Saturday, December 23, 2017

It was a busy year

There is a turbulent year behind us in which a lot has happened.
The last months we were very busy with 9 puppies and their transport early December to their new families in Germany.
As a result, there was unfortunately no time for new messages on our website and the newsletter will also have to wait until January.

Nevertheless, we wish all members, volunteers, supporters, fans and ACT dog owners a Merry Christmas and a good and healthy 2018!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Eight little wonders

The end of August Nikos, our vet, called to say that a man had found puppies next to a bin just outside Potos. The man couldn't bring them himself because he was in a wheel chair.
Tanja hurried to Potos to get them. On her way she was called by Jannis, the other vet in Limenaria, that tourists had brought him puppies that they found in Potos.
When she arrived at Jannis, she saw that it were 8 little puppies with their eyes and ears still closed, so they were very very young. One puppy was already very weak and fighting for its life. It was clear that it was gonna be a tough job to raise them.

Tanja took the puppies home and immediately made some puppymilk. In the time the milk was cooling down, she cleaned the poor babies as good as she could, because they were not only dirty but also smelled terrible like fish and were full of fish scales.
First Tanja tried to feed the little one that was very weak, but unfortunately there was not much life in her anymore. After she fed the others, the little girl had died. Rest in peace sweetie.

The puppies needed names, so Tanja asked on Facebook suggestions for names with a V. Many good names were given, easy to pick 7: Victoria, Viktor, Valentino, Vera, Vamp, Valerie, Virgil.
All babies were doing well and also little Vera got stronger.

The first days of September were filled with feeding and cleaning and it was time to give them their first proper bath. Not an easy job because they had no idea what was happening to them. But after they were rubbed dry, they enjoyed getting warm in the sun.

To our great sorrow a few days later totally unexpected Vera died. In spite of the fact that she drank regularly, she always stayed the weakest. Rest in peace little Vera.
At September 11 we had to let little Victoria go. Nikos did what he could, but she got weaker and had problems breathing. Another little soul passed away.
We were also worried about Virgil who was fighting for his life. All the others were doing well.

Later also Valerie got weaker, and she and Virgil were going up and down. There were days that we thought they wouldn't make it. But after they started to eat soaked puppy food they got stronger every day. They really liked it, and it was so much easier than bottle feeding.
Until today they are all doing fine, three male and 2 female puppies, born around August 17.

Half September Sabine from Austria came to Thassos and brought a car full of donations. She also helped feeding and cleaning the puppies, which was a great help and relief for Tanja.
Thank you for that dear Sabine.

From Germany Karem and Kirsten brought an adjustable fence for the puppies. Tanja had seen this at Claudia. Klaus and Claudia had bought it for Jack so he couldn't move around too much because of his injury.
What a relief, because before Tanja had barricaded an area for the puppies in her shed but that made it difficult to get in and out of the shed. Now the puppies have their own place, where they can play and sleep during the night. Karem and Kirsten donated this fencing, and we thank them very much for that.

And what else is there to say? All puppies are growing very fast, play around in the garden, meet the cats and discover new things every day.
But have a look yourself, pictures say more than words…



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wonders do happen

On August 14th we got a phone call from a Maria from Thessaloniki. She told us about a Greek girl being on holiday on Thassos, who saw a little dog on a chain with only a rusty barrel. The dog was in very bad condition and full of ticks. She went to the nearest house to ask about the dog and it happened to be the owner. She complained about the situation of the dog, but his only reaction was: it's my dog and I can do with it what I want.
Once back in Thessaloniki she kept thinking of the dog and contacted Maria of Seiriostrays, an animal charity in Thessaloniki ( and asked what she could do.  Maria adviced the girl to report it to the police in Limenaria and so happened.
The police did go there to check on the dog, but saw that the dog had water and food and concluded that (to their opinion) everything was fine.
Having told this all, Maria asked us for help and cooperation and sent us all the details and pictures.

On August 15th Maria called us again. The dog had disappeared!
Not much later Chrissa messaged us that she found a dog in bad state and covered with ticks in another village. She sent us pictures and it looked exactly like the barrel dog on the pictures we got from the Greek tourist.

