March 24, 2012

Intelligent and loving, good with children and even cats ...

... so why is the Podenco one of the most abused breeds in Spain?

When I first discovered El Refugio and A.C.E. I’d already come across the Galgo, the Spanish version of the greyhound but I’d never heard of the Podenco.  Enzio changed that. He became my sponsor dog - I chose him because he looked so sad and frightened.  And no wonder. The Podenco is one of the most abused animals in Spain. 

Enzio - as a frightened puppy

Enzio’s story ended happily. He’s now called Vasco and living with his wonderful adopters in Holland, loved and cherished as it should be.  He truly was fortunate, in the end. Which is not the case with so many of his breed. Used, abused, abandoned, tortured and mutilated. That’s the fate of so many of these faithful dogs. The end of the hunting season sees cruelty beyond belief.

What a difference a year makes

For the Podenco is a hunting dog, a hound with a highly developed sense of sight, smell and hearing. Their big, alert and upright ears are the hallmark of the breed. They are graceful, elegant and agile yet rugged and hardy. They come in small, medium and large. Rough haired, longhaired and wire haired. In colouring red, white or a combination of the two.

Leo - young and afraid. Who will teach him to trust again?

No dog, indeed no animal, deserves to be badly treated. Still less an animal so sensitive, so affectionate, bright and intelligent. Yet Podencos are abused in the most appalling fashion in Spain. Those that end up in animal shelters are often timid at best, more often than not terrified of humans.  And no wonder. They are for the most part owned by hunters who, like many others in Spain, see no need to neuter their animals.

Adyn- already four years old and still waiting

As a consequence, there is always a steady supply of young dogs to take the place of the older ones. Those puppies that are not needed are disposed of, in the garbage, by the side of the road and worse. Those faithful dogs and bitches who have served their time – a year, maybe two – are hung from the trees. If they are not hung they are taken a distance away and their legs broken so they can’t make it back, or they are stuffed down drains, burnt or kicked to death. They are not considered worth a bullet or a clean death.

Sweet Zinderella - used as a breeding machine

Those who find themselves in shelters like El Refugio, are fortunate indeed. Even if they are horribly injured they’ll be given a fresh start, beginning with a good meal, medical treatment and, of course, lots of cuddles. It can take months and more to help them get over their trauma. But once they do, they make the most wonderful pets. Not only are they loving and bright and good with children but they also get on well with other dogs. 

Vanni - craving for a boss of her own

Some have an independent streak but they take well to training. They love to run and are generally obedient off the lead. Like the Bodeguero *, the Podenco can be something of a clown. They are great fun to be around. Possibly because of ignorance of the breed, Podencos are often overlooked when people are adopting.  In this respect they are similar to Bodequeros. Yet both breeds are so worth rescuing, they make a delightful addition to a family, even a family with cats, certainly a family with other dogs and children. I hope this blog will spread the word and educate people to this great breed and encourage more adopters to offer them the longed for golden basket.

You can read more about the breed on Wikipedia, Azahounds, Podenco Rescue and many other sites.

* Discover more about the wonderful Bodegueras, the little dogs that smile, on this blog - dated 5th March.

No comments:

Post a Comment