|Inquisitive eye contact asking for food and love|
Many of us spend a significant portion of our lives feeling sorry for ourselves. From now on, whenever I start moping, I’ll remember the dogs of Kyllini.
In early May, while driving ex-street dog Diamandi from Kefalonia to Athens to put her on a flight to her new home in Denmark, courtesy Danish rescue group Graeske Hunde, I saw five desperate dogs along the way, all in the vicinity of Kyllini, a port town on the western Peloponnese peninsula.
No matter what I might find to whine about in my own life, I’ll remind myself it can’t be a fraction as bad as what street dogs endure just to survive.
Not to pick on Kyllini, because of course that town’s dogs aren’t the only ones. Countless millions more street dogs struggle against hunger, illness, injuries, poisonings, and abuse throughout Greece as well as in many other countries, including the U.S.A, all across the globe.
The first dog I saw that day was a lonely, mange-riddled fellow, just seconds after Diamandi and I drove down the ramp of the ferry boat that had brought us from the island of Kefalonia into Kyllini harbor.
Hastily I named him “Kyllini,” and only stopped long enough to snap a couple of photos of him and ask at a local taverna if anyone could help.
The results were not too successful, as described in yesterday’s posts.
Things went from bad to worse.
Due to the fact that Diamandi was horribly car sick, drooling the proportional equivalent of the Mississippi and feeling too sick even to lie down, I had to stop about every 30 to 45 minutes to give her a break and a little water to keep her hydrated.
But where to stop on that rural highway? Every gas station and café had at least one dog hanging around. The last thing I needed, as I raced the deadline of the next day’s flight, was an unpleasant encounter or worse between her and some unfamiliar, possibly territorial dog, or heaven forbid a pack of them.
Finally, near the turn-off for the village of Varda,I spotted an "Aegean" gas station that seemed to be dog-free. Just to make sure, I drove past it twice, then doubled back.
Diamandi eagerly hopped out of the car, thrilled to escape her torture chamber, and we headed for a grassy area to give her a chance to relieve herself, although I was pretty sure she had already either barfed or drooled out every milliliter of spare fluid in her body.
I was busily forcing myself not to glance at my watch (we had left Kefalonia late, and seeing evidence of the rapidly passing hours only heightened my panic about making the next day’s flight), when suddenly somebody goosed me.
And goosed me good.
My shriek might have been heard several towns away. I jumped at least half a meter into the air.
In turn this startled Diamandi, who yelped in sympathy, then stared, growling, at someone behind me.
Few good answers
I whirled around to find a tall and handsome someone smiling at me. And wagging his tail.
|'Pardon the goose. Got any food?'|
Finished inspecting mine, Handsome moved on to the hindquarters of Diamandi. She bristled but it was only ceremonial. Handsome was so obviously non-threatening that she quickly relaxed and let her fur down.
Aside from his size—his head almost reached my waist—the most impressive thing about Handsome was his direct, inquisitive, and completely non-aggressive eye contact.
Such an intense gaze from an unfamiliar dog can be a warning sign. In the case of this good-looking guy, it seemed to translate instead into questions: “Will you feed me? Want to take me home?”
The brief and sad encounter with Kyllini less than an hour before had already broken my heart into plenty of bits. Having few good answers for Handsome’s questions chipped off a few more.
But what came next might as well have been a sledgehammer.
For more about Handsome, Diamandi, and lots of other dogs, please check this page again soon.
PLEASE NOTE: The place where I saw Handsome is an "Aegean" gas station on the main highway between Kyllini and Patras, near the turn-off for the village of Varda.
If you're in the area or know someone who is and might be able to help, please contact me at youadopteddogATyahooDOTcom.
ALL PHOTOS AND TEXT BY KATERINA LORENZATOS MAKRIS (unless otherwise noted)
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