Helping the cats and dogs of Greece
International Animal Rescue has teamed up with Tapestry Holidays who specialise in providing high quality holidays to Greece and Turkey and the outstandingly beautiful Pelion Peninsula in mainland Greece.
On 11 April 2003 IAR sent a five person team to carry out a cat and dog sterilisation project. The project was in response to a plea for help from an IAR supporter, Susie Barber, who had visited the area with Tapestry Holidays and was very disturbed by the plight of the animals. The team flew into the military base at Volos and travelled to the mountain village of Argalasti. We had previously made contact with the Greek Animal Welfare Society (GAWS) in Athens who introduced us to their local contact Jarka Okreskova, who works tirelessly to improve the lives of animals in her area. Jarka’s small house was turned into a field surgery with kitchen tables set up for the operations. Local builders donated bricks to raise the tables to a comfortable height. Outbuildings were turned into waiting rooms and the lounge became a recovery ward. It wasn’t long before the first patients began to pour in. Each animal received a complete veterinary inspection. As well as sterilisation, our vets carried out eye operations, tooth extractions, treatment of wounds and provided flea and worming treatments.
All animals were kept for a period of time to allow them to recover from the Vicky showing Andrew from Tapestry the finer points of an operation anaesthetic. After a final check they were released. During the week more than 100 cats and 20 dogs were successfully sterilised and treated. The local people were very supportive of our efforts and several invited the team for evening meals, which were very much appreciated. The team were overwhelmed by the hospitality shown to them.
We hope we can return to the area as there are still many animals needing our help. We believe that a long term sterilisation programme is the only effective way of creating a stable healthy population of stray dogs and cats. The current regime of poisoning causes acute suffering to the dogs and cats and causes a vacuum that is simply filled the following year. Our method of steady controlled sterilisation is the only long term solution for the humane control of these animals.
A big thank you to... Tapestry Holidays for donating the flights and providing excellent accommodation at the Agamemnon Hotel. Also to the Zoubou family, who own the hotel and made us so welcome, Andrew Yolanda and all of the local Tapestry team for their wonderful support. British Midland Airways for waiving their excess baggage charge for all our veterinary equipment and cat baskets. Jarka and the people of Pelion. Carol McBeth of GAWS in Athens. Sarah Hope-Walker for once again sponsoring the cost of the veterinary drugs and for her total belief in the aims of the project! The team of volunteers: Billy Thompson, Vicky Wolfe MRCVS, Candice McGregor MRCVS, Emily Bakry Veterinary Nurse.