Below are messages we have received from families who have adopted dogs and cats from us. We hope you enjoy reading them and if you have your own success story to add then please email it to us!
XARAKOPIO – Now Zara
We have just received a ‘bundle of joy’ into our lives in the form of our Greek rescue dog, Xarakopio, now Zara. She arrived in the UK last Saturday, after a long journey from Greece. Thompson Pet Travel brought Zara and several other dogs and cats on the same, very comfortable vehicle, to the UK.
On getting out of the vehicle Zara went straight to my Wife, Anne, to introduce herself, and nearly asked ‘What’s next’?
She was very underweight and having had her only six days, we are in the process of building her up.
Zara is extremely confident, and intelligent. She will have a much better life here with Anne and I.
A word about the organisation ‘Friends of The Strays of Greece’If you are thinking of adopting a dog/cat from Greece, then you will not do better that dealing with Lyn Purden. Lyn was our first contact. A few days later Wendy came to see us on behalf of Lyn who lives a distance away.Lyn is extremely efficient and kept us informed every step of the way in the process. She is very able in matching pets to their likely owners.
Thanks Lyn, Mark and team
Anne and John, Ferndown, Dorset – April 2022
SPITHA – Now Phoebe
AMFITHEA – Now Callista
As I write this is only Day 5 of owning Calli, so very early days and very much work in progress, but she is gorgeous both inside and out, and there is evidence of progress daily, such as “skating” on my wooden floors for the first couple of days to now not noticing they are any different to the rugs, and to accepting treats, which were very alien to her initially. These little things bring me so much joy!
So I wanted to pen a few words about the adoption process. I have had rescue dogs for years, including a girl from Romania, but I have never encountered a charity that has been so thorough and helpful. You will never know the true traits of your dog until you have had it in your home for a while, but Lyn and her colleagues do an amazing job of telling you as much about the dog as possible, backed up by photos and videos. Communication couldn’t have been better. We chose Callista from the website, but I would have had no hesitation in putting my faith in Lyn for her to match a dog with us.
Obviously all rescue organisations need guidelines, but FSOG go beyond that and look at you as individuals and what you have to offer. I would urge anyone considering adoption to read EVERYTHING on the website and everything Lyn sends you. Even old seasoned rescuers like myself have something to learn. As you will be told time and time again, some of these poor creatures have known nothing but neglect and there is no easy fix apart from patience and love.
Frankly, I am in awe of how they handle the challenges and all that Brexit has brought to the table, enough to test anyone’s metal. It is just the total measure of FSOG’s existence to alleviate the suffering of these animals who have been unfortunate enough to be born into a world of suffering. Must give a shout out to Thompson Pet Travel too, who had to endure terrible weather on the last leg of the journey.
So if you’re thinking about it, don’t delay and contact Lyn. Save a life.
Eileen in Eastbourne – January 2022
I wanted to let you know that Jerome (who we know and love as “Atticus”) is thriving and a very integral part of our family. I do not appear to have Alexia’s email address, but if you could please forward this message to her and let her know, we would be grateful. Her description of Jerome could not have been more perfect or apt – he has a loving, sweet temperament, is a tiny bit clumsy, the life-of-the-party with his dog-mates, and could not be gentler or kinder to our ancient, blind housecat. As expected, he was a little bit frightened of things at first, but he settled in remarkably quickly.
During all of the lockdowns he has had everyone at home (which he loves), but even when the kids are off, I work from home and we are happy to have the days together. At night, he sleeps in our bedroom in an enormous, comfy dog-bed next to our bed. In the bed is a soft velour robe that I was going to give to charity, but he loves it, so it’s now his! ( We live in the countryside and he spends 1-2 hours every day running around off lead. We had noticed in the early days that he seemed to miss fellow dog companions
so we now have him booked every weekday morning with a friend who runs a doggie day care company. He spends mornings running in the fields and playing with a handful of other dogs, is home by lunchtime, relaxes with us in the afternoon, and then we have another nice walk in the evening. Weekends are often long walks in the countryside together. His recall is wonderful, which has been a huge relief for us and made walking so much easier. He has recently begun to take an interest in toys and he adores the snow! His tail wags A LOT and we take great pleasure in spoiling him with love and cuddles. He can still be tentative with new people from time to time, but certainly he and I share that characteristic!
