Elpida and Hara

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Written by Paul Taylor and Robert Leitch

The story of Elpida and Hara our two Creten puppies. On Saturday the first of June we decided to go for a day out taking in Vai beach, Palekastro, and Zakros Cape we left Elounda around 9 am with our friends son seventeen year old Scott Campbell who has lived in Elounda since he was a small child and speaks fluent Greek. We stopped of at the View Point Restaurant with amazing views of the Gulf of Merabello and Aghios Nikolaos around 11.20 am for a late breakfast , we then carried on our journey we stopped just the other side of Sitia town centre on a bridge across from the beach by Sitia bay, my Sciatica was playing me up and I was just about to get out of the car when my Partner Robert spotted a dirt lay-by at the end of a dirt track lane so he thought it would be a much safer spot to stop this was around 12.30 lunchtime. We got out the car and lit up a cigarette and walked to the back of the car when something shot between Roberts legs he thought it was a cat but when he looked down it was a cute little golden puppy looking up at him with the most beautiful eyes, I immediately told Robert to pick it up and put it in the car as we were next to the main highway I was terrified incase it got ran over. We saw a Taverna just a little further down the road so young Scott and I decided to take the puppy down and ask if it belonged to someone in the area, the owner made a few phone calls and told us that it was a stray and it had been seen running along the road and adjacent lane with other puppies, but they did not know how many there were. We took the wee puppy back to the car and Scott sat with it in the back of the car while Robert and I discussed what we were going to do, we decided to wait a little while longer to see if anymore puppies turned up after half an hour we decided the best thing to do was carry on to Vai as we could get parked up in the car park and try and sort things out from there, just has I was about to get in the car I heard a whimpering sound coming from underneath a large wheelie bin at the side of the lay-by I looked underneath and there was a black puppy underneath it was terrified and would not come out I don’t know if it had been there all the time we were there or if it had just crawled there from the land behind anyway I had to lay on my belly and drag it out the poor thing was shaking, but once she was in the back of the car with Scott and her sister she soon fell asleep she looked a lot weaker than her sister. We made our way to Vai and arrived around 14.30.

Before I carry on with my story I would like to state that we had a Patterdale terrier Tess at home she will be 13 years old in February 2020 , she was thrown out of a car doing 70 mph at Morpeth Northumberland And sustained terrible injuries when she was 18 months old, we adopted her shortly afterwards she was so nervous but showers with our love she eventually learnt to trust people again and she is such a sweet and loving little girl. we had no intention of having any more dog’s after Tess. On our last visit to Elounda in October 2018 we found out from Scotts mother Tracy about another shelter in lerapetra, (which i will not name as i do not want to cause problems for sitia animal rescue, so i will refer to them as X) as we only had a couple of days left of our holiday it was to late to organise a visit to the shelter so we said we would make arrangements to visit on our next holiday to Elounda in may this year 2019 the day before we found the puppies in Sitia. Between our holiday in October 2018 and our holiday in May 2019 I followed The ‘X’ shelter Facebook page and a few months before our visit in may of this year I made a donation to ‘X’ of €90 for an operation on a beagle that had sustained horrific injuries by other dog’s, I also collected several donations from my friends and we rounded it up to €150 which I took out and gave to ‘X’ on our visit to his shelter on the 31st of may we saw lots of beautiful dog’s there, but we still stuck to the fact we did not want to adopt another dog, I was very disappointed with our visit to the ‘X’ shelter as after about one hour we were locked in a compound with a family from America while ‘X’ went back into Sitia to collect two women, when he got back instead of letting us out he went off showing the women around the shelter on there own and then in full view of us brought some puppies and sat playing with them on the grass outside the compound we were locked in we were stuck in the compound for well over two hours in 30 plus temperatures eventual he let us out showed us one more compound then told us it was time to leave, I asked him if I could see the dog that I had given the donation to for its operation and also Black another dog I had been following but I never got to see them I was not a very happy bunny.

Once at Vai beach I contacted Scott’s mother Tracy to see if she knew of any local animal shelters around Elounda or Agios Nikolaos area she only new of two Amber’s hope and Hector’s House in Ag Nig, so I left Robert in the carpark with the puppies to try and contact them whilst I and Scott went for a swim, when Scott and I got back to the car Robert said he could not get an answer from either Amber’s hope or Hector’s House so all he could do was leave a message with Them. I decided to give ‘X’ a call to see if he could take the puppies for a couple of days until we could get them into another shelter I told him that I was going home on the the 4th of June but I was prepared to stay in Elounda till something could be sorted out.

