Interview with Liam N.
Five to Seven Years Old | Galgo Español | Save A Galgo Español (SAGE)
After two years of living without a dog, Liam knew he couldn’t go much longer without one. Back home his family had always owned and adopted dogs, and moving to college without one was like carving out a whole chunk of his heart. So last spring, he started looking.
"Just having a dog, I feel like she completes me."
He found Joan Rivers through SAGE, a Galgo Español rescue in Pennsylvania that flies dogs over from Spain and places them in homes here. He had been looking at retired racing greyhounds for their size and adaptability to apartment life when he found Galgo Españols and started reading more about their situations and how to help by rescuing them.
No exact facts are known about Joan’s life before she came to the US, but there’s a lot of evidence of violence and breeding that can be pieced together. Inside her ear she has the name of her mother tattooed, meaning she probably came from a valuable racing dog. There’s a scar at the place on her shoulder where microchips are usually put in, suggesting she was stolen and the microchip was cut out of her so that she couldn’t be traced back to her owner. The acid burns around her face are pretty commonly found on Gaglo Españols - the owners often breed so many to hunt that they burn them to make each one distinguishable.
"I'm not self conscious around her, I'm not nervous around her, I can be myself around her. It sounds crazy but I feel like you can't be like that around other humans."
Other parts of Joan’s personality stood out to Liam as signs she probably faced abuse and neglect back in Spain. She suffered from a large fear of men for a long time, and was even scared of Liam. For a good few months at the beginning of their relationship, whenever he would raise his hands above his shoulders, she would shy away from him. For most of the summer, she was terrified of wood floors and would refuse to walk on them. She didn’t like unfamiliar places and would freeze whenever she got scared. When they moved on from one fear, another one would surface.
But, because Joan was one of the lucky ones, she was saved by one of the organizations in Spain that rescues and shelters galgo espanols until they can be sent somewhere for rehoming. At that rescue she was given physical rehabilitation and mental therapy, and then she was sent over and adopted by Liam.
"She's stubborn. She does whatever the hell she wants, and there is no reasoning with her.”
Now that she’s safe and sound and has had time to adjust, her personality has come out in full. She’s emotional, affectionate, and very stubborn. She knows what Liam’s done for her and she loves him for it; she jumps around every time he comes home and she snuggles up to him every night, getting so close they share a pillow. During the day she spends most of her time relaxing or surfing the counters for food, but on more spirited occasions she’ll take off and zoom around the living room.
Click on any dog below to read their adoption story!