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I immediately booked another flight to Corfu, determined now to find Kali and her puppies and somehow I would rescue them all. But during the two weeks between then and my flight Kali stopped coming to be fed. When I flew back to Corfu she hadn’t been seen for over a week. For a week I searched, I called, I covered every inch of the area she was last seen but there was no trace, no sign of her. She was gone, and I can only assume that she didn’t make it. I had let her down. I was her only hope and I failed her.
Some time soon after, Diane called me and asked if I might be interested in fostering or adopting a Greek dog that had come from near Athens. She was currently fostering the dog so she brought him down so that I could meet him. That dog was Zorba who had been sent from Markopoulo shelter near Athens. Zorba came on trial and very quickly I decided that he would stay, so when I adopted him Diane asked if I would email some photos of and an update to the man who was taking care of the dogs at the shelter, an English volunteer called Paul. So I did, and we got chatting by email…and when he next came back to the UK he came to visit Zorba….and the rest is history!!
The Markopoulo shelter where Paul was volunteering was closing down and there were just over 100 resident dogs needing homes. We managed to find new families for 57 of those dogs in the UK, with the others going to homes in Holland and Germany. Once the shelter closed for good Paul came to live with me permanently – by then our furry family had grown to 6 dogs as every time he came back he seemed to bring me another one!
In the years since we have devoted every spare minute of our lives to helping Greek animals as much as we can, by rehoming, fostering, fundraising, travelling out to Greece to escort dogs to new homes, organising sterilising campaigns with our local vets who came to Greece free of charge to neuter strays; anything we could do to help the animals and the wonderful animal rescuers who work so hard in often impossible conditions in Greece. When the opportunity came to be able to assume the running of CARAT when Gwen decided it was finally time to enjoy a retirement at the age of 95 we were delighted to grab the offer with both hands! So now, as a UK registered charity with a wonderful and loyal supporter base, we can offer even more practical help to even more people and even more animals. We would both like to extend our eternal gratitude to Gwen for the chance she gave us and the trust she put into us to carry her dream forward into the future and we hope we make her proud.
For me, every animal saved, every animal given their chance in life, every unwanted birth prevented, every animal who gets to experience safety, love and care is my tribute, and my apology to Kali. If I knew then what I know now, if I had the contacts then that I have now she would have been saved, she need never have died. All I can do in her memory is to make sure that as many as possible get the chance she didn’t get and by working towards sterilising as many strays as we can I also hope we can prevent future generations of unwanted and unloved animals being born to a short life of suffering…and by educating people perhaps one day the outlook for animals in Greece will not be so bleak.
Until that day we have a lot of work to do……..
Registered Office: 32 Cobden Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN114BD
For general enquiries, correspondence, membership etc. please contact: Linda Manley-Bird, 32 Cobden Road, Worthing, Sussex BN11 4BD
Saving Greek Animals is the slogon of Caring for the Animals Trust, registered charity number 1091152