Gina Saunders asked me to write Animal Talk this month, since she managed to tear herself away from her beloved pets to go to England for a couple of weeks. Actually, Gina and I are related - my Giant Schnauzer is the bouncing (literally!) baby boy of her pair of Schnauzers (is that nepotism?!)
Being the newest board member of PAWS, I’m getting a fresh appreciation of the effort that goes into such a society. The time, hard work and dedication devoted by PAWS officers is remarkable. When Gina took over as President, she had the daunting task of its reorganization, the re-focusing of PAWS’ goals and restructuring of its policies. My hat is off to her for being such an efficient and strong leader (not to mention BRAVE!). She has all our respect. To Gina!
As with any organization, we occasionally hear criticism, usually from people who don’t have the full picture. I’d like to put some perspective on this. Although intentions are always good in any new endeavour, mistakes are often made. Already PAWS has learned valuable lessons from past mistakes, although we realize that there is still much to be done. The progress being made regarding the strays on Paros reminds me of how it used to be. I remember when I first came to live here ten years ago - what a desperate situation the strays were in then.
Sitting in front of my store for many hours, I observed hordes of them and their plight. There were so many more of them and very often they were skinny, sickly, sometimes with gaping wounds. A minority of individuals tried to help where they could, but without the power of unity, it was a drop in the bucket. The numbers of strays have now been greatly reduced through the efforts of PAWS and The Friends of The Cat in their sterilization programs. Also, because of their work vaccinating, feeding and general care, Paros cats and dogs now also look so much healthier.
I have also enjoyed the benefits of PAWS’ efforts with my own two dogs. Six years ago, while I waited to go to Athens to get my collie sterilized, she “blessed” me with 7 puppies! Last year I had my schnauzer sterilized at minimal cost through the PAWS-sponsored vet from Philozoiki, the animal welfare society in Athens.
The Friends of the Cat society from Athens are also absolutely wonderful with their support in periodically sending us a vet. In view of financial problems in Friends of the Cat, however, PAWS will have to revise sterilization charges in the future to cover their costs. During the last vet’s visit (Feb 16-20) the cost to sterilize a female cat was 10,000 drs and a male cat was 5,000 drs.
News of our situation is also being carried abroad. Recently, at one of our gatherings, we had a visitor from Switzerland - Christoph Beiner, who is a member of Greenpeace. During his cycling tour of Greece, he has visited many other animal societies and is collecting information on the stray animals in Greece. He intends to give a report to the Bridget Bardot animal society. So, help may be coming from that direction in the future. For now, the stray situation in Paros is light years ahead of where it used to be, thanks to our local animal societies. I’ve seen the progress with my own eyes and hope you have too. We are happy for, and dependent upon, your continued support.
Finally, don’t forget the PAWS fundraising bazaar at the Tourist Info Center at the port on March 31st/April 1st.
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.