Thursday, January 26, 2012

Princess Kali Amanda joins a club

'Uncle' Keith giving Kali ear rubs
Murphy’s Law is often at work when you’re rescuing a dog. On the day I brought the yellow dog into my life—or better said, pulled her scrawny, limping self into my car here on the island of Kefalonia—naturally I only had four minutes left on my pay-as-you-go mobile phone, and not enough cash to buy a new phone card.

One minute of the four went for a call to my Christmas Day hostess, who had invited me back for a lunch of the leftovers. 

“Sorry I can’t make it,” I said, wondering how long it would be before the dog peed, pooped, threw up, or performed some combination thereof on the upholstery of my rented car. “I’ve got a dog.”

“A what?

“A dog.”

“A dog!”

“Yes. Off the street. I couldn’t help it,” I told her. “I know I shouldn’t have, but she was limping, and— “

“Oh, well done!” said my friend in her wonderful British way. The fact that she always chirps things like “well done!” at times like these, as opposed to the eye-rolls or and flat-out derision I get from way too many other people whenever I do a rescue, is one of the reasons I love her like a sister.

The second minute went to a call to another couple of British expatriates, Keith and Julia Preston, who, with Julia’s sister Pat Dolman and husband Dave run one of the island’s animal rescue organizations, Kefalonia Animal Trust (KATs).

“I can’t talk long because I’m almost out of minutes,” I said, “but I’ve… well, I’ve done it again… picked up another stray.”

“You’ve done what?” Julia asked.

“A stray… a street dog… I have her in my car here and— “

Keith, a former Yorkshire coal miner who can befriend the most feral of feral cats, is always pragmatic. “Now what are you going to do?” he wanted to know.

“Do you have a dog kennel I can borrow?”

In half an hour Keith met me at the crossroads up the hill from their home/animal refuge, bringing a metal crate on loan from Pat. And after another two minutes, the yellow dog was leaning against him for a hug.

“She’s not that bad off,” he said, assessing her starvation level.

I nodded. We’ve all seen a lot worse. “But she’s got the bum leg, and she was about to get hit by a car, and… “

He gave me one of his knowing chuckles. He’s heard lots of rescue stories from me over the years.

“Well, she’s a soft one. Nice dog, that’s for sure. Aren’t you, Spodger?”

Keith calls all animals he likes “Spodger,” and though he likes almost all of them, hearing it nevertheless made me happy. Kali had officially joined the Spodger Club.

“Now what are you going to do?” he asked again after we managed to finagle the huge, clunky, folding crate into my little Fiat.

“I don’t know.”

“Do you need food for her?”

I showed him the bag from which I’d been feeding the Museum Gang.

“What’s your husband going to say?”

“That, I do know—nothing good.”

He gave the yellow dog thorough rubs behind the ears. She scrunched her eyes shut in bliss.

“All right then, I’m off,” he said. “Have dogs to feed. Call us if you need anything.”

“Like CPR after the husband jumps through the phone line and throttles me?”

He chuckled again. “Yeah. We’ll be there.”

Watching Keith drive off in his old sputtering car—the car that’s lined in fur that is shed by the countless puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats transported for vet care and spay/neuter (and if lucky fostering and adoption), the car that’s full of bags and cans of food for the dozens of homeless animals KATs sustains at feeding stations, the car that leaks when it rains because the type of shoestring budget on which most rescuers struggle doesn’t allow for such niceties as new cars—it occurred to me, not for the first time, that we are all nuts. Keith, his wife and sister and brother-in-law, me, and the hundreds of thousands of other rescuers around the world who spend our time, energy, and money on the overwhelming tidal wave of neglected, abused, and/or abandoned animals.

We are reckless surfers on that tidal wave, risking everything including health, jobs, relationships, and sanity.

Glancing at Kali, who sat quietly in the front seat because the crate had crowded her out of the back, I got another rush of “Ye gads, what have I done?”

I wanted to call out after Keith, Please come back! Help! Yes, I do need something. Just take this dog, can’t you?  I don’t want to rescue another one right now. I don’t! I’ve got too much to do! And anyway I’m still exhausted from the ones before!

But there was no point. Keith and Julia’s house is more than full, as is their sister Pat’s house. Everyone else on this island who cares about animals has as many as they can possibly hold. It’s not uncommon for animal-lover households to have 6, 7, or more dogs.

I took a breath for strength and got in the car. Kali quietly watched.

Now what are you going to do? the question echoed. 

She looked at me as if wondering the same thing.

“Don’t worry, Spodger.” I gave her a rub in the behind-the-ear sweet spots Keith had found. “We’ll think of something.”

Please see previous posts about Kali... 

Princess Kali Amanda Gets Her Chance

Princess Kali Amanda Gets Her Second Chance

If you'd like to help a sweet, elderly, disabled street dog on the island of Paros, please see Old, Arthritic Gina, a Canine Work of Art, Endures a Hard Life on the Street

If you'd like to help unchain a dog who spends his whole life chained no matter the weather on the island of Kefalonia, please see Painful Talk with Friend Who Keeps Dog Chained.

ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT BY KATERINA LORENZATOS MAKRIS - COPYRIGHT 2012 -  Reprint or re-post allowable only by explicit permission from the author, who may be contacted at Thank you!


  1. <3 Kali Amanda, you are in the best of hands more worries! <3

  2. Aw thanks ravensrun65! Let's hope!