On January 12, 2015, we got a late call about a dog tied to a tree somewhere in the mountain of Immitos, in Athens, Greece. I was volunteering at ZEIL back then, so another volunteer and I took the car and followed the directions, looking for him. It was 3:00 am and freezing cold, and we driving in the middle of nowhere for about an hour when we spotted him. Continue reading Hunter Dumps His Senior Dog And Makes Him The Best Present Ever
Rescue is filled with stories like this one. Animals might not share the same feelings that we do, but sometimes they do seem to know better, and in this case, Gina definitely showed more emotions that most humans do. Continue reading Rescue Boxer “Adopts” Abandoned Mother Cat And Her Kittens
Shot, run over by a car and found almost paralyzed, starving and in terrible condition, Frog’s recovery and adoption made us all cry happy tears. Frog’s story is as devastating and as sad as can be. Just another rescue cat found wandering around an urban area in southern Greece, dragging his hind leg, with a broken spine and severely malnourished. Who knows how long it would take him to simply give up on life. Continue reading Shot, Run Over And Almost Paralyzed, This Cat’s Dreams Came True
Brutally abused and basically left to rot and die, Jade finally got the life she deserves. She now has a family to adore her and she seems to have forgotten all about her terrible past. Continue reading Brutally Abused Since A Puppy, She Now Has A Family To Adore Her
Abandoned in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a busy highway somewhere in rural Greece, Mel (in Greek we called him Melios) was spotted and rescued by volunteers. When he was first brought in he looked so fragile, that we almost did not know how to treat him. Continue reading Abandoned Mangy Puppy Finds His Forever Home After One Year
Blind rescue kittens are like mangy starving dogs in Greece – you can never rescue too many, you can never rescue them all. Respiratory and eye infections are so common in stray cats, that every time we rescue a healthy seeing kitten we almost can’t believe it. Virgil, Blinkin and Destiny were rescued in late May 2016 by SCARS and were fostered together by a volunteer. All three with severe eye infections that had cost them their vision – but not much else. Continue reading Blind Rescue Kittens Find Their Dream Homes
It was after midnight back in July 2014. I was volunteering in Ilioupolis animal Welfare Union back then, and that night we were chatting with some fellow volunteers when one of them posted about a German Shepherd just abandoned up on the mountain. According to the guard working the night shift in the municipality’s garage, a car appeared out of nowhere, dropped off a neglected dog and just left. The guard called a volunteer and she notified the rest of us. Continue reading Neglected Dog Abandoned On A Mountain Finds Her Dream Home
Three legged dogs suffer more discrimination than most dogs, I guess. Finding a home for one of them is a task that requires patience – a lot of patience. I don’t really know what actually prevents people from considering adopting one, but I’m pretty sure embarrassment is an issue. Having to answer the question: “Oh, what happened to it?” a dozen times per day for years every time you walk your best friend must be annoying. Having to explain to friends and family that you new pet will have three legs must be a drawback. Why should you be the one who adopts the dog that nobody wants? Why should you pick up after other people’s trash? Why not walk around proudly with a fluffy, healthy, gorgeous dog? Why have to deal with pity and embarrassment for years to come? Continue reading Three Legged Dog Finds Her Dream Home
Fostering dogs has become a part of my life. About a year ago, March 24 2015, I came back from the airport crying. Crying a mixture of happy and ego tears. I have fostered many dogs, and loved them all as if they were mine, but if I had to choose the one that had the biggest impact on me, that would be Billy – and that day I said my goodbyes at the airport, and let him go. It was my hardest farewell so far – not that any goodbye has ever been easy. Continue reading Fostering Dogs – Why We Have To Let Go
Fearful, abandoned and sick, Apollo taught me how to rescue, how to love and how to talk about it. My very first video was about him, so I figured the first post on this blog should be about him. I didn’t know what rescue was until I met him. One day I just looked out my apartment window and there he was. Sitting in a corner on the sidewalk, disorientated, confused and betrayed. Someone had probably abandoned him the night before, and that tiny corner in front of the house was his home for the next three days, until I managed to catch him. He was tested, vaccinated and neutered by ZEIL, and was supposed to be given for adoption, but I could never let go.
Trying to teach Apollo how to hunt must have been like trying to oblige left handed children to use their right hand.
Αpollo is a mix breed hound. A gun shy mix breed hound. He was probably born by a mother that has spent her whole life chained somewhere, delivering puppies meant to live a life similar to hers, or even worse – the typical life of a hound in Greece. Trying to teach Apollo how to hunt must have been like trying to oblige left handed children to use their right hand. It took his previous owner about two years or so, and after the beating, the terrors and God knows what other medieval techniques he used had no effect, he simply opened his car door and left in front of my house a dog that knew nothing about the city, cars, people. He knew nothing about nothing. He only knew the stick that was probably used on him a lot, and with the slightest movement you made towards him, he would cry as if you had just broken one of his bones.
So, petting him was out of the question for months. Playing was out of the question too. He never knew how to play, how to behave and how to live. We had to teach him how to be a dog step by step. The first couple of months, when I walked him people kept asking me if he was old. But he wasn’t. He was about two years old, but he would walk beside me as if he was in pain and with his tail between his legs. I guess the first two years of his life must have felt like eternity. An eternity of neglect, abuse and sorrow. So in a way he grew old. And now it was up to us to make up for his lost puppyhood.
I guess the first two years of his life must have felt like eternity. An eternity of neglect, abuse and sorrow. So in a way he grew old. And now it was up to us to make up for his lost puppyhood.
Turning Apollo into the perfect dog was such a smooth process, that if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Apart from his “intimacy” issues and all the fears that would petrify him, he was a perfect dog to begin with. He just laid there on his bed and sleep for hours, never made a sound and never even did any damage whatsoever. He was so grateful for the little things his new home had to offer him, and his way of expressing his gratitude was by going as unnoticed as possible.
his way of expressing his gratitude was by going as unnoticed as possible.
And he slowly started becoming a dog again. We taught him how to play with us and with other dogs, how to enjoy a walk by keeping his tail up high – and his nose to the ground as a typical hound, how to sit for a treat. He was so eager to learn. Within a few months he already knew so many commands, that even I didn’t believe I had taught him all that simply by observing him and trying to get to know him. I was so thrilled. Before meeting Apollo I had absolutely no idea that a dog you pick from the streets can turn out to be the most perfect companion one could ever dream of. I wanted to share my experience with the world, so I posted my first video that was all about him. And then I couldn’t stop. Two years later, Apollo has his own playlist on my Youtube channel.
I became a rescuer thanks to Apollo. He taught me how to do it, he taught me how talk about it and how to film it.
He’s been there on every holiday, every trip, every minute of the day. He’s been there beside me for better and for worse.
I became a rescuer thanks to Apollo. He taught me how to do it, he taught me how talk about it and how to film it. He has been there for me, and for all my rescues after him. A perfect teacher for all my foster dogs that came after him and the perfect example of what a rescue dog can accomplish. There’s a little bit of footage of him in most of my rescue videos, not because I can’t have enough of him, but because he actually is there, beside me, and beside all the others that were rescued after him.
It’s been about two years since that first video on him, and Apollo keeps evolving every day. He’s been there on every holiday, every trip, every minute of the day. He’s been there beside me for better and for worse. He can now run free in the mountain and come back at recall at any moment, and after three years of being trained and loved and spoilt, he’s afraid of nothing anymore (well, except for that evil ear cleaner that comes out of the drawer every couple of months).
He walked down the aisle with me on my wedding day, and behaved like a gentleman the whole night. And he’ll be there beside me always, as my friend, my teacher and the funniest creature I ever met.