Stray cats in need of help, in Souda, Crete

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We have been contacted by a lovely lady who lives in Souda, Crete.

She is looking after a group of stray cats in the area of her home, that unfortunately are under threat of being poisoned. Already she has lost a number of the group to this awful fate.

She is relocating back to the UK in the upcoming months and is desperatly looking for someone who help her relocate these cats, or adopt 1 or 2…

If anyone knows someone that could help her, or give her some advise please get in touch with her on the below phone numbers… She has a Greek number and a english number.

Below is a couple of photos of the cats…

Tel: Greece ‪6947430432‬ or uk ‪+44 07340909466‬)

sitianimalrescueStray cats in need of help, in Souda, Crete
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New shelter update

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We would like to share an update as to how everything is coming along after our big fundraiser, for the purchase of land to build a new shelter.

We are happy to announce, that after all the help from you all, and every single euro that was donated and raised, we have been able to purchase the field! The sale is finally complete and the land is now ours 100% …… we can now build our dream shelter!

We are now in the process of getting quotes to carry out the work and buy the building supplies that we need, but we are a big step closer to it becoming a reality. And it would never have been possible if each and every one of you had not shown us soo much support, and donated what you could towards our goal.

When the lockdown is over we will load some photos of the field, but for now here is teh contact showing that sitia animal rescue now owns the field!!

sitianimalrescueNew shelter update
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Virus update

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Firstly we are sorry to have ben offline for a while, we have experienced some technical issues beyond our control.

It has been a hard few months for us all, not just the people that volunteer at our shelter, but the people that give up there time and energy to care for the many street cats and dogs as well.

Some people have not been able to get out and care for the stray animals that they normal visit daily as often, and others have found they have more strays to care for.

At the shelter we were worried that we would not be able get to the shelter, that we may have been stopped by a police check, but with help from Dimos we were issued papers that meant we were able to carry on as close to normal as we can. And we have had volunteers there every day, for feeding, cleaning and socialising.

One of our main concerns has been food. Would we have enough if things became worse? With adoptions being at an all time low, due to quaratntine and no travelling. There was big concerns that deliveries would not be able to get through, or even that they may not be food being brought to the island at all. And with over 70 dogs at the shelter and numerous strays living on the streets, a relying on us more than ever for their food and care, to say we were worried is putting it mildly.

but in our time of need, our friends and supporters were there for us and we can not thank you enough.

We have had donations of dry adult and puppy food, dry powdered puppy milk and some very high quality puppy food.

Our supplies are now full, to hopefully see us through the rest of this storm. Thankyou to everyone who has shown us love and support in these hard times, please continue to help us to help the animals, and if you go for a walk, maybe take a handful of food with you, the strays of our town and surrounding villages would appreciate.

sitianimalrescueVirus update
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Big news…

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English below…

Είμαστε στην παρά πολύ ευχάριστη θέση να σας ανακοινώσουμε, ότι σήμερα ολοκληρώθηκε η αγορά οικοπέδου για την κατασκευή νέου καταφυγίου .

Μέσα στον επόμενο μήνα θα ολοκληρωθεί και η κατάθεση του φακέλου για την χρηματοδότηση μέσο του προγράμματος Leader για το οποίο έχουμε ήδη κάνει σημαντικά βήματα και απομένουν κάποιες λεπτομέρειες .

Ένα όνειρο ζωής της προέδρου μας Δέσποινας Κουνελακης και όλων των μελών του συλλόγου μας , για την παροχή στα ζώα που βοηθάμε ενός χώρου όπου θα μπορούν να έχουν την ασφάλεια και την φροντίδα που τους αξίζει όσο παραμένουν στην φροντίδα μας .

Δεν θα μπορούσαμε να πραγματοποιήσουμε αυτό το όνειρο μας χωρίς την στήριξη όλων αυτών που μας βοήθησαν με την γεναιοδωρία τους και που πίστεψαν μαζί με εμάς ότι οι ζωές των ζώων μετράνε , ότι τους αξίζει κάτι καλύτερο και ότι όλοι μαζί μπορούμε …

Από τα βάθη της καρδιάς μας σας ευχαριστούμε όλους …!!!

