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Christmas Bazaar

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December 15th at Sitia Square

Come and join us, and see the amazing things we have for sale, lots would make perfect Christmas presents, like these lucky horse shoes…. they are made from used horse shoes, and are believed to bring good luck to any home they hang in. Plus lots more goodies available, there is sure to be something for everyone.

sitianimalrescueChristmas Bazaar
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Minnie (Naomi)

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This story shows how important our amazing foster mamas are! When we find tiny abandoned puppies, or kittens, one of our foster mamas steps in, takes them into their home (and their heart), and cares for them as a mama would…… this means feeding every couple of hours, day and night, watching them carefully for any health problems, and doing everything in their power to make sure the little ones grow up to be healthy and strong so that they can be adopted. Sometimes the dogs or cats that need foster mamas are in a bad way, and need a lot of extra love, time and patience to help them heal and be ready for re-homing, without these amazing people we would be lost.

This is the story of Minnie (formerly known as Naomi).

We had a phone call from a tourist, who was on holiday in Sitia, and she had found a tiny little ball of fur behind her hotel. One of our volunteers went and met her, and this is when Minnie entered our lives…. She was tiny… not even a month old…. So we knew that she would need a foster mama if she stood a chance to make it….

Maria Proistaki is one of our amazing ladies who will often take in these little angels and be their foster mama’s, and this time she took in little Minnie….

Maria took little Minnie home, and set her up with a little bed, and safe area, i say safe area, as it is important that she doesn’t wander all over the house, and it helps her learn to use the puppy pad for her toilet.

And so begun the long days and nights, with feeding every 3-4 hours, and making sure she felt loved and was ok. This meant that if Maria needed to go out somewhere and would be missing for a few hours, she would either take little Minnie with her, or arrange a puppy sitter for her.

Once she had been with Maria for around a month, she was strong enough to meet Marias other 2 dogs…… Minnie thought this was amazing… as you will see further below there is a big size difference between Minnie and Marias dogs! this did not stop her for one minute….. charging around and causing all sorts of mischief…. she definitely thinks that she is a lot bigger than she actually is!

Little Minnie was doing great! and was now ready to start looking for a new home… so her photos were put on our facebook, instagram and website…. and the waiting begins…. Whilst she was waiting, she was having a lovely life with her foster mama and family… playing, going for walks and even went to the beach!

And it was the last photo that actually caught her future mamas eye!

A good friend of Tracee Walton happened to be with her, when i sent her some photos of little Minnie…. A lovely lady names Caroline Gill. Who had previously had a Greek rescue dog named Arthur, who unfortunately had passed away earlier this year…

She saw little Minnie and feel in love straight away!

This is the hard part of being a foster mama…… normally when we get the news that a dog is being adopted it is a happy day, but for a foster mama it is a 50/50 sort of feeling….. half super happy, and half super sad…. the little baby that they have had in their life for the past few months (sometimes even longer) is going to be leaving them.

The arrangements where made, and little Minnie would be leaving with the Zounis Pet Travel. An amazing transport company, that transport dogs from Greece to England in a special van, where they have special cages, with blankets and toys. They make regular stops and send updates to all the families waiting at the other end.

Little Minnie would be making a pit stop in Athens first of all, where the wonderful Tracee Walton (once again, helped us a great deal and made all the arrangements for us) would foster little Minnie for a week whilst her paper work was being finalised and her passport prepared.

We were sent regular updates on how Minnie was getting on, through out here journey…. and like the little princess she is, it was not long until she had made her way to the front seat of the van! with a special cushion…

On a cold wet morning she finally reached England, and met her new family…. and it was love at first site for all of them… she has settled in straight away, and is loved more than anything in the world.

We would like to say a huge thank you to:

Tracee Walton: her help and knowledge is invaluable

Maria Proistaki: for being an amazing foster mama, and taking such good care of little Minnie.

