This is Blue
She is one and a half years old, beautiful and the sweetest dog we have ever met. Less than 6 months ago she was a stray in Greece struggling for survival.
After a rather hard and cold stretch in eastern Europe Joe and I decided to head south in search of winter sun. We hit Greece, voila! We lazily made our way around the warm Greek coast stopping at beaches for weeks at a time soaking up the sun and relaxing.
We met many seemingly happy and healthy looking stray dogs.
Unlike the many strays of the hardened eastern European lands which were generally more like wild animals and would flee at the sight of humans, dogs and cats in Greece know how to hustle dinner from the general public and live in packs for protection and company.
After Romania in particular, It was quite a relief to see dogs and cats not only surviving but thriving, we joined many dogs for evening strolls and morning jogs.
Then we met Blue.
Unlike the rest of the strays, which were bolshy to say the least, Blue was antisocial and frightened of interaction, not only with other dogs but also humans.
She had no pack of her own and was terrified of other dogs. We are still not quite sure why. It was this, this difference in blue that meant we couldn’t abandon her.
We awoke one morning to find her hiding under the old van crying. Despite her shaking with fear, after 30 mins she was eating bread from our hands and a week later gained the confidence to hop into the van for the first time. We continued to feed her and left the door open at night, before long we had formed our own pack. We tried not to get too attached to her however as we suspected we may have to leave her on the beach where we had found her.
After a week of no owners showing up and looking for her, and Blue making no attempt to return to her home if she actually had one, we made the decision to take action. We tried tracking down an owner and considered finding her a new Greek owner or putting her in a home or if all else failed bring her home to the UK. Of course ultimately we wanted to bring her home but with one of us being a sensible and rational human being we decided to do as much research as possible into other options first, also , like many other Brits we were under the impression that the whole thing was outrageously expensive and generally very difficult.
We googled to death the ins and outs of bringing a foreign dog home, after hours trawling useless info and endless horror stories of thousands of pounds spent and 6 month quarantine periods (thanks to sensationalized stories in UK tabloids) we were at a loss. Looking at our bank balance it all seemed impossible. We decided to get more active.
We contacted as many rescue homes, vets and charities as we could in Greece ( there aren’t many) hoping for advice on what to do next. One vet told us the average life expectancy of strays in Greece is just 6 months, another told us that there was a next to zero percent chance of her having an owner and even if she did have an owner in Greece she would be safer and better off with us in the UK.
All the homes/pounds we contacted were full and struggling and explained that most dogs that arrive there are shortly after euthanized. Every new contact we made said the same thing, Take her home!!
Eventually we established the facts and wrote down a list of exactly what had to be done to get her to the UK legally (READ ABOUT THE PROCESS HERE
We had the process explained to us time and time again, unlike the stories online it all seemed relatively easy.
Of course, this is what we wanted to hear, but we also wanted to do the right thing. There was always still the off chance of her having an owner.
We posted photographs of her online and took her to the vets to check for a chip: nothing.
As weeks past on, an emotional decision was taken rather than a spoken or financial one, she was our dog. She trusted us, and we had fallen in love with her. We gritted our teeth and gulped at the inevitable damage to our funds and again visited the vets. This time armed with a decision that we were going to take Blue home what ever the cost.
We now knew the process in and out so we knew what to ask for in terms of jabs and paperwork but we had no idea how much it would all cost. The Greek vets also knew about the process and as soon we mentioned taking Blue back to the UK, they knew what needed to be done.
Get A Greek Travel Guide Here
Being used to extortionate UK vet bills we were expecting to declare ourselves bankrupt in the following weeks.The vets we used in Greece was run by two ladies and consisted of one room, a desk in one corner and an operating table in the other. The language barrier was a little bit difficult but we got there in the end. We listed all the jabs, repellents, chip and passport we needed, then we asked how much it would cost.
I remember saying to myself, ‘don’t look shocked, don’t look shocked’ Then the lady said “70 euros”, (roughly 50 English pounds). I thought she must have meant £170 or £700 but no, the entire thing cost just 70 euros.
After 21 days (vaccination period), and a return trip for some worming tablets, Blue was a free dog, free to travel to any country with the EU, free to come home with us.
We were amazed and very pleased by how quick, easy and inexpensive it was!
We spent the next few months continuing our adventure now with Blue in tow knowing that she now has a real chance at life.