Maddie and I have rescued many dogs over the past few years in Greece. If I see a dog that is lost, hurt, confused, or scared I will always go out of my way to help it. It is at times very emotional because I get attached to the dogs I save. Luckily every dog I have saved has found a happy home. Here are some of their stories:
The first dog we saved we named Hunter and he has a special place in my heart. I was on holiday with my sister on the Greek island Antiparos and as I was driving my sister yelled "STOP!" We got out and saw a dog chained to a rock under the scorching sun, starving to death and totally dehydrated. He was skin and bones. We started to wave to cars passing by to help us. No one stopped. We found a way to smash the chain and free him. We put the dog in my car and drove him to the house we were renting. From that moment on my sister took the best care of Hunter, she took him to the vet who told her that he would have died had she not saved him. He explained that some awful hunters on the islands leave dogs to die if they don’t hunt well. So my sister named this dog Hunter. Hunter gained weight quickly and became a gorgeous dog. My sister spent the entire holiday taking care of him and then took him by boat to Athens, and then flew with him to Paris where our dear family friend adopted him. Hunter now lives in the French countryside with horses and a loving owner.
One dog I loved dearly and had the hardest time parting with is named Milla. At the time I could not keep a second dog. I was volunteering at a dog shelter in Greece when I first saw her. She was very timid. She was the only dog who wouldn’t eat at feeding times because she was too shy to come forward. I asked if I could take her and the dog shelter said yes since it was overcrowded and underfunded. Milla was scared of everyone except my husband and me. She got along well with Maddie, she respected Maddie and they never had a problem. I spayed her and kept her with us for 4 months, all the while looking for a good home. One day a friend of mine took Maddie and Milla for a walk. My friend called to tell me she had lost Milla on the walk! She let the dogs off their leash and Milla ran away. I jumped into my car. I drove around the whole area where Milla was lost with all my windows open screaming at the top of my lungs, "MILLA! MILLA! MILLA!" I saw a little park and turned in. Miraculously I found Milla there shaking and hiding in a bush. She ran to me and jumped in my arms. About a month later I found an amazing woman who really wanted to adopt her. I drove 2 hours to meet the woman. She was a wonderful and kind person and so I left Milla in her care. I called Milla's new mom a few times a day for a month asking if Milla was ok and if she seemed sad. The woman assured me that Milla was happy and that she was taking great care of her. One day I decided to stop calling. Recently I reconnected with Milla's mom on Facebook and asked her if Milla was still alive. She is alive, healthy and very happy.
PUPPIES, PUPPIES and MORE PUPPIES
When I was eight months pregnant I was waiting for my husband in the car when I saw a puppy shepherd mix trying to cross a highway. I coaxed him to me and carried him back to the car. When my husband appeared a few minutes later he was really surprised. A few weeks later we found him a home in a family with kids.
Another time I saw a puppy in a garbage can, I also took him but gave him to my mother in law because I had two babies at home. He was adopted by our friends and lives with 5 other dogs in the countyside!
Here in Athens I saw a teeny puppy walking on a busy road and no cars were stopping to help her. So obviously I stopped and picked her up. I took her to my vet immediately. She was all black with bright blue eyes. My vet called a lady whose dog had died recently, she came to see this little puppy and adopted it on the spot! They called me to thank me, saying she helped them heal with the grief of their old dog passing.
GOLDIE AND HER 8 PUPPIES
Most recently, I saved a mommy dog with her 8 puppies. This rescue was difficult on many levels. I walk Maddie in the same Athens park every morning. One day a golden colored dog came to me. She was waiting for me the next morning at the entrance. It was as if she wanted to show me something so I followed her. When I reached her hiding place, eight puppies ran yelping and jumping up on me. I couldn’t believe it. It was winter. I couldn’t take nine dogs home because I already have three dogs and two kids. I contacted every dog refuge in Athens. No one wanted them. I went back to feed the dogs twice a day. I brought them blankets to keep warm and some plastic houses. My kids helped every afternoon. We grew to love the puppies and especially the mom. We named her Goldie and the puppies all had names too. One afternoon we found a dead puppy. Maybe someone had killed it or maybe it was poisoned. I called the Animal Society and told them to come immediately. They came right away and took the puppies. THEY LEFT THE MOM BEHIND. We cried a lot that night. Goldie was the best mom and we felt so sorry for her. In the morning I begged the Animal Society to come for the mom and they agreed. So Goldie was reunited with her kids! They stayed in a pretty dog shelter where they had a huge garden to run around in, and they were warm at night. By springtime they all had found homes. Goldie was adopted by a very special person who loves her like she deserves. I went to visit the puppies and Goldie a few times. When Goldie sees me she hugs me and stares into my eyes like the first time I saw her and she led me to her puppies. We went through a lot together.
Every dog in the world deserves to be loved and respected. You can always make a difference. Every act of kindness matters.
Maddie and I both love to walk. We have walked in the mountains and in the countryside. We walked by the sea, and in many beautiful cities around the world. In Paris, we have been to all the parks, as well as the many enchanting forests surrounding the city. Maddie likes to run in forests, whereas I just feel connected to nature.
We always walk early in the morning. The air is the cleanest, the beaches are empty, the paths are fresh, and the cities are just waking up. That is how we start each day, by taking a long walk. Taking your dog for a walk is one of the best parts of having a dog!!
We walk and we breathe. The nature walks are my favorite, it’s the best way for me to start my day. I feel so invigorated and refreshed. When I travel to a new city I like to explore by seeing it in the early hours. There is a unique energy as each new day begins.
Maddie and I walk fast. We do this out of habit. I do it for exercise and she does it because she can. We say hi to friendly faces, to other dogs we know, but we don’t usually stop and chat. We are really into our walks and only a super cute puppy or a lost dog will stop us. Helping lost and stray dogs is a whole other blog though.
During the walks Maddie will often pick up a stick and carry it in her mouth for an hour. She holds her head and tail high, and always checks if I am watching her. When we make eye contact she shows me that she is proud by holding her head and tail even higher. Sometimes the sticks are twice her size but she is determined and will never drop them.
My family always owned dogs. I grew up with dogs. But they were not really my dogs. I loved them, I played with them, and I was happy to have them at home. I never took care of them. Until you take care of a dog you don’t realize what you mean to that animal. You are its everything. This is how Maddie became my everything and I became hers.
I was in my 20s, in between jobs, single, and did not have any children yet. Maybe I was lonely, maybe I wanted a change, or a companion. Probably all three. I started researching dog breeds online. I always liked Parson Russell Terriers, they are small enough to travel with and I did a lot of traveling then, but have the personality of a big dog. I spoke with a breeder in Connecticut. She told me she had a really small puppy, a female, with a spunky personality. Did I want her?
I looked at her picture long and hard. I thought about it for days. This was a huge decision, a commitment to care for a puppy. Was I ready? I felt sure that I was. I said yes to the breeder. And I was thrilled with excitement. The night before I met Maddie, I knew my life would change forever, and it did.
It was love at first sight. She was so cute, she smelled like only puppies do, she was soft and cuddly, and when she looked at me with her big brown eyes that looked like they had eyeliner on them I felt bliss. I knew that I would be responsible for her well being, and later on when she went through her silly puppy phase, for keeping her alive! From that moment on Maddie never left my side, I took her everywhere with me.