Tag Archives: Athens

Abandoned Matted Dog Hides Something Even Worse

Abandoned matted and left to survive on the streets on his own, Combo had even something even worse done to him. He was spotted by a woman, Sophia, wandering alone in a suburb of Athens, Greece in terrible condition. How this tiny baby wasn’t rescued sooner isn’t even worth discussing. Sophia contacted Save a Greek Stray, and the next day Combo was taken to the shelter.

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Combo on the the day he was spotted by Sophia, living and surviving on his own on the streets

He looked so confused. He just kept watching his rescuers take care of him, and in his huge eyes you could see nothing but awe and fear. I’ve never met a dog so cooperative and submissive as him. He never made a sound, never reacted to anything that was being done to him. He just stood there while he received a haircut and a bath, as if he was stuffed toy, as if he has never been treated gently before.

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At the shelter’s informary, before the haircut and the bath.

Apart from the matted hair and all the dirt he was carrying in his tiny, suffering body, the dozens of tick draining him, the wounds and his terrible skin condition, what we discovered while shaving his neck was far worse. Two stitches on the back of his neck, right where the microchip once used to be. Nobody can actually tell when it was removed, and for what reason – whether it was done by the previous owners, before abandoning him to survive on his own, or by the people who stole him and had to remove the microchip so that he wouldn’t be traced. But one thing is for certain, it was done by someone who knew how to do it.

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The black silk stitches on his neck – what was left from the removed microchip

When you are involved in animal welfare in Greece, there’s nothing that can ever amaze you. Neglect, abuse, abandonment, emaciation, dogs found shot in the head, hang in trees or drowned deliberately in the sea, plastic bags with newborn kittens of puppies recovered from garbage bins… you name it. But Combo’s story was a first -at least for me.

I just felt stupid. We try our best to educate people about their pet’s wellbeing, and micro chipping is one of the main campaigns of all animal welfare organizations. But what’s the point? What’s the point when anyone can just take a knife, dig up through the animal’s neck and remove it? Should we even mention what happened to Combo, or will we be giving some sick people the idea of doing it too?

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It took a few weeks for Combo to trust and realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of. He spent about a month just laying there in his kennel, looking. Looking at us take care of him every day. He would just eat and go back to sleep. He was so submissive and calm that we started wondering how he would turn out to be once he gained back his confidence.

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A month after his rescue, he wouldn’t leave the hug

And against all odds, Combo turned out to be the ultimate sweetheart. Once you open his kennel door, he will jump right into your arms and stay there forever. He never leaves a hug, and unless you put him down yourself, he will just stay there forever. He’s already started taking small walks around the shelter, and is so human centered that he will follow you around, wherever you go, as he was trained to do so. He’s the sweetest boy I’ve ever met and I just can’t have enough of him.

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Combo has yet to recover, until he’s ready for his forever home. He’s responding to treatment very well, gaining weight and confidence and has left behind all that hurt in the past. His beautiful reddish will grow back, and we’ll make sure that he gets to spend the rest of his life as he deserves.

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If you are interested in Combo’s progrees, you can follow the Save a Greek Stray facebook page. His photo album is being weekly updated.

Lazy Rescue Dog Simply Won’t Get Up. Never

Lazy rescue dog is just a title. A well deserved title when it comes to Mrs T. The video also depicts 100% what you’ll get if you adopt Mrs T But still it’s not enough. The last couple of posts were a bit sad, and since I’m a positive person and there’s even a category in the blog named: “Funniest rescue Pets”, I really need to share with you my experience with this particular dog. Continue reading Lazy Rescue Dog Simply Won’t Get Up. Never

Dog Adoption And Common Misundersandings

Dog adoption. It sounds nice, but for most of us it’s a headache. Choosing the right family is one big challenge and we face it every day. Many people didn’t really like this video. I’m guessing they were offended, so I think I should make some things clear. First of all, we almost never talk to people this way – at least I don’t. Do we have these thoughts? Yes we do. But if things are going to change some day, we are the ones who need to help the public see things in a different perspective, so we try our best to be polite. Continue reading Dog Adoption And Common Misundersandings

Woman Rescuer Makes Her Home a Shelter For The Unwanted

 

All of us were introduced to the animal welfare world in different ways. I, for example, had no idea about what was really going on. One day I found an abandoned dog right outside my house, took him home and the rest came pretty easy. I never had to worry about what my first step would be, what I should do or how I should handle it. I posted his photo on the facebook page of the charity in my area, and the next day he was vaccinated and scheduled to be checked out and then neutered. Continue reading Woman Rescuer Makes Her Home a Shelter For The Unwanted

Stray Cats In Distress – Why We TNR

Stray cats surviving on the city streets are more or less like convicts on death row – eventually something will put them down. I might be a car, a storm drain, a poisoned dinner some old lady placed next to the garbage bin. It might even be the actual garbage bin that will serve as their death bed, as it is quite common that while they’re looking for food, the truck passes by to collect the garbage and the guy simply doesn’t notice them – or even if he does, he simply couldn’t care less. For a male cat, it could a fight with another male, and for a female one…oh, I don’t even know where to begin. You see, the females have the privilege of giving birth too, and when giving birth on the street, the things that can go wrong are just too many – and this is the main reason why females are always a priority when we TNR. Continue reading Stray Cats In Distress – Why We TNR

Three Legged Dog 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

Happiest Three Legged Dog Ever – Lessons From Yasmin

Anything I could ever write about Yasmin would be an understatement. Any attempt to describe who she is and what it feels like to have her around running and jumping all happy would be an understatement. I don’t really know what it takes to make someone who hasn’t met her understand what Yasmin really means to all of us who know her and get to spend time with her, but I’ll give it a try.

Yasmin when she arrived at the shelter
Yasmin when she arrived at the shelter

Continue reading Happiest Three Legged Dog Ever – Lessons From Yasmin

TNR – When you Realize that Honeymoon is Over

I grew up among stray cats. Everybody in Greece did. They are everywhere. I grew up thinking that the cats belong in every neighborhood, that they belong in the streets, that they can feed themselves and that’s it. Cats –unlike dogs- have this thing that make you believe they can take care of themselves and just don’t need you. So that’s what I believed as a kid. And every time I saw a little kitten on the street I was told the same lie almost every kid is told. That the kitten is fine and that its mum is coming to get it any time soon. And I believed it. Like many kids still do. Continue reading TNR – When you Realize that Honeymoon is Over

The Dog Shelter – Where Dreams Hatch Back to Life

I had been following the Save a Greek Stray Facebook page for a couple of years. I used to volunteer at another organization, but the SGS posts were so jaw dropping that every time a new photo made it’s way to my facebook wall I couldn’t help but thinking: “oh, if only I was there, if only there was something for me to do there”. You know that feeling when you’re in a pretty stable relationship but every time you bump into the gorgeous neighbor you get butterflies? That was me and the gorgeous neighbor was the Save a Greek Stray. And the first time I knew I was in love, was when Petra’s first photo was posted. I fell in love with her, and she made me fall in love with the SGS.

Continue reading The Dog Shelter – Where Dreams Hatch Back to Life

Fearful And Abandoned Dog Walks His Rescuer Down The Aisle – My Apollo





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.

His favourite place during the first weeks at home - the fireplace

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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