So many times there are images of animals that need homes shared around social media. What happens to the them and who are the people that offer their homes. This is the third in a series of stories of people who are living in the Greek islands and have rescued animals where they are living.
Originally from Suffolk in the UK Hilary has been living in Lindos since 2012 where they now have a small menagerie of rescue animals. Animals often find us rather than us looking for them and that’s certainly true of Hilary’s animals.
Hilary’s story in her own words.
My first visit to Rhodes was in the summer of 1972 having stayed on Karpathos for 3 months we were travelling back to Pireaus by boat and called into Rhodes in the early hours of the morning just as dawn was breaking. a truly wonderful sight. We spent a week on Rhodes taking a bus to Lindos for a day trip. Within 10 minutes of getting off the bus I annouced that “I would be retiring here!”
Exactly 40 years later that is what happened.
Having spent many years visiting Lindos at least twice a year we finally made the move in April 2012. We are extremely lucky in that we rent a large old villa in the centre of Lindos. it’s what is known as an outside house, where the kitchen and bathroom are across the kooklaki courtyard, which is fine in the long summer days, but a bit of a drag in the winter, it’s amazing how hardy we’ve become! We have wonderful neighbours all of whom are Greek.
So, the menagerie began in August 2012, when our first member turned up, Lucky was a tiny kitten he was much too young to be away from his mother but he turned up at the laundry in Lindos and spent all day hiding behind the machinery. Eventually he was captured and donated to me. Lucky got his name from the shop keepers along my route home from the laundry. He grew into a big fluffy ginger and white cat, never straying far home initially. Lucky never learnt to miaow he made a very funny calling noise so we always knew when he was around. In fact one Sunday morning he returned having been out all night calling and calling from our front wall. When we got to him he was covered in whitewash from head to foot to this day we don’t know if he fell into it or was pushed! Yes, a massive clean up was needed. Whitewash or not this did not deter him from going off on the wander again. Sadly we haven’t seen our lovely Lucky since midday on Christmas Eve, hopefully he’s found a lovely winter home and will return in the summer.
Mr Marley & Scooby
Lucky was followed by Mr Marley who “found us” at the end of the 2012 season, two nights running at Giorgos Bar, we felt this was an omen so he then came home with us. It transpired he had been running betwen Lardos, Pefkos and Lindos for quite a while. Mr Marley settled well, he loved his walks but we were reluctant to let him off the lead. One day the decision was made to let him “try” being off the lead, although with the lead still attached, he made a bolt for the hills where the goats were. We called and called but he didn’t come we couldn’t even see him. So, after a while we began the walk home, we got about a quarter of the way and heard him crying……yes, he’d started to come back but got his lead caught in the rocks. He was rescued and came home none the worse for his escapde. Mr Marley now has a 15 metre lead that he wears once we’re either on the beach in the winter or along the footpaths, in fact anywhere other dogs would be off the lead. Scooby joined us as well at this time for his first “overwinter” with us. His humans return elsewhere for the winter, so we care for him every year. Scooby is white with ginger ears and tail. Scooby settled well and taught Lucky all the tricks he knew, they made great play mates, often when Scooby’s humans return Lucky goes off as well for a while.
So our lives went along for around 12 months until the end of season 2013, when we took on the winter care of another dear little kitten Noddy whose human was also returning elsewhere for the winter. Noddy was the “runt” of the litter another ginger and white kitten, he was really tiny but did grow a bit, Mr Marley became very fond of Noddy and they became inseperable. Sadly Noddy was only with us for just over twelve months, he died in November 2014, he had a short life but was loved throughout by everyone that met him.
We now come to just before the end of season 2014. Mindy’s human was returning elsewhere and we took her on as a family member not just for overwintering. Mindy is very different from all our other feline friends not only in that she’s female but she chats away at times having a lengthy conversation, she’s a chunky little girl who loves to remove the slatted drain covers from both the bathroom and the courtyard. Yes, having removed them she often wears the metal hoop as a necklace causing her no bother at all, and yes she drinks from both drains. We really do have to be careful what we put down the sinks flushing through thoroughly. In fact last night she was on the kitchen roof trotting along with one of the metal rings around her neck, I called her she pottered off, of course. When I saw her first thing this morning the ring has been removed by someone………another trip to My Way I guess.
Treacle & Marmalade
Early in 2015 a litter of kittens appeared on the main square in Lindos, it wasn’t long before one of them thought she’d move in, so around the end of February last year we had our first feral cat move in, she was completely undomesticated not used to being touched or even taking food from a human hand, she quickly settled in and decided to bring one of her sisters along. so insistent were they that we gave them names, they’re Treacle who has moved in completely and escorts us to the square when we go out, brings her sister Marmalade along to meet us on our return. Marmalade is fully at home outside but never ventures through the doors into a room, other than the kitchen, Treacle willing comes in especially when the fire’s alight and just this week has begun to sit on laps, progress indeed.
We had often talked about getting another dog, it had to be a rescue and a bitch, preferably a puppy. December 2015 delivered in the shape of Eliza, she had been rescued by Lorna Shea who was looking for a home for her. So, Christmas was spent discussing should we or not offer Eliza a home? Yes, of course we should. So Eliza duly arrived on January 4th 2016 she’s settled well, all the other animals love her none of the cats have scratched her………yet! She even plays with the many feral cats tht come to feed here every morning and evening and they don’t scratch her either. Eliza is very quick to learn, she loves her walks, hates the wind, doesn’t mind the rain, absolutely loves to sit on my lap and knows how to play with Mr Marley. All in all our little menagerie is complete until the next human leaves and needs a cat overwintering, or more ferals decide this is where to come for their grub!
Thank you Hilary for sharing your story with us.
Her advice if you’re thinking of coming to live in Greece is to rent not buy in the current financial climate it keeps your options open. And if you’re thinking of taking on a rescue animal please make sure you get them neutered.
If you’ve got an animal rescue story you’d like featured let me know.