I was going to add here the text messages from mr X, but i decided against it, basically he told me that he could not help me and the dogs, as he was trying to sleep, but would he could do to hep was create fake papers so that the dogs would be able to fly out with us in 2 days time. We told him that we are talking to a very helpful lady from Ambers hope, and we would sort it out the correct and legal way… These 2 puppies were very young, and living on the street, so we had no idea what sort of disease’s they could be carrying. It was not a pleasant conversation, and he became quite rude with me, and i have since shared my experience on his page, and received hate mail about it.

Whilst we were in the carpark at Vai and I started my conversations with ‘X’ Tracee Walton sent a text to say that Amber’s hope was full, but if we could find someone to look after them for a few days she would try and arrange to foster the puppies, I said in my texts to ‘X’ that Tracee would try to help I then contacted a lady who I had become friends with through following The ‘X’ shelter Facebook Page, she lived near Chania and had adopted a dog from ‘X’ several weeks before , she got angry with me on the phone and said that ‘X’ could not take in every dog not even for people who had donated, she said we need to harden ourselves up and take the puppies back to where we found them and abandoned them to there fate.
We tried to give them food and water at the carpark but they would not touch either we did not have anything to tie around them to let them have a wee walk to relive them selves a man in a café gave us some plastic tubing but that did not work.
It was now time to start thinking of heading home, we new we could not take the puppies back to our apartment complex in Elounda so we had to come to the very difficult decision to take the puppies back to where we found them and leave them there

We got back to where we found them, but instead of leaving them at the lay-by we decided to drive up the dirt track lane alongside the river there where a few homes up the top of the lane we turned the car around and put the puppies in the grass verge next to the river whilst they were both reliving themselves we got in the car and drove off I tried not to look back but I could not help myself, I saw both of them chasing after the car I also noticed that Robert had seen them too and we were all in tears I said to Robert I can’t do this and he said the same, I told him not to stop suddenly incase the puppies went under the wheels I told him to drive back to the lay-by we then got out and ran up the lane we saw the puppies and called to them the both picked up speed the black and gold one jumped into Roberts lap and the gold one into my lap, we new from that moment that these two puppies were staying with us even if we had to sleep in the car that night and camp out with them until we could sort this out, we had them for the best part of the day and that bond was now unshakable we were in love with them

As we set off back to Elounda we passed through Sitia town centre and Robert noticed a police station, so we parked across the road this was around 17.30 Robert and our friend Scott went to the police station whilst I stayed with the puppies in the car young Scott spoke to the young policeman on the desk in Greek, the young policeman spoke back in English and asked why did we stop and why did we pick them up he said we should have just left them where we found them he was quite angry and said we should not come on holiday and interfere in matter’s that don’t concern us and with that he walked off and went upstairs, there was an older policeman sitting at a desk at the back of the office, so Scott shouted over to him in Greek to say that we would like to adopt the puppies if someone could help us he came over and was very pleasant compared to the young officer he said give me a few minutes and I will make a phone call, he came back and said that the local animal welfare officer would meet us at our car.
The welfare officer arrived ten minutes later he looked at the puppies and said they are beautiful and that what we had done was a fantastic think he said he was going to phone his wife and get her to explain thing to me as she was fluent in English, his wife was Despina Kounelaki and she worked for Filozoikos Syllogos Sitias animal rescue center, wich is now Sitia animal rescue. After a brief conversation with Despina her husband drove me to there family ran supermarket in Sitia where he transferred the puppies to his van then Despina explained what would happen, she told us that the puppies would be housed with others puppies of a similar age group as she thought our puppies were around 6 weeks old and far to young I told her that ‘X’ wanted to get papers from a vet he knew in Ierapetra so they could fly home with us on Tuesday the Fourth of June three day’s away, she told us that was breaking the law and we would have never have got them out of the country they would have been confiscated and we would have ended up in very serious trouble.
Despina told us that they would get inoculations in the coming days and would be treated for there flea’s, ticks and any other problems, then in about another six weeks there would get there final inoculations and would be then free to travel to the UK, they would deal with everything included obtaining passports for them all we had to do was organise the flights to Glasgow or an airport in Europe, I asked if they needed any money towards there keep but Despina said it was okay, she said they were just thankful that we had saved the puppies I had a fifty euro note in my wallet so I made Despina take this as a donation to the centre I also said I wish I had not given ‘X’ the €150 yesterday as I could have donated that too.
Despina asked if we had thought about name’s for the puppies, we said we would like to give them Greek names but we did not know any so she said she would have a thought on it and get back to us, it was heartbreaking to be leaving the puppies behinds but at least we knew they were now in safe hands so we said our very emotional goodbyes and headed back to Elounda

