Operation GreekSTRAYS


Why set up Operation GreekSTRAYS?  Living in Greece, I have realised that there is a huge need towards animal welfare and the general plight of stray animals within Greece.  With this in mind, I have decided to set up Operation GreekSTRAYS which could be viewed by some as impractical, some might even think it's impossibe, crazy or utterly stupid!  But if you are passionate about something that is close to your heart, then you will try and explore all options available, besides car-boot sales and market stall sales, to try and raise the much needed funds. This would help to alleviate the suffering, and the desperate need for the continuation of sterilization and neutering, and even more importantly, to continue to feed many starving strays.  My mission is to raise funds to help the cause of animal welfare of all GreekSTRAYS in this area.
Through social media, newspapers, communications and being aware of what is actually happening in Greece, one just cannot understand the desperate help needed for the plight of GreekSTRAYS.  It happens in other countries too, but my focus is on where I live.  Stories are horrific, images are heartbreaking and the questions I keep asking myself is why?  How can people behave in this appalling way to a helpless creature and inflict horrific pain and suffering is just totally beyond me. Through many networking channels, one becomes aware of how many people are asking for financial assistance towards veterinary fees, towards re-homing and towards help in general.  Astonishingly everything is higher priced than in Europe and the U.K.  In some cases one was expected to pay between 80 - 120 Euros to sterilize a cat!  Luckily for me, I have managed to secure a good deal with a sympathetic vet, not too far away. 
With the economic crisis, certain people cannot afford to feed or keep their pets. Many animals are being dumped and binned. Rescuing the plights of cries from wastebins is an ongoing battle.  There is no control. Within the area that I live, new strays regularly appear.  New arrivals are always blamed on another island or the capital Athens, bringing them over during the night or dumping them when they visit this area.  As a result, puppies are born, who if lucky can be saved, if not, they are binned, drowned, suffocated or just abandoned.  When the dogs or cats become a 'problem', they are then poisoned.  The pain any animal endures when poisoned must be horrific, the Greeks themselves refer to this ritual as the 'Poison Chalice', and this practice continues year after year by certain people.
Greece is a beautiful country and the climate is one of the best.  But the country has a bad reputation in terms of animal welfare.  Many tourists have vowed never to return, as they cannot bear to see the conditions or cruelty inflicted upon these strays.  Or having no-one to turn to in getting help for these strays if they do find an animal in distress.  The local municipalities have a duty and responsibility towards the plight of GreekSTRAYS.  However, for whatever reason, it just does not happen.
We chose to live in Greece for whatever reasons.  However, not until you actually live in a country can you totally appreciate what actually goes on. When we travel the world, like most visitors, we get a snapshot of what goes on.  Mainly we only see and remember the good, however, we do also witness some tragic situations.  
Even in the area that we live, I have been the victim of horrible verbal abuse, as a result of animal welfare.  Can I ever forgive these people for what they did to me?  Maybe in time, I will.   There is forgiveness in my heart towards them, but if I did forgive, I do not think I could totally forget.  They were very cruel and harmed the animals.  Words alone cannot describe what it actually did to me at the time.  It is one of the reasons why I wish to build the first animal 'home' in this area, to provide a safe haven for GreekSTRAYS.  
There are many charities in Greece, and I believe there are charities in other countries that are trying to support the plight of GreekSTRAYS.  Sadly many of these charities have their own problems, and also need help and support too.  But I have found that many charities often tend to look after their own, and rarely help others, due to financial constraints.  However, many charities do work hard, but lack the resources of foster homes, money, and lack of people to support the cause. Many might verbally express a concern towards a Greek stray and state that they are animal lovers.  But when you ask them to do something to help, they then keep quiet or find an excuse.  I remember a couple who complained of actually spending 3 Euros a week on 6 tins of cat food.  At the time, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  
I know through social media there is a wealth of sharing, supporting and inspiring whoever and for whatever reasons.  I am quite lucky that I have had the opportunity to meet some great people.  All from various parts of the world and not necessarily passionate about animal welfare either.  Some with extremely high professional backgrounds, who I admire dearly, and some super friends who have been supportive with some of my needs in terms of animal welfare.  With this, I get an excitement that tells me that with Operation GreekSTRAYS there is a good chance of success, as I will get support from many, but it will take time to evolve.  There is so much money in the world, yet with the plight of stray animals, they are often overlooked.   
"Only if we understand can we care.  Only if we care will we help.  Only if we help shall they be saved" ~ Jane Goodall 
Picture Gallery
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