Carl, the children and I visited Cyprus again for our break away during the school holidays. We've been a number of times, hired a car and explored, but this time we wanted every experience to be new and different, to see more of the real Cyprus.
Whilst planning our 2019 trip we stumbled across a local charity right on the doorstep of our apartment, The Paralmini Dog Pound. Being a dog loving family and having a dog of our own (who's one of the family) we decided to add a visit to our list of things to do in hope that we could volunteer and help out where we could.
We visited the Pound once and the we were hooked! We helped the team of volunteers (all British expats) at sunrise to walk, feed, water and groom the dogs. We were surprised to hear that the charity receives no assistance or financial support from the Cypriot authorities. The Council supply the corner of land within the refuse lorry depot for the dogs to reside and that's it. Every penny that is raised goes on the food, shelter and vets bills and to the administration to help to re home the dogs.
The conditions for the dogs aren't pleasant and in the summer months it only makes caring for the dogs more difficult due to the baking heat. The volunteers work 365 days a year without fail to look after the dogs and they endeavour to find a loving homes for them all.
Find out more about the walk and charity in the short (2mins) video below.
Hands up, who has a dog?
The UK is a nation of pet lovers and the country is witnessing a higher than ever growth in pet ownership and spending.
Let’s face,people in the UK are crazy about their animalsand in particular, dogs. Dog ownership increases every year and it's been made more accessible by mobile dog walkers and doggy day care. There seem to be more people than ever giving up their day job to follow their passion to have their own business and to care for other people furry friends.
Figures by the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report show that
49%of UK adults own a pet.
25%of UK adults have a cat with an estimated population of11.1 million pet cats.
24% of the UK adult population have a dog with an estimated population of 8.9 million pet dogs.
2%of the UK adult population have a rabbit with an estimated population of1.0 million pet rabbits.
Dogs in Cyprus
The love of dogs sadly isn't shared in every country around the world and we were surprised to hear and seefor ourselves how dogs and animals are treated in Cyprus.
We soon found out from those who care for stray and abandoned dogs in Cyprus that dogs are regarded as dirty and dangerous, especially black dogs.
Being a former British colony and member of the EU we were shocked at the number of real life stories of animal abuse. We've heard a number of stories that are too upsetting to retell. We found out that politicians have traditionally kowtowed to a powerful hunters’ lobby well known for inhumane treatment in an attempt to retain favour.
For years Cypriots, have routinely killed off unwanted cats and dogs by lacing food with a lethal cocktail of herbicides and pesticides, and if stray dogs are caught walking the streets for more than two weeks they are sadly put down by the authorities.
Neutering strays has faced strong opposition on the grounds that it prevents a male’s natural right to mate and this has subsequently led to an exploding population of cats and dogs. Local Cypriot media estimate that the feline population, alone, exceeds 1.2 million!
In the past the locals behaviour for cruelty to their pets has prompted holidaymakers to boycott the island. Politicians may once have regarded animal rights as irrelevant, but going forwards they need to reconsider their policies to encourage a buoyant tourism market and subsequently happy voters.
Can things change?
The problem lies with the culture. From our visits to the island, our perspective as an outsider is that pets are seen as a commodity to 'most' locals, in comparison to the UK, where pets are treated more like an additional family member.
Is there something to salvage in a culture where ‘dog’ is a synonym to ‘dirty’ and feral cats are seen as a plague and should be eradicated like mice and rats?
Hopefully, yes. It's certainly not going to change quickly but educating the next generation will hopefully steer the culture and behaviour in the right direction. All is not lost and change can happen to expand young minds, helping them to see that it's completely normal for animals cohabit as companions and to be loved within a family. The politicians can also influence and change the culture by leading by example.
In the meantime animal welfare charities have a plight to to keep on top of the stream of unwanted and mistreated animals that arrive on their gates regularly.
What can we do to help?
Paralimni Dog Pound has been protecting, caring and re-homing stray and abandoned dogs for over five years. Croft Architecture are pleased to be supporting the charity to celebrate the amazing work that the volunteers do 365 days a year by holding our first ever Charity Dog Walk on Sunday 3rd November 2019.
Walk with us to raise £££'s for the Pound
Join us on Sunday 3rd November at 10am.
Meet us at the National Trust Downs Banks car park, Postcode ST12 9AB.
The scenic circular amble boasts a beautiful landscape begging to be explored.
All abilities are welcome with suitable footwear and clothing (it may be muddy).
There's no set ENTRY FEE - please give what you can.
Donations to be submitted in person before the walk.
FREE treats for your four legged friend.
Well behaved dogs are welcome.
All walkers welcome, it's not compulsory to bring a dog (perhaps you could borrow one)
Don't forget to join us in the Upper House Hotel for post walk cool down or warm up!
Please feel free to invite friends and family. Tell everyone about this exciting new event!
We do hope that you will be able to join us for the Charity Dog Walk, at The National Trust, Downs Banks on Sunday 3rd November 2019 for what we’re sure will be an enjoyable morning of fun in the stunning Staffordshire countryside.
Your support will make a real difference with every penny of the funds raised from event and going to the charity to help them look after the dogs for years to come.
P.S. Don't forget to register above to let us know that you're coming.
In the meantime, sit back, relax and take a look at some of the wonderful dogs that are looking for a loving new home.