We Got back to Elounda around 20.30 and instead of going back to our apartment’s to shower and change for dinner which were halfway between Elounda and Plaka, we parked the car in the square so the rental company could pick it up in the morning and we went out to dinner , we met up with Scott’s parents for a drink after they finished work we told Scot’s mother Tracy that we wanted to give the dog’s Greek names, we told her that the black and brown one had slept most of the time and we thought that she was the weaker of the two so she suggested Elpitha pronounced Elpida meaning Hope, we told her that the golden one was a cheeky little scamp and a rascal, so she suggested that we call her Caps pronounced Hara meaning Joy so now the puppies had there names. The following morning Sunday the 2nd of June we handed back the keys to our hire car and then met up with Scott and we took him to Cyprianas for breakfast while we were having our Breakfast there was two couples sitting at the next table to us one of the ladies got up and went up to the bar with a charity box and handed it over to Maria the owner of the restaurant, so after Breakfast I went to the toilet passing the bar where I noticed that the charity box was for Amber’s hope animal rescue centre, so I asked Maria who the lady that handed it over was, Maria told me that the couple sitting with there back’s to our table where John and Tracy Walton the founders of Amber’s hope so I went over and introduced myself to Tracee. I told her that we were the two guys who had messaged and spoke to her about the two puppies we had found in Sitia she said that she would come over and talk to us before they left. We told Tracee Walton that we had managed to get the puppies into Filozoikos Syllogos Sitias animal rescue center in Sitia I also told her what ‘X’ told us, she said she was sorry we experienced this, but was happy we had found a solution. She said for us to keep in touch and let us know when the puppies were ready to fly and she would try and arrange the flights she told us to go home and not to worry about the puppies as they were in safe hands now. With a heavy heart we flew back to Glasgow on the 4th of June.

Before we left Crete I let Despina know the names we wanted the puppies to be called by and she thought they were good name’s for them.
We tried to get back to a normal life and get work here and at our holiday home in Berwick upon Tweed in fact we had the a new kitchen designed for there but ended up putting it in hold till next year as we could not concentrate on anything but the puppies we did manage to get some outside work done at home but another thing that started to worry us what’s how was our little baby girl Tess who is twelve years old going to react to two bounding puppies especially two bitches we were worried incase she did not accept them or attacked them as she was not that great with other dog’s that visited and stayed occasionally.
Despina sent us some photos on the 21st of June of Elpida and Hara in the kennels at Filozoikos Syllogos Sitias with several other puppies well although it was lovely to see the photos of them it also made us sad for the other puppies we wished we could have taken them all they all looked so sweet

We had an extra holiday booked to Turkey with friends that had to be cancelled a couple of years before due to a death in there family on the 21st of July till the 4th of August and this tied in with the time that Elpida and Hara would be ready to travel so this meant that we could not organise there travel to Glasgow till we got back home ,we had a great holiday but the puppies were never far from our thoughts and unfortunately I took ill and was ill for several weeks after returning so this made it much harder for me to organise the puppies travel to Glasgow, but with the amazing help of Despina Kounelaki of Filozoikos Syllogos Sitias now Sitia animal rescue we got there in the end.
Tracee Walton of Amber’s hope Crete who was now working at a animal sanctuary in Athens organised the flight to Glasgow on the 10th of September a lady called Alexis Noon was traveling to Crete for a weeks holiday to adopt a dog from Amber’s Hope and traveling back on the 8th of September registered the flight for her dog and our two in her name so that they could travel to Glasgow on the 10th.
Despina, Tracee Walton myself, my partner Robert and Alexis Noon all kept in touch with each other by messenger.
Tracee Walton forwarded Alexis Moon’s information so that Despina could arrange to have Elpida and Hara’s micro chip’s put into her name and Despina arranged the passports, then Tracee Walton’s husband John Walton arrange to meet up with Despina at Iraklion airport on the morning of the 10th of September to see Elpida and Hara, and Alexis’s dog safely boarded onto the flight to Glasgow.
For two weeks before the flight to Glasgow and although I was very weak and had Lost over two stone in weight we went shopping for goodies for Elpida Hara and our old rescue girl Tess, we bought three new beds new harnesses leads also extendable lead’s new dog bowls, hundreds of treats blankets and a basket of Toy’s, which by the way have now all been chewed till there is nothing left of them

