happily ever afters

Tessa and friends

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Tessa tells us her story, and the story of a few of her friends who her new adoptive family have also helped..

Tessa writes:-

My first try at blogging and having keyboard trouble. Paws not designed to type, really, so I’m getting some help from a friend. My name is Tessa, because I was the fourth dog from Sitia adopted by my people – for people who don’t speak Greek, let me explain that the Greek for “four” is “tessera”!

I live with some nice people and 3 other dogs near Sitia. Life is good, but it wasn’t always like this; I spent my first few months living on the street, as my first owners didn’t want me any more and threw me out.

Living on the streets is hard for dogs & cats, and I got very weak & thin; I used to let the tiny puppies get to food before me, as I knew they were really desperate, but it didn’t help me. I could only go a few steps before I had to lie down & rest. The people I live with now found me in December that year (2009) – just before Christmas and came every day to give me extra food. They must have been really worried about me because at New Year they came to find me and brought me home. For 3 days I just slept and ate the food they gave me – I couldn’t believe my luck and could finally relax because I was safe. I stopped being smelly, as well; living on the streets makes it hard to keep clean when you have a thick coat!

This is me not long after I arrived at my home.

My people love dogs – all the other dogs that live here were strays too, and we are good friends. There are so many dogs on the streets that need homes, and I hope they can find them. My people work with others in Sitia, in a group which helps animals; they leave stray animals food every day and take them to the vet when they are ill. Some of the animals get to go to new homes, too! We have had lots and lots of puppies staying here since I’ve been here.

These 2 (Abbi & Aliki) were found as 2 week old pups with their brother. Our family made sure they were fed properly, and they grew up into big, strong girls.

They stayed at our house for 6 months, until they were found permanent homes in Germany.

When the puppies came here, there was an adult dog called Renaud with them as well. He still lives here with us! My people said that if he came here, he stayed – they didn’t want him to be sent away again. He’s quite old now, but he still runs around ok.

One day, he and one of our other dogs (a very naughty one called Dusty) nearly caught a CAT! It was a bit hurt, but luckily (I think) the people saved it, and kept it in their bathroom for a while until it could have a “little operation” and then it went to Germany.

 It was a white cat called Snowy, and white cats sometimes get sick here, so I’m glad it could go somewhere safe. There have been other CATS here sometimes, too, so I check the bathroom every morning just to make sure that none have sneaked in! You know how dodgy CATS can be!

This one was really dangerous!

Some of the puppies that have come to stay here have been really sad. Poor little Casper arrived at our gate very early one morning. It was still a bit dark, and our people could just see a little white shape, sitting there crying. Once they were able to catch him, they brought him in, and could see him properly. His poor ears were absolutely full of ticks (yuk) and the skin couldn’t be seen at all. Once they had got rid of the ticks he grew up well and I loved playing with him (even though he was a boy puppy!) The last I heard from him he was sitting in the back of a Saab Cabriolet on his way to the south of France – he really landed on his little paws!

One day we got a call to look after another sad puppy that was crying all the time. He came home here, and still cried, so my people found the tiniest puppy in the shelter to come and keep him company; enter Bonnie!

This is Bonnie, with my big friend Alex – he was terrified of her! She stayed here for quite a long time, and then went to Germany. We loved having her here, but we were really pleased that she found a new home.

Little Scamp was found by the side of the main road, along with another pup called Scruffy, and they both came to stay here for a few months. Scamp had something wrong with her front legs when she came here, and couldn’t walk properly. She had to do lots of exercises, but by the time she left she was fine, and found a nice home. She changed her name to Luna!

I’m really glad that all these pups have found new homes.

We are 2 girl dogs and 2 boy dogs living here now, and all of us are lucky.

This is me now – enjoying the sunshine!

Photos and Story provided by Bob and Helen Body

sitianimalrescueTessa and friends
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Daffy and Taz

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Two of our wonderful volunteers tell the story of how they met and adopted 2 rescue dogs…

We came to live in Crete in 2001 and had the company of our lurcher called Merrick for four years. We had promised ourselves that we would not have another dog until we had done a bit of traveling to see the island where we had settled.


It became obvious after 3 weeks without a dog that this was not going to happen. My son had been spending his first 2 week holiday in his renovated house in a tiny village in the valley below us. He contacted Ray and asked him if he could come down to the village whilst I was at work. It transpired that he had been feeding a little cream and tan spaniel type bitch but was now concerned about her welfare when he left to go back to work in two days time. The village was almost deserted and knowing how much Ray was missing Merrick, he wondered if I could be persuaded to adopted her. Ray took one look and knew that I would fall in love with her but they would have to give her a good wash and brush up before they presented her to me in the office. Of course we took her in; she was such a sweetie and we called her Daffy.


