Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Clare's stay in Greece 2016- Part 3

GAWF blog 21st June 2016

The weather is now proper ‘summer weather’ with day time temperatures around 30 degrees and evenings so warm and comfortable.

We’ve been to our friend Hayley’s house several times for play dates with her dogs.  They fly around the garden after each other, always with Dexter in the lead, saying ‘Catch me, catch me!’ It’s like watching a game of rugby, the aim being for Dexter to dodge each of Hayley’s three dogs as he makes his way from one side of the garden to the other, before he gets ‘tackled’.  It’s great to watch and to see them use all that energy. Poppy just stands on the side line, barking with excitement, or is she telling them off?  I’m never quite sure.

My friend Sarah arrived and we spent four days relaxing at the house, walking the dogs, taking them in the sea (neither too keen, but I do believe they appreciate feeling cool for at least half an hour after), chatting and enjoying the fantastic Kefalonian cuisine.  One of my favourite tavernas is Acqua at tiny Alaties beach.  It’s a basic seaside taverna, but with the best sunset view and a peach bellini to die for.  We agree being here is close to paradise.

I’ve noticed several dogs on chains as usual, although none on short chains, which I’m relieved about.  They all seem to have a good 20 foot circumference to move around in and so they are able to go in the shade if they need to.  I still don’t like to see it, but it’s better than being horribly restricted like I’ve seen so many times.   The law now says that it’s illegal to keep a dog chained up 24 hours a day.  I think it would take a caring neighbour or tourist to take note if this was the case and report it to the police.  Of course the owner could say that it has been let off the chain at some point in the day but there will never be any proof.  But at least a visit from the police reminding them of the legal position may prompt them to do something about it.  I understood from my visit to the rescue centre last year that the police actively get involved in animal welfare issues and this is so reassuring to hear.

The day Sarah flew home from Kefalonia airport, we visited ARK (Animal Rescue Kefalonia) on our way to the airport.  We had the rugs and blankets I’d brought with me in the car and we stopped off to buy some big bags of dog food for them.  The noise of the dogs barking when you arrive is deafening.  We saw Marina the lady who runs the rescue centre and talked to her about what is happening there.  They currently have 360 dogs which is a similar number to last year.  She said the adoption rate is good (and I see the posts on Facebook about the adoptions) but of course dogs are arriving or being rescued and brought in at around the same rate, so the numbers don’t change much.  Marina and her Dutch volunteer, Joyce, talked about the police and how they are getting involved in investigations and prosecutions which is so good to hear.

As always, Marina asked if I would like to take one, but I know I can’t manage more than two dogs.  One day, when the inevitable happens with Poppy (who celebrated her 11th birthday two weeks ago) I will take on another Greek rescue at that point.  But now is not the right time.

My friend Sarah knows she will adopt a dog when the time is right for her (she already has one, plus a daughter and a thriving business) and she knows she will come to ARK when the time comes.

We saw Winston, a lovely little hunting dog, who had been severely abused and thankfully rescued by ARK last summer when I was here on the island.  He had been set alight by a local man with severe mental disabilities (and who is now in a mental institution or a prison, I am not sure which).  He still bears the physical scars on his back but he is so happy to see you and wags his tail like mad.  It’s very emotional to watch him and to know what he’s been through in his short life.  I feel so relieved that there are charities like ARK who are there to look after and protect these poor souls.  I wonder why he hasn’t been adopted, but I know that personally if he belonged to me, I might find it very hard to be reminded of what he went through every time I saw him and his scars.  And so I wonder if this is the reason.

After many tears and goodbyes, we left the centre and headed to the airport.  The next few days will be spent doing some work after a break of a few days and awaiting my next (and last) friend to arrive next week.

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