I paused for thought after being greeted by a fellow tourist with “morning, another nice day in paradise!” Yes, I thought, while it’s true that you can’t fault the constant sunshine, the sea, beaches and scenery, it is certainly no paradise for animals.
Perhaps this tourist’s first visit to Crete, or possibly Greece in general, had not yet enlightened them as to the problems that exist relating to animals. Unlike my fellow tourist, and having rescued a half blind kitten myself in Crete last summer, I am only too aware of the situation.
During my first visit to Crete, about ten years ago, my husband and I went to Noah’s Ark animal sanctuary run by a German lady there called Silke Wrobel. And having witnessed the difficult conditions in which this lady was looking after stray and sick animals I truly wondered if we had met a genuine saint. On this particular occasion Silke had so many animals, in need of help, within her house that she chose to sleep in her car in order to not have to turn any away.
Silke has worked over a thirty year period rescuing/re-homing animals. She has fought to provide a neutering programme, involving education on the subject, in Crete and is renowned for both this and the rescue/re-homing work. I learnt that she recently had 19 tiny kittens that she had to feed around the clock in order to save them; nothing is too much trouble for Silke. Speaking of kittens, and fortunately one of Silke’s helpers, a British lady called Joy Reynard living together with her British husband in Crete, we were provided with a fantastic foster home for our rescued kitten while he went through his passport for pets’ process. This took 7 months. Both Silke and Joy work tirelessly rescuing and re-homing cats and dogs sparing them from illness, starvation and death.
Joy did a remarkable job fostering our kitten along with another cat and dog that were both homed with a couple in East Sussex. Please bear in mind she also looks after her own pets; twenty cats and three dogs! During my visit to Crete in July I was privileged enough to be able to help Joy, albeit in a very small way, by bottle feeding two tiny kittens. Joy had been on her way to Heraklion airport with dogs destined for good homes in Germany, when she stopped on route to put some rubbish in a roadside bin and heard the loud cries of the two kittens approximately 3 days old. She rescued them, cared for them and fed them around the clock. On the day we left Crete their little eyes had opened and they knew exactly who to look upon as mother! Five slightly older kittens that were left in a box outside Noah’s Ark Sanctuary were also being fed and cared for by Joy. They were very unwell when I first saw them but with Joy’s tender care all five were play fighting on the day we left Crete. Upon reflection, between Silke, Joy and all those other people that ‘care’ enough to help Noah’s Ark, not forgetting Stavros a really kind local Greek vet perhaps for some animals paradise does exist after all.