So we were in Mykonos trying to positively impact the lives of animals. It was challenging imagining what we’d encounter along the way since we don’t witness much animal suffering in Marin.
We prepared ourselves as best we could by talking with other rescues in Greece, doing research and meeting beforehand to organize and familiarize ourselves with what awaited.
Still, rarely a day passed in Mykonos without one of us shedding tears. Yes, the island is gorgeous but it harbors an ugly undertone that, frankly, is impossible to condone or dismiss. Unfortunately, animals in distress have become an accepted norm to many Mykonians.
Our time on the island made me admire even more those who work toward making life easier for animals — namely those at Mykonos Animal Welfare. How they continue wearing smiles is a testament to their devotion and ability to stay focused on the goal: alleviate animal suffering.
I thought about posting more heartbreak, but no. Let’s just say it’s a daily occurrence that makes it difficult for those who love animals to fully enjoy what the island has to offer. So I’m sharing the positive, which happily, also happens daily.
There’s a 70-year-old woman in town who spends her retirement (and her savings) feeding 180 cats EVERY SINGLE DAY. Everyone knows Manya, who is as much a fixture as the yachts adorning the harbor.
People feed stray dogs and cats at the Parthenon in Athens. Thank goodness for Lisa’s backpack that we crammed full of kibble each morning.
Days at the vet clinic were eye-opening. Caring souls dropped off cats to be sterilized; concerned tourists brought in live kittens found discarded in bags and boxes.
We stayed at beautiful Villa Konstantin, owned by the head of Mykonos Animal Welfare. Naturally, we got cozy with Sharon’s rescues on the property, often finding them waiting outside our room each morning.
There’s the couple who took care of Pitsulia, a cat living at the waterfront. (We took her and another cat, Nico, home with us.) Vangelis and Gogo dearly love Pitsulia but gave her up for a better life. They rushed to our ferry to say one last goodbye.
Meeting other animal advocates on the island was a highlight of our trip. Hannah, the vet assistant we adore, invited us all to her home for dinner where our vet friend cooked Greek specials and we ate and drank into the night.
Another evening, our Greek vet took us to dinner for authentic Crete cuisine and our first taste of Tsikoudia, a high-volume alcohol. Dinner began around 10:30, ending at 2:00 a.m.
We capped it off with Greek dancing at a local nightclub, returning home at 4:00 a.m.
Oh yeah, driving on the narrow, winding roads with our friend full of Tsikoudia is how we almost died on Mykonos (the cliffhanger reference in my last post). But we plan to return next spring to continue where we left off.
When all is said and done, working in animal welfare is often overwhelming, especially when thinking about the major issues. But we have to remember that even baby steps move us forward. Every act of compassion — no matter how small or seemingly insignificant — has a positive impact on another being. What better argument for compassion in action?
Do what whatever you can about the misery in front of you. Add your light to the sum of light.