All that to say, we are so grateful to you and Alexia for rescuing this lovely soul and then entrusting him to our care. He has certainly brightened our lives after the sad death of our first Greek dog, and has been the source of much joy to us in a difficult year.
With all our best wishes for your meaningful charity,
Robin and Colin, Lymington, Hants
8 weeks ago a 7 year old Greekie, Brenda, entered our lives, to change it so much for the better. I had only been without a dog for about 3 months but it seemed forever. My life has always been Labradors and Boxers, since I was about 6 years old. Being older now I decided that an older rescue dog was my way to go, from Greece preferably as I had heard so much about the good works that so many volunteers do.
Wanted to just let you know how Tinka is getting on, she’s settled in really nicely, has slotted into the family routine, is brilliant with the kids, is a good combination of calm at times and playful at times, loves other dogs and loves her walks. She’s a strong scent hound and has absolutely no recall when she’s on a scent so we’ve not dare let her off the lead but she loves her 10m long training lead to be able to have a good run around with the kids in the field and we are working on recall. We also have training with the dogs trust due to start in Jan. She’s still occasionally nervous and barks at men with beards (our poor neighbour who is the nicest man!!) and has only just felt brave enough to jump onto our laps, but will happily curl up on the sofa next to us.
We had been thinking of getting a dog for a while but wanted our children to be of an age where they would understand how to behave around a dog. They were 4 and 6 when we adopted Marco which worked really well for us. He was about 18 months which was fantastic as we didn’t have all the hard work involved with a puppy but he was full of beans and energy still and able to learn new things. After initially being a little nervous of things like the stairs and hoover he is now so settled and loves his new home and family, including the other dogs in our extended family, all of whom he gets along well with. He has slotted into our life perfectly, enjoying walking in the New Forest and on the beach and I think his background as a street dog has meant he is not anxious when we leave him to go to work as he is happy in his own company. He has been camping with us twice and was the perfect camper! He is friendly and loving and wins over everyone he meets. My children adore him especially my daughter who has become a dog expert in the last six months! ❤️ The community around adopting Greekies is so kind and supportive, any questions and queries are welcomed and answered fully. Marco had enriched our lives and I couldn’t recommend Strays of Greece any higher.
The Brennen family – Bournmouth, December 2020
It’s two weeks today since Lori arrived home and she is just incredible.
I have never in my life seen a dog so frightened and we have been taking everything really slowly.
Lori is finding her new home very comfortable and immediately made good use of our super king bed. Snuggling up between us and sleeping through the night.
She is perfectly house trained, not one accident at all since she came which has been a real bonus for us all.
It turns out Lori is scared of the dark and she won’t go out without Louisa, she enjoys chicken and crunchy dry food and now Louisa has another dog around she is eating so much better.
Lori has started to relax and is responding to us trying to play with her. She loves my long socks. I even saw Lori and Louisa having a brief tug of war. They have just fit together perfectly. Always happy to see each other and Louisa definitely gives Lori more confidence in her surroundings. Lori wags her tail more and more each day and is happy wondering around the house to see what’s going on.
We have taken her on very local short walks and she has now become accustomed to a harness too. With a slip lead still. She is so nervous we won’t be taking that off her for some time. We can’t really go much further as we are pretty sure she is going to be very anxious with the car so plan on doing some slow and gentle training soon. It seems she is extremely frightened of men and brooms and anything that has a human with their hands above their heads. I don’t want to know what has happened to her before she was rescued by you wonderful people, I am comforted knowing that never ever again does she need to fearful.
