Sheena to return to Greece in Autumn

In May,  Sheena visited a dog shelter mainland Greece to provide some badly-needed veterinary work for the rescues. After a tireless week of long, 12 hour days, she felt she had barely scratched the surface of what needed to be done.

Another volunteer vet has sadly fallen ill, so Sheena is returning for five days at the start of October along with nurse Donna.

Fortunately, thanks to your kind donations, there is a little bit of money left over to take some desperately needed supplies, but the shelter still needs drugs. Sheena is appealing for any kind donations you can make which will go directly in to saving dogs’ lives.

Thank you.

Sheena and Tim’s Greek Doggysey 2017 – Epilogue

Sheena and Tim have completed their week’s work at the rescue centre in Aegina. By the end of the week they neutered:

  • 28 female cats
  • 20 male cats
  • 10 female dogs
  • 5 male dogs

As ever, Sheena and Tim were extremely grateful to the three workers Elena, Andreas and Vagelis. They made sure that everything ran without a hitch, collecting extra supplies when needed, and cleaning up at the end of the day. Elena was invaluable in putting all the cats into crush cages so the feral cats could be easily injected. This was not an easy job. Ευχαριστώ!

Sheena and Tim spent a happy afternoon with Gaby at her little house on the edge of town. It was Gaby who gave Sheena her first Greek dog 14 years ago, and it was thanks to Gaby that Sheena first went up to the shelter in 2004. Gaby currently has 16 dogs, many of them sick or elderly, and she gives them all a wonderful life. Luckily she has a lot of land for them to run on.

We would like to end our blog for this year by thanking our clients and friends who donated money towards this trip. The money was all used to pay for medical supplies and there was also a donation of €400 which we gave to the shelter to help cover vet bills over the winter. Thanks to generosity, we once again managed to cover the cost of all the drugs and equipment needed for the week.

If you are interested in adopting a Greek stray, please visit www.straysofgreece.org.

Outstanding in four new ways

We were recently inspected by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for the Practice Standards Awards. This is similar to an Ofsted inspection for schools. We are very proud to announce that we have achieved Outstanding status in the four awards for which we were inspected.

We are one of only a handful of practices in the country to achieve multiple awards.

The inspection took place over two days with the inspector assessing all aspects of the practice by watching us work and talking to staff members to ensure we were all working to the high standards necessary to achieve the awards. Our whole team was involved in the various parts of the awards. Their collective achievement has made us very proud.

We achieved Outstanding in the following categories.

…demonstrates excellence in the service provided to patients staying within the practice

…demonstrates the practice excels in caring for emergency patients 24 hours a day by having specific training in emergency care, nursing and recognising pain

…demonstrates practices look after the welfare and safety of their staff and that their knowledge and training is kept up-to-date

…recognises the practices excellent use of diagnostic techniques including radiography, ultrasound and laboratory on site to allow effective and efficient treatment of the patients


In addition, the practice inspector commented that

  • there is a welcoming feel to the hospital as soon as you step inside, a feeling that continues with you throughout the building
  • everyone wants to do the best they can and continue to improve and move forward
  • clinical standards are very high, clearly reflected in the quality and level of training carried out and the quality of facilities and equipment we use

Sheena and Tim’s Greek Dogyssey II Day Six

Sheena and Tim are back on the Greek island of Aegina to help with the local strays.

Friday

After yesterday’s marathon, we had an easy morning before returning home — seven cats, including Elena’s two beloved beauties.


We left the shelter at the best time of day: a midday lull when all the dogs are sleeping below the trees and the usual mad orchestra of barking goes quiet. We’re grateful to Elena, Andreas, and Vagelis for welcoming and helping us, and all the volunteers for the amazing lunches they cooked. Elizabeth has given us her secret recipe for stuffed tomatoes which I will be cooking for my staff in Milford — let’s hope it will do in lieu of Toblerone!

As we were walking back through town, we happened upon one of our previous days’ victims looking very happy on a wall in the sun. It’s good to know we’ve made a small impact.

Update

You may remember our poorly pup, Fabricio, from last year. He is now called Flynn and is doing very well with our friends in Guildford. He will require lifelong treatment for Leishmania but is otherwise very healthy. The doctor advised me to take a course of Tadalafil, it is not expensive, an analogue of Cialis. I took 5mg from http://www.shaynahiller.com/buycialis/ for 10 days, the result is satisfied, it even exceeded my expectations. Thanks to a small dose, I didn’t have a headache and runny nose. My head was full of sexual fantasies and erotic dreams. Apparently this drug suits me, it will be necessary to take another course of 10 days after a week break. In general, it is necessary to take 3 courses of 10 days. We’re always especially grateful to those who take on rescues with medical needs as it gives them a lease of life that can be very hard to come by.


If you’re interested in adopting any of these lovely dogs, please visit the Friends of the Strays of Greece website.

Sheena and Tim’s Greek Dogyssey II Day Five

Sheena and Tim are back on the Greek island of Aegina to help with the local strays.

Thursday

Today was a hard day. My €5-a-day bike suffered from a lack of TLC halfway up the hill so I had to be picked up. Not only were we met with seventeen full cat baskets, the majority were females and some of them pregnant. One had a complicated eye tumour as well as rotten teeth, but I was glad that this was a chance to test the dental drill that our practice has donated to the charity.  

