Inspired by a holiday to Santorini in May this year, I have taken it upon myself to run a series of 10K races throughout the rest of 2013. Why? Because I was shocked to find that the island is home to many stray animals who rely on the kindness of strangers and restaurant owners for their food and water.
One day on a visit to Perissa beach we happened across this dog just lying there, not wanting to get up or do anything, he looked like he just wanted to die. Luckily with the help of a lovely lady called Amanda we were able to get the dog (who we now know is called Smiley!) to Christina who runs SAWA, the Santonrini Animal Welfare Association. It turned out Smiley had heptatitis and most certainly would have died of liver failure had we just chosen to turn a blind eye.
SAWA is a non-governmental, non-profit making organization, founded in 1993. They desperately need your help!
We went to visit the Shelter one day to find that there are currently 100 dogs there and one amazing woman (Christina) and a volunteer looking after all of them. Not to mention almost 20 donkeys!
She told me that they are having problems with their website – it was hacked so mostly they update people on what is happening through their facebook page here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/SantoriniAnimalWelfareOrganizationSawa
Obviously there isn’t much I can do sat here in the UK in terms of helping out in a hands on capacity, so that has inspired me to create this page and raise as much money as I possibly can for SAWA.
They have faced a series of problems as an organisation, the locals attitude to animals is not great. The shelter is located in the municipality of Karterados, but they have openly opposed it and plowed under the road to the shelter in an effort to block access. They have also removed the sign from the road (which is why it took us about 2 hours to find it!).
The donkeys of Santorini are used for tourists to climb up and down almost 600 steps every day and during the winter they are used to carry building materials to build hotels and buildings on the caldera. I took a walk down these steps one day and I won’t be doing it again. All the donkeys lined up in a row looked pretty miserable to me. Once the donkeys have no ‘use’ anymore they tie them off in a field with no food or water and leave them to die. Or they push them off the caldera.
The dogs face a not so nice fate either when they are unwanted. Some locals will put weedkiller into food and leave it out in the streets to kill them off, others will smash lightbulbs up and mix it into the food. Horrific.
I intend to run a series of 10K races throughout the rest of 2013 to help raise awareness and funds for SAWA, with the first one being the Mersey Tunnel 10K on the 9th of June.
If you can find it somewhere in your heart and your pocket to donate to this very worthy cause then I would be so happy!
Please visit my sponsorship page here
Mersey Tunnel 10K – 9th June
London 10K – 14th July