An association based in Montreal is striving to win races against death by having Spanish greyhounds adopted by families here. This summer, several cohorts of these hunting dogs arrived, largely abandoned, even tortured or executed in the Iberian Peninsula by their owners dissatisfied with their performance. We have witnessed one of these salutary transfers.

Prostrated at the bottom of his transport cage, Dante is somewhat stressed after his flight from Malaga, worried by the hubbub of Montreal airport, where he has just landed with four congeners. Its name suits it perfectly, the greyhound certainly coming from Spain, but especially returning from Hell. His master, a hunter, tried to hang him to get rid of him. Saved in extremis, but bearing the physical and psychological scars of this cruel attempt at execution, Dante went to swell the ranks of an Iberian refuge, before being taken in by Extraordinary Galgos

In the other cages point the muzzles of Vanilla, Vivaldi and Verona, three other galgos (another name of the breed), while India, a chihuahua who traveled in the cabin, curls up in the bag of Jessica Desjardins, the volunteer of EGP who transported the troops. The organization also flies to the aid of podencos or salukis, other types of greyhounds. Earlier this summer, a group of ten Spanish canines landed in Montreal, in search of a better life. “To date, we have adopted over 700 dogs,” says Tania Schmitt, president and founder of the association, which has branches in Western Canada as well as in the Maritimes. An encouraging figure, for those who are not discouraged to learn that at least 70,000 to 100,000 greyhounds are abandoned or martyred each year in Spain, in particular by hunters who perceive them as simple work tools. A situation maintained by traditions and the very lax Hispanic legal framework. “We’re changing the world one dog at a time. We had to make the race and the cause known, ”says Ms. Schmitt, who had the opportunity to observe the ordeal of the galgos on the spot. EGP, which makes sure to only work with reliable Spanish shelters, is also strict with potential Canadian adopters.

This is how Annie-Pier Grondin and Alexandre La Haye, after having surveyed the local shelters, found a dog at their feet with one of these galgos, they who live in Chambly with their daughter Emma, ​​7 years old, as well only three cats. “We looked quickly in the shelters, but it was often dogs not compatible with cats or children, says the couple. We knew people who have galgos and we fell in love with them, they are sweet and endearing. The organization allowed us to find a perfect match. “Leaving the airport, the family trio has therefore become a quartet, with a pitou named Vivaldi at the end of the leash, who begins a new season of his life after his abandonment.

Bringing together around fifty volunteers, EGP invests all year round to rescue these abused animals and place them in North America, where there is a high demand for medium-sized dogs with good character. “We make no profit, no one receives a salary, the financial operation of the association being mainly covered by adoption fees and fundraising,” says Isabelle Courville, vice-president of the organization. These costs vary according to the condition of the animals (age, health, etc.) and the airfares in force. “It can range from $0 for a humanitarian adoption, that of a very old dog for example, to $1,500,” says Ms. Courville, noting that the association is looking for more foster families and sponsors.

Why rescue dogs from Spain rather than those from Quebec? This question is constantly asked of founder Tania Schmitt. “Dogs have no boundaries. Making them travel doesn’t change anything: saving a dog is saving a dog, here or elsewhere, she replies. Also, those looking to adopt a Greyhound will not find one at a local shelter. Adopting a galgo is truly saving a life and sparing them certain death. In Spain, once sent to the pound, they are killed after two weeks, and not always by euthanasia…”