REFLECTIONS ON OUR AMAZING TRIP

Time to reflect a little on the last transport rescue trip that Jennifer Janiak-Ross and I took to Spain May 2-16 2017.

The goal of coordinating and bringing back a total 12 dogs in one day was accomplished! It is always an exhilarating experience that is hard to put words to. It is a team effort which includes the Spanish rescue groups along with GPS and Grateful Greyhounds in the US working out all the details. My humblest admiration goes out to the Spanish teams as they not only battle the day to day abandonment of these wonderful hounds as well as working so hard with us to get them to forever homes here in the US. This time we had three vans driving towards Madrid with all the dogs and converging at the hotel the night before. Amazingly it went without a hitch.

Each dog we bring has a story to tell. Each dog we bring is the hope for the others left behind. It is not easy to be in Spain and see so many that need help. But for all the years I have been helping the Spanish hounds, I remind myself daily that it is about one life at a time. One life that is lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, to be rescued to be helped and to finally have the chance of a forever family. That is why we do this, why we work so hard for months and months ahead of time to coordinate the adoptions, to plan the trip, to arrange the transportation, and to finally visit the shelters and to help the special cases along the way and to bring some hope to the people on the ground that there are others people in the US that care about their dogs.

I cant thank everyone enough who was part of this rescue mission..these people are my heroes. These are the groups we met with this time around: In Sevilla, Beatriz Sanchez Elvira Ribas of Asociacion Argos, Encarni Tortosa and Teresa Blanquero of DdeVida, Javier Jurado and Angelica RC of Casa de Postas, Miguel and Vicky of El Galgo Gris, and Mar Marquez Lopez, and in the Malaga area, Vera Thoranaar of Galgos en Familia, Nuria Martin Barcos of La Guarida, Maku Gonzalez of Podencos y Mas and Anna Buttenhoff of Vals Podenco Rescate Andaluz and many other people working together with them.

A special thanks to air patron Ellen Ganopoulousand Linda Schmitt for their part in this rescue operation!

Every year I come away impressed with the level of care and passion these rescue friends show these needy hounds. The appreciation for our help also is overwhelming. They always make us feel so welcomed and it is really a joy and fun to be with these wonderful people! And we really enjoy the fellowship over food and good times which includes endless stories both sad and joyful of rescued hounds! We had an incredible trip and we come back charged up to keep fighting for and with the small Spanish rescue groups that need us so much.

Soon I will be posting some special doggies we want to help this year, to hopefully find families. We left with 12 and have scores waiting for our help…we will help one at a time..

Telma Shaw
Galgo Podenco Support

GPS Express Spring 2017 Transport

This Spring we are happy to announce that 9 lucky podencos and galgos will be homed in the US. We have collaborated with the following shelters in Spain: Galgos en Familia, Argos, Casa de Postas and Podenco y Mas as well as with the help of Extraordinary Galgos and Podencos in Canada. We also coordinated the transport for Grateful Greyhounds NY and for Greyhound Rescue Rehab for 6 hounds. GPS thanks all who are involved in the work at ground zero in Spain who rescue these dogs from an uncertain future or worse and we are thankful that we can help one dog at a time.

GALGO PODENCO SUPPORT 2016 YEAR SUMMARY

Thanks to the help of our supporters, GPS has been able to assist a record number of dogs this year with either medical care and/or help to forever homes.

We have raised funds through our auctions for GPS Shelter Aid Grants to help eight shelters where these dogs have come from; we have sent GPS Emergency Assistance Grants for special cases for 22 dogs; we have raised over $5,000 for our La Guarida food drive and delivered almost 13,000 lbs of food to a needy shelter; we coordinated transports and brought 70 galgos and podencos to the US of which GPS has adopted 31 podencos and seven galgos this year; we made several networking/volunteer trips to Spain to stay in touch with the shelters we support and transporting dogs ourselves. 

