Friday, 15 July 2016

Clare's stay in Greece 2016- Part 4

GAWF blog 14th July 2016

I visited a couple, Ray and Lorna, who live in the south of the island.  I’d met them last year through my Greek language teacher and it was good to see them again and catch up with their life on the island.  They immerse themselves in the local community including working as a volunteer for the local cat charity.  They are very aware of the animal welfare issues in Greece and care very much about the animals, so it’s good to be able to talk to them about it and my work with GAWF.

It is fairly obvious from my dealings with the family of the dog that attacked Poppy that they won’t do anything different to ensure that the dog can’t attack again.  It was running loose one day in the port and tried to attack my friend, Hayley’s dog and she managed to repel it by kicking out at it.  I also heard a few days later that it attacked another female dog, too.  They still insist to me and everyone else that it’s a friendly dog and gets on well with other dogs.  I’m sure there will have been other incidents too, as there are many more dogs in the area whose owners I don’t know and therefore wouldn’t have heard of those attacks.

I continued to go out with the dogs, choosing areas I hoped it wouldn’t be roaming, and armed myself with the citronella spray, the bottle of stones, the water and in addition and a loud whistle that my friend brought out with her from England.  The whistle sounded like a fog horn but never mind, it was a loud noise!!  But it’s hard to relax fully.

It makes me concerned about going back again next year.  It seems such a shame that the island is so beautiful and offers everything I need and yet there is this worry hanging over me simply because people are too selfish to take steps to deal with the problem.  I spoke to Gaby, Dexter’s foster mother from the island of Aegina where Dexter comes from, and she said I should have taken photographs of the wounds and taken them to the police.  She said they would have gone to the owner and spoke to them which she said usually resolves the problem.  However, I didn’t take photos and therefore this option isn’t possible.  I also spoke to a British girl who lives and works on the island.  She said she usually carried a stick with her when walking her dogs. 

I didn’t come across any animal welfare cases whilst I was here, and of course was relieved about this.  Even finding the injured sparrow last year caused me a lot of anxiety not to mention nearly a day taken up in trying to rehabilitate it.  The north of the island is generally better than the south with regard to animal welfare, perhaps simply because it’s less populated but also many of the people there seem to be educated with regard to animals’ needs, so this is a blessing.

My last friend came and went.  She too loved the island and wants to go back with her family one day.  Very soon after she leaves, it’s time to leave this beautiful place.  With a heavy heart, I pack up eight weeks’ of belongings into the car and we set off on the 4 day journey back to the UK.  I’ve tried to improve my Greek whilst here (and think I’ve succeeded a little) but Stamatis in the local mini-market said to me with a smile ‘I hope when you return next year your Greek will be better!’  I replied ‘so do I’!

Goodbye Kefalonia, I hope to be back next year.

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