Back to the 10th of September the flight was due to land at 17.20 UK time so we arranged to me Alexis her husband John and there grandson William at the animal holding center at Glasgow airport around 18pm, they went in to the reception first while we waited with Tess it was only
15 minutes before Alexis came out and told us we could go in before the dog’s were released, but it seemed like hours.
Once in the reception the lady who was in charge of them came through with there paper work she said they had been checked over by the airport vet walked and washed and dried she had also cleaned out there traveling crate’s too I cannot thank the staff at the holding centre enough and the young woman in charge was marvellous.
Then the time came to be reunited with Elpida and Hara they came in with Alexis’s dog she let them off there lead’s they were so excited running between us and Alexis’s family to get fussed it was a very joy-full moment, eventually we left and said a emotional goodbye to Alexis and her family promising to keep in touch. There were a couple of accidents in the car on the way home and they found it hard to settle in the car and it took a few days before they would settle at home before the realised the could actually go on the couches, there were a few accidents in the house but within a few days they were completely house trained and we have only had a couple of mishaps since.
As we knew we would be only be able to spend three weeks with them after there arrival has we were going to Turkey for 4 weeks on the 27th of September and could not cancel the holiday as it had been booked and paid for before we found the pup’s, so we took them down to our holiday home for a week were they would be away from any major road’s this was great for them and got them use to the place as my best friend was going to be spending the time down there after them along with our old girl Tess while we were in Turkey.

Whilst we were on holiday in Turkey from the 27th of September to the 25th of October four weeks we did nothing but worry about Elpida and Hara I kept texting Alastair who was looking after them, but He his a man of very few words apart from telling me that Hara had chewed the leg on my new coffee table and they had chewed the corner’s of my new cushions all he said everytime was they are fine.
After ten days in Turkey Robert wanted to get a flight back home but I said that we need to stay so that Alastair can get used to coping on his own with the three dog’s or we would not be able to go away not even to get married in Elounda next year.
Eventually it was time to go back home we arrived back in Glasgow about 3am on the 26th of October we had a taxi booked and Alastair had traveled back up from the lodge the day before so Elpida and Hara were in the house when we got home, they immediately jumped all over us they were so excited , the first thing we noticed was how much the had grown in the four weeks we had been away, the second thing we noticed was how well they and our old girl Tess were getting along together, Tess had never really played with another dog since we lost our other dog Jack 9 years earlier and now he she was instigating the play fights she has got so much more energy now and is just like a puppy again.
It has been three weeks since we arrived back from Turkey and 23 weeks 5 and a half months since we found Elpida and Hara on the 31st of may this year and every day is a special day with them along with our adorable Tess, We are so looking forward to Christmas as we are spending it our lodge at Berwick upon Tweed and the reason for this is that Jennifer Chambers who also found a dog in a deserted house in Crete and went back to rescue her and named her Cresha, and Tracee Walton arranged for her to be taken to Athens and then transported to London by road and Jenifer drove down to pick her up this morning and is now safe and well at there home.
We Jennifer Chambers her husband the two boys and Cresha are traveling up on boxing day to spend a few days with us and our three dog’s it will be a very special time

We would like to say a huge thank you to the policeman at Sitia police station, Despina Kounelaki and her husband, all the staff at Sitia animal rescue center, Tracee and John Walton, Alexis Noon and her family also Sara Padermalis and all our friends for getting us through the bad times when we received hate mail for adopting dog’s from outside the UK

Below is just a few of our photographs of Elpida and Hara and of course Tess, who has been great with both of them…

sitianimalrescueElpida and Hara
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3 in a bed

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Certain details have been changed to protect anonymity

We have briefly mentioned previously about dogs in the bedroom and it reminded me of a problem that I was asked to solve, it went something like this….
Mr Brown telephoned me regarding his dog but it all sounded very mysterious as we had to meet in a car park, Mrs Brown must never know and therefore I could never visit his house. I arrived at the appointed hour and was surprised to find that Mr Brown was without a dog. I joined him in his Mercedes and he proceeded to tell me his tale of woe.
And what a tale it was!!!
Like many married couples Mr and Mrs shared a double bed but unfortunately for Mr Brown there was a third occupant, their West Highland White Terrier called Snowy. Now this little dog was the apple of his mistresses eye, he slept on her side and all would have been well if it has stayed that way but as Mr Brown pointed out with some embarrassment that he was obliged to get up in the night for a visit to the loo. This is where the problem was because Snowy didn’t want to let Mr Brown back into the bed. He bared his teeth, growled and poor Mr Brown departed to the spare room. I gathered that this issue and others regarding Snowy had caused friction in the Brown household before and it was very obvious who wore the trousers in this relationship. Mrs Brown would have nothing said against her little darling and without a doubt she was a formidable woman, hence all the subterfuge.
I must admit I was tempted to walk away from this one, getting involved in other people’s domestic problems isn’t my thing but I was intrigued by the challenge
I informed Mr Brown that I would give his problem my prompt attention and asked him to ring me in a couple of days.
The problem was how to remove Snowy from the Mr Browns side of the bed without waking Mrs Brown and therefore retaining some degree of harmony in the Brown household.
After a few hours of deliberation I decided there was only one way to do this.
At the time silent whistles were all the rage. Now personally I wasn’t a great fan of these things, if you are going to use a whistle then use a proper one.
So the scenario was to be this, Mr Brown would use the bathroom as normal and when Snowy growled Mr Brown would blow the whistle and hopefully Snowy would be so shocked he would let Mr Brown into the bed.
It was a bit of a shot in the dark (unintended pun! ) but it was all I could think of at the time.
I supplied Mr Brown with the whistle and waited with some trepidation.
The phone call came about a week later.
 It seems that Mr Brown is now king of his castle, Snowy now shows Mr Brown respect in and out of the bedroom. Mrs Brown is puzzled at the turn of events and can’t understand why Snowy is so well behaved with Mr Brown.
I collected my fee and filed my sheet which I raise for every client and quickly forgot the rather strange episode.
At Christmas that year I received a card, inside was a photo of Mr and Mrs Brown with Snowy sitting between them. They all looked very happy, a typical family photo. The card was unsigned and only had two words “Thank you”




