| by Claire Kalemkeris
I thought that since the time is drawing near for a general assembly meeting I would update you on the work that has been done this past winter and inform people about what will be needed at the upcoming elections for a new board of administration.
The main objective is to create a board that is productive and motivated to work as a group to create a facility on municipal land and pursue a more integrated and affordable programme of sterilization and education to help minimize the stray problem. Paros has been blessed with an extraordinary re-homing programme that has been the life-saver for over one hundred and eighty dogs from 2005 to 2006. We have worked hard to make sure this programme has continued because without it these animals would literally have had no place to go.
The joy of my work with PAWS has been being part of the process of helping some of the really beautiful creatures which have been abandoned or lost either be returned to a distraught owner or find a family that genuinely cherishes and appreciates that dog or cat and provides a loving home. This winter a variety of dogs have landed in my lap, some tied to fences with less than a metre of chain, another rescued from a person breaking a stick over his head, others who have just shown up looking for help. I could go on, but you get the idea. The re-homing effort makes all the difference in the world to each of these dogs; in the countryside they would have had little chance of surviving through the spring, since without food they would be viewed as a threat to livestock and would be killed. So the programme also protects farmers’ livestock while simultaneously making the dog or cat saved an ambassador of goodwill for Paros.
The effort involved in keeping this programme going is Herculian and includes feeding, healing, training, transporting, and arranging the logistics to get animals from here to there. The actual work with animals is time consuming and takes lots of patience and energy. Unfortunately the situation for those involved in actually handling the animals has been one of considerable frustration. The resources available from the town do not remotely begin to cover all of the expenses; the money left over after paying the veterinarian is very limited. The need for renewal of memberships and new members is crucial at this point for PAWS to move forward.
Two years ago when I took on a more formal role in PAWS I had hoped we could improve the financial commitment and responsibility of the municipality. The situation has got better but there is still a lot of room for improvement. That being said, the other critical component is community involvement, especially in the Greek community. It amazes me that although there are many pet owners on Paros their involvement in PAWS has been negligible. It is my hope that this seemingly untapped source of compassionate people need to be made more aware of the purpose and existence of PAWS, because for this work to continue we need assistance from people who actually live here.
We look forward to hearing from you.