Thursday, 11 June 2015

Clare's stay in Greece - part three

Life continues here on Kefalonia at a leisurely pace.  Although I have my work to do, which I tend to ‘get out of the way’ in the mornings, I still have time to enjoy our early morning walks before it gets too hot, to drive along the empty roads with views to the sea at every turn, relaxing in the garden with a book and early evening walks with the dogs. 

I realise that being here for six weeks rather than one or two weeks changes everything about the way you do things.  You spend time finding out about how things work (as you will need to know!) and you invest time in forging relationships with people which you wouldn’t necessarily do to such an extent during a fleeting visit.  There’s also a sense of not having to rush anything – getting a suntan, trying the best restaurants or seeing the sights.  There’s plenty of time for everything which I love.
Platon when Hayley first recued him
I was very quickly introduced to Hayley, an English girl who fell in love with the island in 1999 and has been coming here every summer since, this year she’s here for 6 months!  This makes my six weeks pale into insignificance in comparison!  She told me how she rescued a young dog from the side of the road near Argostoli, the capital, last summer.  The poor creature was skin and bones and despite clearly being starved, receiving attention and affection from her was more important than the food that she offered him.  Hayley took him home with a view to finding someone to adopt him, but after two weeks of lying on her back doorstep (with just his front legs inside the kitchen so he could keep an eye on his rescuer wherever she was), she slowly fell in love with this creature and of course, we all know where the story is going.  Hayley made a decision to keep Platon (after the Greek philosopher – the name she had given him) and her life changed from that moment.  She took him back with her to London for the winter, he came back out with her in April and so the pattern is set for the rest of his life. As a local said to me, ‘Platon got lucky the day he met Hayley’.  How true. 
A very happy looking Platon and Hayley now

So, Dexter and Poppy have a new friend, and Dexter and Platon play together for as long as we will let them.  Hayley’s introduced me to some local walks including the one she calls the ‘round the block’ walk which takes in stunning views of Lefkada and Ithaki islands as you go around the circle. 
Platon's life has been turned around thanks to Hayley and is now a far cry from his days of living on the street 
About a week ago I came out of the house to take the dogs for our morning walk, when I came across a small bird on the driveway.  Its legs were splayed out to the side, and its chest and head forward, face down on the ground.  After quickly getting the dogs into the car, I picked the bird up to take a better look.  It looked poorly; apparently injured and not at all alert.  I panicked a little as I realised I needed to do the right thing for this little soul, but wasn’t sure what that was!  I knew I couldn’t just put in down in the garden and leave it to the mercy of a hungry cat. I called the friendly vets in Sami to see if they could give me any advice on how to look after the bird.  He immediately said that if I could bring it in (or could find someone else to bring it in) he could see if he could work out what was wrong and perhaps give it a ‘boost’ to help it.  If he couldn’t help it himself, he could send it to the wildlife rescue centre in Athens!  They would hopefully be able to rehabilitate it over time.  Amazed at this, I asked him how the bird would get to Athens to which he replied ‘on the bus’.  I did my best not to laugh as I formed an image in my mind of this little bird sitting proudly in the middle of the front seat of the bus, under the watchful eye of the driver!

So, with this in mind, I acquired a shoe box from my neighbours, punched some holes in it, and popped the little creature in it, surrounded by tissue paper and a bowl of milk.  I left it in the house and set off to Fiskardo in search of someone who might be making the journey to Sami (1.5 hours round trip). Hayley had suggested I tried taxi drivers, the baker and the postman, all of whom might be making the trip anyway which would save me doing the drive.  I also asked the man in the chandler’s who I already knew, if he knew of anyone.  He asked me what sort of bird it was (perhaps thinking it was a bird of prey or some endangered species) and when I answered ‘a sparrow’, I can only describe his look as bemused.  He said I must be a very kind woman and was I married?   It was only later that I realised that everyone must have thought I was the mad English lady. 
Sadly I couldn’t find anyone, so I headed back to the house.  I walked in to a loud chirping from the box!  Amazed, I gingerly lifted the lid off the box and to my amazement, he was standing up, his head up and eyes open!  Elated at the improvement, I fed him bits of biscuit (no worms to hand) and watched over him for a while.  I then started wondering if actually he was a fledgling and had fallen out of the nest…..a quick search on Google said that I should put the bird back where he was found, securely in the foliage, and if the mother is still there, she will help him.  As I had no evidence that he could fly, I wedged the box in the trees near where I found him and crossed my fingers.  To my surprise, just ten minutes later, he had gone from the box.  I suspect that he hopped out onto a branch, but as the foliage was dense I couldn’t be sure.  Later that day, during the early evening, there was a cacophony of birdsong outside my bedroom window, louder than I’d heard before, and hoped that it was the sound of a happily reunited family.  I felt I had done my bit, as best I could, and slept soundly that night.  So, once again, the episode showed me that despite all the animal welfare problems in the country as a whole, that there are still people, organisations and means of helping animals when you need it. 

My friend Sarah arrives today from England to stay with me, so I will be writing my blog again next week once she’s gone and life is back to normal. 

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