GPS is proud of our work with The Rosa Project that has successfully placed three podencos after their rehabilitation at K-9 Games Reno this year. Also, our alliance with Tommy Coats has helped defray some of the shipping costs so that hundreds of pounds of coats, collars, leashes and supplies can be shipped to our shelters. 

Our reward is knowing how these dogs' lives (and many others not in this slide show) have changed because of our work with your support. We will continue to work hard for you, for the dogs, and for the future of the Spanish hounds. We thank you, our supporters, so much for your involvement. Pease know that we can do it again in 2017 if we all keep working together! 

WHAT DID GPS DO THIS SUMMER?

What have we been doing this summer? GPS has been working on rehoming podencos and galgos and we have just finished our transport list for this fall. We are bringing ten pods and one galgo into their forever homes. The total number of dogs coming on our six transports is 27. The receiving US groups are: Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption, Galgos del Sol, Galgo Podenco Support, Grateful Greyhounds, and Greyhound Rescue Rehab. The Spanish groups that we are working with are: Asociación Protectora Argos, Casa de Postas, DdeVida, Galgos en Familia, Mar Marquez Lopz, Podencos y Mas, SOS Podenco Rescue, and Vals Podenco Rescue. Together we are helping one dog at a time. Thanks to everyone for their ongoing efforts to help us continue to help the dogs in Spanish rescues. All these dogs will be in their homes by Thanksgiving… isn't that great? Gracias ah todos!

MY WRAP-UP BY JEN PYPPEE ALFILER ROSS

It has been nearly 2 years since we adopted Alfiler. And it was about a year earlier when we were adopting Pyppee that we found out about the plight of the galgo. When Alfie came from Spain, I really hated Spain as a country and thought that I would never visit, as to not put my money into the economy of a country that abused animals so badly. 

But that was really a naive way to think.   

When Telma asked if I'd be interested in going to Spain with her, Scott immediately said that I should go and use it as a celebration of my upcoming 50th birthday. It seemed like an opportunity not to miss, and I cannot tell you how glad I am that I went. 

To project your disdain for a country's animal abuse on the entire country doesn't make sense. I have every right to hate those that abuse animals and those that turn their heads. But what you find among that rabble is some of the finest human beings you will ever encounter. 

To be an animal rescuer in a country with traditions that are steeped in abuse to animals is extraordinary.  These volunteers step out of what is accepted as the norm and dedicate themselves to selflessly helping animals that are considered garbage by their fellow countrymen. They put themselves out there to speak out, to change common thoughts, to raise money and to do what is right for those that cannot help themselves. To be blunt....that takes balls. 

What I saw time and time again with these wonderful animal lovers was how much each and everyone of them cared for the animals they were caring for. They care for their rescued as much as they care for their own pets. The first thing they would ask when seeing Telma was updates on how certain dogs that have come to the US were doing in their homes. They show you photos on their phones of what the dogs looked like when they were found and progress photos of how they healed. Not a meal went by that didn't result in phones coming out to show off dogs.   
And what was literally gut wrenching was watching the volunteers that love these dogs have their last moments, last words, last cuddles with the dogs before we loaded them up to bring them home with us. It is what they have worked so hard for, yet what they dread at the same time, knowing they will probably never seen them again in person.   But what the volunteers know is that the dogs are going to a better life, and that ultimately one dog leaving opens up another space for another dog to be rescued. And that is the reality. There is an absolute endless supply of animals. The galgos and podencos stand a chance of getting out of there, and perhaps some of the mastins too, but the mixed breeds will probably not be so lucky. 

And sadly the rescues are stretched to their limits. The ones that are smart know their limits and operate within them to best serve their rescued. Those that push those limits end up putting the animals in situations where they cannot care for them very well. But if you love animals, that has to be a tough pill to swallow....putting a limit on how many and who you can help. 

I know that with the wonderful addition of Lleo to our family, we are at our limit of dogs. But that doesn't mean our work helping is over. And if you cannot or wish not to adopt, but want to help, there is plenty you can do. 

