Strays have a lifespan of approximately 2 years, depending on the neighborhood they live in and their luck. In Greece, the risks for a stray dog (or cat) range from being poisoned deliberately, ran over and abandoned, suffering random abuse, starving and of course getting sick and dying without proper care and medical assistance.
We do our best to rescue as many as we can, neuter, treat them and rehome them. Well, at least some of us. Some others firmly believe that their place is on the streets, and in fact there have been cases when we were “advised” not to rescue a dog, no matter how sick and impaired he is, and to leave him right where he is – on the street!
I am not joking. Here are four cases of rescue dogs that were rescued after we fought with people in the neighborhood, received threats and were accused of making the animals “disappear” from where theys belonged.
I picked Blue myself form the beach in my hometown. She was an extremely friendly dog, desperate for attention and human company – such friendly dogs barely survive a few months in that village. When the owner of one of the beach bars heard that I was planning to rescue her, he tried to convince a friend of mine to advise me not to take her, and to leave her right “where she belongs” (exact words, no joke).
Apparently, Blue was destined – according to him – to survive on her own on that beach, provide his customers with a few daily “aww” moments, feed his ego every time he fed her leftovers and just “figure it out on her own” once the beach emptied in September and leftovers were no longer available. Blue is adopted in Holland now, and has become a therapy dog for people with dementia, Alzheimer and mobility issues.
Arnie was a kind giant, wandering in a gas station on the highway, underweight, sad and sick. It took our volunteer two hours to have him trust her and finally follow her to the car. While she was trying to gain the dog’s trust, an unknown man approached her. He was sent by a woman – who’s face, name and mental state were never revealed – to warn our volunteer not to “steal” the dog.
She was taking care of him, he said, she fed him and the dog was happy right where he was. The warning freaked us out so much that our plans to come back for Arnie the next day were cancelled, and we stayed in that gas station forever, until he was finally safe and sound in our car. Today he is adopted, healthy and happy – and the woman claiming to care for him must have found another poor stray soul by now to keep on the streets and feed her ego.
Ah…Bianca. This is the case where you simply give up and wonder how human stupidity has survived so far without being penalized or something. Bianca was PARALYZED. She crawled on the street, her body was covered in urine, feces and blood from the wounds. When some of the people around the area where she lived found out that she was going to be removed form there, they went crazy. We picked her the morning after, and we kept receiving harassing phone calls and threats days after she was rescued.
One of the morons even posted publicly on the charity’s Facebook page, asking that we bring the dog back to where she was and claiming that “they were taking care of her”. I am not joking. You may think that I am, but I swear there is no lie here. Bianca is now safe and sound in her foster home, clean (!), happy and well taken care of.
My Tina is the most recent rescue. My rescue, my baby, my BIG love. She is a senior dog, emaciated and sick. Her body is covered in wounds and she could barely walk when I rescued her. She was wandering alone for a few days in an industrial area in Athens, Greece. After she was rescued, people nearby started asking questions like : “why did you take her?”, claiming that they we taking care of her…
Here is the thing, if she was being taken care of, she would not be underweight, full of wounds and so desperate to seek asylum in one of the offices there. She would be well fed, healthy and sleeping right where she felt safe, right? Wrong! In Tina’a case, the problem was that we stole their thunder – when you do something the right way, it is kind of an insult to those who keep doing it the wrong way I guess. Whatever. She is safe and sound now, microchipped and registered under my name.
This was just an idea of the everyday ridiculousness rescuers in Greece have to fight against. It’s not just the abusers, the ones who breed uncontrollably, abandon and neglect. It’s also the ones pretending to be one of us, but actually doing more harm than good. Meh…