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The Animals

March 13, 2007

I think everyone knows about the poor treatment/care of animals in Crete. What I think they maybe can’t fathom is how bad it can be. It’s bad, really bad. I am not a competent writer to convey the disgusting things I’ve seen. I’ve done my fair share of rescuing animals, but I have limits.

Of course if you want to do something about it chances are good that you will be involved, however tangentially with the Cretan animal rescue community. Therein lies the dilemma – you want to help the animals but the animal rescue people are mostly…well, unstable is a nice way to put it.

These are people who have sacrificed pretty much everything for ‘the good of the animals.’ They often spend 5-12 hours per day dealing with animals, cleaning up after all the foster animals, taking them to the vet and the like. They typically spend most of their money on the animals, and they are very, very sensitive. There are exceptions, but I’m not talking about them.

The universal truth about these people is that they believe no one else is doing enough or doing the right thing. If you foster one, you could have fostered two; one looked at the unfinished lower floor of my house and told me that it was perfect for housing the multiple hunting dogs she’d rescued! Never mind that dogs left outside are a nuisance, or that my neighbors (who are my landlords’ relatives) would put a stop to it instantly. Never mind that R is an extremely light sleeper and would get no rest or that I’m not going to spend my day cleaning up shit and smelling like dog – that’s certainly not why I came here. Never mind that I’ve said no before. It is obvious that I’m not doing enough.

I’ve told everyone who approaches me with another hair-brained scheme involving me and the poor animals here that they only thing I’m willing give money for is neutering. Not feeding, housing, injury care, or rehoming. Neutering. They think I’m a cold hearted bitch.

I’m not a cold hearted bitch. I am ridiculously in love with my rescued dog; more than I ever thought I’m capable of. But I’m determined not to end up like them, constantly at the end of my rope and willing to sacrifice just about everything to save an individual animal without effecting any significant change in the cause of the general level of animal distress. These people are so emotionally high-strung that after an hour with them, I have to take a nap.

I think they probably didn’t plan this, to spend their days and nights and money caring for animals. I’m sure they probably came to Crete for sun and beach or a better quality of life, but some sensitive people just aren’t equipped to make the hard decisions. These tender hearts are the ones who end up sacrificing everything, not for a sun-filled life and a home on Crete, but for the far too many animals mistreated, neglected, and outright abused. How can any civilized person love ‘the Cretan way?’

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