First and foremost is you can be a voice for these dogs. Share their stories and pleas for help on your facebook page. 

And what these rescues need is funds. Funds for simple things like food, year round flea care, beds, etc. And they need funds to be pledged on a regular (monthly) basis where possible.  And when needed, items donated and purchased for auctions. 

I feel such a connection to these rescues, their volunteers and the animals. Thank you so much for sharing my journey, I have a sneaky suspicion that there will be more dog journeys to come. And thank you to each and every one of the wonderful volunteers I met on my trip. Simply put, I am in awe of you. 

And to my traveling partner Telma… I am truly grateful. 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/galgopodencosuppo...

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU — WE'VE HAD LOTS TO CELEBRATE IN 2015!

The GPS Lucky Six! In 2015 we were able to raise the funds to bring Chacal, Paloma, Aroa, Cocoa, Argos and Clove into forever homes. Six discarded and overlooked hounds tugged at our hearts and thanks to our supporters, we were able to bring two into foster care until their homes were found and four directly into homes. We will ask for your help again in 2016 to fund transport costs for more galgos and podencos who have been waiting too long for their chance.

GPS Medical Emergency Fund. We are the only US-based Spanish hound charity with a dedicated fund to provide financial support for critically ill dogs with medical and surgical emergencies on a need basis. This year we were able to provide thousands of dollars in support to 22 galgos and podencos with issues such as in Todd's case, who was likely dragged and needed a skin flap repair, Pitufo, found prone with paralysis (due to erlichia and now fully recovered!), and mulitple orthopaedic surgeries as in the case of puppy Mickey, tossed by the roadside with hip and leg fractures. They are just three examples of the many medical emergencies we have been able to help thanks to our supporters' recognition of the critical cases the Spanish rescues are faced with daily.

IN ADDITION…
• GPS Monthly Shelter Aid: We are the only US-based Spanish hound charity that grants monthly shelter aid on a rotating basis to the groups we work with to assist with their day to day operational needs. This year we granted thousands of dollars to eight Spanish charities. In addition, we were able to gift substantial Holiday Grants.

• Adoptions: Found loving homes homes for 34 Spanish hounds. (19 podencos, 14 galgos, 1 mix).
• Transports: We organized transports for 72 galgos and podencos for GPS and our partner greyhound groups. 
• Fundraisers: Thanks to amazing donations from our supporters, we held two online auctions (with invaluable assistance from Tommy Coats) and raised over over 18k!

• Shelter Visits:  We made four trips to Spain and met with Galgos del Sol, Ibizan Hound Rescue, Associación Protectora Argos, Galgos en Familia, Podencos y Mas, AIRE, La Guarida, Jose Miguel Vicente Granadero’s Rehab and Mar Marquez Lopz. In addition to bringing hundreds of pounds of coats, collars, leashes and medical supplies, the trips were coordinated to transport newly adopted dogs to their forever homes in the US.
• Tommy Coats: Our alliance continues and we applaud them for their dedicated handiwork that has provided many shelters with hundreds of handmade fleece coats, blankets, collars, and tabling items for fundraising.
• Presentation: We gave a powerpoint presentation and held a tabling event to raise awareness at the West Coast Greyhound Gathering in Solvang, California.

Everything that we have accomplished this past year is because of your support. Please think of us when making your year-end distributions as well as in the upcoming year. It is because of you that so many galgos and podencos have been given their chance to have new beginnings and a wonderful life.

MASSIVE THANKS to you, our supporters for giving us the opportunity to make all this happen. Each person who has reached out to us with financial, practical and emotional help is instrumental to our work. The rescue groups depend on us, the dogs depend on us. We are all a team united by one thing and one thing only… helping the dogs of Spain. 