I think we had a couple of breakthrough moments in the last few days though as she rolled over and showed me her belly yesterday wind this morning was the first time we have heard her barking (Louisa started it).
Our family truly feels complete. Our lives are already far easier. We have for the first time ever been able to leave Louisa for an hour with Lori. We installed little cameras to check they were okay and they were both just fine. No crying no distress. In the 3 1/2 years Louisa has been with me I have never ever left her alone.
So Lori is wonderful. We are all besotted by her.
Thank you for everything.
Taryn – November 2020
It’s been almost 2 months since I picked up Paris.
As I always knew (and as you always told me), the first few weeks were hard! Paris was so scared by London and everything new. I was so grateful that he sought his comfort in me, rather than becoming isolated. House training was tricky at first, too many distractions in the outside world – but we got there in the end and we all celebrated. We didn’t leave the house much, but we sat on the front porch together and had a good look round. Paris was also very careful with how he played at first, having little tussles with me but keeping an eye out. We both learnt that when he goes and gets one of his toys (usually Octopus, now Septopus….) that it’s time for play.
Fast forward to today… I can’t believe how wonderfully he has settled in. Not just with me, but with my very close group of friends – he has found his pack and everyone has welcomed him with so much love, he is constantly getting cuddled. Everytime he sees them, he zooms about with excitement. When he plays now he is happy lying around and exposing his tummy for strokes and he just loves play-fighting with the boys. He is so loved by everyone. We go to the parks (including to Richmond to see the deer) and he races around with his new doggy-friends every morning and evening – but he always comes back to Mum (after a few shouts…).
Paris is such a unique personality, I laugh at him (kindly) every day. Whether it’s sitting at the window with one leg on the floor, grinning at me in the morning or chasing his tail around. You’ll remember me saying that dogs weren’t allowed on my bed – well he doesn’t sleep in there, but who can deny a cuddle with little Paris every morning? If it’s raining outside, he’ll usually refuse to leave the duvet! I think he misses the Greek climate!
He went on his first holiday last week to Cornwall. Paris is a big fan of the beach and being able to bomb about with his human and dog friends, although the sea was a bit scary and he didn’t like it when his humans went swimming in it one bit… The only time he would enter the sea would be to pull us out!
I can’t imagine life without Paris, he’s just added so much to my life. Thank you so much for everything you have done. It’s just amazing.
Kitty – London – September 2020
AURA – (was Luisa)
We found the adoption process to be extremely supportive whilst being thorough and focused on the welfare of both the dog and us as potential owners. We were kept well informed throughout the process and you went out of your way, during a very difficult time, to respond to our request for videos of ‘Louisa’. Now she is here and we could not be more delighted with this beautiful, gentle and loving dog. Since her arrival we have come to realise just how important the initial 3 days of being home based is. Leave aside the difficulties she has experienced in her life to date, the long journey to get here takes its toll and these three days to allow her to rest whilst getting to know us and her surroundings which so important. I think it’s also important to mention that in ‘Louisa’s’ case, safety and love have been much more important than food and that for her, who had no idea what a television or stairs were, very gentle introduction to our ‘norms’ was important.
Overall this has been an exciting and ultimately very rewarding journey and we would urge anyone who is considering adopting a dog to make contact with ‘Strays of Greece’.
John Macleod, Christina Rousseau, Lymington, Hants, August 2020
I wasn’t quite sure how to start this review, so I’ve broken it into sections: us and our history, our experience with Friends of the Strays of Greece, and our lives now that Grace has come to live with us.
