Chained dogs in Greece are like the stars in the sky, just too many. There are no official statistics, but judging from experience, one out of two “pet” dogs in Greece spends its entire life chained, and dies without ever being exercised, socialized, or even petted. One of those dogs was Lefteris, which is Greek for “free.” At least that’s what SPAZ, the charity that rescued him called him.
Lefteris lived chained in a back yard, next to a dirty bowl of water. At some point, the chain wrapped around his leg and he was trapped. And as nobody would help him, the chain started cutting into his leg and by the time he was rescued, the chain had even gone through the bone. Apart from the injuries in his leg, the chain had also injured his belly and the choke collar around his neck had also been embedded in the flesh.
Lefteris was removed from his “home” and was immediately taken to the vet, where he was amputated. And while we were picturing Lefteris running free and enjoying life, a few days after the surgery the vet called to announce that “we didn’t make it”. Our boy was gone. He probably died due to septic shock caused by the injuries in his leg.
This was Lefteris story. As short and as dirty as the chain that killed him. I didn’t even have a chance to meet him. The afternoon of September 12 we were going to visit him at the clinic, walk him, photograph him and update his story. I was loading my camera when the vet called. And then I just froze.
Lefteris is finally free. free from the chain that prevented him from having a happy life, free from the disgusting woman responsible for abusing and actually killing him, free for this world where animal cruelty rarely makes the 8 o clock news. He was buried the same afternoon. I wasn’t there. But Elizabeth was. She said that when they put him in his grave, he looked so peaceful and calm, as if he was sleeping.
Rescuing an animal too late is more than frustrating. It fills you with an anger and a sadness that overwhelm you to the point that you want to scream so loud, freeze the time and go back to that moment when it wasn’t already too late.
A law suit has been filled against Lefteris’ owner and the case is awaiting trial. It won’t bring him back, but it’s the least we can do for him. You can follow the charity’s Facebook page here and donate via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org