From the animal Kingdom we have taken so much and given so little, our debt is incalculable.


sitianimalrescue3 in a bed
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The Dentist

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In all honesty, how many of us look forward to seeing the dentist?
Now I am sure that most dentists are nice enough people, probably kind to old people and animals and are good neighbours. In fact a dentist might be reading this right now and if they are, maybe they can let us know what makes anyone decide to become a dentist!!
Unfortunately in their line of work they are sometimes obliged to inflict some degree of discomfort and if we escape from the dentists chair without too much it then we are greatly relieved.

While we are talking about dentists have you noticed that when you are trapped in the chair and they are doing whatever dentists do in your mouth, they then start asking questions. Your replies are gibberish as you try to answer with your mouth wide open against a backdrop of gurgling water and the whine of that drill. I am sure they are specially trained to do this as It appears to happen all over the world.

Why, you ask, are we talking about dentists? Well to a dog, there are parallels with a visit to the vet and unfortunately we are unable to explain to our hairy friend why we are at the vets and this visit is for his benefit.
Whilst he is enduring the indignities of examinations, injections taking of blood and urine etc, the scents assaulting his nose
 must be causing him great anguish.( For more information on the nose see the blog on this subject) Not surprisingly then on subsequent visits as you get close to the clinic your best friend takes one look at the destination and decides to retreat with alarming speed. This distress is often a source of amusement to us humans as we drag our reluctant pet to the vets door but if you equate it to your visit to the dentist maybe it isn’t so funny after all and instead of laughing maybe a little understanding!!




An animals eyes have the power to speak a great language

Martin Buber

sitianimalrescueThe Dentist
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Living with a deaf dog….

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For most people the scene is very familiar, you return home to be greeted by the family dog who is very excited to see you, wagging his tail, jumping up, bringing you his favourite toy and showing you how pleased he is to see you.
Now imagine the scene in a home of a deaf dog. You arrive, open the door bring in the shopping, make a cup of tea, even turn on the tv and through all this your dog is still fast asleep!!

Welcome to the silent world in which the deaf dog lives.

When it comes to deafness there are generally two forms.
There is the dog who is profoundly deaf. This literally means total deafness. The other have an ability to hear very sharp sounds very close.
Let’s first get rid of the myth; that deaf dogs are more aggressive, this is total nonsense. People are frightened that waking a deaf dog from a deep sleep will startle it and therefore cause it to bite. As any owner of a deaf dog knows the way to wake it is to stamp on the floor, the vibration will wake it.

The obvious problems are that these dogs don’t hear traffic, so for a stray, vehicles are a major hazzard and if the dog is adopted then communicating your instructions to your dog becomes problematic. Think about it, in order to get your message across you have to use hand signals but in order to do this you need your dog to look at you and if he can’t hear you how do you get his attention.

So what are the options when training a deaf dog?

1 If you already have a dog in the house that hears the hearing dog will help teach the deaf dog and you’ll be able to introduce hand signals.
2 Deaf dogs are no different to hearing dogs in that they will follow food and if they know that you have some they may be inclined to stay close.
3 You can try investing in a vibrating collar but they have limited success.
4 If you are new to this you may need to seek help from a professional who has personal experience.
5 There are a number of videos to help you and in my opinion they are essential to the owner with no experience

This blog is far too short to go into the intricacies of training a deaf dog and without doubt it is challenging but extremely rewarding.