We have always had a dog, mainly Border Collies. When the inevitable happened and our beautiful Lily died in 2017, aged 16, we were heartbroken and it took some time for us to recover. But we missed having a dog in our lives so much that after a lot of thought we decided to adopt a rescue from Greece. We chose a charity (not SOG) and started looking at the dogs needing homes. Sadly, our experience was not a good one, and we were completely unprepared for the traumatised, terrified dog which arrived in August 2018. There was very little support during the following three months as we struggled to help him to settle with us and eventually we had to ask the charity to find another home for him, which in time they did. As you can imagine, we were very wary about rescuing again.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019, and we were still missing Lily, still full of guilt and sadness at our failure with the rescue dog, still talking endlessly about whether or not we should take the plunge and try again. And then we found Friends of the Strays of Greece. From my first contact with Lyn I knew that this time it would be different. I had a long conversation with her on the telephone, telling her all about our failed attempt the previous year, about our lifestyle and the sort of dog we would like, about our grandchildren, our house. She listened, was sympathetic, asked lots of questions, gave me a huge amount of information and generally gave us the confidence we needed to adopt a Greekie.
I can honestly say that the experience has been faultless, from our initial contact with Lyn, our home visit by the delightful Auriol, the extremely helpful information sheet Lyn posted to us, the emails about the progress of the adoption, the videos of our girl with Alexia at Vouvra Farm, the detailed travel information about the journey from Aegina to our pick up in Kent, to the careful and efficient handover by Mark and Nigel.
Grace has now been with us for ten weeks now and we (and everyone else she comes into contact with) love her. She is calm, gentle, loving, funny and clever, in fact everything we hoped for. She is also extremely beautiful. At nine months she is still a puppy, doing all things you would expect a puppy to do. She squirms with pleasure when she meets new people, new dogs, new cats, new children; she chews things she’s not supposed to but gives them up readily and with a wag of her tail; she loves playing with her doggy friends; she loves a cuddle; she loves probing things with her big long nose. She is such an important part of our lives and she has brought us so much joy.
Adopting an unwanted, unloved dog and giving it a good life is enormously rewarding, and if you decide to go ahead you will be in safe hands with Lyn and Friends of the Strays of Greece.
The Kenny Family, Maidstone – January 2020
I always said I would get a dog when I retired. I never imagined I would get a dog from overseas. I was nursing a lovely lady earlier this year. I told her I was looking forward to getting a companion. She told me about this charity rescuing dogs and cats from Greece.
I now have Dolly she came to me in June. I cannot believe what a beautiful,amazing dog she is. The love I feel for her is hard to describe. If you are thinking of getting a dog I cannot recommend The Friends of the Strays of Greece enough as there are so many wonderful dogs needing forever homes.
Dolly has changed my life and I can’t imagine a day without her.
I am hoping to adopt a sister for Dolly.
Barbara – Horley, September 2019
This year we adopted our dog Trikkos, through Friends of Strays of Greece. As an inexperienced dog owner, Lyn helped chose and match a dog to us and I can honestly say she did a fantastic job. Trikkos is a wonderful dog and he’s perfect in every way for our family. It’s so enjoyable to see him find happiness in all the little joys life can bring, from playing by the sea and watching the waves roll in, to playing with a squeaky toy or getting little rewards as he learns. Although he’s had so little in life before we adopted him; his capacity for love is endless and it’s a joy to be part of his life. I’m so pleased I found this organisation and forever grateful to Lyn and her team for bringing Trikkos into our lives. Lyn made every step of the journey, stress free through her hard work and what I suspect is many, many hours of dedication. Auriel was also fabulous in visiting us and telling us more about the organisation, both Lyn and Auriel have also supported us after we adopted our dog, which I’ve really appreciated. If you’re considering adopting a dog, I would very highly recommend Strays of Greece, I am certain you will find a wonderful companion, as we did.
I would like to write a few lines about my rescue dog Alma, a cross Pointer who came to me one January evening. She is the most beautiful dog I have owned, everybody loves her and she has made my life wonderful as I live alone since my husband died . She is very contented and we go long walks in the forest and when at home we play in the garden, she especially loves being with my grandchildren. I must say she is still a little nervous and certainly does not like bangs or gun shots in the fields, for obvious reasons. I am forever grateful to Lyn and Mark for finding her for me.
