I do not normally write about other countries. Nor do I write in first person. But this is a plea of high magnitude. I came across a situation, posted by an animal rescuer on her Facebook page. Sharon Hill, of Toto the Tiny Terror, accidentally stumbled upon a dire scene: an animal shelter near Volos, Greece, housing upward of 250 dogs, recently cut off by government aid. The 70 year old woman Demitra, who cares for all the dogs, has been struggling to feed these precious souls.
Demitra has been saving dogs in Greece for about 40 years, in a country that does not view animals the way America does. She was receiving little government aid but since the recent elections, she no longer does. Demitra is attempting to take care of 250 dogs on her small pension.
Sharon Hill has visited the animal shelter and the situation is overwhelming. Dogs are starving to death and producing puppies. Like most animal lovers, Demitra is feeding the dogs before herself and so she is also in need. But even among the heartbreak, Sharon states she “was nervous at first, being in with so many hungry dogs but truly the worst they did was demand too much love”.
The immediate need is to save these dogs’ lives and stop them from procreating. With donation money, Sharon has bought dog food at a little, local pet store, so little that Sharon cleared the shelves and had to request more.
And to add insult to injury, the government has shut off the water to the shelter. Demitra is relying on one well to provide water for her and 250 dogs.
It has turned into a community effort, an animal rescue community, to come up with a long-term plan for this woman to continue saving the dogs of Greece. There is nothing solid yet. I have been thinking about these dogs nonstop since I saw the postings on Facebook. This is my little contribution: to spread the word. There has to be a solution. This elderly woman must feel so alone, in a country that does not view animals the way we do: as long time, loving companions.
Surely there is someone out there with a solution?
Please save your judgment. Greece does not operate the way the U.S. does. As far as they are concerned, strays are to be poisoned. I know it can be hard to understand how another country operates and how easy it is for us to place our own experience with our own country on to another. But I have heard from multiple sources who either live in Greece or once lived in Greece, that the country simply does not care about animals.
But Demitra and Sharon do. And they need us. 250 dogs need us. Will you stand up and help?
Please visit Peanut’s Place of Promise for more information.
“A good exercise for the heart is bending down and helping someone to get up.” Proverbs
Update 9/18/12: Sharon Hill has adopted one of the dogs from the shelter. Donations have slowed and are still needed. Hill makes frequent trips to the shelter with food, toys and supplies but feeding 250 dogs is a large job for two individuals. Many charities have been contacted by Hill and myself but either they are unable to help or never responded.