Zounis Pet Travel For the brilliant care they take of the animals they transport, we would recommend them to anyone who needed ti transport their beloved pet

And everyone else who helped Minnie.

sitianimalrescueMinnie (Naomi)
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When it comes to theft probably the biggest canine criminals are gun dogs. Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Springer Spaniels etc, are the most obvious culprits and then to add insult to injury they proudly strutt around the house just out of reach! To be fair this is instinctive to gun dogs and after all we humans created this type of dog for this very purpose! There is, however, a positive side to this, we learn to be tidy!!
Now regardless of breed of dog there are certain responses we must avoid, we never chase the offender, we never try to prise the dogs jaws open unless the item stolen is dangerous and we don’t play tug of war in order to retrieve the item.
We must also understand that in our world we consider stealing as a criminal offence, it is our property, it belongs to us but to a dog it is a discarded item, there for the taking. It goes back to what I said earlier, be tidy, the only things that you should leave lying around are toys that our canine companion can legitimately pick up.
So what to do.
Well, having taking the opportunity to have a good tidy up around the house and removed temptation from the offenders path we know that the inevitable will occur and we need to be ready.
The old maxim “Exchange is no Robbery” comes into play.
We need to be ready so we can offer to exchange the stolen item for a tasty titbit or a toy. It doesn’t take long even for the most delinquent felon to work out that bringing the proceeds of crime to us brings its own rewards.
Stealing off tables an work surfaces is slightly different. We need to find a way to discourage this delinquent behaviour and the following should only be tried when you are at home. It is an old fashioned dog trainers trick that was regularly used but has fallen out of favour these days.
You need 10 empty drinks cans, the modern light aluminium variety and stack them in a pyramid at the edge of the table or worktop. A line of 4 in a row a small space in between 3 on top followed by 2 then one in the very top. Tuck a tasty titbit behind the middle two in the bottom and wait. In trying to retrieve the tasty morsel the consequences will be the tumbling down of the cans. This very often discourages the thief from repeating the offence, the cans are so lightweight they cannot harm and with your gentle admonishment adding to his surprise you may find that in future just putting one empty can on the edge a table or worktop should be enough.




Don’t litter, neuter.

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Fiongo – Bear

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This story is very close to my heart, as it was myself and my cousin Kalliopi Metaxaki who actually found little Fiongo.

One morning, when i went next door for a coffee to kallipoi’s house, i noticed something strange in her dogs house…. upon further investigation, there was a tiny little puppy! now her dog is a male! so no chance he had given birth over night! Unfortunately people quite often dump dogs and puppies up where we live, as we are surrounded by olive trees….

Because i am still learning Greek, i had actually just learned the word ‘fiongo’ and it just stuck….

For the next couple of weeks, we tried to find out where he had come from, and track down any possible owners…… none where to be found.

So we contacted the shelter, and as he had not had any vaccinations or treatments for fleas or ticks, we took him to the vets for a check up, and then kept him at Kallipoi’s house (as we didn’t want to risk him given any disease to the puppies at the shelter or vise versa)

When it was time, he came to the shelter and was introduced to the other puppies around the same age as him…. To start with he was very shy and quiet with the other puppies….. but that didn’t last long, and he showed us what a cheeky playful puppy he was.

Once Fiongo had had all his vaccinations, and was at the right age…. it was time for his debut to the world…..

And so his photo and information was put here on our website…. And this is where 2 very special people enter the picture…… Layla Wingate and her boyfriend Josh Bidgood…… Who after just having finished renovating their home, where just checking out the site…. not with the intention of adopting right now (plan was for a little bit in the future) but when they lay eyes on little fiongo they fell madly in love, and knew straight away that he was the one for them!

So the wheels were set in motion……. We owe a massive thank you to Tracee Walton (of Ambers Hope) who helped us massively, she was the one who organised his whole trip to England, and anyone who has transported a animal into the U knows, there is a lot of paper work, and small print that needs to be fixed 100% correctly. She was able to book his travel with Thompson Pet Transport who we can not recommend enough… the level of care they show to the animals that they are transporting is amazing, they have regular stops, with walks and play time, and they make daily photos and videos so that everyone waiting can see exactly how there precious cargo is getting on.

So Fiongo had to be in Athens (with Tracee) before he would leave, so that she could make sure all his paper work was in order, and make his papers for travelling to England….

So one evening, we took him to Heraklion to catch the over night ferry to Athens…. this little boy, travelled like a star… when you think that he had never been in a travel crate or a van before! he just lay down and slept the whole way… in fact when we arrived at Heraklion, i tried to get him out for a walk…. he just lifted his head and looked at me… as if to say… really?