We also want to thank Lisa Sallie, Grateful Greyhounds, NY and Sharron Thomas, Fast Friends Greyhound Adoptions, NH for their unmitigated help with the US side of our adoptions. They have assisted, more times than we can recount, with transports up and down the east coast, airport pickups and assistance, cargo coordination and drop-offs, and short/long term fostering. Additionally, a special thanks goes to Linda Schmitt of Grateful Greyhounds for her unwavering commitment to the GPS transports. They have all proved themselves instrumental to our adoptions. 

Every year is filled with lessons, trials and successes. For every dog saved, the amount of work, angst and sweat is undeniably worth it. Thank you again! We look forward to continuing our work with your help in the coming months. As always, money is what makes the difference for the Spanish dogs and your tax deductible donations are greatly appreciated.

Telma Shaw — Spain Trip Report

When I returned from my trip at the end of September to visit the shelters in southern Spain, I found myself renewed and inspired by the work of our rescue friends there. Having spent time with old friends (Argos, DdeVida and Galgos en Familia) as well as new (Mar Marquez Lopz of AIRE, Maku Gonzales of Podencos y Mas, Nuria of La Guardia) and individual dog rescuers, Mar del Mar Ramirez and Anna Buttenhoff, among others, I can only say that their passion and commitment to the welfare of the dogs in Spain is nothing less than impressive and awe-inspiring. What they face daily is so challenging and further complicated by the lack of help from their own country. It's a system that makes it impossible for them to just rescue abandoned dogs let alone incurring the costs of saving the dogs. The bottom line is we must continue our support. They are so appreciative of whatever we can do to help them. They have boarding fees, vet bills, food, medication, transport costs, gas and all the related costs necessary to manage the dogs in their care.

Our pledge is to continue to raise awareness and to raise funds for the shelters that we work with so that their burden is lightened. Everyone told me time and again how grateful they are that we recognize how critical and fragile the Spanish rescue situation is. Seeing their work first hand is so compelling and just reconfirms our commitment. The cases of injured and sick dogs never stops — together, we can make a difference.

Thank you all for following this journey, for liking our Facebook posts and for reading the stories. It is very real for these dogs and the groups that are saving them.  Below are photos of the dogs we met, dogs we are helping and dogs that still need our support. Please consider making a donation towards our Medical Emergency Fund — the dogs and the rescuers need our help. 

Coming to the US Fall 2015

Plans for the fall Spanish transports have been underway since the last GPS canine traveler set foot in the US this past May. Immediately following the last arrival, GPS adoption coordinator Telma Shaw began planing for the fall transports. Applications were reviewed, potential adopters interviewed, recommendations consulted, home checks arranged and hours spent on the phone/internet with the Spanish rescues to confirm that the desired galgo/podenco and potential adopter were the right fit. Once the adoption was approved, more hours were spent balancing transportation variables including flight patrons, travel from rescue to airport, costs, number of dogs per flight, arrival destination, domestic travel, weather, dog passports, human and dog tickets to purchase and crate sizing among the many t's to cross and i's to dot. We are happy to announce that the fall transports are all confirmed and 28 wonderful Spanish hounds will be traveling starting September 26 and finishing up Sunday November 8th. Below see the wonderful Spaniards traveling across the pond to their forever homes.

First GPS Spring Transport of 2015!

Despite the ubiquitous white matter covering the east coast, our first spring transport is kicking off with Marylou Hecht, GPS and Sharron Thomas, Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption, NH, who will be leaving Monday March 9th for a week with Galgos del Sol. Included will be a visit to Ibizan Hound Rescue to cuddle with their broad spectrum of pod varieties. Ever-steadfast Brian Hughes, IHR, will be directing the transport from Murcia to Madrid for the four dogs who are flying into JFK. Pod baby boy Flint (Perros sin Casa) and galgo Cameron (Asociación Protectora Argos) will have an overnight respite with Lisa Sallie, Grateful Greyhounds, NY, before their next flight to join their wonderful new multi-hound GPS alumni family in Los Angeles. Galgo Shadow (Galgos del Sol) and fuzzy pod Blanca (Ibizan Hound Rescue will be available for adoption thorough Fast Friends once they have acclimated to life in NH. To date, we have seven more spring trips confirmed to bring back many lucky galgos and podencos to forever homes. It makes the hours and hours of planning, scheduling, messaging, emailing, sorting airlines and general angst all worthwhile!!!!

