People who don’t like dogs are weird. I’m sorry, I just have to say it. People who don’t feel compassion for stray dogs are even weirder. If you don’t get the appeal of a physical manifestation of love covered in fur you need to revaluate your life.
This year I lived in Greece (brand new information, I know) and we used to travel back to our base every two weeks. Every time we made the trip, new dogs would appear. Eventually there were a pack of four dogs that followed my boyfriend and I’s every step. Hungry, loving, dogs that sat in the baking sun while we worked on our boats. They were family dogs- just without a family. See them all here.
They were old, young, big and small. We had names for them: Squidge, Lipstick, Forrest and Scabbers. We were a bit of a family, and then one day while we were having dinner a little, skinny beautiful white puppy snuck under the table. I made a noise like a child and picked him up straight away, he cuddled into me with his snout and licked me incessantly.
We called him Spud.
He became my little fluffy white shadow. He would sit outside our boat in storms, soaking wet. He would sit and wait on our boat while we were out and wag his squirrel tail so much his whole body would swing side to side. I loved him straight away.
The next few months flew by and every time we left the marina, he would run along the 30 metre quay to the end. He would go mental with happiness when we arrived and whine when we left, sitting with his toes right on the edge, confused. Why were we leaving? Try and watch the video here without crying.
As our time in Greece was coming to an end I started to panic. I was the one to cuddle him and keep him safe when the weather got bad. We once had such a terrible storm that all our boats anchors slipped and were hitting the quay, you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you for the lashing wind and rain. As we raced around turning on our boats engines, securing ropes and adjusting fenders, Spud followed me like a drowned rat. Getting smashed with rain and shaking he would wait until I stepped off a boat and follow me to the next one. I picked him up and ran onto our boat, I put him in our toilet cubical while the engine roared and the waves crashed around the boat.
When we were finished, soaked and stressed I took him out. He was calm and cuddly. He licked my hand. Nothing phased him.
The next day I was close to tears for hours. I had no idea how to save this little guy. I uploaded a video of him and I on Facebook asking for the last time if anyone would take this wonderful, loving, free stray if I got him to the UK.
Out of the blue about half an hour later a comment popped up on my status.
Tori: Can you not take him home?
Tori: I WISH I COULD GET A DOG
Tori: tbf i am at home a lot i could always foster him til he found a home!
After saying “REALLY?!?!?” 47 TIMES, I decided to find the money and if it fell through I would put him in a shelter and donate to the shelter.
So, I did something totally spur of the moment. A few friends had said I should set up a giving page when i’d uploaded pictures of Spud on Facebook, so I did. But I felt almost guilty setting it up, and about asking for money.
I’d worked out roughly that it would cost about £600 to get him to the UK, if I had a home for him. I set the target to £550 and shared the page.
Within a day i’d raised £175. I couldn’t believe it. And over the next few days the total kept rising.
The next day my boyfriend and I drove down to the marina to find him. We decided that if we could get his medical work done that if it actually happened, that way he’d be eligible to travel. In the past whenever we turned up at the marina our pack would always be there; on our boat, sitting on the quay or at the bakery we frequented, and if not we’d find them in one of the restaurants on the sea front.
We searched for an hour but Spud was nowhere.
We drove around the entire town with the other three dogs chasing the car at 40 miles an hour, and every glimpse of white we saw we thought we’d found him, but he was nowhere to be seen. We eventually found every dog in Orei but him.
Then, as we were walking down the beach we saw a tiny white dog running towards us. I shouted out to him and he pelted towards us. He was covered in sand. He’d been playing on his own on the beach, obviously. Jesus fucking christ can you be any cuter.
He had his medical jabs and checks and we took him back to Orei. The next day we had to leave our boats for the year and drive hundreds of miles back to our base in Corfu. The bad part was, our bosses wouldn’t let us bring him in the car back with us, so we had to leave him just to find a way to get back to him a week later.
We said goodbye and spent an awful week trying to find someone to take us back to Corfu. Our last resort was to rent a car but we didn’t know if logistically it’d work. We realised I don’t have a license and my boyfriends was expired and our hearts sank.
We had no other option but to ask one of our closest friends to drive us the 7 hours there and back in a day and rain check on a party he’d been looking forward to for weeks. He sighed. He knew how much it meant to me and how much effort I’d put into this dog. He agreed.
A week later we caught a ferry to a foreign Greek town and rented a car. We drove 7 hours most of which was on winding cliff top dust tracks, we took two ferries there. and eventually turned up that afternoon. He almost lost his mind when he saw us. But we had no time to spare or play. I gave him a 5 minutes run around and then we were back in the stinking hot car to catch our third ferry of the day. Spud wouldn’t keep still, he was so energetic and was desperate to get out the car. For half an hour he slept and so did I. We were exhausted.
We raced the 7 hours back, crossed on another two ferries and after a day together, we dropped him off at a ladies house who drives dogs back to the UK.
Four nail-biting days ensued, and he eventually got to my friends house in Edinburgh after crossing 4 countries.
Now look at him:
The moral of the story here, is don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re genuinely trying to do something meaningful and help an animal people are happy to contribute. People are inherently good.
I know people who have spent the same amount on a pedigree puppy as I did on bringing Spud over from Greece. If you can save a furry baby from dying on the street, why wouldn’t you?
Rescue, don’t buy. #adoptdontshop.