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.
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!