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The story of Lolita

Click on the image above to see the English video of Lolita
Click here to see the Spanish version

In February 2011, we received a call from a village near Toledo, just south of Madrid. Pablo Peñalver, one of our most enthusiastic and active volunteers in the area, had found an abandoned galga with terrible injuries to her front legs. She needed immediate veterinary intervention if her legs were to be saved.

Whilst coordinating the logistics of Lolita’s journey to Barcelona, we received another phone call that was to change both our lives and hers.

The call was from Villar-Rosàs, a Barcelona-based advertising agency. Richard Browse and Melanie Andrada from the creative team had read an article on SOS Galgos in the magazine Metropolitan and they enquired whether they could produce a short film on the rescue of a galgo for a project they were involved in.

That’s how Lolita’s tale began and her journey to a safe place generated a close, collaborative friendship between all those involved.

Some of those people now tell us about the part they played in the the rescue of Lolita.

Frightened to death

Pablo tells us how he first came across Lolita.

“One Sunday morning, I was told there was a female galgo in a terrible state on a pig farm. I went there straight away and found Lolita lying on the floor. It was a really cold, windy day although there were a few rays of sunshine.

I saw her lying there with a look of terror in her eyes. She was a bag of bones and had all her ribs showing. She was trembling with fear, she was scared to death. I moved a little closer but the worst was yet to come.

As I approached, she stood up but was off balance. Her two front paws were almost severed but she still managed to run away.

I went after her. She tried to bite me in self defence. I carried on trying to corner her until I was fortunate enough for her to enter a warehouse. Like a bull in the ring that knows it’s going to die, she fell to the floor. I moved slowly towards her, crawling on my knees and she remained still.

I put a muzzle on her and picked her up in my arms. She was light as a feather, a sack of bones. I feared the worst.

I called Anna and she said she would do all she could to save her. I took her to an emergency vet’s, Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real). They checked her over immediately, dressed her wounds and prescribed her a treatment to see if she would respond.

All our efforts may have been in vain as we didn’t know at the point if she could recover from such injuries. If she hadn’t responded to treatment, she would have had to be euthanized…

She was later seen by a vet from Consuegra-Madridejos who prescribed a new treatment, new dressings and thankfully Lolita started to respond.

Throughout all this, Lolita was scared to death. We made her a large, wooden kennel from which she could come and go, although she didn’t move much due to her fear and discomfort. It had a removable roof through which we could lift her whenever she needed her dressings changed (which was three times a day). This was a tricky procedure as it required three people: Nines, Marta and Eva.

The next step was to call Anna and she organised her journey to Barcelona.”

A 14 hour journey

Richard from Villar-Rosàs explains how the filming went.

“We set off from Barcelona with the van and the greyhound transport cage at 4 in the morning; Melanie, Víctor, myself, Pau with the two cameras and Pablo with the sound equipment.

The city is a different place at this time – there was no traffic at all. I drove for about three hours and then we stopped for breakfast and to change drivers. On the journey down to Consuegra, Víctor and Pau started to film material for the sequence of Lolita travelling inside her cage.

We arrived at the hotel at midday. We grabbed something to eat quickly and then we followed Pablo to the foster home where Eva was waiting for us. Here we also met Marta and Nines, two other volunteers from SOS Galgos.

Lolita was hiding inside her wooden kennel. She didn’t come out. We started filming the part where Pablo says goodbye to Lolita, and when Pablo eventually managed to get Lolita to come out of the kennel, we all saw for the first time the fear that she had. She was shaking and her front legs were covered in bandages.

She only calmed down once Pablo took her in his arms, but I will never forget the look on her face, the fear in her eyes. It was at that moment when I really understood the importance of the work that everyone associated with SOS Galgos does.

We filmed a lot of material with Pablo and Lolita because we knew that their relationship was the most moving part of the story. It was Pablo that had saved Lolita’s life. It was Pablo that had given her the opportunity to start her life over again.

In the afternoon Pablo took us to the site where he had first found Lolita; an old, abandoned farm building. Pablo called it “The Galgo Graveyard”, and when we entered we understood why. Amongst the rubble and the fallen beams, we found the corpses of two dead greyhounds and the frayed remnants of several nooses.

That house was, for me, a perfect metaphor for hare coursing in Spain. From far away, with the sun of the afternoon falling onto its walls, it seemed something romantic and bucolic. But once inside, it was terrifying. We used the building for the opening and closing sequences of the film.

The next morning we awoke early and picked Lolita up from Eva’s house. We said goodbye to Pablo and Eva and started the 7 hour journey back to Barcelona, with Lolita inside the SOS Galgos transport cage.

I don’t remember hearing a single sound from Lolita during the whole journey. I suppose she was very frightened and confused, but she behaved very well and at 20.45 we arrived at the office of SOS Galgos where Anna was waiting for us.

Once we had parked the van, Melanie and I took the cage out, whilst Víctor, Pau and Pablo filmed the first meeting between Anna and Lolita. It was another very important moment in the story.

We returned the following day to film the final sequences with Albert, the SOS Galgos vet, and Lolita in the shower. I can still remember Lolita’s expression whilst Anna was drying her with a huge towel. It was the look of someone who had come home after a very long journey. She was exhausted, but very happy.”

Read the latest news about Lolita here.


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