Stray dogs roaming the Greek beaches every summer have one thing in common usually: they all seem to be having a great time there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend all day on a beach in the summer?
It’s almost been a month since I brought Lou back from that beach, and I want him to find his forever home as soon as possible. Not because he is more special than all the others, but because he is ready, he was always ready.
The lonely dogs of the endless Greek summer are the ones we see every day on the beach, playing with the waves, discreetly asking for a place to belong, at least for a couple of hours. They are the ones who were abandoned there, or simply ended up on the beach, because they needed to be around people, and that is where people are in the summer.
The lonely summer dogs look happy. They are surrounded by a scenery that could not be more beautiful, more poetic – at least for a couple of months. The lonely summer dogs look like they belong there. They look free, happy. Who doesn’t look free and happy on a beach?
The truth is that for the summer months, those dogs are really happy. They are where they belong – they are among us. Groups of people come and go, some might pet them, some might feed them and photograph them playing in the sand, generously offering Kodak moments for their facebook friends.
for the summer months, those dogs are really happy
The typical lonely summer dog feels like he belongs with every new group that comes to the beach. For a few hours, he is safe. And when that group leaves, there will be another one, and another, and another, until at some point, the last group of people will leave and the next one will never show up, because the summer just ended.
Unless you have visited touristic places in wintertime, you can’t fully comprehend the loneliness, the emptiness and the sadness that fall over them like a thick, heavy cloud. Most of us have a tendency to believe that somewhere around those beaches there must be some kind of “life” during winter, but there isn’t.
at some point, the last group of people will leave and the next one will never show up, because the summer just ended
And let’s be frank, the lonely summer dog looks happy because you are there to feed and pet him. But rural Greece is one of the most cruel places to live in, if you are a dog. After the beach bars are closed and the few restaurants in the village that work during winter move their tables indoors, the dog you fed, petted and photographed is bound to starve. And he will starve to the point where he will do anything to find something to satisfy his hunger, which will make him annoying for the locals. And an annoying stray dog usually dies a horrible death, having his inside torn apart by broken glasses carefully hidden in a burger.
the lonely summer dog looks happy because you are there to feed and pet him
Most summer dogs are young animals, and this is their first and last summer. If you visit the same place next summer, and ask around for your favorite dog from last year, you won’t really get a specific answer. Have you seen Hangover 2? Do you remember the answer they were getting every time they asked around for their lost friend? “Bangkok got him”. It’s the same thing with the strays. “The village got him” and you will never see him again.
The next summer, you won’t be seeing the same strays you remember from last year, in that picturesque village you spent your vacation in. The village got them, and it’s as simple as that. They were poisoned, ran over, starved or deliberately killed by ways you can’t even imagine. There will be new stays, all young dogs, coming from the never neutered nor spayed “pet” dogs of the ruthless Greek countryside. They too will appear happy, healthy, and free. And so will the ones next year, and the next and the next.
The village got them, and it’s as simple as that
No matter what the locals tell you, no matter how your friends call you a weirdo, no matter what you want to believe about the lonely summer dog who shares the beach with you, the reality s one: you either take him home with you, or you leave him there to die.
My summer rescue for last year was Blue. I knew exactly where I rescued her from. I rescued her from my hometown, that I visit every summer. And every summer, in my hometown, the previous summer’s strays are not there. My summer rescue for this year was Lou, not from my hometown, but from a similar place. All villages look alike in Greece. All strays have the same fate, and that’s a fact, it’s not something I just came up with.
the reality s one: you either take him home with you, or you leave him there to die
If you asked Lou what he preferred, to stay on the beach or to be dragged to my car and taken away, he would choose the beach. But Lou could never comprehend the future, I can. And his future there was nothing something that would allow me to sleep at nights. I spent ten days on the beach with him, I petted him, I fed him, I loved him, and I want him to have a long and happy life.
The bottom line is, if you meet and love one of those lonely dogs, take them with you when you leave. They might not look that much in need while you are there, but trust me, they will be once you are gone.
*Lou is now in Athens and he will be up for adoption by SCARS.
Flamingo rescue? Well, why not? On a beach in Antirrio, near the town of Nafpactos in western Greece, various people had spotted a male flamingo, wandering alone. It appeared weak and dehydrated.
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.
Unwanted, rejected, and desperate for attention and human company – this is what Blue was when I first saw her roaming alone on that beach in August 2016. She spent a summer chasing people, cars, and others dogs, following everyone, trying to fit in, wanting to belong. Continue reading Unwanted Greek Stray Becomes A Therapy Dog After Her Adoption
Christmas is the day when everything stops – you take a break, relax, visit the family, eat until you can’t move. It is everyone’s day off. But rescuers don’t get a day off, simply because there is no one around to do the job for you. Continue reading Christmas Morning For A Dog Rescuer
Stray dogs are probably millions in Greece, and given the fact that the mentality here will not be changing anytime soon, there will be millions more to come in the next years. My Blue was one of the million strays out there, when I first saw her in August 2016. Continue reading Stray Puppy Goes From An Empty Beach To Her Dream Home
Vacation! Yippi dippy doo! It’s this time of the year, for you. But is it for your dog? Well, not really. Pet dogs are on vacation 24/7 so they don’t really need a break from anything actually. They do love to know new places, but for a dog that can only mean walking him round a different block or park every day. Their world is their nose and as much as you think they appreciate that picturesque village or that beautiful beach you take them to, they don’t really – at least not the way you think they do. Continue reading Vacation With Your Dog – How To Make It Work
I know there are places in the world where dogs are not allowed on beaches, like Spain, for example. I am lucky enough to live in a country, where according to the law, dogs on beaches are allowed, as long as they are on a lead etc etc. Signs prohibiting them from stepping foot there are simply illegal, and you are free to ignore them, laugh about them or even take a selfie of you and your four legged friend in front of them and post it publicly to social media so that you and fellow dog lovers laugh about it. Continue reading Dogs On Beaches – Should They Be Allowed?