After months of starvation and neglect, two Podencas were thrown from a van in the town of Ciudad Real, around 125 miles south of Madrid, Spain. Their abuser had covered his licence plate to abandon the pair, knowing the suffering he had caused to be totally unacceptable. The two dogs were named Raiz (Root) and Tierra (Earth) by Protectora La Bienvenido Ciudad Real, the animal protection agency who took them in on 12 June.
Raiz and Tierra had been ravaged by parasites, and their pink colouring and sensitivity to light suggests that they may have even been kept in the dark. They were found be severely underweight, with their bones protruding through their scabbed, balding skin. Clearly terrified, the dogs did not stop shaking thought their initial veterinary check-up.
In a Facebook post by Protectora La Bienvenido Ciudad Real, one staff member wrote, "This is one of the worst cases of abuse and neglect that we have seen in the 35 years of life of this partnership."
At first the dogs' condition was deemed to be so extreme the agency was concerned Raiz and Tierra simply would not survive.
The following day however, Raiz and Tierra, believed to be mother and daughter, had already made great strides. The two dogs had both managed to eat and drink, and the agency had prepared a cosy space for them following their discharge from the veterinary clinic for the long road to recovery.
While they are now safe, work is beginning to trace their abuser.
"It's already in the hands of the authorities to investigate and find the culprits of this atrocity, while we will continue to be their guardian angels to be safe and never be alone," read the Protectora La Bienvenido Ciudad Real's Facebook page.
In a new update today (15 June), Raiz and Tierra's personalities are emerging. After just three days, Raiz has found her bark, and Tierra has proven to be a thief of treats. What incredible progress for dogs on the brink of death.
Sadly, the mistreatment of hunting dogs in Spain is all too commonplace. The Podenco (or Podenca, if female) is the breed of choice for the hunting season, but the dogs are seen as disposable commodities - hunters will never keep them on as pets after they can no longer work. Instead, Podencos are abandoned in their ten of thousands every year, with starvation, disease and a lonely death the likely end for them. Thankfully, numerous individuals and rescue organisation both within Spain and internationally work to save as many as they can, and try and end this cycle of abuse.
Updates on Raiz and Tierra's progress and information on how you can donate to help them can be found on Protectora La Bienvenido Ciudad Real's Facebook page.
Feature image via Facebook/Protectora La Bienvenido Ciudad Real