The Right to Be Healed

The pleading eyes of a galgo whose leg was severed in a trap, a doleful brood mama with 10 dead puppies in utero, a whimpering litter of starving podenco puppies tossed away in a paper sack resulting in multiple injuries. Imagine facing challenges of this nature which is exactly what the Spanish rescue groups do daily.

How can we help this one? How will we pay for their care?  These are the questions the groups must ask themselves. Hound rescues happen in different ways. Many occur on the streets while others take place at kill stations. In either case, the groups must act quickly to get the dogs to safety. And that is when reality hits — a newly rescued dog may be basically healthy or have a medical and/or surgical condition that will take months to heal.  

When timing is critical and a split decision to save a dog has to be made, we want the rescue groups to know that financial assistance for medical care can be provided. At GPS we believe that every hound has the right to be healed. Presently we grant monthly funds to several groups on a rotating basis to help with day-to-day shelter needs but we now recognize that more help must be provided to meet emergency medical needs. Saving a dog is just the beginning of a process that involves diagnosis, treatment and ultimately, adoption. We are committed to establishing a GPS Emergency Medical Fund to quickly send financial aid for emergency treatments. 

At a minimum, a basic veterinarian workup including bloodwork, vaccinations, neutering, microchip and passport will cost upwards of $400. For long term care of afflictions such as leishmania, filaria, and the effects of malnutrition, the costs rise into high hundreds of dollars. For surgical procedures or difficult to diagnose medical conditions that require hospital stays, testing, follow-up visits, physical therapy, long-term medications and specials foods, the costs will be in the thousands of dollars. Multiply that by multiple dogs and the expenses are astronomical and financially draining as groups typically function on a deficit.

This past year we have seen more emergency medical cases than we can possible recount including radical limb surgeries, eye removals/repairs, mange and dermatologic conditions, amputations, cracked skull management, tumor removals, and chronic wound care.

PLEASE donate to the GPS Emergency Medical Fund. Help us take action and provide treatment for the dogs that need our help. This will be an ongoing fund but as the hunt season will be ending in February, this season's donations are needed to save the onslaught of abandoned galgos and podencos. No amount is too insignficant. Thank you in advance for caring about the galgos and podencos. 

Greyhound Friends of New Jersey’s 18th Annual Craft Show & Pet Expo!

We had a whirlwind of a weekend starting November 16th. Galgo Podenco Support was invited to give a presentation at the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey’s 18th Annual Craft Show and Pet Expo. Marylou Hecht drove from NH to JFK on Friday to pick up Telma Shaw who had flown in from CA for the event. They drove directly from the airport across many unpronounceable bridges and byways into the very cute town of Westfield, New Jersey. An iPad and google maps is a high recommended passenger for a foray into unknown territories.

GPS enjoyed our first tabling event and we had surprise after surprise of visiting friends with our alumni galgos and podencos from the last few years. It was such fun to see Kelly Dalik and daughter Cloe with Copo  (Galgos en Familia), the famously enthusiastic galgo mum, Debi Lyn Courtney and daughter Ava, arrived with Ralphie, the world’s longest-bodied galgo (Galgso del Sol). These lovely girls are definitely our future rescuers in the making! The Grateful Greyhound crew — Lisa Sallie and Thor (112CG), Laura McKay and Linda Schmitt, with podenca Freya (Andrea's Animal Rescue & The Henrietta Foundation) and Bimba (Galgos en Familia) — spent the entire day helping out and keeping us in laughter. Freya proved to be a very popular attraction — in an armory full of greyhounds, little Freya charmed everyone she met with her affectionate ways. What a great ambassapod for the podencos! Josie Therapy Dog’s mum Marybeth Josie Kayne came to meet us as it turned out that Marylou's business parter of 30 years and Marybeth are lifelong friends. We enjoyed meeting Denise Bond as well as Michael Owen and Marianne Mimi Verpent of SHUG. A particular treat was indulging in the one and only Sara, the white voluptuous podenca who is a complete love (Galgo Connection Spain). Mum Janine Kessler made sure that everyone who requested a lap sit from Sara got one! We had a steady stream of interest from event attendees who were interested to learn how they could help spread the word the of the plight of the galgos and the podencos.