“You think that dogs will not be in heaven. I tell you that they will be there long before any of us”

Robert Louis Stevenson

sitianimalrescueLiving with a deaf dog….
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Dog Sharing

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I must admit that before I came across these two elderly ladies I had never heard of dog sharing, but came across this by accident some 30 years ago
The story goes like this:
Molly and Jean were two retired ladies living near Penzance in Cornwall, both lived in the same street and within a few weeks of each other had both lost their dogs of old age. Both were devastated and swore that neither of them would have another dog. The pain of loss was too great to go though again. Molly was struggling with her mobility and Jean had thrown herself into charity work so was quite busy, however both realised that their lives were not the same without a dog.
So the two ladies came up with a dog sharing scheme.
In both houses they put in place identical beds, bowls, toys etc and adopted a miniature wire hair dachshund called Bobby.
Jean did the exercise bit, took him to vets and took him out and about in the car when she was on her charity work.
Molly who was much less mobile played with him in her garden and generally did the babysitting bit.
Both ladies found that the system worked well and Bobby happily went from one house to the other without any problem.
Jean ,in particular, was keen to stress that this system worked very well for them and hoped that it would be an inspiration to others particularly in the retired community
Now before anybody thinks about copying this, let’s be clear what is involved.
Both ladies were in complete agreement how this was going to work.
They had been close friends for decades.
All expenses were shared.
All Bobbys’ paperwork showed both ladies as co-owners.
On the demise of one of them, the surviving lady automatically became Bobbys’ sole owner.
I suggest that the success of this venture is due to the total harmony in this relationship, no jealousy no hostility.
It is not going to work for everyone but it is thought provoking.


In order to keep a true perspective of ones importance everyone should have a dog that worships him and a cat that will ignore him.
Dereke Bruce

sitianimalrescueDog Sharing
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The Royal B…..

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I wasn’t there, but I heard this story from two separate individuals and it involved a police officer, a police dog and a member of the royal household. It occurred in the 1960s, and I did actually meet the dog and handler several times, the last occasion in sad circumstances. As I understand it, all the participants of this episode have passed on so I feel able to put this in print. If these blogs stop it could be that I have ended up in the Tower of London!!
I will refer to the dog handler as “PC Smith” and to the dog as “Fergus”
The actual incident was brief but it is important to set the scene, particularly for younger readers.
This was the 60s, hippies, flower power, bell bottom trousers, mods and rockers, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, (still around) most of the fellas, including me, had shoulder length hair, in fact often referred to as the age of sex, drugs, rock and roll. The sex and drugs passed me by, Joy, however was a disco queen but that is another story…..
One of the biggest differences was that this was the era where there was no political correctness or bleeding hearts.
Before anybody thinks “sad old sod” reminiscing about the past I am not, some things were much better and others much worse, but I expect every generation says the same.
The reason for raising the issue was the difference in the recruitment of police dogs and attitudes.
Nowadays if somebody is bitten by a police dog the first port of call will be a solicitor who will assist them to sue the dog handler, the Chief Constable, the Home Secretary the dogs breeder, the tea lady and probably the dog. In the 60s it was very different.
When a dog handler called out “Stop or I will release the dog” you stopped. There was a simple reason for this, if you didn’t stop and the dog reached you the chances were that you were going to suffer some serious injury.
There were reasons for this:
A dog will cover a distance of 100 yards in under 10 seconds, 50 years later only Usain Bolt can go that fast and he has a flat track, running shoes and kit and gets to start from blocks and he can’t keep that speed up for very long, the dog can!
If you are lucky the the handler will only take twice that amount of time to arrive and instruct his dog to release you, however, in that short space of time, a fully grown German Shepherd Dog who is exerting 238 pounds per square inch pressure on the bit he has got hold of is doing a lot of damage.
To make matters worse the dog would be in no hurry to let go, after all he was enjoying himself!!
However, I digress, in those days police dogs were mainly German Shepherds and Dobermans and they were not chosen for their soft cuddly nature, the same could probably be said about the handlers!!!
Now Fergus was a prime example of a dog with serious attitude. This was a dog who didn’t wait to be told to bite people he did it for fun, even fellow handlers didn’t like being around him and when police dog handlers are nervous you know things are bad. Certainly in todays world he would never be allowed to work.
Now to the incident:
PC Smith and Fergus were seconded to Royal Protection Duty. They were given responsibility for patrolling at night inside the house of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowden.
The incident was a combination of circumstances. Police dogs are meant to be on the leash at all times but when a handler is on duty for up to twelve hours it is understandable that in the middle of the night PC Smith let Fergus off the leash. Lord Snowden as I understand it was in the habit of coming down stairs to raid the fridge during the night. A door had been left ajar and the inevitable happened, Fergus heard a noise, went through the door and the Royal Bottom was bitten!!!
Fortunately a winter quality dressing gown and PC Smith’s swift action saved his Lordships backside from series injury.
As I understand, PC Smith and Fergus were transferred back to normal duties and the matter was hushed up.
Fortunately for PC Smith, Lord Snowden was not a typical member of the Royal family, he was a rebellious man, a very unconventional individual who would not have made a fuss, after all before he married Princess Margaret he was just an ordinary guy who was a photographer.
At the time this occurred I was still in school but several years later I was on duty as a veterinary nurse when Fergus made the final journey.  His behaviour hadn’t improved and he was so unstable and unpredictable it was decided that the time had come to put him to sleep. I had met this dog several times when he arrived for the regular check ups that were mandatory for police dogs
When police dogs were put to sleep there was a ritual that was rigidly enforced. The appointment was made at a quiet time, every handler whose dog was being euthanized had to bring at least one more colleague, preferably two, and a room was cleared so that the officer could take as much time as he needed to compose himself. Everyone of us knows how tough it is to go through this but imagine having to lose a dog that you have worked with every day for years. PC Smith was as given tranquilizers to give to Fergus prior to bringing him in, enough to knock out a shire horse, naturally on Fergus they had no effect!!  As it happens Fergus went fairly easily.
My boss was once asked by a visiting veterinary surgeon why she employed a male nurse, unusual at the time. She replied: “Academically he could improve but if it has four legs and hair he can handle it” I think it was meant to be a compliment!!
She was only partly correct, I doubt that I could have handled Fergus. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to try. After a lifetime working with dogs I freely admit this was the one and only dog who actually frightened me.
He may have been unstable but if reports were anything to go by, Fergus was responsible for saving his handlers life on one occasion and this was the dog called upon when dealing with violent individuals and dangerous situations involving firearms. He was totally fearless. Not many dogs leave that sort of legacy. He never got to enjoy a retirement, but you know what, that was probably just as well, you just couldn’t imagine Fergus, old, arthritic, losing his sight etc. laying in front the fire. Best the way it was.
Wherever he is. R.I.P.