Working as an estate agent took me to many parts of East Crete. An owner in Athens wanted to sell his house in Agios Georgios and In the garden, tied up under a tree, was a little black hairy dog who was supposed to be guarding the chickens. A nearby neighbour was using the garden whilst the owners were away. On several visits to show buyers around, this little dog was so pleased to see us but was gradually looking more and more neglected.  His coat was full of fleas and ticks and he must of being fed  but his water bowl was empty, despite a water tap nearby. On two occasions, midnight visits were undertaken by my boss, to spray the dog to control the flies and ticks. We found a buyer for the property and the neighbour had to clear the garden. Ray had fallen for this little dog and had asked the boss a few days before, what was likely to happen to it. We had just taken on Daffy two days before, so when Ray expressed a wish to adopt him his appeal was answered with, well we have already got one so another will fit in fine. An urgent Sunday morning call had Ray rushing off with a dog box in the car to collect the dog before the owner changed her mind. Ten minutes after putting him into the box at the back of the car, Ray glanced back to find that he had escaped and was standing on top of it looking out of the back window. My daughter named him Taz after the Tasmania devil because of his protruding dog tooth and the two dogs became inseparable friends for many years until Daffy’s accidental death deprived us of her company.  Taz lived for several more years and recently died of old age. As far as we could tell he was about 14 years old and both dogs had bought great happiness to us and their many friends especially the children in the village.

And here they are now enjoying the good life….

Written by Joy Hodson

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We save cats too..

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Nellies story…

Nellie’s story began on a hot summer’s day in 2015 when the sound of a mewing kitten could be heard coming from the bottom of a large rubbish bin on Sitia seafront.  But the kitten was not scavenging for food — she had been tied up in a plastic bag and tossed in with the trash to die.

The kind-hearted passer-by pulled the bag containing the crying kitten out of the bin and took it to Sitia Animal Rescue where, as luck would have it, the vet from Forderverein Arche Noah Kreta e.V.  was paying a visit for one of the regular neutering sessions.  The little kitten was found to have one badly damaged eye and was operated on immediately to remove it.


But what’s the future for an undernourished one-eyed feral kitten?  It couldn’t just be put back on the street, where it would surely die.  The kitten’s plight attracted the attention of one of the UK’s largest-circulation newspapers, which published her story online and the work being done by Sitia Animal Rescue.  That story from 2015 is still on the internet and you can read it here:




And what of Nellie today?  Did the story have a happy ending? You bet it did!  After being fostered here in Sitia for a few more weeks until she was old enough to travel, Nellie was then given all the necessary jabs, together with a pet passport, and flown to England to begin a new life with her British “mum and dad.”


Written by : Michael Fairbairn

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Rufus appeared in an almost deserted village in Eastern Crete and looked like a pure bred German wirehaired pointer. Only two local residents lived in the village but we were involved in the renovation of my son’s property and were helping to feed the feral cats, so in the absence of a local shelter, we found him a small abandoned block building and provided him with a clean warm bed and fed him every day because we were unable to home him due to our circumstances. He had suffered a broken back leg in the past which left him with a limp, but otherwise he was fit and healthy with a lovely temperament. With the arrival of an Arche-Noah Vet to the Sitia Animal Welfare we had him neutered and checked over and once the renovations were complete, my son and his wife fed him when they were in the village with us filling in when they were away. Rufus was free to wander in the area but he always returned for his food and shelter at night. This continued for about five years until his work forced them to return to the UK.

Whilst Rufus missed them and their dog he continued to live his free life style whilst living in the kennel beside their house with us going every day to feed him through the worst days of the winter until one morning Ray found him limping towards him with the same damaged leg hanging in the air. The xray showed a bad brake close to the joint and an operation to repair the fracture had only a limited chance of success. A different way of dealing with this kind of fracture, entailing making a half plaster caste and pressure bandaging the leg every day, was used to repair the damage whilst Rufus endeared himself to the veterinary staff who agreed with us that at his mature age it was not possible to return him to the village. With the aid of Arche Noah he found his forever home in the residence of a German volunteer who loves and adopts these large dogs with similar health problems.

