• Day 54: Corfu. Who let the dogs out?

    Oct 23 2012

    Paw-paw was so angry at me I couldn’t help but fall for him.

    Total disaster.

    Ann and me are staying in Carol’s villa on the North-East of Corfu, just off mainland Greece and Albania, and it is ridiculously, wonderfully gorgeous.

    The view out to Albania from the villa which is perched on the North East coast of Corfu

    This is NOT good for my animal saving credentials.

    I expected I would be covered in dust and sweat by now, instead I’m surrounded by bright bourgonvillia and the white-washed walls of a meticulously designed villa that leads down to a secluded bay by the sea. I’m in Conde Nast Traveller, not a war zone? I can’t even find any snails to put into a tupperware dish.

    The view from the top of the island. Surely this place is too pretty for pain.

    Nevertheless I am deeply grateful. It’s probably easier to face the suffering of stray dogs when you have well-pressed cotton sheets on the bed to come back to. And very shortly I am about to go to CARE’s small rescue centre, some 20 minutes away, where the stray dogs are looked after  by a lady called Cheryl who helps them find a new life abroad.

    Carol is not at the villa at the moment but eight of her own rescue dogs stay here permanently. They are being looked after by the lovely couple, Nicky and Tim, that run the place.

    Nicky, who helps run the villa as well as feed the dogs.

    The dogs are testament to Carol’s (and Nicky and Tim’s) devotion to the animals on this island and their desire to find better homes. And what an incredible new home these ones have! They spend their days alternating between lying in the sun and rushing down to the sea and diving into the waters to cool off.

    Who’s gonna jump first?

    Wait, let’s form a line…

    ….and…

    …we’re in!

    don’t you love this azur water? So much better than Marbella last year I think

    What about us?

    Can we swim with our ears?

    No you can’t! Hang on, I’m coming down to get you.

    Nevertheless these dog still bear the marks of a troubled background –  some have wonky teeth and others have a wonky (but loving) temperament: even after I have indivudually stroked and bonded with most of them, on the fifth time of my coming to the villa they still try and bite my socks as if I am evil intruder.

    ‘It’s me!’ I say.

    They bark and then they wag their tails.

    This is confusing to me but I can’t imagine what it is like for them. Dogs seem able to express the extremes of love and fear at once. It’s like watching an elastic band being pulled in two directions. I’m worried something will snap.

    And then there is Paw-paw. The dog that likes me least. Scruffy with gnarled teeth and black button eyes, I just can’t get through to him. When I reach out my hand he thinks it’s there to hurt him. Inevitably he’s the one I fall for. The more angry he is the more it melts me. I don’t know their full story but I’m sure its not a pretty one and I’m grateful they found Carol.

    Smile Paw-paw, smile…is that a smile? no? It’s a growl. OK….

    Next stop, the rescue centre.

    I said I’ll do anything I can to help the dogs. We shall see…

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