Paros Animal Welfare Society PAWS
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Phone: +30/6975/060927 - Fax: +30/22840/28119

By Claire Kalemkeris

What I have come to realize as one of the current volunteers is that although I am always crazy busy with my own work getting involved matters. By helping make sure that a creature who has been abandoned and experienced the hazards and neglect of the street finally finds someone who truly loves them and will have the grace of a secure home is a truly rewarding and gratifying experience. A kind of wonderful way of looking at this is that you become a matchmaker in a lot of unusual love stories.
From the beginning of this year there have been thirty-five dogs and some cats that have found homes here and abroad. That's a lot of love stories. Today I am going to focus on one about an absolutely brilliant dog named Zippo who I saw wandering around the Marpissa area a couple of months ago with some other strays.
One minute the dog was in the middle of a busy section of the road and then quickly disappeared into the woods. At the time I thought what a great dog and since it was still spring time the very real possibility was if someone didn't step in the likely hood was that he would be shot, poisoned, strangled or in some other way have his life come to an abrupt end. Fast forward two months later he reappeared not looking quite so terrific and clearly in need of help. Frankly I was surprised to see him alive. Some neighbors, Katerina Probona and Heineka were with me and we all agreed something needed to be done and yet before the process could begin he needed a place to go that very night. Unfortunately we all had dogs and no safe place to put him, so I started making phone calls and found him his first night at Nehama Weininger's house who needed to go to work the next morning at which point he came back to my house in the middle of the first freak rainstorm. We did a lot more research to make sure he wasn't a lost dog but an abandoned dog. Just an aside if you lose your pet please contact us as he or she can be listed on the web page and through word of mouth its possible maybe the listing can contribute to your pets recovery.
Back to the story, from my area we came down to Parikia and photographed the dog for the PAWS website and then went on to Barbara Burkie's who has done some extraordinary work.. She has coordinated the rehoming effort and offered to foster care him for about three weeks till he could be rehomed. And that is where the kismet or old black magic, or that thing called love happened. A wonderful young woman named Biggy had chosen to volunteer her summer holiday here in Greece to help with stray animals who were being rehomed. She volunteers regularly at an animal shelter in Germany and thought she could help out while on holiday. Biggy was spending time training and socializing a bunch of different dogs so they would be ready to leave confident and not afraid which is what happens when there's not enough love, time and attention. The more Biggy worked with Zippo the tighter their bond became and it became impossible to think about not staying together. It is a very moving thing to watch a beautiful relationship grow and watch how love can transform both the dog and the person. I relate all this because one it continually amazes me how dogs "go where the love is".
The most important point is that lots of people at least fifteen helped to make Zippo's deliverance happen by doing a part of the work sometimes a couple of hours, sometimes one night sometimes a couple of weeks till somebody wants to keep an animal for the rest of what will be a life being loved. The point is just contributing a little bit of time once in a while can make a big difference even if you are crazy busy. Soon Biggy, Zippo, Buttercup [the dog pictured last month], as well as a lovely griffin, a beautiful cat and I left for Santorini. Some fantastic ladies from the Santorini animal welfare organization to help Biggy get to the airport and continue the journey to Germany where she was met again by other animal welfare people who helped deliver the animals to their new homes. So this story is about all the love and care that goes into these journeys- quite extraordinary.
Please contact us and be part of a lot of happy endings. Zippo went home with Biggy.