DAY 163: TRYING TO CATCH A LOST GALGO (part 2)
How do you rescue an abandoned Galgo?
How do you catch a dog that likes to catch things that run really fast – like rabbits? When I was twelve I won my school 1500m race but since then I’ve eaten a load of food. I also have squeaky knees.
Sorry for the delay, I’ve been busy tracking print orders and have sent Charlotte more than 1300 Euro that YOU GUYS have sent me for prints and donations. Dogs are being saved because of you. Yippeee! Thank you!
Right, where were we?
Last time we spoke I found myself on the railway tracks of a small town not far from Seville looking for abandoned Galgos with a number of Spanish woman (and an interpreter) who help hunting dogs in the area.I wanted to see if I could actually catch one of these poor dogs.
Then this chap appeared.
Olga, one of the women I was with, explained that abandoned dogs are often hit by trains (as well as cars) and some Galgueros, the hunters, take their dogs to the tracks to kill them when the season is over or if they perform badly. As I walked up to this dog fearing a train might be approaching I heard a call from one side and there in the distance was a man with a number of other Galgos. The dog ran to him.I was disappointed.
Was this a Galguero? Probably. I wanted to go over and hit him. But I had try not to judge. The dogs he had seemed healthy. Are all Galgueros as awful as we assume?
More bloody hammers
Aurora, another one of the women, explained that some hunters look after their dogs well enough. But she also said she had been taunted by a fair few that clearly didn’t. One hunter, irritated by her soft sentiment to these creatures, had boasted to her that he killed his dogs with hammers. Perhaps he was riling her but it reminded me of the video I posted not long ago of that poor cow.
Then, out of nowhere, another man appeared and told us he’d seen a Galgo that had been hit by a train. It wasn’t clear if the dog had died accidentally or had been deliberately killed but I didn’t believe him either way. I figured he was taunting us too.
He pointed to a dark patch on the tracks. And then the warning sign to say a train was approaching. I quickly went to wear he had been standing and then looked over the side of the tracks down into a mud bank. There, barely visible, in pool of brown water, lay the body of a mother Galga. Her belly was swollen, pregnant. Part of me felt relieved that these babies would not be born into this cycle of suffering, part of disgusted.
I ran back over the tracks before the train came to hit me too.
Then our best chance: on an industrial waste dump amid rubble and rubbish a black Galgo was being trailed by a little brown Podenco.
We approached with food and so much love we could have powered a hot air balloon. We got close, achingly so, but we just couldn’t touch them.
For an hour we trailed them.
The little Podenco had a limp, but it didn’t look bad. I took a photo of it. Wherever the big Galgo went he followed as if clinging desperately to his big brother.
As more time passed the women said they had to go home or go to work. They had taken the morning off to be with me and I was grateful if disappointed. I said my goodbyes and reluctantly agreed to drive back to Charlotte empty handed. Then I looked at my photo of the podenco one more time.
WAIT…WHAT WAS THAT?
There was something on its waist. I zoomed in to the image and saw ….
I called the others back. Either the hunter had tied on some sort of string and not bothered to take it off or the dog had got caught accidentally. Either way it was cutting to its flesh and that cut into mine.
And then that familiar feeling I have now felt so many times on this journey… I can’t…. I can’t actually….bear this.
‘What is going to happen to this dog?’ I asked
‘It may starve..or get hit by cars’ was the simple answer.
‘It’s running around with …. a string cutting into its body’
No one disagreed with the obvious.
I talked to the others and explained we HAD to catch this dog. I would stay here. I could meet them after work. They agreed. They would come back towards the end of the day as it got dark and we would try again. Maybe they would bring a net, more food. We had to catch this little dog…and his older brother.
It’s a strange thing…trying to help a dog that needs help. Why is it so hard? You want to help, the dogs wants to be helped. But it runs from you not because it doesn’t want to be cared for but because it doesn’t trust us anymore. The effort you make to catch is in some sense the effort to persaude the dog that we are not ALL bad. And that is indeed a big effort when so much destruction has been caused.
….sorry….there’s part 3 to come…