Yours Sheila Lyons – Dorset August 2019
Zizi is our first overseas rescue dog and we are so pleased that we happened to chance upon ‘Friends of the Strays of Greece’ website. In September we were heartbroken to discover that our beautiful 7 year old rescue dog had multicentric lymphoma and was given 1 – 2 weeks to live. Afterwards, we had decided to just stay with our remaining rescue Labrador who, due to his past still had some issues, but after a few weeks it was obvious that he had lost any enjoyment in his life so we started looking for a new friend for him.
After several fruitless (and frustrating) searches locally, we saw Zizi on Strays of Greece website and applied for her. Lyn phoned us up within a day of us applying and had a lovely, very friendly conversation over the ‘phone and within two days as she was in the area, came and did the home check. It was important to us to get the right dog to fit in with our boy and Lyn was instrumental (along with Alexia, the shelter owner) in ensuring that Zizi would fit into our family . We were sent all the e-mails as they occurred and kept in touch all through the adoption process. Alexia also wrote us a long letter which told us everything about Zizi, how she was found and her experiences in the shelter so that we could understand her character when she arrived at our home.
What can I say about Zizi? She crept out of her crate on 16th. January, very unsure of everything, but on the way home snuggled up to me. We took things very slowly when introducing her to our other dog on the advice of Lyn. As a result, things have worked out wonderfully. She hasn’t needed to be house trained, walks beautifully on the lead and was running free after a week. Her joy on a walk is pure joy for us to watch – she runs and runs and runs, chases squirrels and jumps around like a little deer, but always keeps us in view. When she’s hot she flops in the nearest stream and all you can see are her ears , nose and eyes above the water. She is such a calm little dog and we feel we have had her for ever. Every day she bonds with us a little bit more and from being quite self contained at first, now thumps her tail when we call her name across the room and has become a glutton for a tummy rub and cuddle. She was wary of people to begin with, but on Lyn’s advice we asked fellow dog walkers to give her a treat and to make a fuss of her and that has paid dividends – she is now a confident little dog who goes up to people to say hello – a lady today got a faceful of licks!! Everyone who has met her has fallen a little in love with her. As for Jake (our other dog) he gets a face wash every morning with a little paw held VERY firmly on his nose to keep him still! He has got his joy back and they are inseparable now, partners in crime. The other bonus is that being in a shelter Zizi is used to other dogs and so is not phased by meeting them out on walks and is well socialised.
I would recommend Friends of Strays of Greece every time if you are looking to adopt a rescue dog. The whole process from start to finish was seamless, stress free and professional. I appreciated Lyn always being so prompt in replying to my queries (always the same day and sometimes within minutes) and being completely truthful about the dogs compatibility for adoption. The upside is that you are giving a lovely home to a deserving dog thereby freeing up a space for another dog to have a chance of a happy life off the streets of Greece.
Thank you Lyn and Mark for the dedication and the wonderful work that you do and thank you for our beautiful, well adjusted little Zizi.
Russ and Kate Wimborne, Dorset – January 2019
It is now just two weeks since we collected Pixel and it is like two different dogs. Pixel was very affectionate and loving from the outset but she was, understandably, nervous and a touch edgy. Everything was so new and so foreign to her and her explorations of both house and garden were very tentative, preferring to keep mostly to the bed she had chosen as her domain (we had bought her a new igloo style bed plus there was another bean bag style dog bed but Pixel took up residence on a large dog mattress-style bed that usually goes out to the veranda in the daytime and that is now her designated place). The only time she was assertive was at mealtimes when she would dive into our resident dog, Tiptoe’s bowl, not pausing for her own bowl to be put down. Fortunately, Tiptoe is so laid back that even something as sacrosanct as her dinner bowl does not arouse any aggression!