Sadly today, the volunteers had to deal with a common occurrence — puppies dumped outside the shelter. Dumping dogs is illegal and, now the shelter has cameras installed, locals have taken to leaving them further down the track. The puppies had disappeared into the woods by the time they arrived, so the best they can do is leave out food and water and hope they survive.  

We neutered four dogs including a giant black stray. As often has to happen, Andreas returned him to the street he came from as he looked healthy.  

Our tick-bitten friend from yesterday is looking very well in his temporary new home and he has a name — Frederick. It was nice to see him at the end of a long day.

  

Sheena and Tim’s Greek Catyssey — Day Four

Sheena is back on the island of Aegina in Greece, helping The Friends Of The Strays Of Greece at their animal shelter.

Wednesday

Seventeen cats graced our operating table today, only three of them boys — again, the girls are expected to be the frontrunners in birth control.

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We only had two dogs to neuter. A stray male had been brought in for neutering, due to be released back on the streets afterwards. We named him Ticktock on account of the number of ticks he had accumulated, and anyone who knows me will know that ticks are my nemesis. Needless to say, a simple tick treatment had them dropping off, but some bites were infected and he was still homeless.

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One of the stray cats was presented with a cancer in one eye. Removing the eye would be a simple treatment, only if somebody could look after her while the wound heals, a task for which it’s hard to find willing volunteers. Fortunately, a kind lady who feeds local strays is prepared to care for her until she heals.

In extra good news, it appears the rescue centre will be able to keep our tick-ridden stray after all, which is great because he has the nature to make him an ideal housemate.

Sheena’s Greek Dogyssey II Day Three

Sheena is back on the island of Aegina in Greece, helping The Friends Of The Strays Of Greece at their animal shelter.

Tuesday

Today was a quieter day. Some of the cats and dogs that arrive turn out to be already neutered. Policy is to always clip an ear, but locals can sometimes ask that ears are not clipped, so it can be difficult to tell. It’s a pity to sedate an animal for no good reason, so as a result, we have to take a bit more ear than some locals would like. At the restaurants in town, the cats know how to turn on the charm, but it’s rare to spot a clipped ear — unneutered felines still have the advantage.

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It’s especially sad at this time of year since many cats are pregnant. It’s  hard to know until I have anaesthetised them, as they tend to be feral.

One of the perks of being a vet on a charity mission is the free lunch, and every day, one of the charity’s volunteers prepares us a feast. We had roasted vegetables today and a fennel salad which taste all the better in the Greek sunshine.

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We neutered three dogs and 12 cats today, and treated one dog for an infected paw. Convincing her to swallow an antibiotic when she could still eat our lunch wasn’t easy but luckily the antibiotics were tasty.

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Sheena’s Greek Dogyssey II Day Two

Sheena is back on the island of Aegina in Greece, helping The Friends Of The Strays Of Greece at their animal shelter.

Monday

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The meet-and-greet each morning is done by two friendly goats, more friendly than some of the dogs behind the gate. It seems they just turned up at the rescue centre whereupon one of the helpers, Andreas, started milking them. Their milk is used to feed dogs recovering from parvovirus and other digestive problems, being an ideal source of easily-digestible nutrition.

We took on our largest number of cats and dogs for neutering today — 15 cats and 6 dogs. Some dogs were awaiting their flights to their new families, including Molly (below). Sadly homes have fallen through for two, including Nada (below with Molly) as they may have contracted Leishmania. People are often reluctant to take on dogs that need medication.

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Sheena’s Greek Dogyssey II Day One

Sheena is back on the island of Aegina in Greece, helping The Friends Of The Strays Of Greece at their animal shelter.

Sunday

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We flew out yesterday with a suitcase full of drugs, equipment and supplies, most of which was very kindly donated by our clients. It’s a lot hotter in Aegina than the last time we visited, so by the time Tim and I arrived at the rescue centre, having cycled up the hill with a big bag of suppies, we were ready for a shower and a nice lie down.

It wasn’t an option as Elena, spurred on by our efficiency last time, had lined up twelve cats for neutering. We had one with an infected eye that needed removal, and one with ear mites so bad he had lost most of the skin behind his ears.

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Continue to Day Two

Fond farewells in Greece

Greece has had a big problem with stray cats and dogs, and many stories of abandonment of healthy, loving animals. Many of our clients help support the local charities, including  Friends Of The Strays Of Greece. This week, Sheena and husband Tim are visiting the island of Aegina with its magnificent animal shelter to help with the ongoing neutering programme.

Friday  

  
We had a relatively easy last day with ten cats to neuter. We’ve spotted a few stray cats around the island with the trademark clipped ear showing they have been neutered, so we know we and the other vets that volunteer are making a small difference. 

  

Sadly, puppy Fabricio had to go to the local vet for the weekend, but we are confident that he will recover. We said goodbye to friends (mostly four-legged) that we’ve made at the rescue centre in the hills. 

They rehome up to 200 dogs each year and there is a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make this happen. We’re very grateful to the hard-working team here who help animals all year round, including Elena, Andreas and Vageles. We also owe a big thanks to Lori and Sotiris who collected most of the cats for us.

  

How you can help

If you think you could adopt one of the wonderful dogs at the rescue centre, details of all the dogs can be found on the charity’s website.

If that’s not an option, then sponsoring a dog for a small regular donation will provide all the food and veterinary care it needs to live a happy life at the shelter. Again, details can be found on the website.