We gave our inaugural  powerpoint presentation about the realities of life for the hounds in Spain and the work we do to help the cause. Despite Marylou’s quick trigger advance button finger, Telma gave a passionate and poignant in-depth talk. That night we were invited to join Maria Micovic Lutz with family and many GFNJ board members at her home to swap stories and meet their greyhounds. GFNJ has recently brought Bitel and Guapa, two galgos from Galgos en Familia, into their group through us and Bitel was just adopted!

The following day we were off across more unpronounceable bridges and byways to take Telma to Lisa Sallie’s home on Long Island to meet her four-legged crew of greyhounds and galgos. Telma was picking up Freya who has been in foster care with Lisa for their flight back to CA and Freya’s new life. Also in Lisa’s care is our GPS foster boy Kenya (ADANA and Galgos en Familia) who will be leaving for his forever home this week. Freya is now with her new mum, Susan Swendseid, in central California.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Linda Lyman, Maria Micovic Lutz, and Patty Comerford of GFNJ for including us in this wonderful event and making us feel so welcome. We also want to thank the foster moms of GFNJ’s first two galgos — Sue Smith (fostering Bitel) and Denise and Rob Parkanyi (fostering Guapa). We are thrilled with GFNJ’s show of interest for and support of the galgos and podencos. What a great precedent they are setting!

GPS Calendar 2015 on Sale!

We are featuring deserving galgos and podencos in needs of homes in our 2015 calendar. Each month features a dog looking for their place in someone's heart. The profits go to our emergency medical fund which we provide to shelters on a need basis. Please support the dogs, shelters and GPS by purchasing a calendar. The calendars are printed full color on cover weight stock with a drilled hole for wall hanging. To order, please click on our donate button. Cost is $20 per calendar, shipping in US is $5.00 for one, $7.50 for two. For shipping internationally, please email marylou@galgopodencosupport.org with your address and country. 

Fall Transport Begins

GPS's first of nine fall transports begins next week. Sharron Thomas, Fast Friends Greyhound Adoption, and me, Marylou Hecht, GPS, are traveling to Spain to bring back the first eight lucky hounds of the season.

The travelers who range in size, shape and age are: Ringo and James > Ibizan Hound Rescue; Catalina, Rene and Timmy Pumpkin Seed > Galgos del Sol; Jade > Little Pod; and Lolo and Luna > Galgo Connection Spain. 

Thanks to GPS supporters, we were able to fund James, a four year old podenco, who has lived in a kennel most of his life. Fast Friends in NH will foster him for GPS. Once he has had time to acclimate, he will be looking for his forever home. Contact telma@galgopodencosupport.org with inquiries. 

We land in Madrid Tuesday morning to be met by Samantha Sacido Siekmann, our guardian angel, and embark on the 4.5 hour road trip to Murcia laden with crates, coats, collars, medicine, dog toys and treats. The majority of our time will be spent at Galgos del Sol doing whatever is needed — cleaning, feeding, cuddling, medicating and building in the serious southern Spain heat. We will also visit Ibizan Hound Rescue to spend time with their amazing pods. Mandy Simpson promised a trip to a special ice cream parlor so that is a definite! 

