they are both abused! The Greyhounds are abused here in the US- but I think we clarified that what the Galgos endure is far worse!

  16. Leslie says

    You say “Sadly, just like the traditional Greyhound suffers in the United States, the treatment of the Spanish Galgos in their home country of Spain is even worse.” The racing Greyhound does NOT suffer in the US. I hope that you will look into the life of a racing Greyhound for yourself without listening to the animal activists falsehoods. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for supporting the Galgos and those who work so tirelessly to help them. I am currently awaiting a Galgo who is joining our family soon. Good job!

  17. Brittany says

    I own two Galgos. I adopted them from Spain when I was living there for two years and brought them back with me to the US. They amazing dogs.

    • Jill Caren says

      Brittany thank you so much for helping 2 of this amazing breed! I am so in love with them and glad I had the opportunity to learn of them and about them. I hope this post reaches a lot more people who may not know of them or what they deal with. Love to your Galgos from the CharityPaws team!

  18. James Greenlees says

    We adopted a galgo through SAGE in 2013. He had been rescued off the streets of Toledo by BAASGalgo, and brought to the US by SAGE. We think he was tormented by young/teenage boys between being abandoned and rescued. When we adopted him, Fergus was very timid around other people, but quickly bonded with us and our greyhound. (After an introductory period, he also fit in well with our two cats.) While we don’t think he’ll ever be comfortable with young boys, he’s become much more outgoing over the years, and will now come up to people we meet during our walks.

    Galgos are a wonderful breed, and are truly deserving of any help people can provide.

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