Next month Marlies Lade will be writing ‘Animal Talk’, because, as many readers are aware, Frith and I depart Paros shores for Australia in November. For those wondering who they can call now that the two most active volunteers are leaving - don’t panic - other listed volunteers will be available.
However, I must first tell you some happy endings, sad endings and say some heartfelt thank-yous :-
Happy Endings - (1) A large black street dog named ‘Skinny’ was rescued by Simone and Andreas and now has a loving home in Germany. Not only did these medical school students take Skinny, they are also taking Frith’s stray dog ‘Iris’ and ‘Plucky’ the cat as well.
(2) Christina Lohfink of Soho Shop Paroikia has taken an adorable puppy, rescued from Butterfly Valley in the summer, to Germany and also paid for a stray cat to be sterilised and vaccinated - Bravo Christina!
Sad Endings - (1) Frith is Leaving! What can I say? She has been my right hand for two years and has dedicated many hours of her time helping the cats and dogs of Paros on emergency call-outs, assisting the vet at each surgery and, in particular, in her commitment to first aid and the stray feeding programme. Of course, her first adopted, one-eyed stray is going with her - a truly lucky cat. I know that many people will appreciate, as I have, what a magnificent job she has done.
(2) Tragically, at the end of September, seven beautiful sterilised cats and two dogs were poisoned. The dog that it seems was the actual target was abducted, tortured to death and discarded in a field two days later. The perpetrator is now being taken to court.
Thank You to: Katharina Winzinger who generously campaigned German pet food companies and obtained a donation of 2 tonnes of cat and dog food for the winter stray feeding programme. PAWS is now trying to find a transporter who will deliver it free from Germany! Thanks also to Silvia Lubitz for collecting 15,000drs for Bruce (the three-legged cat). But, most of all, thank you to all those people who have given me their support and helped me over the last three years. Believe me it has been your words of encouragement that have kept me going for as long as I have.
It has taken me many months to resign myself to the fact that no matter how much I, or PAWS volunteers do, no major change will be seen until the Paros community unite by way of membership, volunteering, working together and becoming one ‘big voice’ for the cats and dogs. In particular we need to concentrate on education, law enforcement and the establishment of a first aid/spaying clinic with long-term veterinarian visits. Until this happens, problems will increase in proportion to the growing population of Paros. I hope and pray that attitudes will change and methods that are proven and humane will be adopted by everyone. All owners of cats or dogs and even those who simply put food out for strays, must do their bit by sterilising these animals to control over-population.
I will be concentrating on writing letters to politicians and larger welfare charities such as GAWF for assistance and funding. I invite any concerned citizens to write as well, as the more letters they receive, the more likely we are to get action.
The stray cats and dogs of Greece are a vast problem - but one with a solution - already groups are pulling in the same direction by running education campaigns for responsible ownership, organising neutering programmes and lobbying national and local government for support. There is still an enormous amount to do, but just neutering a single animal can make a huge difference.
Although I love the picturesque whitewashed buildings against the backdrop of the deep blue Aegean, the sunsets and no traffic lights - I am daily saddened, as are many tourists, by seeing the results of the heart-wrenching animal welfare situation as it stands. Frith and I chose to be there to help after owners chose not to take responsibility any more. I hope that more people choose to help. They may find that it changes their perspective and purpose in life, as it has ours, and shows us that life really is about ‘love’. I have been rewarded a thousand-fold by grateful animals. We must start caring more and give a little back to the community.
I mentioned last month that Tassos from Philozoiki spent 6 days working in the closed tourist information office from 24-29 Sept - 19 dogs and 25 cats were sterilised; 29 consultations and 4 operations were performed - everything from broken bones to tumour removals.
For an in-depth look at the work that PAWS is doing, view our new web page at www.rooks.co.uk/paws, or link to it from www.parosweb.com/paws.
I wish everyone a truly happy Christmas and a safe and joyous New Year.
‘PAWS’ for thought: “There are last things and things that last - Fate dealt me this hand and for that I am truly grateful”.
Vivienne (signing off - but not out!)
ANIMAL WELFARE CONTACT INFO
PAWS (Paros Animal Welfare Society)
National Bank of Greece a/c 455/74887423
Marlies Lade - Tel: 22495
Gina Saunders - Tel: 91859
Ricardo Sippl - Tel: 0944-506666/23307
Marilyn Metaxa - Tel: 51637 (for info)
Dimitris Vasilakis - Naxos Vet
Tel: 0285-23533 (surgery), 0285-23681 (home), 0944-278947 (mobile). Diagnosis by phone, sends medicines by next boat, payment to bank. Speaks English/ French.
Philozoiki (Elliniki Philozoiki Etairia)• Office: V.Sofias 115, 11521 Athens Tel: O1-6467-756/6411-783 (Contact Anna - a.m. only)
Tassos - Philozoiki Vet Tel:0944-556554 Fax: 01-6003-306 (speak Greek)
GAWF (Head Office)
Greek Animal Welfare Fund
1-2 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DN
Tel:+44-171-828-9736 Fax: 171-630-9816
Denis Ostler - Chairman
GAWF (Athens Office)
Karaiskaki 21, 153 41 Ag. Paraskevi
Tel: 0944-240222, Fax: 01-654-2464
Carol McBeth (GAWF veterinary nurse)
Friends of the Cat
(Greek Cat Welfare Society)
15a Amassias Street,Pangrati, 116 35 Athens
Mrs Servaki-Blackstone - President