We are very pleased to announce that today we completed the purchase of land for the construction of a new shelter .

Within the next month, the submission of the dossier for funding will also be completed through the Leader programme, for which we have already taken important steps and just some last details remain.

It has been a lifelong dream of our president Despina Kounelaki and all the members of our association, to provide the animals we help a place where they can have the safety and care they deserve while they remain in our care .

We could not have made this dream come true without the support of all those who helped us with their generosity and who believed with us that animal lives matter , that they deserve better and that together we can …

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you all …!!!

sitianimalrescueBig news…
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We have taken down the fundraiser page, as we have exciting news that we will be sharing with you all very soon!!

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated, shared or come to one of our fundraiser events….. the show of support from all of you has been amazing and we thank you on behalf of ourselves and all the animals we care for.

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A poem to my foster dog…

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I am the bridge,
Between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life

I am made of mush,
Because my heart melted when i saw you,
Matted and sore, limping, depressed
lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand.
I will love you with my whole heart.
I will make you whole.

I am made of steel.
Because when the time comes,
When you are well, and sleek,
When your eyes shine,
And your tail wags with joy,
Then comes the hard part.

I will let you go – not without a tear.
But without a regret.
For you are safe forever –
A new dog needs me now……..

By Diana Morgan.

Photograph by Nikos Pandermalis

sitianimalrescueA poem to my foster dog…
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Neutering/Sterilisation of stray animals For 3 days at the end of January, (27,28 & 29), Sitia Animal Rescue, working with vets from Förderverein Arche Noah Kreta, ran a sterilisation programme which, focused on cats, was extremely successful. Volunteers (Greek, English and, on the third day, German) managed to catch 113 cats which were neutered by the vet from Arche Noah. 15 dogs were also neutered, and may now be rehomed. These sessions are hugely important, both in keeping the numbers of strays down, and ensuring that stray animals are healthy – they are given a health check while they are anaesthetised. During 2019 nearly 500 cats & dogs were neutered. This is a great achievement for all concerned!

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Self awareness

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Why are some animals self aware and others not? What is self awareness? Which animals are self aware?
I know, I am deviating off my brief on this one and I hope Sara will forgive me but I was recently involved in a discussion where it became obvious that there is virtually no understanding of this topic and the ramifications are rather important for humans.
 Some primates, elephants, some whales and some dolphins are considered to be self aware and you may ask why should we take any notice?
Well being self aware means that you pass the mirror test. This is designed to show whether you recognise yourself instead of believing that the image is in fact another animal. It may sound a  crude test but it does show that certain species have a level of intelligence beyond that which we accept.
In 2007 an American lawyer Steven Wise founded the non human rights project.(NhRP) and in 2013 he sought to change the status of animals that were self aware from property to that of persons. This in effect would have meant that none of these animals could be kept in cages, all whales and dolphins in captivity would have to be released along with all elephants and primates. In reality it meant that all animals of these species in captivity must be moved where possible to a sanctuary providing them with a natural lifestyle or released where possible back into the wild and just importantly none of these animals could ever be captured again.
The legal case was turned into a documentary called Unlocking the Cage released in 2016 and whilst the case was lost it has promoted calls for a greater understanding of animal rights. There have even been suggestions that keeping these animals for commercial gain contravenes anti slavery legislation. After all, if an animal is aware that what is happening is unnatural and that animal is caused distress……
Now I have no doubt that this sort of legislation won’t pass in my lifetime but maybe in the lifetime of some of the younger readers it could happen.
Now before anybody says “no way” think about the progress I have seen, the introduction of the assistance dog, behaviourism, canine roles in the military, therapy dogs, opposition to wearing fur, legislation on animal welfare rights, the advent of the microchip, animals are rarely kept in cages even in zoos, safari parks provide a natural habitat but most of all, we as a species have developed a far greater understanding of the intelligence that abounds in the animal kingdom and who knows how many more animals will be found to be self aware.
What’s more, how much can we learn from the animals that we subjugate?




