After all these years of photographing rescue dogs - the mixed breeds, the bulldogs, the sled dogs and all the dogs in between - I thought I'd seen a lot. Not seen it all of course, but enough that I've become very adept at compartmentalizing.
So as I've been doing some photography for Extraordinary Galgos & Podencos Western Canada (EGPWC), I've also been learning more about the lives of Galgos - the Spanish sighthound used for hunting. The class of sighthound covers a number of breeds -- at least 28 according to Wikipedia -- and includes breeds I've met like Podencos, Salukis, Greyhounds and Whippets. But Galgos aren't just used for hunting in Spain, they're used in Portugal and the Middle East too. And today I encountered something new when I met Ramon, a Bahrainian Galgo who's missing the tops of his ears. Galgos usually have floppy ears - they kind of floppy that can perk up and be super expressive when they hear the right sound that piques their interest - so it took me a bit before I noticed Ramon's half-ears. When I asked one of the EGPWC volunteers I was told it was likely for speed... floppy ears can catch wind... which after thinking about it made no sense to me because his ears don't flop at all now that they're cut (see photo above). Now I'm not saying that was the reason in Ramon's case, but I did a bit of digging and discovered that for Galgos and Podencos ear cropping, along with tail cropping, is also done to limit injuries when dogs can sustain when chasing prey. And it's done for identification too -- both when they're alive to differentiate them from others in the group, and when they're dead, because if the dog has an ear tattoo, it can be traced. But Ramon still has half his ears, so I continue to ponder this... and then I read a story about a racing greyhound, Xicota, who collapsed mid race and started to go purple so her owner used an old-fashioned approach and chopped of a bit of her ear to save her from heatstroke. Needless to say, Xicota did not survive.
And then I thought about a dog's ear bleeding. Have you ever seen a dog's ear bleed? Even the smallest cut can yield enough blood spatter to look like a crime scene.
So the reason to lob off the tops of two ears? Again, I can't understand.
(If you, dear reader, have other insights, I'd love to hear them)
So while I have no idea how or why or when Ramon lost parts of his ears, I can pretty confidently surmise that it wasn't for any good reason.
But Ramon isn't dwelling on his ears, so neither will I. This guy just loves to be loved, even in a group of people he doesn't know... tail wags, snout sniffs and the old lean-into-the-human-for-all-the-pets.
It's no wonder he's been adopted already!
The other new arrival for EGPWC is the handsome Dylan. (red coat) Dylan was a bit less outgoing than Ramon, but he still wasn't one to shy away from human attention so he got his share of loves too. Apparently he's quite a novelty for the female greyhound in his foster home, getting her to act all silly around him, which sounds pretty sweet. Dylan's coming to my studio tomorrow for adoption profile photos so I'll be able to report more after that.
Willow, Dakota, Lazarus and Dilly all have homes but were on hand to meet their new friends and educate people about the Galgo breed. Meet n' greets in a pet-food store can be stressful, but their humans advocated for them and everything was kept pretty chill.
There are dogs everywhere in this world who are being failed and exploited by humans and I'm grateful that there are people networking to help get them to safe and loving homes where they can just be their doggo selves, getting opportunities to learn what they like and don't like and become the beloved family members that they're meant to be.
Thanks for stopping by!