“I don’t usually go on tour operator excursions whilst I am holiday but I have just come back from a holiday in Skiathos – one of the Greek islands – and we went on a most enjoyable visit.
It was advertised as “make a dog’s day!”. We were collected by the tour bus and taken to the only dog and cat shelter on the island where we could choose a dog to take out for an hour long walk amongst the pine forest. I chose “Buddy” a cross breed who was a lovely calm boy. My husband had “Myknos” – a very lively retriever-cross who had been a family dog and left behind when the owners went back to Norway. There was about ten of us, all with a mixture of dogs and a pocket full of treats. We had a lovely walk through the pine trees.
The shelter was set up about 15 years ago by an English lady who was appalled at the packs of dogs roaming the island. Skiathos is a small island and so the locals had a real problem on their hands. One of the local monasteries gave the lady a plot of land in the forest to set up the shelter. There is no running water or mains services and no public transport to it so everything has to be taken up a dirt track in a 4×4. The volunteers are a very dedicated bunch and really care for the dogs and cats. They can get up to 150 dogs but many are rehomed before the end of the tourist season and this winter they are down to 30.
The tour operator pays part of the fee for each tourist as a donation to the charity and also commit to flying rehomed dogs back to the UK at a subsidised rate. It is only €350 to rehome a dog and that includes a rabies jab, neutering, passport and the flight to the UK! One year there was a forest fire and as it got closer and closer the lady made the decision to just let all the animals out to literally run for their lives. 150 dogs were let out and in the following week 152 came back…….!
This was the best excursion I have ever been on whilst on holiday and would thoroughly recommend it if you find yourself on holiday in Skiathos.”
Head Nurse – easipetcare Kettering