Here gentlemen a dog teaches us a lesson in humanity

Napoleon Bonaparte.
He was saved by a Newfoundland dog after falling overboard from a ship.
(Napoleon Bonaparte couldn’t swim!)

sitianimalrescueSelf awareness
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Best Christmas ever!!!

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Details have been changed to preserve anonymity.

One of the consequences of my line of work was to hear peoples personal stories some of which were sad, some very emotional, some evocative and some inspirational.
This was Sharon’s story.
Sharon was a young lady probably in her late teens with a bubbly personality and she would have been memorable if for nothing else for her arrival in my office with her dog Doogle who needed no training whatsoever!! Rather unusual for a professional trainer and behaviourist!!
She explained that she had taken Doogle from the local shelter and immediately formed a close bond. Training him to fit into her lifestyle was no problem and it was quite obvious that this lady was a natural dog handler. He was a hairy rather nondescript dog who had been in the shelter for over a year. Due to his ordinary appearance he was constantly overlooked by prospective owners until Sharon came along.
He was extremely well behaved, his shaggy coat was well groomed and his lead and collar were obviously good quality. Sharon was a lady who took her responsibilities seriously and spent her lesson grilling me on a variety of subjects from feeding, grooming, activity toys, exercise, travelling, competition obedience, agility, in fact just about anything regarding Doogles welfare. The questions were all prepared in advance and were all carefully written down so that nothing was forgotten. Finally with her list of questions all dealt with we chatted for a while and I just casually asked her if she was ready for Christmas which was imminent.
Her reply went something like this.
 “It’s going to be the best Christmas ever!! “
Maybe a week in the Seychelles or a few days at a luxury hotel I thought. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Yes we will go for a long walk on the beach in the morning, followed by a Marks and Spencer microwavable Christmas dinner balanced on my lap with no washing up followed by both of us on the sofa watching the telly, me with a box of chocolates and Doogle with a dog treat”
I must admit this didn’t appear on my 10 most decadent ways to spend Christmas and it must have showed on my face.
Sharon explained and all became clear.
For her entire life this time of the year was spent doing exactly the same thing.
Each Christmas her parents either hosted Christmas day or visited other family members and the entire day followed exactly the same ritual.
Dinner, followed by the washing up, the Queens speech on the tv  and finally endless games of cards. Nobody went for a walk,  anything on the tv was forbidden apart from the address to the nation by Her Majesty and worst of all; no pets. All this was made worse by the fact that ever since she could walk Sharon only wanted one thing in life. A dog.
Unfortunately her parents didn’t approve.
Dogs, they informed her were dirty, smelly, hairy creatures that had fleas, carried disease and bit people!!
It appeared that Sharon had left home, got a job, was living in a bedsit and finally her dream was now a reality, she had her dog.
She was also studying zoology hoping to specialise in animal behaviour, something else for the parents disapproval. Sadly Doogle was not welcome at home so Sharon was spending her first Christmas alone.
As Sharon and Doogle left two thoughts came to mind, the first was a little perverse and I am embarrassed to say gave me a degree of pleasure. This delightful young lady was going be a big disappointment to her parents!!
And the second thought was yes; for her and Doogle it was definitely going to be “The best Christmas ever!!!”

Ps Many years later a check on the internet revealed that “Sharon” achieved her ambition and is now a renowned zoologist. I don’t know if she was ever reconciled with her parents but for their sake I hope they came to terms with the fact that where “Sharon” went animals were sure to follow!!




Without my pets my wallet would be full, my house would be clean, but my heart would be empty.

sitianimalrescueBest Christmas ever!!!
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The jealous sheepdog..

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Details have been changed to preserve anonymity.

“Grockle” a derogatory term for an inconsiderate holiday maker commonly used in Devon and Cornwall.

