While we worry about our dogs and cats in this hot weather, spare a thought for animals in southern Mediterranean countries.
At last year’s Nutley Open Day, an organisation called Greek Animal Rescue brought along some delightful dogs, each wearing a jaunty neckerchief. They were all rescued – some from appalling circumstances – in Greece and now await new homes here.
Greek Animal Rescue is a UK based registered charity which aims to help abused, neglected, stray and injured animals of Greece.
GAR was founded in 1989. It all began with a holiday in Greece in 1987 for Vesna Jones and her husband Paul. They drove to Greece and intended travelling around for one month before returning home, but as they crossed the border, they encountered the first stray, not realising at the time that he was just one out of hundreds they were to see during our so called holiday.
They spent ten days on Crete and that’s where they saw appalling neglect of animals – dozens of hungry stray dogs and cats begging for scraps, ‘guard dogs’ chained to rusty oil drums or to a tree, not to mention numerous dead dogs and cats lying by the roadside, donkeys and mules left tied in barren fields with no food or water in sight, often hobbled and barely able to move.
They were horrified by all the terrible sights, but what was worse, they were unable to help the animals – nobody seemed interested to listen to their complaints.
The last few days of their so-called holiday found them helping at an animal shelter near Athens and it was there they realised that sterilising of dogs and cats wasn’t a common practice in Greece, but abandonment of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens was.
So Greek Animal Rescue was founded and now works to alleviate the suffering of animals in Greece by supporting a number of animal shelters, sterilising as many dogs and cats as funds allow and finding homes for the lucky few in the UK and several other EU countries. Organisers aim to expand rescue work through the shelters they support. To find out more about Greek Animal rescue visit their website at www.greekanimalrescue.com.