Chrissa brought the dog to us and we visited the vet. He was treated for parasites and a Leishmania and Ehrlichia speedtest was made, which to our joy was negative. Because of the many many ticks the dog had also anemia.

Did the man who had the dog on a chain got scared by the visit of the police and dumped the dog in another village??? We will probably never know and it can't be proved unless someone saw him doing it. But Tommy, the name we gave him, was just lucky that he found his way to us.

But the story goes on when on August 17th Maria calls us again. A lady from Panagia had contacted her, because our Tommy looked exactly like her dog Joker which is missing for 3 years!!! Her dog had been picked on the nose by a chicken when he was still a puppy, which always stayed a scar. We received an old photo of Joker and found out that Tommy indeed had a scar at exactly the same place!

As soon as she could she hurried to Kalivia to see the dog. It was her dog! The reunification was very touching and many tears of happiness were shed. The next picture doesn't need any words, it clearly shows the happiness of human and dog.

It is a small, no a BIG miracle, that only can happen when people and organisations work together. And it also shows that it does make a difference when tourists or locals report abuse or neglect of an animal to the police.
We are very happy and proud of this happy ending.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Again we got help from Wereldasielen in The Netherlands!

Giving the animals the best possible care is sometimes very expensive.
This year we had to face huge extra costs: the surgery on Jack's front leg and on Monty's hind leg, the traveling up and down to the orthopedic vet in Kavala several times, the Milteforan for Noah's leishmaniasis and the castration of several dogs and 52 cats. Only this already cost over 3,000 euro.

Although we received some donations towards these costs, we still had some outstanding bills to be paid and no money…
We didn't know what to do, and again we asked the Dutch organisation Wereldasielen for help.
To our big surprise they were willing to help us with a really generous donation that doesn't only covers the bills to be paid, but also leaves some money for future expenses.

Words cannot express how happy we are with this and we are very very thankful that Wereldasielen is once again helping us.

Wereldasielen is doing great work all over the world by supporting projects of private individuals and charities like us, depending on donations and with only volunteers. Therefore we also want to thank all the people that donate money to Wereldasielen!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ACT was "born" 5 years ago...

Today it is 5 years ago that I took care of the first stray dog with 4 puppies.

I contacted Klaus in Germany of whom I knew that he had homed dogs from Thassos before, and asked him if he could help finding good families for the dogs.
And look at them now: Mother dog Granny/Donna is an old lady, but lives happily in Holland, 3 of her puppies live in Germany and one on Thassos.

Of course ACT didn't exist yet, but that was in fact the time that the idea for a charity was born.

Not much later I met Jackie and her husband Alex, and together with them, Lynne, Nikos and my husband Joop, I started to set up an official animal charity called ACT Animal Care Thassos (or in Greek: Drasi gia ta zoa Thasou).

When I look back I am proud of what we have achieved in 5 years. It wasn't easy to start a charity. A lot of paperwork had to be done until we finally on June 17 2014 were registered as an official Greek charity.

From a small group of 6 people, ACT has grown to a mature organisation and is now also known on the island. More and more people contact us for help or advice. Sometimes the work is very stressful or frustrating and I must admit that I didn't realise at the beginning how time consuming it can be. But it is all worth it and I would do it again if I had to. Surely when I think of the 134 dogs we homed in the past 5 years, and the 309 cats and 39 dogs that were sterilised.

I think this is the perfect time to honor and thank the people behind the scenes.
On Thassos we have a great team of active volunteers doing all the major jobs (feeding, caring, fostering, bazaars, handicrafts, collection boxes, transports, administration etc): Jackie, Joop, Grant, Val, Peter, Gerry, Jürgen, Gisela, Gitty, Arno, Petra, Sibylle, Sophia and not to forget vet Nikos.
In Germany Klaus and Claudia are still helping us with fostering and homing dogs.
And then of course there are lots of others (on Thassos or abroad) that help ACT with donations (in money or materials), translations, flight partners, occasional fostering, and much more. I am not going to name them, they are too many and I don’t want to forget anyone. But be sure that you all are very much appreciated, without all of you it wouldn't be possible!

I can only hope that ACT will keep growing in the next 5 years with even more volunteers and supporters so we can help even more animals.