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.
The first time I visited the shelter I was so nervous as if I was going out on a first date. My camera was fully charged, my social skills were rehearsed and the only thing in my mind was how could I make it there again and again and again. The first dog I met and filmed was Evita, recently rescued and still fighting that horrible mange that was eating her alive.
The second one was Sofi, and hers was the first video I made on behalf of the Save a Greek Stray. And yes, I did make it to the shelter, again and again and again. I witnessed Evita’s recovery and Sofi’s adoption, I helped my beloved gorgeous Petra open up and love life, I adored Moris, Yasmin, Scar, the puppies and all the others.
I could go on forever about what it feels like to simply be there once a week. This shelter is were the most hurt, betrayed, unwanted and forgotten are taken in. It is where the bodies recover and the souls heal. Where the dreams all those dogs never knew they even had, are conceived and then hatch. From every rescue comes out a new, adoptable amazing dog, more than ready to share all the love, the wisdom and the loyalty with its new family.
“When will the third world of Asia, India, Arab, African and the backwaters of Europe wake up…??” a Youtube viewer commented on a rescue video. And yes, when it comes to Animal Welfare, Greece is far from being considered a European country. What we witness here is so overwhelming that disappointment is constantly lurking in the dark every single day. The Save a Greek Stray shelter is glimpse of hope. A flickering light in the darkness.
I can only make it to the shelter once per week, and every time I come back home with the memory card of my camera full and the desire to shout out to the world: “What happens here every day cannot possibly be acknowledged as much as it deserves to be nor comprehended and absorbed by any human on earth”. I even managed to overcome my embarrassment, get in front of the camera and vlog about it. But even that looong video, where every corner of the shelter and many of the dogs are captured on camera, doesn’t cover not even the slightest bit of the shelter’s amazing work.
For every rescue video about an SGS dog, there are a dozen more pending. For every post or update on the page, there are a million things happening behind the scenes. And for every dog rescued in Greece, there are thousands that never make it.
I consider myself to me more than fortunate, because I was given the opportunity to help, the best way I know how to: with my tiny precious videocamera. This is what I can do. What you can do is up to you. You can spread the word, volunteer, adopt, share or donate. However, with or without our help, the shelter will always be there for the ones that need it the most. It will be the voice of the voiceless and the home of the homeless. It will be a mother and father for all the orphans, that may not make it to the illustrated pages of a coffee table book, but within the walls of that amazing place, they will keep getting their fifteen minutes of fame every day. Because they deserve it.