Within a few days, and after regular mealtimes, Pixel waits for her food to be put down, she comes to her name and even sits to command. She lies by the fire in our lounge with us in the evenings and often jumps up on to my lap for cuddles. In the mornings she races up the stairs with Tiptoe for morning cuddles whilst I have my early cuppa. Exploring the garden is an endless pursuit and Pixel races around, rolls over in delight and is now cheeky and confident enough to play tug with Tiptoe and will often race Tiptoe to a ball and run off with it, an action that confuses Tiptoe somewhat as her favourite pastime is retrieving balls! Pixel appears to be a mouser and likes nothing more than pouncing cat-like into shrubs and then digging like fury (needless to say I have a new garden pursuit of infilling holes!).
After Pixel’s first week I put a harness on her and took her in the car with Tiptoe to introduce her to our Forest. I only spent about ten minutes or so the first couple of times simply to reinforce the idea that going out in the car and exploring didn’t mean we would not be coming home. I’d then take Tiptoe out separately. However, although Pixel was anxious at the beginning and always very excited as soon as she was back in the garden, she now loves coming out on walks. I keep her on a flexi-leash as it is still very early days and she could get spooked, she’s a tad wary of other dogs and something as simple as someone kicking a ball can cause panic (probably the action of kicking has an unpleasant history attached to it, every day is a learning curve). Strangely, the endless herds of ponies and cows plus the streams of horse riders, joggers and cyclists in the Forest don’t worry Pixel at all. During these walks, Pixel races along, tail up, stopping for the odd sniff and keeping an eye on what Tiptoe is up to and, needless to say, she’s caught the “squirrel bug” and will even try to climb a tree squealing at a squirrel as if to force it back down!
In just two weeks Pixel is a dog transformed. She now even guards the house and welcomes visitors with complete confidence. Every day is a delight. It is so rewarding to see Pixel respond so well and so fast to all the love, care and attention we offer her – and not forgetting Tiptoe who has become very fond of her new family member. Janet, Nr Lymington, Hants – February 2019
We are delighted and proud to have Jennifer (10 months old) in our family. Leading up to her arrival we had a vision of sleepless nights and chewed up shoes. Would she be cowering from us, nervous? Yes, we were both anxious and excited. The day finally arrived to collect Jennifer and she adopted us from the start. Just 2 weeks in, it’s as if she’s always been here. She goes outside to do her business, lets us sleep at night, befriended the cat and prefers antlers to trainers! She is a loving, loyal, friendly dog and a joy to be around. Her smooth settling in is thanks to the dedicated team at Friends of the Strays of Greece with their commitment and support throughout the adoption process. We have had several telephone conversations and emails with Lyn. Pip carried out the home visit and also accompanied Jennifer on her journey. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and they are so passionate about helping these animals. The advice, attention, vetting and care provided has been incredible. Thanks to everyone involved, both here and in Greece, especially Sandy who rescued her as a day or 2 old pup. It was so lovely to read Jennifer’s story. Emily, Poole, Dorset – February 2019
Audrey is my fourth Greek rescue dog and although I have only had her for two weeks, she has settled into the household with very little fuss. I’m sure this is due to the good work that the people, who look after the dogs in Greece do, by selecting the dogs that will be able to make the transition from rescue dog, to an ideal family member the best. The whole process of choosing a dog, to picking it up to take home has been a wonderful experience, all due to the dedication of the people involved, of which there are many, and the fantastic organisation that Lyn and Mark deal with expertly. Even if things that are beyond Lyn’s control go wrong, she manages to get everything back on track with very little disruption to the dogs and new owners. I would recommend “The Friends of the Stray of Greece” to anyone that is thinking of taking on one of these special dogs – you will not be disappointed and the wonderful advice and ongoing support are always there!!! Viv, Gloucester February 2019
A Very well organised charity. Excellent vetting procedure with lots of information and great tips ( Thank you Wendy).
Has been such an efficient process from start to finish with meaningful and timely updates when needed.
We feel so lucky to have Theo in our lives. Was house trained in two weeks, bonded by three. He is so happy and joyful.
With training now able to let him off the lead in 7 weeks.
