In 2011, I was outside a friend’s house in Greece when I saw a decrepit dog barely able to remain upright – scabies of the worst kind, skin problems, wounds and bones peering out through its body. While in heat, she was subjected to all the male dogs of the neighbourhood and a host of other violent acts. My friend took action and put her through all sorts of tests and clinical assessments. She also spayed her and fostered her for several months while she underwent a serious of treatments to get her better. This little soul came to be called Cleo and she is hardly distinguishable from her former self. She has been with me ever since.
In 2013, a pack of nine puppies came into my life. They lived in a remote area and, despite their misfortune, a guardian angel made sure they were fed and vaccinated and this person even paid for a few of their surgeries. Eventually, this woman moved away and a few locals managed to find a home for almost all of them. The last one left was Lefteris. Until we found him a family, he was to be fostered by various friends and when the time came to be neutered, my turn came to foster him. Getting him adopted proved impossible and I found another solution. Instead of getting him adopted, I would foster him forever!
In 2014, I found myself in front of a dog that had just been abandoned; yet another companion animal that someone thought of as garbage. This little creature was called Rex and he now lives with a wonderful family overseas.
Cleo, Lefteris, Rex and other strays that have survived until now with the help of my mother and my friends are just a handful of the thousands that are abandoned, abused, fall ill and die each year in the streets of Greece. Only time and the collective effort of many will address these huge problems. One such group – full of love and inspiration – is the Penny Marathon team, which fights for a world without stray animals.