If there is a heaven it’s certain that our animals will be there. Their lives are so interwoven with our own it would take more than an archangel to untangle them.
Pam Brown.

sitianimalrescueThe Royal B…..
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Charity Football match

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We would like to say a huge thank you to the International Union of Police Officers, lassithi area and the Sitia Veteran Football players, who today did a charity match to raise funds for our campaign…
We are very happy to say that we raised a amazing 1040 euros!!
Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and supported us… ♥️

Θα θέλαμε να σας εκφράσουμε μια τεράστια ευχαριστία στη Διεθνή Ένωση Αστυνομικών, την περιοχή lassithi και τους παίκτες ποδοσφαίρου της Σητείας, οι οποίοι σήμερα έκαναν φιλανθρωπικό αγώνα για να συγκεντρώσουν κεφάλαια για την εκστρατεία μας … Είμαστε πολύ χαρούμενοι που είπαμε ότι δημιουργήσαμε ένα καταπληκτικό 1040 ευρώ !! Σας ευχαριστούμε όλους όσοι αγόρασαν ένα εισιτήριο και μας υποστήριξαν ..

sitianimalrescueCharity Football match
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How do dogs and cats hear?

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The truth is that the dog has excellent hearing, in fact dogs can identify the car that you drive from up to a mile away. Which means that if somebody is at home then they can put the kettle on!!
It has been written that dogs hearing is 4 times more acute than ours, a somewhat misleading statement because the truth is that dogs can hear sounds from 4 times the distance that we can but both we and our canine companions hear notes in broadly similar fashion. Dogs, however, are better at detecting higher notes.
Your cat can do even better than that because it’s hearing is even more acute. Research shows that dogs can locate the source of a sound in six hundredths of a second. A dog might use one ear to locate the sound and then both ears to catch the maximum number of radio waves. All this is possible because dogs are able to move their ears to accommodate sound, as do cats.

Certain dogs will have will have better ability than others. For instance those who’s ears are erect such as German Shepherds will have a more acute ability to hear over longer distances, whereas dogs like spaniels, who have drop ears have a slightly reduced range.
Cats hearing is so good that it can hear a mouse moving through the undergrowth at distance of up to nearly 10 metres. It’s no wonder then that cats are so proficient at controlling vermin.

