• Day 70: CORFU Discovering the mysterious dog ‘sanctuary’

    Nov 14th

    I stood on the bed of our Greek apartment in my boxer shorts,  held my iphone against my chest with one hand and with the other attempted to put on a long sleeved shirt.  Ann, who was eating a very large necatarine at the time, looked at me with bemusement

    What are you doing?’ she asked.

    ‘Trying to see myself in the mirror’

    ‘You look weird’

    ‘ I look perfectly normal’. This wasn’t entirely true. I put a bit of tape against the iphone and put the rest of the shirt on.  ‘Can you see it?’ I asked

    ‘The iphone that lights up  your chest?’

    ‘You knew it was there already!’

    My undercover camera trick wasn’t working. I could read the time on the lit up screen projecting through my shirtI looked like a cross between E.T. and a weird Mac commercial.

    My terrible undercover camera technique, an iphone strapped to my chest lighting up my shirt.

    ‘Try holding it in your hand, down by your side’ she said.

    I walked around the bed and took the iphone in my hand and put the camera on record. I played back the video. I watched a thigh shaking up and down.

    ‘Oh crap’


    Meeting my source

    I met my man by the side of the road in the bright afternoon.  He sat waiting for me in a small Golf parked under an overhanging parched tree. He was a contact through a contact through a contact, originally from Sweden but had lived in Corfu many years and about ten years ago he had broken into the dog sanctuary that resides ominously in the centre of Corfu and has a reputation for keeping dogs in poor conditions. He took away some dogs and gave them a good life. He was calm, elegant, smart and probably possessed a fine collection of  – not what you’d think from someone that climbs over fences.

    ‘I don’t know exactly where it is anymore but I can try and recount my route’ he said as we drove down a dusty track through shrubland .’In those days it was easy to break in,’ he continued, ‘ just a ladder at night over the fence. Now they have guards at night. But the place was awful – rats everywhere, sick puppies, poor drinking water’

    The dust billowed up either side of the car.

    ‘Look out for bones, that can be a clue, bones of dead dogs’


    Mad barking

    After about 30 minutes of driving he stopped. ‘Do you hear that?’ he said. In the distance a cacophony of barking and howling. A few minutes more and we were there, the sound was violent

    ‘Keep driving’ I said, ‘go past it so I can get a view’. We drove alongside a huge rambling construction of old fencing and wire with dogs of all sizes barking and running up against the fences. It resembled some sort of refugee camp. Inside I could see some makeshift huts with metal bowls outside them. Then I caught sight of the stooped figure of an old woman dressed in black with her back turned to me. It was like a hot dusty fairy tale scene.

    ‘OK, let me get out of the car’

    I took my iphone in my hand, pressed record and approached the old woman who was on the other side of the fence.  She was so bent it was hard for her to look up. I tried to not film my thigh.

    ‘I’m wondering if I can buy a dog’ I said above the clamour and howling. She looked at me confused. ‘I’m from England…I’D… LIKE…TO… BUY… A… DOG’

    —next blog tomorrow.



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    2 Responses to “Day 70: CORFU Discovering the mysterious dog ‘sanctuary’”

    1. I love what you are doing and the way you are doing it. I am dep editor of Hotshoe mag and run the Hotshoe Blog. I just posted on your dog series and mentioned the book signing.
      If there is anything that I can do to help with your Mission (im)Possible – do let me know. I thought that you may like to know that cats in Rome have a special status – see Gatti di Roma (Cats of Rome) http://www.romecentral.com/article_list_singleeventpage.php?id=89&title=Gatti%20di%20Roma%20%28Cats%20of%20Rome%29
      and there’s an adopt a stray dog in Pompeii (C)ave Canine Project http://www.icanidipompei.it.

    2. Hi Miranda

      thanks for the support. It does feel a bit like mission impossible! I never quite know what I am doing….Although I am just off to India to work for three weeks with stray dogs so hope I can make some difference there. Thanks also for mentioning the dogs in cars on the blog. Let me know if you woudl like a review copy.

      Stay in touch, both via animals and art!!



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