The struggle of stray cats and dogs in Greece is a significant problem, with a staggering number of animals living in dire conditions. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to contribute to the fate and well-being of these animals. One such opportunity is the Gouves Animal Shelter, located on the island of Crete.
Our experience at the shelter was unique and rewarding. Upon entering the kennels, we were greeted by a chorus of over 160 barking dogs. The sounds and smells were overwhelming, and we quickly realized the plight of homeless animals on the island. However, despite their conditions, the dogs were well-cared for, with each kennel equipped with a dog house or bed for them to rest. The shelter also had a dedicated puppy area for unvaccinated puppies and a small sick room and quarantine area for cats and dogs who need extensive medical treatment and observation. We then visited the cat corner, where more than 60 street cats were staying. Many of them still bore the marks of previous wounds, but fortunately, all the animals we were shown can be adopted. Every week, several cats and dogs find their forever homes all over Europe and even the USA.
The Gouves Animal Shelter was founded in 2004 by a group of volunteers who were concerned about the welfare of stray and abandoned animals on the island. At the time, there were very few resources available for these animals, and many were left to fend for themselves on the streets. The shelter started out as a small kennel for the American military’s dogs, and it has since grown to a new, bigger structure. They have around 50 bigger kennel places and 20 smaller ones. Part of the shelter is still under renovation, and they make improvements whenever their finances allow them to do so.
Adding the Gouves Animal Shelter to your Crete itinerary can be a unique and rewarding experience. Visiting the shelter can be a cultural experience, as you get to see how animal welfare is approached in another country. You can learn about the challenges facing animal shelters in Greece and how they are being addressed. You can also meet and interact with the animals at the shelter, including dogs and cats, and even help care for them. Spending time with animals can be a fun and therapeutic experience, and maybe you’ll even go back home with one of them. By visiting the shelter, you are supporting a good cause and helping to improve the lives of animals in need. The shelter relies on the support of volunteers and donations, so your visit can make a difference. Moreover, the shelter is a great place to meet like-minded people who share your passion for animal welfare. You can learn from and collaborate with the volunteers and staff who are making a difference in the lives of animals.
The stray animal problem on the island of Crete has several causes, unlike in many other countries, where the main issue is strays multiplying on the streets. The biggest problem here is the increasing number of puppies and kittens born in households and then abandoned on the streets due to poor financial situations and a lack of education. To effectively address this issue, the organisation must consider all of these factors while working towards better animal welfare laws and finding solutions to prevent the rising number of strays.
There are several ways in which Gouves Animal Shelter addresses the issue of stray animals on the island, which include the following:
– Neutering strays: Neutering every stray animal is a crucial step in preventing unwanted kittens and puppies from being born on the streets where most of them suffer and die in inhumane conditions. However, due to limited resources, they can only help a few strays whilst their number continues to rise, especially during summer when food is more abundant. Stray animals have no protection from deadly diseases like Parvo and Canine Distemper, which can easily spread and cause epidemics. By preventing these kittens and puppies from being born, they can significantly reduce the number of strays.
– Assisting families in neutering their pets: Most puppies on the streets of Crete are not born from stray dogs, but rather from pets that families cannot afford to keep or do not care for. Due to Greece’s poor financial situation, many families cannot afford to neuter their pets. If Gouves Animal Shelter had the resources, they could assist more families in neutering their pets, thereby preventing unwanted puppies from being born in households and abandoned on the streets.
– Emergency fund: Gouves Animal Shelter is dedicated to providing care and emergency treatment to animals that are in desperate need. Their efforts extend to the old cats and dogs who have been through a lot, the small puppies and kittens that still have their eyes closed, the sick strays, and animals that have been shot, poisoned, hit by cars, or neglected for years. Gouves Animal Shelter ensures they receive thorough veterinary check-ups, blood tests, neutering, medications, and surgeries to ensure they have a promising future. While they may not always succeed, they will always give their best efforts to every soul that comes their way. Unfortunately, good intentions alone cannot provide the necessary care. Since they receive no funding from the government or larger organizations, their animals rely on the generosity of individual supporters.
– Re-homing cats and dogs: Gouves Animal Shelter stands as a shining example of an organization that goes above and beyond to unite stray animals with loving families. They ensure that every animal is healthy, vaccinated, neutered, and trained to be the best companion they can be. Adopting an animal from the shelter will not only change the life of the animal but will also bring joy and fulfillment to the family.
In conclusion, the Gouves Animal Shelter provides many opportunities to contribute to the fate and well-being of stray cats and dogs in Greece. It is a unique and rewarding experience that provides cultural understanding, the chance to meet and interact with animals, and the opportunity to support a good cause. Moreover, it is a great place to meet like-minded people who share your passion for animal welfare. The shelter addresses the issue of stray animals on the island of Crete through various means, including neutering strays, assisting families in neutering their pets, providing an emergency fund, and re-homing cats and dogs. By supporting the Gouves Animal Shelter, we can help create a better future for the animals of Greece.