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. I was taught the right way to handle it, and I’ve been doing it ever since. For others, it came even easier and for some others a bit harder, but more or less most of us were guided through the right way to handle a rescue by someone who had already done it before.
But there are some people who simply knew what to do since day one. People like Thalia, who has never had no charity to back her up, promote the dogs for adoption or help her with any expenses. She does it all by herself, has never asked for any help and never actually believed she deserved receiving help by anyone. She just does what she thinks she’s supposed to do: she rescues, neuters and cares too much. And she does it all from the heart.
Thalia has been rescuing dogs since forever. When I met her, years ago, she was already “the one who collects dogs from the street”, “the crazy one”. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely not a hoarder. But this is the reaction you get from most people when you’re a rescuer. And this is the reaction she gets too, even though she’s very much appreciated by friends and colleagues for her job and her accomplishments in the business world. But when it comes to the dogs, she’s just the “crazy lady”. Like most of us. We’re good at appreciating each other, but when it comes to being appreciated by friends and family, we simply lose the battle.
Living in Greece and being fond of dogs (or cats) can easily result to this scenario: you end up having ten, twenty or even more dogs to take care of in no time. Thalia has reached the number of eighteen dogs. Not purebred, cute, white fluffy sweethearts anyone would want to foster, but mix breed, adult, typical Greek strays. You see, she’s the one who picks the dogs nobody else would -the dogs that won’t get hundreds of shares or dozens of adoption petitions. She picks the ones that are most likely to be spending the rest of their lives at home with her – and these are the ones she loves the most.
Each and every one of them has an awe-inspiring story to tell, but yet they never made it to social media not did they got millions of views on Youtube, due to lack of time, knowledge or whatever it takes to have thousands of people say “God bless you for saving this soul”. Thalia has probably never heard a “God bless you” by anyone so far, but she knows the sory of each and every one of her rescue babies, and she can narrate it as if it is something very special – and it actually is.
For every dog in the photos, there are about five more I have no pictures of or I never met. And for all of them Thalia has been the only hope they ever had. Some were found dumped in garbage bins as babies, others recovered from the streets severely emaciated or very sick. Many have suffered terrible accidents and were left to suffer agonizing deaths on the street. Each and every one has a story – an amazing story, and Thalia has been for too long the only one available to listen to them, care for them and help them become the amazing, loving and social animals they are today.
A few months ago I was finally able to help her, and to help those amazing dogs she thought they never stood a chance of becoming a family pet. We took our cameras and our “know how”, visited her house, photographed the dogs, listened to their stories and decided to give all of them a chance to be adopted. Most of those amazing dogs are for adoption by SCARS, and from now on, they will not be alone, and neither will Thalia. Pela, Catrin, Potro, Julie, Diana and all the rest have come under our care, and we believe that they can make a family out there happy – because they’re all amazing.
For every one of her dogs that is adopted, another one can take its place. Because she won’t stop, and neither will we. There are so many out there waiting for a chance to be seen and taken in by someone, that adopting one, actually equals rescuing two: the one that goes home, and the new one that is taken in. This is what we do, and this is what Thalia does. This is what she said to me the last time I saw her: “I wish they can be adopted so I can take in another one. There are so many out there”.