I have to warn you I’m writing this on 5 hours sleep over 2 days. I’m not a great sleeper since the wickedly strong grip of menopause found me. Also, I just returned from Greece on an animal welfare mission. So between that and jet lag, I barely remember my name.
Normally, I try to inject a bit of humor in my posts but this one may be different. One thing I know: it’s hard to find anything amusing when animals are suffering. I‘m just saying. But I promise our journey in Greece ends on an upbeat note. Don’t worry, you won’t be crying into your Sunday morning coffee as you read this.
After reading last week’s post, Mykonos, Here We Come, you’re aware that our getting to Greece was a challenge. When we finally did, we met some incredible people doing very difficult work with abandoned and starving animals. We tried to prepare ourselves for what we’d be experiencing but that wasn’t so easy.
You see, we live in a bubble in Marin County, a mostly wealthy community where residents generally dote on their pets. For instance, it’s not unusual to see a dog wearing a sweater. Embarrassing for the dog? Sure. But animals will put up with just about anything when they’re being cherished. Dog parks crop up like weeds; adoption animals at the Marin Humane Society fly out the door. Okay, I exaggerate, but you get the picture.
It’s a different story in Mykonos. Suffice it to say an abundance of animals are homeless and often emaciated. So my nonprofit, Marin Friends of Ferals, did some fundraising to provide medical supplies and ongoing support for food. Then 4 of us took the 12-day trip to network with other rescues and offer any assistance needed in the area.
There are so many desperate animals on the island, most Mykonians hardly notice anymore. They’ve become used to the misery in front of them. The cat, once revered, is no longer. Instead, they live on the streets scrounging for food and water, which many aren’t finding.
But all is not lost.
Thankfully, there are pockets of people doing rescue work in and around Mykonos. Before arriving, we connected with individuals dedicated to animal welfare; Janet with Paros Animal Welfare Society and Sharon with Mykonos Animal Welfare. We then networked with them during our stay while learning, first hand, what life is like for many animals in Greece.
Among Sharon’s dedicated committee members are David and Sandra. They find pockets of unaltered felines, collect them for spay/neuter or medical treatment, then deliver them to vet clinics. Their work is invaluable in helping control feline populations.
Animal rescue is a work in progress. It’s not a quick fix. Patience is key and educating the public is essential in helping overcome the cultural acceptance of largely neglected, unaltered and starving felines. But we, along with our like-minded friends, are strong-willed and passionate…2 essentials when advocating for humane care of animals.
Yes, in the scheme of things I suppose our impact there was minimal. But that’s when we need to remind ourselves that every animal we help makes a difference. Especially to that animal.
And sometimes, at the end of the day, just knowing that is enough.
PS…stayed tuned for Part 3 next Sunday when you learn how we almost died in Mykonos. How’s that for a cliff hanger?