Arriving in winter and coming from the relative heat of Crete, Rufus goes into the house to be introduced to the other dogs and immediately chooses the dog bed closest to the radiator and subsequent photos sent to us have shown him running and playing with the other dogs in the owners lovely garden.

Written by Joy Hodson

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Pilar & family

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One morning we had a phone call, from someone who does not want to be named… About her dog that had given birth, at the village of Pilalimata.  She did not want to keep the puppies, and demanded that we come and take them, or she would “take care of the issue herself”

So one of our volunteers, who was already in the area, said she would drive past and check out the situation.

What she found just past Pilalimata…. (why we called her Pilar) was a mummy with her pups, living in a wooden box….. exposed to the cold wet winter weather….

Mum/Pilar was soo skinny you could see all her bones, it was amazing her puppies were in such good condition, especially when you consider she had been living off cucumber!

We can not just take the dogs… this is against the law and could cause serious leagl issues…. We have to be given the animals, and the owner was nowhere around, the heart breaking choice had to be made to leave with out them, and contact the owner to arrange a collection.  The volunteer left some food and water, and with a very heavy heart had to head back to the office.

We were able to track down the owner and arrange collection the following day… but when our volunteer arrived at the same location, the puppies were missing!

The owner claimed that maybe they had run away! one month old puppies, who need to feed every 2 hours… run away…. not convinced!

Neither was our volunteer, and after what seemed like hours of discussion, the owner admitted to dumping them further down the road….

So we finally had the puppies…. but what about the poor mum! firstly these angels were still nursing every 2 hours!  And if we did take them and bottle feed them, what would happen to mummy Pilar? live the rest of her life on that chain…. eating cucumber?  No way….

We managed to convince the owner….. which was not easy… to hand over mum as well.

So we managed to get the family back to our shelter. and then set about making sure their were no health issues, some food for them all, and a warm bed.

Due to the ages of the puppies, and the state of mummy Pilar… we decided to wait until the puppies were older and weaned, and mummy had put on weight and was healthy again, before we would put them up for adoption.

These angels were not up for adoption for long… within a month Pilar and all the puppies had been adopted and off to their new homes…

Here are some photos we have been sent from all their new families of them in their new homes…

sitianimalrescuePilar & family
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This handsome little man was found wandering the streets of a local mountain village called Mouliana.  He was soo scared of humans, that he would run away anytime someone would go near him… It took us a long time to try and catch him, we tried many different ways, including food and calm talking….. finally we did manage to catch him, and bring him back to the shelter for a check up with the vet and treatment for fleas and ticks.

Within the first couple of days at the shelter we could see that we would have to work a great deal with little Coby… He was showing signs of depression, and didn’t trust any human, and was also showing signs of behavioural problems…… all of which would need to be worked on if he was going to stand a chance of a finding a new home.

One of our volunteers, a kind and patient lady called Eleni Petropoulou offered to foster Coby….. To start working on his trust issues, whilst we tried to find a more permanent solution for him.

So we posted his story and photograph on our facebook page…. where by the hand of God a woman named  Julia Kontaros, who is from Sweden and  is married to a man from Greece.  She saw the post about little coconut and immediately knew that she wanted to help and got in touch with us.

It is one thing to say that you will help, then it is another thing to go through the lengths this lady went through to bring little Coconut to Sweden…. There were numerous messages back and forth between herself and Eleni (who was already fostering him) so that she could prepare for the work ahead… and then there was the technical side… getting him to Sweden, trying to find the best, most comfortable was for him to travel…. would someone drive him over, would he fly over…. In the end they got lucky and a friend of Julias was flying over…… and very kindly offered to escort him on his journey over.  At the same time Julia had managed to already find his forever home …. a Lovely lady called Nicoletter Lindvall-Rae and her family, who also lived in Sweden.

Whilst his transport to Sweden was being sort out, Eleni made a start working with him on some of his issues, giving him unconditional love, and time….. time to realise that this human was here to help him and not hurt or abandon him…. 

Unfortunately we do not know anything about his past, and what he went through before he was found at the village… so she was having to work without knowing if anything in particular would trigger him off.  One thing was for sure… He needed a bath and a brush…. Which did not go down well… And the judgment  was made that she would have to cut out some of the knots in his fur…. as he was not keen on being brushed at all…..

The day arrived for Coconut to leave…. His passport was ready, the paper work was done and he had all his injections ready to go….. this is a hard day for a foster mama….. But also a good one…. So a happy but sad Eleni bid good bye to coconut, and watched him fly away…..