As I have said before, calls to go to farms can be difficult. It is invariably the farmers wife that makes the appointment and I am never sure if the wife has told the husband and whether I will meet hostility.
Mrs Tressilian was a typical Cornish farmers wife, a short, stocky lady and very hospitable and as we sat and drank coffee she told me why I was here.
Mr Tressilian was a sheepdog trainer of note and highly respected in the farming community and I must admit watching a shepherd working his dog is for me poetry in motion.
 Before I continue maybe a little snippet of information, just in case you are unaware, a sheepdog is not taught to go left or right he goes clockwise and anticlockwise. In fact if you watch carefully the dog very rarely moves in a straight line, he almost always travels in an arc untill he is very close to the sheep.
Sorry I digress, back to the job in hand.
 It appeared that Mr Tressellians latest dog called Jem was misbehaving, he had developed the habit of nipping the lambs; in fact on some occasions it wasn’t far off biting. According to Mrs T Gem was only being aggressive to the lambs not the fully grown sheep. Despite the  best efforts of Mr T the situation was deteriorating and to make matters worse Mr T took the farmers view that sheep worrying was a cardinal sin and such animals were shot. He wouldn’t play favourites even with a dog of his own so Gem had a limited life span and in fact was only alive because Mr T had not acquired another dog.
It may not be understood that whilst the law states that a farmer must inform the police if he has shot a dog worrying his sheep, in practice the dog is sometimes just shot and buried and as one old farmer put it “Bloody grockles should leave their bloody poofy dogs behind; can’t be buggering about filling out bloody forms!”
In fairness he had a point, going to the police station can cost a farmer half a day and can involve court appearances, no wonder then he takes a pragmatic view.
So the question was, why was a Gem being rough with the lambs?
To be honest I didn’t have a clue, but was helped by the fact it was unlikely to be a problem with the training so the reason had to closer to home. After numerous questions I was able to ascertain that untill recently Gem had slept in the barn nearest to the house but the building was required for the early lambs and Gem was moved further away to accommodate the newborns. Can a sheepdog be jealous? I had no idea. I’d never heard of anything like it but in the absence of anything else…….
At this point I should point out that Cornish ladies whilst committed and loyal to their husbands can be formidable when what they view as injustice rears its ugly head. They have an innate sense of right and wrong, and Mrs T was decidedly unhappy with the situation.
The dreaded moment then arrived, Mr T came in and from the look on his face he was not happy, however, courtesy demanded good manners and we discussed the weather, the price of animal feed  and EU legislation, none of which had any interest to me but gave me time to think.
Finally I took the bull by the horns, I told Mr T that the only explanation that seemed likely was that Gem was annoyed that his place next to the house had been usurped by the lambs and as a young dog growing up his machismo had been threatened. I suggested that Gem be moved back to quarters closer to the house, and his status would be raised. This met with muted enthusiasm from Mr T and a look that left me in no doubt. He thought I was potty!!  I countered this by pointing out that he had nothing to lose by putting my theory to the test and as my fee was payable anyway why not give it a try.
Now most people know that our Scottish cousins can be careful with their finance but I can assure you that the Cornishman isn’t far behind!! So the idea of having to pay for something that he had declined to try was too awful to bear.
Mrs T was on my side and before I left she was busy making space in the porch for Gem to sleep; it was one of those small spaces attached over the back door where you hung wet clothes and wellington boots. In order to make Gem comfortable she found a cardboard box in which she placed a thick layer of hay.
I departed and arranged to visit in a week’s time to check progress.
A week later I returned, more in hope than anything, I really wasn’t confident, it was just that if I was wrong then by now Gem may well have met his fate.
I was met at the door by Mrs T, not a word was said but I knew all was well, she gave me a smile and a wink
Mr T was seated at the kitchen table a pint mug of tea in front of him, he looked up and gave a thin smile He wasn’t an effusive man and I knew that any praise would be minimal and to the point. “The wife will settle with you, I was wrong, you was right. Got to get back to work. Proper job young man!!”

The dog represents all that is best in man.
Etienne Charley
sitianimalrescueThe jealous sheepdog..
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