ACTIN’s Review – From Heaven to Hell

Review From Heaven to Hell The Story of the Galgo Español By Beryl Brennan When I first heard of this book, I decided I would never have the courage to […]


From Heaven to Hell

The Story of the Galgo Español

By Beryl Brennan

When I first heard of this book, I decided I would never have the courage to read it. I had already seen and heard enough in Spain about the cruelty and there wasn’t much more I could cope with.

I had got to know Beryl Brennan, through my activities on Facebook and her well known websites Galgo News and Podenco Post. Anyone who is into the plight of these dogs may have come across these sites and get the regular updates of what is happening here daily.

So, when feeling a little under the weather recently and needing a rest, I plucked up courage to take time out and read her book. I am so glad I did! The book is informative, filled with empathy for these dogs and what needs to be done. There is information about the illnesses that befall the Galgo, symptoms and treatments, diet, exercise, plenty of must have information for any potential Galgo rescuer/adopter. It informs us of the EU laws, Spanish laws, what has been tried and failed and if only the Associations will put their heads together, there could well be an opening to do something!!

Since becoming embroiled with animal welfare issues in Spain, my passion to help resolve its issues and make a difference, has got stronger by the day. However, my knowledge of the problems only started when I got involved in Facebook around 10 months ago. Even though I have lived here for 5 years and rescued many dogs, I still hid from the full truth. I thought there was abandonment, yes- but I had no idea to the extent of the problems, or the massive cruel cull and abandonment of the Spanish hunting dogs; Galgos, Podencos, Bretton spaniels, Pointers and many more. By far, the worst cruelty befalls the Galgos, the Spanish treat them like vermin, yet they were once revered by royalty and the upper classes.

Our group wrote a letter this year to Seprona, protesting about the treatment and asking for something to be done; the reply was that there was no evidence!! Yet Beryl Brennan tells us of the evidence, the laws that are in place and how they are not implemented and possible reasons why. The world needs to tell Spain this is unacceptable, Spain is not a Third world country, so why does it treat its animals as though it is?

So, knowing all this and now I have read this book I am even more incensed with a need to do something. If anyone wants to know the truth about what is happening here, this is a must read. If you want to help change things in Spain, please read Beryl’s book. I feel more empowered, rather than drained, from not knowing exactly but just fearing it. Knowledge is power.

The script at the end written by Charl del Rio, another passionate Galgo lover, who has dedicated her life to saving these dogs, was brilliant – Señor Galguero broke my heart and the tears didn’t stop flowing for a long time. Please read, it hurts all of us but the dogs are hurting more and we need to know the facts and get help for these dogs. Another hunting season looms here in Spain!!!!

To all Associations who would want to change things. Please let’s get together and make one big powerful voice...Everyone shout for the animals, please?

Beryl's book can be bought online here.

This photo is in memory of Luna, who lived out her days happily with Barbara Richards in the UK, one of our members and sadly went to Rainbow bridge last week. A very lucky and well loved Galgo.


Señor Galguero by Charl del Rio

This letter is written from the heart by Charl del Rio a Galgo advocate. It can also be found on her blog which is dedicated to the Galgos. This is how Beryl's book ends and it is truly heartbreaking.

"Señor Galguero!

Señor galguero, I sat waiting and waiting today as time passed and my hunger grew. You never came, even though we who are here fear your footsteps. You may just bring us those crumbs of bread which we all have to fight for, even though we wish there was enough for us all.

It's cold in here tonight and the floor is damp, I cannot sit and I cannot lie down but for you"my master" I will wait in the cold and feel the hunger. When I saw you last you came and took my mother, I still await her return but she just has not come back. I don't understand Señor Galguero, for I am a good Galgo and I try my hardest.

Can you bring my Mother back for I miss her terribly, and amongst the other dogs we are all chained up and behind bars? Can you bring her back Señor galguero for I miss her, I will do all I can for you in return? The morning follows and its colder than cold, my body is trembling and am so very hungry. My bones hurt when I try to sit but for you Señor Galguero I will not complain.

As dawn arrives I hear what are familiar voices and the door screeches open, I think we are going to play today. I don't understand why you are so very angry with us all and your boot has more than once thrown me acros the floor, as now I see you angry with the pretty white galga in the corner, I didnt see her do anything wrong but while she feels the pain, today it is not my turn.

