Here are two photos of Maria, who was born on the Cape Verde island of Sal some time in the early summer of 2012. She arrived outside our house in the Cape Verde islands on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) in 2012. She has now been with us for one year and lives mostly in London, England. When she found us in the roadway, she was quite the most affectionate dog that we had ever met. She licked us everywhere she could reach and jumped up on us, whenever possible. It was really love at first sight.
I suspect that she smelled our first dog Brando on our clothes, because when she came on heat later she became his lover. It did not seem to matter that he had been castrated. She repeatedly chased away other, large male dogs, who showed an interest in her.
Brando was very polite and would break off his sexual action, whenever a human entered the room. This did not suit Maria at all and she would bark at him and push her bottom in his face, to encourage him to resume.
We faced a stark choice. If we abandoned Maria, she would certainly be killed probably before her first birthday, with strychnine. An Italian night club owner had already placed what we took to be strychnine-laced hamburgers and scrambled eggs on our doorstep and in the back of a friend`s pick-up Ford for three other dogs, that we were rescuing.
Maria could not be brought to Europe, or England until she passed a rabies anti-bodies test. But neither England nor the Cape Verde islands has ever had rabies. So Catch 22, she failed her first two anti-bodies tests, which had to be checked in European labs, because she had too little exposure to rabies. We opted to stay with her, to protect her.
She is perhaps the most hunting -oriented dog that we have ever met. She picks up the scent of an urban fox in London or the scent of the North American grey squirrel, which swarm over London parks, with extreme ease. Off the leash, she will chase either at speeds of 25mph (40km /hr) tirelessly for as long as an hour and a half. She will launch herself at a squirrel, fleeing up a tree and soar to 7ft (2.2m) with her snout, somehow missing the tree.
These dogs are rare and little known in England, so she creates great interest. She runs, hunching her back, in a double suspension gallop, like a whippet, and she likes nothing better than to be chased by a really fast dog, running in big circles. Mostly the English whippets, smaller than the North American variety cannot catch her, and she rarely meets a greyhound, which would outpace her.
We like to think that she understands that we saved her life.
If you wish to know how Podengo Medios and Pequenos got to the Cape Verdes, please check on http://www.capeverdeinfo.org.uk/cape_verde_podengo.htm