Finally today I offer you a totally irrelevant fact that you may try and get it into the conversation at your next dinner party.
I must admit that I thought that the animal with the best hearing in the world was an elephant but I was wrong, it appears that the the creature with the top hearing is called the Greater wax moth. We learn something every day.

I am indebted to Dr Bruce Fogle. M.B.E.  D.V.M. . M.R.C.V.S. For the
technical information contained in this article


Dogs have a way of finding people who need them, filling an emptiness that we didn’t know we had.

Thom Jones

sitianimalrescueHow do dogs and cats hear?
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F.A.Q Part 1

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Is my dog descended from wolves?                            (Yes)
Your dog, regardless of breed, from a Pekingnese to a great Dane is descended from the grey wolf. The diversity of appearance is only due to selective breeding. Some scientists, however, only refer to dogs as a sub species of the wolf. Take your pick, if the scientists can’t totally agree we have no chance!

Does my dog see in black an white?                            (No)
Most dogs see in colour, albeit somewhat restricted. See the previous blog on vision

Do I get a male or female dog?                                     (Y/N)
There is no simple answer to this question, but it is generally considered that females make better family pets

Does the way I feed my dog affect his behaviour?     (Yes)
The family pet needs a totally different diet than a working dog.
Working dogs ie sheep dogs need a higher protein intake to compensate for the calories used and should be fed accordingly.
A family pet fed on this high protein diet may well show signs of hyperactivity and strange behaviour.

Should I have my dog neutered?                               (Yes)
Female dogs who are not neutered are susceptible to a condition called pyometra (inflammation of the womb,) which, if not diagnosed early can be fatal. Having a season once or twice a year is a pain for most owners. Males queuing up outside, restricted walks, mess on the carpets and soft furnishings
Male dogs that are neutered are less likely to be aggressive, less likely to wander. For the benefit of male readers the dog is not so attached to this part of his anatomy as you!! Get a grip lads there is no need for the sharp intake of breath or crossing of legs. As the saying goes: “Real men have their dogs neutered”

Should my dog have puppies before being neutered? (No)
There is a myth that females need to have puppies because they need to be “fulfilled” There is no scientific or practical evidence to back this statement.

Should I allow my make dog to be used at stud?          (No)
Once a dog has savoured the delights he will want more…
think about it fellas!!!

Will my working dog be less effective if he is
neutered?                                                                      (No)
There is no evidence that a working dogs efficiently is impaired  by neutering. As an example Guide dogs for the Blind are always  neutered so that they are not distracted.


I have always thought that it was human arrogance that assumes that only people have souls.

Ann Raver

sitianimalrescueF.A.Q Part 1
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Children and Animals

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Do children benefit from growing up with animals? The answer is yes and there is ample evidence to prove this both health wise and emotionally. Health care professionals constantly refer to the benefits of pet ownership to children.
Children who are brought up with animals are more likely to have a higher immune system and therefore are healthier. In fact children who live on farms are considered to exceptionally healthy.
It give children a sense of responsibility as looking after an animal requires them to feed it, make sure that It has water, and it needs exercise or stimulation.
On the subject of exercise it ensures that children get out and get fresh air and exercise
Living with animals gives children a sense of compassion.
Children with learning difficulties and those who experience problems with reading benefit from the presence of animals.
Children with physical difficulties also benefit.
Research shows that people who were brought up with animals are less likely to be involved in criminal activity.

Now the question is what sort of pet is best?
The answer quite simply is, it doesn’t matter and obviously it depends on many different factors. Lifestyle, finances, type of home etc, but knowing as we do most children regardless of circumstances benefit from growing up with animals it’s whatever suits. From a hamster to a horse, the list is endless!

To end this I quote from the mother of a badly injured child who wrote me a letter which I still have to this day.
Stuart was very young when he was kicked in the head by a horse sustaining 7 skull fractures, his life hung in the balance for weeks much of it in a deep coma. He had always wanted a yellow labrador puppy but his parents said no because they felt that their lifestyle was not right. Throughout this ordeal they had to keep talking to Stuart to stimulate his brain and repeatedly promised a yellow labrador puppy. Stuart survived, 6 months later he went home and started the very long road to recovery. It would take years,  walking, talking even eating had to be relearned and the promise was kept. The yellow labrador arrived and was called Honey. The two became inseparable and here I quote:

“One day Stuart was trying  to walk from one side of the kitchen to the other with the aid of calipers when he got stuck in the middle and was in danger of falling, before either of us could reach him Honey must have realised the danger and came to his side whereupon Stuart put his hands on her back and she lead him to the other side of the kitchen to safety. Coincidence maybe but we are so glad we kept our promise”


A house is not a home without a pet.


sitianimalrescueChildren and Animals
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