The door opens and we are all told to get into the box with wheels. The mud is wet and we scramble into the tiny trailer. Señor Galguero did you forget a rug to sit on? For you Señor I will sit with the rest - this way we are warmer as we are crampt together. We arrive at the fields and its play time, we run and chase and are ordered to catch the running hare that crosses the field. The pretty white galga who felt the boot is struggling to win, for she is lame and bleeding.
Señor galguero I hear you all laughing and cheering, and I dont understand it? I feel cold today, and so very very hungry. We move across the fields for what seems like forever, the white pretty Galga could not keep up, she was left behind to find her way. They didnt wait for you "pretty white Galga", though I tried, but Señor Galguero hit me with a stick and I am shivering so I must run faster and faster, I am sorry pretty white Galga.

At the end of the longest day I am so hungry I feel so empty and raw, I am so tired and weak, did I not run fast enough master, for I tried all I could? We return in the box minus the white galga, and thrown into what is our hole with chains and irons.. A stick of bread all green and blue is thrown at us, but the biggest and faster ones reach it first. For me, my hunger reigns on.

Señor galguero as you laugh with the men - did you forget my share? I did good today for I didnt get left behind like the pretty white galga, I did good didnt I Señor galguero? I didnt catch your lunch but I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, all for you my master. The night is colder than ever and the floor outside is covered with crunchy white clouds, it's all frozen and Ive not lived long enough to know what that is, I am sure my Mother would have explained. Where did she go, she never came back? I hear the footsteps yet again and I crouch in fear yet I hope there is food for my empty stomach.

Today its my turn, alone, Señor galguero grabs my collar pulls me and gives me a beating for I have not been as good a galgo as I thought. I limp to the cold crunchy white grass and we move along into the woods. I think this is a special day today as we are alone, and I hope I can catch his lunch for him today if my weakness lets me. We reach a hidden bearing of trees, and I smell a smell I don't recognize, but there is a familiarity as I see a body there on the tree, what is she doing Señor galguero like that? I am so cold and hungry I dont know why we are here, it smells not nice.

Señor Galguero puts a wire round my neck and I sit patiently as perhaps we are going for a longer walk. I shiver as I am frozen and I almost can't feel my body in cold. All of a sudden there is a rope placed on the wire, I don't understand this.. but the tree is getting closer like the galga on the other tree. I am hoisted into the air, my feet begin to scramble I cant place my front paws on the ground for the wire is hurting my neck.. Señor Galguero what's wrong why can't I breathe? I hear him say "play the piano Galgo" and I don't understand as he walks off saying "there's more of you!"

I try and try and try but I cannot reach the gound, the pain is intense around my neck now and I cannot breathe, cutting m skin he blood runs warm down my neck chocking me in my mouth. I was a good Galgo I tried my best, I just didnt keep up with the rest. I am scrambling and my back paws are weak for they are what is holding me up. I have been here hours now, and I am giving up, Señor Galguero I think I am giving my life for you.

I close my eyes, and yet in the distance I see the most beautiful figure, so sleek and bright there is a white glow around her, she looks in the distance like the other on the tree..closer and closer she comes for me, she came back after all this time, my mother my beautiful Mother has come for me. It's alright now she tells me, Señor galguero has gone and we head on now to "Rainbow Bridge" where no more Galgos suffer, we are all happy and run free.
Come and see! I close my eyes as the sun sets, I fought all day to stay with my master and its taken all this time. I'm free now, I feel no pain and my Mother says we will look down now and help the good people try to save more galgos who need rescuing. we will be like Guardian angels from above. Goodbye Señor Galguero.

This letter is written in dedication to all those galgos who are suffering like this, for now the end of the hunt season has finished the slaughters begin. It feels at times like there is no way forward, as I cry tears, they are of fight and desire and will to impact the plight of the Galgos.

I cannot do this alone. So I constantly look for publicity, TV breaks, daytime shows, Radios, someone famous to back this cause. Above all, I have promised the galgos, every single day of my life I will work to protect them.

In dedication to the serene Galgo, the associations who work 365 days a year and no fame nor thanks for what they do. This story is multiplied by the tens of thousands of Galgos right now as you read this, for the end of the hunting season is here, and the slaughters and abandonment begins.

Last year's rescues alone reached a massive 50.000 galgos abandoned, those rescued. Numbers unknown are the stories like this one, or thrown in wells and the cruelty continues. While hunting hares with Galgos continues so will the slaughters and the number increase.

Señor Galguero"s" you have blood on your hands. Man's bestfriend, let down by man!"May you the Galgo risebck up in society and become the household pet you so deserve to be!"

Carlota and Ambo Ambasadog."