Now i don’t think i will be amiss to say that Coconut owes a great deal to all three of these ladies, but Julia especially went above and beyond… from the beginning she was in communication with the shelter, Eleni and Nicolette…. she was the glue that held it all together.

Once he arrived at her house, she had a great many behaviour problems to work on with Coconut…. many were going to take training, others were going to take time, love and patience.

Julia had another dog, and Coconut would become possessive over food and toys, and most things… So this took a lot of training and calmness…..

Over the next weeks… she worked tirelessly on all his issues…. And he started to come out of his shell….. Started following her around the house, letting her brush him, and eventually stroke and hug him… The whole time she was keeping everyone up to date with his progress… until he was ready to go to Julia and his forever home.

He still has a few issues, and these will fade with time and love, but wouldn’t you?

He is a very happy boy now….. He now goes by the name Coby…. He loves to have his tummy rubbed, he adores Julias and especially her son…. And likes nothing more than going for a walk and then home for a cuddle.  

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We had a phone call about an abandoned mama dog with her 2 puppies, walking around a local village….

One of our volunteers went out to investigate, and found this little man hiding in a bush….. cuddled up to his mum and sister.

She had a look around, and asked if anyone owned them, they all replied the same, no…. they are just strays, they don’t have an owner or home….. they just wander around the village.

So our volunteer took henry, his mother and sister to our vet, where they could have a thorough check up, and treatments if needed.

The vet gave him a thorough health check, and found that his mum had no microchip.  They were all covered in fleas, and henry and his sister were about 5 months old.  

He was not too much under weight, as his mum had been trying her hardest to feed them all.  Living off scraps of food that sometimes a kind villager would throw for them, and drinking rain water.

Our volunteer brought them all to the shelter, where they were given a nice warm and dry bed to snuggle up in.

One of our volunteers spent the rest of the day giving them loads of cuddles and love, and made sure they all had a good meal and plenty to drink.

The following morning we set about a very important job… photos! so that we could put him (and his mother and sister, but i will tell their stories another day.) on our site, and try and find him a home as soon as possible…. This is easier said than done sometimes, and this was the case with henry!  He did not want to have his photo taken at all… was far more interested in giving kisses and cuddles… amazing how some dogs can just be so trusting and full of love even when they have been abandoned.

We uploaded his photos, and information.  We are very lucky that we work along side some sister organisations… to give an example: Germany, England and France.

So like we do with many of our puppies and dogs, we sent them his photo and information…. this means he has a far greater chance of finding a home.

Well this time Germany really did it for him…. His little face was seen on their website by a lovely lady called Sylvie Frey.

Without even being able to see him in the flesh, she wanted to adopt him…..

So we went through the official paper work for the adoption, got his passport sorted, and got him ready to fly off to Germany to start his new life!


Here he is a few months later, at his new home….. where i am told he is a brilliant addition to the family.  He loves children, other dogs and cats.  He even just won first place in a good learning dogs competition.  He is very much part of the family and is showered in love and affection every day.


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This little angel was found walking alone, along the main highway towards Agios Nicholaos, close to the town called Sfaka.

He was found in a terrible state.  As you can see his fur was soo badly matted we could not make out if he was a boy or girl, if he was injured at all, or if he had any skin problems underneath it all.

It took a while to try and get him to come close enough to be caught… eventually he was won over by a cheesepie… 


We took him straight to our vet, who after what seemed like hours, was able to remove all the matted fur from his body…. what a weight it was, it weighed more than his actual body weight.

He was given a full health check, which revealed he was a boy, around a year old.  He was severely malnourished, had fleas and ticks but no broken bones….

We took him back home to the shelter, where he was given his first meal in who knows how long.  And a blanket to keep him warm. 

It took pepito a while to trust a human again, he had obviously been alone for a long time….. And would prefer to sit back and watch from a far… But with time and love he slowly started to understand that we were there to help him, and we would never let him be alone again.  

We took some photos and put them up on our facebook page, then all we can do is wait, hope and pray that some one would see him and want to take him home.

Luckily for little Pepito here he didn’t have to wait to long….  he was seen by a lovely lady called Ioanna Papapetrou, who instantly fell in love with him, and wanted to make him a part of her family….

So after we went through the formal adoption paper work, and one final health check, off he went…

And here he is now….. what a difference!

He now lives in a home filled with love, walks, cuddles, playtime and soo much more….

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