The next morning he arrived safe and sound in Athens, and met the wonderful Tracee….. And i don’t think she will mind if i tell you, this little man stole a piece of her heart… He was such a special little boy, who wanted nothing more than to snuggle and cuddle!

At this point i would like to mention something that a lot of people do not realise…. whilst fiongo was at the shelter with us, he was always very aloof…. he was not one of these puppies that would come running up to you like the others….. no! he would make you work for his attention…. and would much rather be running around playing. I am saying this as a lot of the time, when a dog is in the shelter he may show or act different to how he will in a real home…. we can never know for sure how he or she will react in a home environment….. and like in this case, who was a very shy boy in the shelter… as soon as he was in a home, was a completely different dog!

Tracee looked after this little angel for 2 weeks…. and in the time he was with her, he started to learn what it would be like to be in a real home, surrounded by love! and he liked it…… a lot!!! It was not all cuddles, he did some lead training and other important stuff as well….. but a lot of cuddles where had….

It took Fiongo a week to travel over land to England… we choose this way to bring him to England, firstly as it is the most stress free… Thompson Pet Transport have a DEFRA approved travel van, with special cages with blankets and toys in, and they treat each animal they are transporting as if it were there own… and secondly, the price, To fly in England is very very expensive….

Every day, me, Kalliopi, Tracee, Layla and Josh would be sent new photos and videos of how he was getting on, and we found out that this little man seems to touch the hearts of everyone he meets! everyone who has met him, says how sweet and loving he is.

After what seemed like eternity (as i believe it has now been a month since we set the ball rolling) Layla and Josh were waking up to go and collect their new family member……. They had decided to travel up the night before, and so they could be there bright and early the morning of the pick up….

What a beautiful moment!! Little fiongo…… who will now be named Bear! Who started his life thrown away like a piece of trash, unloved and unwanted, Had his photo seen from a little town in Cornwall…. and was now finally meeting the 2 people who would love him more than anything in the world……

From day one Bear has settled right into his new home….. not shy, not hiding….. but straight in for cuddles and love, as if he has always been there. There will be the usual hurdles now to over come…. house training, and general training…. But we are sure that Bear is going to have the best possible life, He has 2 very special people who love him to bits, and lots of extended family with other dogs for him to play with, and run around in the large fields that surround his home.

We want to say a huge thank you to:

Tracee Walton, without her help this would have not been anywhere as easy to sort out, or smooth.

Thompson Pet Transport: For taking such good care of Bear, and all the other animals they transport. (again…… really cant recommend these guys enough!!)

Nikos Pandermalis: for taking the amazing photo that caught Layla and Josh’s eye.

And everyone else who played a part in making this happy end happen…..

meeting Josh for the first time!
first day at home
one of Bear’s favourite things to do! Cuddle!
Tired out after the long journey to reach his new home
Day trip to St Michaels Mount
Loving the Beach Life
Having a great time with his new cousin Finn
Exploring the countryside surrounding his new home
sitianimalrescueFiongo – Bear
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Pink wellies…

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Details have been changed to preserve anonymity

