Skiathos is a small, beautiful island (12kms. long and 6kms. wide) situated in the North Western Aegean.
It attracts thousands of visitors in the summer months. (I discovered the island in 1976 – met my husband and moved here in 1980.)
Like most countries in Southern Europe and the Balkans, Greece has a serious problem with stray dogs and cats. Skiathos, although tiny, had many abandoned dogs.
They formed packs and people were afraid of them. Eventually some concerned residents got together and opened a shelter in Skiathos town – unfortunately it quickly became unmanageable.
It was too close to where people lived and worked. The local monastery (Evangelistria) offered a piece of land well out of town – between another beautiful monastery (Panagia Kounistria) and the town landfill.
So the Skiathos Dog Shelter was created. That was in 1995.
The first years were very difficult. Numbers soaring to 170+ dogs in the shelter. It became a case of 'out of sight out of mind' and the only visitors to the shelter were people dumping dogs (and cats).
Over the years contacts were made with international animal organisations and individuals who helped with veterinary care, building projects and food. Visitors discovered the shelter while exploring the island and began offering homes to the dogs and cats. We began a dog-walking programme and opened the shelter to the public which brought more people.
Some of these visitors were so touched by our situation that they went back to their own countries and formed groups. These groups now find wonderful homes for our dogs and cats and more. We want our dogs and cats to go to loving homes. Where they are treated as part of the family.
We do not home dogs to families who will chain them up or keep them outside.
We believe that a dog is for life and that every dog deserves a happy, secure future.
It's a struggle sometimes to keep going. The shelter has no electricity or running water.
But it is a happy place where many dogs are loved for the first time in their lives – and a stepping-stone to their new lives with a home and a family.
Thanks for stopping by, hopefully we'll meet in Skiathos sometime. In the meantime please take a look at our Facebook page and become a fan.