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The suffering of one dog is too much for an animal lover to accept. The suffering of a million is almost unfathomable. The BBC reported recently on the dogs of Greece, becoming victims of homelessness and hunger, following years of financial crisis in the country:
“There are more than a million strays in Greece because people are simply abandoning pets they can no longer afford to keep”
Brian Davies led the Network for Animals team into action, rented a van and set to work. We initially discovered stray dogs, wearing collars in the centre of Athens. These dogs effectively ‘belong’ to the city. They are neutered and cared for by city officials, good samaritans, and tourists who visit the areas around the Acropolis, and generally appear to be in good health.
The real issue is on the outskirts, where there are no tourists or city officials to support the dogs. Out here, it was clear that the scale of the problem hadn’t been overstated. In these areas, the dogs roam abandoned industrial parks, old factories, and in struggling neighbourhoods. They are hungry, homeless, and often in need of medical attention.
We teamed up with volunteers from ‘Ghost Dogs of Aspropyrgos‘ who were doing their absolute best, with very limited resources to feed hungry animals, take care of their veterinary needs, and offer hope to animals facing overwhelming circumstances. Every day the volunteer group feed more than 300 starving dogs.
Our volunteer team formed at an abandoned shopping mall and set to work. 80 locations were covered – a pack of roughly four dogs clinging to life in each. This small canine group is the closest thing to a family that most will now experience, many of these dogs having been abandoned by their human families before the financial crisis hit.
Network for Animals have committed a total of 50,000 Euros over the next five years to provide:
- Dog food for volunteer feeders who have seen their wages cut in half and cannot afford to feed the dogs from their own pockets.
- Veterinary support, for poor dogs like Choco below, who would have died from parasitic infection without our medicines.
- Assistance in adopting these dogs to other countries, where they can find a loving forever home, and never know loss again.
The dogs’ love of affection reminded us of the lives they might once have had. Many will once have known homes, and loving owners. They now live on the streets and are completely dependent on human generosity. Network for Animals need to do more, and with your support, we will. Please make a donation and help support the ghost dogs of Greece.
For volunteering, please email us your name, address and personal details, and confirm that you will be able to provide your own transport to Greece, as well as food and hotels/hostels. Being able to drive and hire a car is also incredibly useful, as the areas covered are remote.
Please also email us if you are from the UK and interested in adopting a dog from Greece or joining a fostering program, run in conjunction with Greek Animal Rescue.