It was a strange request and I had my reservations, this could turn out to be a nightmare. The request came from the farmers wife. Could I visit the farm and ascertain whether the accommodation provided for her husbands sheep dogs was up to standard. I was puzzled, firstly because it was a very unusual request, unique in fact, and secondly, the voice on the end of the telephone was rather more cultured than one would expect from the average Cornish farmers wife. Ok, let’s be honest she sounded posh!!
I was even more puzzled when we met. Mrs Roskilly was a tiny lady, no more than 5 feet tall, immaculately coifered , designer clothes, she just didn’t fit the mould.
She led me without preamble to the dogs kennels put her hands on her hips and said. “Well”
I assumed that she thought the accommodation was not up to standard, but in fact it was superb. Block built, lined, sloping tiled roof the bedding was hay at least a foot deep and the food and water bowls were attached to the wall so as not to tip.
I then spent the next few minutes answering questions.
No, working sheep dogs would not benefit from having a pretty fleecey blanket, it would become wet and soiled and would have no benefit.
No they didn’t need little woolie coats. I suppressed a giggle as I imagined a working collie rounding up the sheep dressed in a woolie jumper.
No the dogs would not benefit from living indoors
The high energy dry food was correct and no, the dogs would not benefit from Sainsbury’s gourmet pate for pampered pets.
I explained at length that the feeding and sleeping of working dogs was totally different from pet dogs.
I was then invited in for a coffee, served of course in a china cup and saucer in an immaculate kitchen.
At this point Mr Roskilly arrived I was immediately struck by the contrast between Mr and Mrs. Mr Roskilly was a giant of a man 6 feet 4 inches tall and big, not fat, he was just a very large man, he extended a hand the size of a shovel and introduced himself.
“I’m John” The greeting was friendly without a hint of animosity.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
Fortunately it was a quiet day and I was able to sit and enjoy John’s anecdotes. It transpired that his wife Jenny had lived and worked in London and has been employed by a fashion magazine and her introduction to the harsh world of farming was something of a culture shock.
As someone who had never seen a live sheep and whose only contact with meat was on a cardboard tray covered in cling film in a supermarket and being an advocate for animal welfare Jenny found the adjustment difficult. Fortunately John adored his tiny wife and accepted that her concerns were heartfelt and also accepted that they were now a part of his life but it did lead to some rather strange conversations and bizzare events.
One of the first conversations went something like this:-
“John it’s raining”
“Yes my lovely.”
“The sheep are getting wet.”
“It’s ok they have a thick woolie coat that keeps them dry.”
“What about their faces they haven’t got any wool on their faces.”
“No my lovely they don’t face the rain they turn their backs to it.”
“What about their feet John won’t their feet get wet. “
“No sweetheart they are born with special feet.”
Five minutes later
“John don’t you have a barn or something so they can get out of the rain!!”
 The event went like this and I must admit that I can’t remember the reason, sheering or dipping (dipping was compulsory in those days)  but John had hired two men for the day and without warning Jenny arrived to help and as John said, the look on their faces was something to behold. Jenny being very fashion conscience arrived wearing a pink jumpsuit, very fashionable at the time, a pink woolie hat, a pair of pink marigolds (gloves) and a pair of pink wellies!!! For those who saw the tv series it was reminiscent of Margo in the The Good Life.
My favourite story, however, concerned Sunday dinner. John came in to the kitchen, washed his hands and noticed a piece of cling film on the kitchen surface, he spread it out and the conversation went like this.
“My lovely why are we having New Zealand lamb and not English?”
“Oh no John we can’t have English lamb it might be one of ours I couldn’t eat one of ours!!”




If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
 Will Rogers

sitianimalrescuePink wellies…
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Date of Birth: 2012

Sex: Male

Colour: Light brown and white

Size: medium

More about Rufos:

Rufos, is unfortunately back with us once again. This lovely boy has not had the easiest of lives, and this is the second time he has come back to us.

Unfortunately his new family was not able to keep him any more, and had to make the heart breaking decision to bring him back to us.

He is house trained and neutered, and brilliant on the lead.

He is the sweetest soul. And gets on great with all other dogs brilliantly.

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Hereditary defects

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It has often been a source of puzzlement to me that whilst there are unlimited numbers of stray dogs and the shelters are full to overflowing with delightful animals deserving of a home people still go and spend hundreds, even thousands on a pedigree dog from a breeder which unfortunately can come with built in problems. If, however, you decide that is the path you wish to follow, you need to be aware of the hidden defects that can plague any number of breeds. So before buying, please research.

Hip Displacia (HD)
Occurs when the joint at top of the back leg (commonly called a ball and socket joint) is not properly formed causing lameness.
This can be a very painful condition and may require major orthopaedic surgery. It tends to be found in larger breeds

Hereditary Cataracts
This results in the dogs vision being impaired and can lead to blindness. The first signs are a cloudy appearance on th dogs eye. This can sometimes be corrected by surgery. This condition affects 80% of recognised breeds

Collie eye anomaly
A congenital eye condition found in most types of collie caused by a defective gene and leads to total blindness. There is no cure.