As stressful and complicated as the months of planning and coordination are as well as the inevitable airport "hurry and wait” in Madrid and Boston — helping these dogs on their journey to forever homes is nothing less than thrilling. Telma Shaw will be on her 24 hour watch with phone in hand for updates but this time will be meeting us in Boston when we land. She will spend a couple of days in NH meeting galgos and podencos in the area and fly back to LA with Rene and Jade to deliver them into the arms of their new moms.

Thank you to all the rescuers, adopters and supporters for changing these dogs’ lives. (click on photos to enlarge and hover over photo for dog's names)

Mini-Auction to Save Two Pods!

Want to save a life? Now is your chance! GPS has decided to help two long-term kennel pods find their forever homes by bringing them into foster care in the US. We are auctioning off three 12x17" Paul Croes photographs of rescued galgos (please see his website for a true representation of his work). Our shots of the photographs are seriously lacking as they are seriously gorgeous. Please bid on the photographs on our Facebook page. Let's bring pods James and Kenya home! Shipping included. https://www.facebook.com/galgopodencosupport

How the Stars Aligned for Sky

Overview from Marylou: Months ago, we saw a Facebook plea from Lisa Fry, an animal activist and protector in Spain. She had found a little pod girl dodging busy traffic and without any effort, coaxed the dog into her car. With a literally bulging home full of cats, rescued puppies and adult dogs, the only spot they had for the new pod girl was their bathroom. At the same time we contacted Ibizan Hound Rescue to see if they could help, Lisa and Diane Hughes (IHR) had already connected. Lisa named the pod Skylar and brought her to the GDS/IHR charity shop where Mandy Simpson, a regular fosterer for both groups, agreed to take her on. Facebook friend Joanne Love and her son generously stepped up to contribute to fostering costs. Shortly afterwards, I traveled to Spain for a transport and had the opportunity to meet Sky. I knew immediately that she would be the perfect fit for the Jasmin family. The Jasmins live very close to me and I was thrilled at the prospect of having another pod in the NH/VT Upper Valley. Tina, Galgos del Sol, was able to fit Sky into an upcoming transport the following month. Sharron Thomas, Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue, myself and the Jasmins were on hand in Boston to greet Tina, Sky and a few lucky galgos. After hearing praise after praise for Skylar, we asked Alexis, the eldest Jasmin child, if she would be willing to share the family’s experiences of being a first-time pod family.

When my family of 5 decided we were ready to welcome a dog into our hearts and home, we had several conversations about what kind of dog would be the perfect fit for us.

Of course, each one of us had our own ideal vision of a family dog. Those dogs being of a well-known breed, until we happened upon the amazing organization of Galgos del Sol, located in Murcia, Spain. We followed this organization through the wonders of social media and Facebook for several months. Through daily posts and pictures, we witnessed the countless, heroic rescues of hundreds of brutally abused, neglected and abandoned dogs.  Most of these dogs being either a Galgo or Podenco. Two breeds we were very much unfamiliar with. With each post, we quickly fell in love with.

One afternoon, we decided to inquire as to how an adoption could possibly happen and what it all entailed, since we lived in the United States and the dogs were in Spain.  The most rapid response came within minutes, through a contact in the United States, who works hand-in-hand with the organization.  Marylou of Galgo Podenco Support was so wonderful and had rescued two dogs of her own.  One, being a Galgo and the other a Podenco.

Within 8 weeks of our initial inquiry, we welcomed our sweet Skylar, a 10 month old Pod, and our lives will be forever changed.  During those 8 weeks, we were able to prepare our hearts and home.  We read all we could find about Galgos and Podencos and found a lovely blog of a family in the United States that had welcomed their own.  They had two small children and said these dogs are the most wonderful family friend.  And, indeed they are. 

