Beautiful. Nafpactos is a beautiful town in western Greece, with the Venetian fortress, two beautiful towers at the entrance of the port, the long beach where you can enjoy beautiful walks or bike rides.
The first time I was there, I fell in love. I have never enjoyed a dog walk as much as I enjoyed my first ones on the pedestrian road by the sea. It was in one of those walks when I met Bruno, a stray dog. I had a chat for while with a woman who cared for him. “If I could, I would take him home, he is like a person” she said. Bruno used to greet us every day for a week and walk with us for a while. He was a gentle, sweet dog, the kind of dog that you pick from the street today and tomorrow you feel like he’s only been yours.
One week after I went back to Athens, I saw a post about Bruno on the local charity’s Facebook page. He had been shot and was fighting for his life. And then Nafpaktos didn’t look so beautiful anymore. With every new post about the situation there, the town started looking uglier and uglier. Hang dogs, dogs shot in the face, puppies wrapped in plastic bags and drown in the sea. And then River, who had his legs tied, was shoved in a sack and left in the middle of the river to die a horrible death.
I have been visiting Nafpaktos twice per year. Every time there are different strays on the streets. New faces. New abandoned dogs that have no other solution than to make the beach their home. And then, the ones I remember from the previous year are not there anymore.
My dogs have the best time when we are there. They love the long walks on the beach, and I love to see them so happy. They used to be like Bruno, you know. They were just luckier. Bruno could have been my dog and my Apollo could have had Bruno’s fate. It is all so relevant and so stupid.
Every time some strays come to meet us and walk with us I get panic attacks. I try not to photograph them, I try not to remember their faces, I dread the moment when I will see a post about them being shot or ran over or poisoned. I am freaking out. I am here right now and in a while I have to walk my dogs. And they are waiting for that moment because they love it. And I am waiting for it too, but at the same time I am terrified.
I walk on the beach and try not to look at people in the face. I see them drink their coffee, eat their dinner and have fun in the restaurants and cafes by the sea and I hate them. I see the beauty in front of me and at the same time the pictures of Bruno, River and Joker who was shot in the face pass in front of my eyes and make me wanna scream.
Nafpaktos is not the only place in Greece that is two faced. The entire country is like that. But this is a town I know better, I have met its strays and its people, so I write about them.