Luxating patella.
Occurs when the patella (kneecap) moves slightly causing lameness. Can be corrected by surgery

A particular unpleasant condition when the lower eyelid has excess skin exposing the inner part of the lid. This can be corrected by surgery

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
 A condition that is basically a degeneration of the retina, leading to total blindness. There is no cure

Congenital Deafness. Exactly what it says. The dog is born deaf, particularly common in pure white dogs. There is no cure.

This is a brain disorder causing the dog to have seizures. This is generally controlled by medication There is no cure.

Intervertebral Disc Disease.(IDD)
Discs between the vertebra which act as shock absorbers start to degenerate. This can be a particularly painful condition which may require major orthopaedic surgery

Breathing difficulties.
Caused by the breeding of dogs with distorted facial features which results in flattened face making it difficult for the dog to inhale sufficient oxygen for its needs. There is no cure.

Distichiasis. An eye condition where a second set of eyelashes grow causing irritation. It is corrected by surgery

Where the eye lashes turn inwards and cause irritation to the eye.
It is corrected by surgery.

Overshot and undershot jaw.
This is where the top and bottom jaws are not in alignment. This can be congenital.

Please be aware that the purchase of animals is protected under both European and UK law and whilst the wording differs the law is basically the same. There are however two issues of which you need to be aware.
If you demand your money back then you almost certainly have to return the puppy.
Also, some of the defects I have raised won’t become obvious until after 6 months from the date of sale. This may require you to engage an authority on the subject in order to prove that the seller is responsible.
You are probably best advised to seek legal advice from the outset and you should understand that in a court of law even if you receive judgement in your favour and receive compensation, depending on the wording you still may have to return the dog.




Money can buy you a fine dog but only love can make him wag his tail.
Kinky Friedman.

sitianimalrescueHereditary defects
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This is a slightly different type of story….. The story of Zeus

In the summer of 2019, A young lady named Hannah Jane Petts, and her boyfriend Josh, where on holiday in Heraklion, Crete. They spent most of the time relaxing at the beach, as you do when your on holiday…

This is where they met Zeus! He was very very shy at first, and they just saw him from a distance… But slowly slowly he gathered his nerve and approached them….. Little did either of them know that their lives would be forever changed!

Over the process of the 2 weeks that they were on holiday, both Hannah and Josh fell in love with this gentle giant, they were feeding him daily with food they snuck out from the hotel buffet, and of course the occasional icecream!

This is where things got a little tricky…. They made the decision that they would adopt Zeus, and take him home to England with them… Seeing as they were on holiday, they had no idea how they could do this…. who could help them?

They took to social media and the internet and searched everywhere, everyone they reached out to, was already full to the brim….. the days ticked past,, and they were more in love with Zeus than ever, he had started to trust them, and was waiting for them every morning at the beach…. But their departure day was growing close….

In one last attempt the took to twitter, where they found us….. And what can we say, their story touched our hearts…… of course we would do whatever we could to help them take this big man home…..

The day after they messaged we arranged one of our volunteers to drive up to heraklion and collect Zeus, and bring him back to the shelter.

At this point i would like to say, before agreeing to help Hannah and Josh, we did have long talks with them about adopting a stray, especially one who is not a puppy (as we put Zeus age at around 4 years old) they were both aware that it would not be easy, and would cost them quite a bit to have him delivered to England (as he is big) but they were sure they wanted to give him the life he deserved. And also upon arriving at Heraklion, our volunteer stopped at a couple of local tavernas and beach bars, near to where Zeus was found, just to check he did not have a owner or family, they all said the same thing, he had appeared that summer out of nowhere, and was very very shy and timid.

So our volunteer met with Hannah and Josh, down at the beach, where a very skeptical Zeus was waiting…. he knew something was going to happen, and was not sure at all if it was a good or bad thing….. So we ended up taking the travel crate down the beach, and carrying him back to the van, inside the crate!

Zeus was at first put into a separate area of the shelter, due to fact we had no idea ow he would get on with the other dogs, and also he needed to have his vaccinations, and flea treatments etc, so that is would be safe for his and our other dogs health. As soon as it was safe we put him in a large enclosure with 6 other dogs, here he had companions to play with, and he thrived…….

he was checked for a microchip (none found) and measured, weighed and fully checked out by the vet… apart from being under weight, he was in great shape.