Our Skylar has settled in to our busy lives and we honestly do not know how life before her was.  She has been a perfect fit for our family. We cannot imagine ourselves with any other dog. She is not only one of the brightest dogs we have ever met, but very, very social.  She LOVES people! She is beyond friendly, loves children and eats up all the attention she can get. Her personality is contagious.  She loves to be silly, entertain whomever will engage and will find any plush toy she can, to call her own. Playing frisbee is a sure favorite and being outdoors for family time we all adore.  We are in the process of training her now and she is responding so well.  She is treat motivated and loves to be rewarded for her obedience.

We absolutely LOVE Skylar and are more than grateful we found this organization.  And, we now support and have found several other organizations based in the United States that rescue thousands of Galgos and Podencos.  They truly are, one of the most perfect family pets and most importantly, a forever friend.

Alexis Jasmin

Summer? We're Planning Fall Transports!

AFTER THE FINAL JUNE transport was complete this spring, GPS adoption facilitator Telma Shaw, took a deep breath, and plunged into the planning of fall 2014 transports. Although the planes are climate controlled, some airlines prohibit flying with dogs in the hold during summer months. Therefore, due to heat concerns when the dogs are in crates on the tarmac for an indefinite period of time, we choose not to transport them in the summer.

Facilitating adoptions and transports for Spanish dogs takes skill, experience and persistence. Adoption queries involve several email dialogues — applications are reviewed, adopters vetted and suitability evaluated. Once approved for the adoption of a galgo or podenco, the three-way matchmaking begins between the adopter, the shelter and Telma. Sometimes a story of a particular dog tugs at the heart of a potential adopter. They may be looking to help a dog who has been with a rescue group the longest or may be interested in a young dog. Telma is in contact with the groups GPS works with daily and is familiar with their rooster of dogs. Suggestions are made, photos exchanged, cat testing done if required and the dog’s testing for Mediterranean diseases if not already completed. Once a match is confirmed, then travel routes and dates are considered. The transportation segment of the process has its own challenges and Telma becomes the travel agent advising flight routes and options as well as the cashier assuring that funds are sent directly to the shelters for adoption fees, crates, travel from the shelter to the Madrid airport and flight volunteers for their and the dog’s ticket. Funds are not dispersed through GPS. Because of the prohibitive cost of airlines tickets for the volunteers and the dogs, Telma attempts to group five or six dogs per volunteer so that the cost of the volunteer’s flight ticket (paid by adopters) is shared. Alternatively, we seek travelers returning from Madrid to the US who are willing to transport dogs for us. 

Days before the transportation date, Telma sends reminders to the groups — approved crates with metal screws, proper bedding, water dispensers, passports, acclimation letters signed by a veterinarian and a GPS sign-off form are confirmed. For one transport there may be five dogs coming to the airport from five different groups, which involves Telma coordinating five sets of names, phone numbers and airlines gates on the Madrid side with the volunteer escort who is also in touch with the adopter(s) on the US side. The Madrid airport experience with galgos and podencos can be circus of unpredictability that deserves a telling of its own. One would think that once the dogs have gotten through security, are finally loaded and the flight is in the air, Telma could have a few hours relaxation. Instead, she is checking in with the adopters on the US side to make sure that everyone will be on time, in the right place and understands the protocol to accept their hungry, often happy, sometimes scared and always exhausted dogs. Additionally, all the Spanish groups are seeking information about their dogs and are contacting Telma for updates as well. Communications span four time zones!

Until the dogs are on leads and doubled up in harnesses and martingales, passports and papers exchanged and in the arms of their adopters, Telma does not allow herself to relax. Finally with a few hours sleep, another cup of coffee, email exchanges and phone calls about how the new dogs are doing, another adoption cycle begins. Does this sound challenging? The reality is that this description is multiplied by 40–60 per season. (Pictured are this fall’s lucky dogs to date; click on photos to enlarge and hover cursor over photo to see the names of the dogs and groups)

Joel > Galgos en Familia > Grateful Greyhounds

Joel > Galgos en Familia > Grateful Greyhounds