|Mange-riddled and abandoned, trying to survive on the streets of Kyllini in western Greece.|
When I first saw him he was trotting behind two backpackers who had just gotten off a ferry boat in Kyllini, a small port town in western Greece. Maybe he’d had good experiences with tourists feeding him in the past.
But they didn’t even notice him.
I too had just gotten off the ferry from the island of Kefalonia. Diamandi,another dog who just a few weeks earlier had been in desperate condition on thestreets herself, sat in my rented car drooling gallons due to motion sickness.
She was on her way to Athens, where along with three other ex-street dogs she would board a plane and fly off to a happy new life in Denmark, thanks to help from three rescue groups, Graeske Hunde, Kefalonia Animal Trust, and Santorini Animal Welfare Association, as well as from all their generous donors and volunteers.
For a moment I thought about it. What if I were to load the mangy Kyllini dog into the car, pray he would get along with Diamandi, pray harder that his mange was the non-contagious demodex type instead of the highly contagious sarcoptic type, and beg Graeske Hunde to take him into their program too?
But prayer often doesn’t do you much good without some common sense. The plan was sorely lacking in the latter.
Diamandi was already miserable with the car sickness that had plagued her from the moment we’d left our house in Kefalonia—losing so much liquid through her extreme drooling that I had to stop every 30 to 45 minutes to give her rests and to allow her enough water to keep her hydrated, but not so much that it came up in barf.
Today, my responsibility was to her and to the other three dogs who needed transport to Denmark. It wouldn’t be fair to them or to the hardworking rescue groups to risk any mishap.
At least, though, I could photograph “Kyllini,” as I’d oh-so-imaginitively named him, and ask at one of the nearby tavernas if anyone could help.
Eyes so inflamed he could barely open them
The minute I parked the car, Kyllini hurried right up to the driver’s side. He watched me through the window, waiting for me to come out. He wagged his tail. It seemed he was doing his best to appear friendly and appealing, even though the mange had afflicted him so severely that he could barely open his inflamed eyes.
When you see something like that, and you care even the slightest bit about animals, you’re hit by so many different feelings that it’s hard to think straight. There’s grief, frustration, anger, nausea, and the need to cry, to name a few.
Forcing myself to focus, I drew a deep breath, found my camera, flipped it on, told Diamandi to wait, and stepped out of the car.
The tail wagged harder. He came forward to greet me.
“Hello, sweetie,” I said, carefully dodging his attempts at contact, afraid of transferring anything infectious to Diamandi on the eve of her departure for her wonderful new future. “I’m so sorry I can’t pet you, baby. So sorry.”
As if understanding, he stopped, but kept wagging his tail.
“Do you mind if I snap a picture?”
He cooperated, standing politely still, watching me eagerly.
Right then an 18-wheeler coming off the ferry almost ran both of us over in the driver’s haste to get to the highway.
Kyllini darted away and disappeared into a field of bushes.
If you or anyone you know are in the Kyllini area and might be able to help “Kyllini” the dog, or if you know of a locally active rescue group, please contact The Dozen Dog Diaries at youradopteddogATyahooDOTcom.
Please see the next article about Kyllini and Diamandi.
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT BY KATERINA LORENZATOS MAKRIS (unless otherwise noted)
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