Now the next hurdle would be, how to get such a big dog to England, the cheapest and most stress free way… this is where we bring the brilliant Tracee Walton (of Ambers hope) came into the picture….. This woman is amazing, and without her help we would be lost. She was on holiday when we messaged her, but that did not stop her for one minute putting the wheels in motion, and by the end of the week we had booked his seat on a transport van to drive over to England!!!!

We had to wait just over a month for his departure day….. so that we could make sure all his paper work was in order, and all his vaccinations were done…. then he left us, on a over night ferry to Athens where he would start the next phase of his journey. This is the bitter sweet moment…. as happy as we are that he is going to a new home, we would miss our gentle giant… who was always sitting like a gentleman waiting for you to go inside and give him a back rub.

He stayed with Tracee for just over a week, so that she could make sure his paper work and passport were all up to scratch.

Then one Monday morning, he met the wonderful people from Zouis Pet travel….. He would be traveling in their amazing van, in a large cage with blankets, plenty of loo breaks and pit stops…. these amazing people kept us all up to date, with constant photos and videos, not just of Zeus but of the others they were bringing with him, who were also off to start their new lives in England.

After travelling for 4 days, Zeus and his fellow passengers reached England….

Hannah and josh met Zeus at the pick up point and took the big boy home…. Hannahs home already has a rescue boxer, so they had done some research on how to introduce 2 new dogs to each other, and went to a neutral piece of land… and all was good.

When they got home, things were not quite as plain sailing….. Zeus did not want to come inside…. at all! and yet he would cry out side, like he wanted to come inside but was scared too, he was a little bit snappy with his new brother Harvey, and a few more issues…….

Due to the fact that none of us knew anything about Zeus history or what he had been through, it is hard to be ready for how he will be in a home…… And this is always the hard part of rescuing a dog from the streets, you have no way of knowing what their life has been like before they met you, they could have been abused, or traumatised, a number of things could have happened to them, and they have no way of telling you, this is why you always need to be prepared for a lot of work and patience with your new friend.

Hannah and her family have worked wonders with this big boy… Their time and patience has already made a huge difference in this gentle giant, he now comes inside and enjoys sleeping in front of the fire, and licks his brother Harveys ears.

He still has a long road ahead of him, with many small little issues to overcome and work on, but we are all sure that with the love and support of his new family he will overcome them all.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Tracee Walton and to Zounis Pet Transport for helping getting this big man to his new home.

Here he is in his new life!

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The Basenji, a dog that is used for hunting and tracking and originally comes from the Democratic republic of Congo is the only dog in the world that doesn’t bark.

The Tibetan mastiff, originates from the nomadic peoples in places like China, Mongolia, India and Nepal and was bred to protect sheep. It is the most expensive dog so in the world going for the princely sum of 1.5 million dollars. One should to bear in mind, you do get a lot of dog for the money as a fully grown one weighs in at around 20 stone ( 286lbs )

The Low chen was once the rarest breed in the world, has no undercoat and has a price tag of around $8000

The tallest dog in the world was a Great Dane called Zeus who was 1118 metres ( 44inches ) tall and when he was standing on his hind legs he was 2.23 metres ( 7 feet 4inches ) tall.

The fastest breed is the greyhound which can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. In 2014 an Australian dog called Shakey Jakey covered 520 metres in 29 seconds

The Dicken medal was instigated in 1943 by Maria Dicken the founder of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and is awarded to animals for conspicuous gallantry and devotion the task, commonly known as the animals VC it has been awarded 66 times to 32pigeons, 29dogs, 4horses and 1cat. For those unfamiliar with the term VC, it stands for Victoria Cross considered to be be the worlds highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy due to its rarity. In the 153 years since it’s inception it has only been awarded 1358 times.

The poodle is generally considered to be a French breed, this is incorrect this dog originally comes from Germany

The Saluki is one of the world’s oldest breeds, evidence shows in was around in 6000 BC.

We have been domesticating  cats and dogs for in excess of 10000 years

The voice of the gay dog Sparky in the US satirical tv show is actually George Clooney




I very much believe in rescuing animals not buying them.
Candice Bergman

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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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