In a February 2021, we received a call from a town near Toledo…
Pablo Peñalver, one of our most enthusiastic and active volunteers in the area, had found a female galgo with its front legs shattered. Because of the injuries she had, we knew there was no time to lose if we wanted to save her legs.
Then, as we began to organise with Pablo the best way to take Lolita to Barcelona, we received another urgent call that changed all our lives right away.
The call was from Villar-Rosàs, an advertising agency in Barcelona. Richard Browse and Melanie Andrada, from the creative team, had seen an article about SOS Galgos in Metropolitan magazine and asked us if it would be possible to include a story on the rescue of galgo for a project they had on the table.
This is how the story of Lolita’s journey to safety began, as well as the start of a truly special collaboration and friendship among all those who participated in the project.
Here, some of the people involved in Lolita’s rescue tell their story.
“frightened TO DEATH”
Pablo tells us how he first met Lolita:
“One Sunday morning I got told there was a female galgo in a very poor condition on a pig farm. I immediately went there, and found Lolita, lying on the floor. It was a cold and windy morning, although there was some sunshine.
I saw Lolita lying there. I saw the extreme fear in her eyes. You could see all of her ribs, as if she were just a bag of bones. She was shaking with fear and scared to death. I approached her. I hadn’t even seen the worst of it yet.
I was running after her. She tried to bite me. I cornered her until I was very lucky: she entered a ship. Like a bull in the ring that knows he’s going to die, she dropped to the ground. I approached her slowly, on her knees, and she alone did nothing. I put a muzzle and picked her up. Heavy nothing, it was a bag of bones. I feared the worst.
“She barely weighed anything, she was a bag of bones. I feared the worst.”Pablo
I called Anna and she told me she would do everything possible to save her. Then we went to the emergency room Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real). There they took care of her. They saw to her wounds and we started a treatment programme, to see if she would respond. Back then, everything we were doing could all be for nothing, because we didn’t know if she would recover. If she didn’t recover, we would have to put her down. Then, the Consuegra-Madridejos veterinary clinic gave her a new treatment and new cures and Lolita began to respond to them. Lolita was also still scared to death all the time. We made a kennel with wooden boards which enabled her to get in and out, but she didn’t do this much as she had difficulty moving. But it had a lid on the top, so we could take her out. That’s how we treated her, three times a day. For this we needed help, because one person alone couldn’t manage it. So Nines, Marta and Eva helped during her treatment. Then we contacted Anna and she organised Lolita’s journey to Barcelona”.
14 hours travelling
Ricard de Villar-Rosàs explains how Lolita settled in:
“We left Barcelona with the van and the greyhound carrier at 4 in the morning. Melanie, Víctor, Pau and me with the two cameras and Pablo with the sound equipment. The city is different at this time – there was no traffic. I drove about 3 hours and then stopped for breakfast and to change driver. While we went down to Consuegra, Víctor and Pau began to record material for the sequence of Lolita’s trip inside her carrier.
We arrived at the hotel at noon. We ate quickly and then went directly with Pablo to Eva’s shelter. Here we met Marta and Nines, two other volunteers from SOS Galgos. Lolita was inside her little wooden house. She wouldn’t come out. We started to record Pablo’s farewell with Lolita and when Pablo took her out of his house, we all saw for the first time the fear he had. She was trembling and had both front legs covered in bandages. She only calmed down when Pablo picked her up, but I will never forget the look she had, the fear that was reflected in her eyes. It was at that moment that I really realized the importance of the work that each of the people associated with SOS Galgos do.
We recorded a lot of Pablo’s material with Lolita because we knew that the relationship between them was the most emotional point in the story. It was Pablo who saved Lolita’s life. It was he who gave her the opportunity to start her life from scratch.”
In the afternoon Pablo took us to the place where he had found Lolita; an abandoned country house. Pablo called him: “The Galgos Cemetery”, and when we entered, we understood why. Among the stones and fallen beams we find the bones of a couple of dead greyhounds and the remains of several hanging ropes.
“I will never forget the look she had”Richard
The house was for me a good metaphor for hunting with greyhound in Spain. From a distance, with the sunlight of the evening sun illuminating the walls, it seemed very bucolic. But once inside, the house was terrifying. We use it as the beginning and end of the short.
The next day we got up early and picked up Lolita at Eva’s house. We said goodbye to Pablo and Eva and we started 7 hours back to Barcelona, with Lolita inside the SOS Galgos transporter. I do not remember hearing a single sound of Lolita during the whole lap. I guess she was very scared, but she behaved very well and at 8:45 we arrived at the SOS Galgos office where Anna was waiting for us.
Once we parked, Melanie and I took out the transport, while Víctor, Pau and Pablo filmed the first meeting between Anna and Lolita. Another very important moment in history. We returned the following day to record the last sequences with Albert, the SOS Galgos veterinarian, and the Lolita bath. I remember perfectly the face of Lolita while Anna was drying it with a huge towel. It was the look of someone who has returned home after a very long trip. I was tired, but very happy”.