| by Claire Kalemkeris, November 2005
The last opportunity to fulfil 2005 membership renewal is at hand. PAWS genuinely needs financial support as we are still waiting to receive the money promised from the municipality for the budget of 2004. Although the town has dutifully committed to taking responsibility for the veterinary services for its stray population, the money has not shown up yet. We have been trying to compensate the vet until this funding arrives and the reserves are running low. This situation has a negative effect on our ability to function efficiently.
We realized at the time of the previous election for the board that it was important to be able to reach the membership more effectively as many people who contribute are not full-time residents of the island. In an effort to make our organization more democratic we want to make sure that as many members as possible are able to participate in voting and other issues raised at general assembly meetings, so we would like to update our database with your email or fax details in order to enable us to maintain a dialogue and allow you to participate in the voting process.
We have published the membership list on our website at www.paws.gr; please check and see if you are on that list. If you are not then please let us know. Also if you've changed address or our information is incorrect, contact us so we can update it. Some people aren't interested in all the details of elections and meetings, so if you like you can simplify and just be a donor.
Our constitution requests that a good portion of the membership be able to participate in voting and decision making at general assembly meetings. We are hoping that by using fax and email, more people, whether they are on or off the island, can participate and contribute ideas, energy and resources, as well as voting with greater ease.
We hope to have a general assembly soon and want to have full participation. All hopes for making a real difference rely on lots of members helping out a little, as opposed to a few people being completely overwhelmed. This is also an opportunity for anyone who is interested in becoming much more active to consider becoming a board member. It would be great to find someone who can write fluently in Greek as one of our objectives is to communicate more actively in the Greek press and within the Greek community. Educators, business people, people with organizational experience, people with political experience in local or other government levels and, most importantly, people who are genuinely interested in animal welfare, are all great candidates for board members. The idea is that you would actually have real time to offer.
In an effort to increase our resources, we hope to initiate a variety of fund raisers, so this is a shout out to anyone who has inventive and creative fundraising ideas that they were keeping hidden under their pillow - come and share all your wild ideas!
One of the primary objectives of this board of trustees was to create complete transparency with respect to accounting and allow the public to view what happens with PAWS resources. The reasoning was that it is important to see how members' and public funding is used and demystify what is required to get the job done. The web site has been outfitted with a section that explains where resources are going. Also another section is under development that tracks the animals that have been rehomed so that people can follow each case to its respective happy ending.
Last time in this column I wrote about the story of a dog named Zippo and the process of him finding a home. At the last count I think almost fifteen people from Paros, Santorini and Germany helped out in getting Zippo from homeless to home sweet home, which means lots of energy, love and compassion.
We spent a lot of time on rehoming efforts in the last months and want to start concentrating on an ambitious education effort linking some of the other groups that are doing work with wild animals and the environment, which in the case of people on Paros includes the land and the sea. The idea is to create something that is interactive and that can be used for educational programmes in the schools. If this intrigues you, please give us a call and be part of what is sure to be an exciting adventure.
Some last thoughts: PAWS is still looking for people who can provide foster care for a dog or cat for a limited window of time till it can be adopted. A terrific lady named Jane came up with an idea to provide kennel service through a buddy programme where people who have a pet and would like to travel are introduced to someone else in the same situation who has a pet that gets along with the other person's pet. These people can then arrange to leave their pet with their buddy and trade the same service in kind. As Paros has no kennel service, we believe this could help many people out, and maybe encourage people to take on a stray, since they would now have a safe place to leave him or her while they were off travelling.
And finally, I've continued for the last nine months to take care of three beautiful part pit bull girls that have very limited opportunity to be adopted in northern Europe because they are part pit bull. If you know anyone who's interested, they need to find a home. Looking forward to hearing from you.