Street dogs are a big problem in many countries around the world, and it often seems that nobody really cares about them at all. They wander aimlessly at night when people have gone home, nobody to love them and nobody to care for them. They’re often a nuisance as they desperately hunt for food in garbage bins and yards, trying to find any sustenance at all.
Greece is no exception – a country where literally millions of stray dogs roam the streets, and their plight is ignored.
Valia Orfanidou is trying to change that. She works in several animal rescue centres in the country, but the task facing them is an enormous, uphill, thankless struggle. She says she just wants to be able to rescue them all, but she simply doesn’t have the space. It’s hard to wander the streets and the beach at night; “you either have to turn a blind eye or come back home with a dozen rescue dogs,” she says.
One summer, Valia was staying in a seaside town and would often take her own dogs out for a walk on the beach in the evening. She noticed that by sunset, most people had left and the sands were taken over by the strays. All 16 miles of beach was now occupied by hundreds of street dogs. It was heart-breaking.
But there was one dog, in particular, she noticed time and time again. There was something about this playful animal who just wanted to be loved. This dog would come to her, greet her and stay with her for her walk along the beach. Valia would sit in her car for hours and see that all this dog desperately wanted was company. Normally, she couldn’t allow herself to intervein, but this time it was different. Something had to be done.
The playful pooch eagerly went with Valia when she arrived with her car and took the animal two hours away to her home. After an important visit to the vet, she named her Blue – after the blue sea that was the only thing keeping her company on the beach. Valia fostered this beautiful, doting dog who only ever wanted a loving home. You can pass the tissues now! Take a look at Blue’s emotional journey in the video below, from stray beach dog to beloved family pet. Greek animal rescue centres need all the support they can get!