You are all wonderful, dedicated and friendly people…!
Thank you! Jenny, Wimborne, Dorset February 2019
Right from the very start of the process of adoption, we felt so supported by Lyn, Mark and Pip, too – who came to do our home check within two days of contacting Lyn and brought her lovely Greekie dogs, too. We’d already had a long chat on the phone with Lyn and started the ball rolling. We fell in love with Megali on the website – a beautiful, big girl who’d been a stray and had then been living in the shelter for about 5 years. Lyn explained all the ins and outs of adoption in detail and we had regular contact whilst waiting to hear that Megali was ready to travel. Of course we were excited, but concerned about the long trip she would have to embark on, but the day finally arrived and Lyn kept us updated throughout the day on the progress of the dogs coming all the way from Greece. Collecting Megali from Ferndown was made so straightforward for us and our beautiful girl was the first out of the van. She is the sweetest, softest dog imaginable with the most gentle nature. I can’t believe we’ve only her for a week and a half as she has settled so brilliantly. We continue to chat to Lyn about her progress because it matters so much to everyone at ‘The Friends of the Strays of Greece’ – not like some animal rescue places who hand the dog over and that’s it, Lyn keeps in touch and checks that everything is going well. For anyone who is considering adopting a Greekie, you couldn’t choose better people to help you through the process. They are so committed to helping these gorgeous dogs who are often so badly treated in their home country. A huge thank you to everyone there for giving us our new best friend!
Mandy & Chris, Wimborne, Dorset – February 2019
Thank you so much for what can be described as, an amazing experience, from start to finish. The hard work, effort, time and dedication you all put in is incredible. We are so happy with our Greekie! He has settled in well, all thanks again to the help, advice and support given to us from yourselves. We would not hesitate in recommending the Friends of the Strays of Greece to anyone wishing to adopt a Dog.
Jenna and Matthew Griffiths, Blanford, Dorset – Sept 2018
My lovely little Ellie. ( Elara). I contacted Lyn following an advert in the Express and Echo. Exeter. Lyn contacted me immediately. Lyn and Mark came over to check my home in Pathfinder Village. They arranged for Ellie to come on the transport on 11th March 2018. We drove down to Devon with her. Not a sound of protest. She came into my place, checked it all out had a good sniff around. Checked the garden and then had a meal and laid down and went to sleep. She has been no trouble at all. I love her to bits she
is good on the lead. and loves everyone she meets. Ellie is eight years old and was rescued with three puppies from the streets in Pyrgos. How anyone could abandon such a delightful little dog is beyond belief. Thank you to everyone for bringing me my lovely little canine friend!!!
Liz Brown, Tedburn St Mary, Exeter – May 2018
“Mavroula is my first Greekie, although not my first overseas rescue.
I met Lyn by sheer chance when I was not even in a position to adopt another dog, but I knew almost right away that when the time came, my first port of call would definitely be Friends of the Strays of Greece.
In the event, that time came much quicker than I could have predicted, and when I then emailed and chatted to Lyn, I knew I had taken the right route. It was very evident that not only does she care passionately about these shelter dogs, she manages their Rehoming and matching to forever homes with the greatest care and attention. Moreover, the whole process was so thorough – from the adoption application form right through the homecheck to the transportation. And this latter was the icing on the cake!- Lyn and Mark have chosen fantastic caring professional overland travel for their adoptees, and along with her compatriots Mavroula arrived content, calm, well-fed and well-loved, having had what amounted to a little vacation on a luxury doggy campervan! The very best start to their new life, for these shelter dogs.
I would never look further than Friends of the Strays of Greece for any future adoptions. Mavroula, although shy, arrived with no trauma and no significant “baggage” and the sheer joy of living with a dog whose future otherwise would have been a lifetime in a large rescue compound, cannot be put into words. I am confident that Lyn’s ongoing support is readily available at all times, and I can’t recommend highly enough the benefits of adopting through her.
Adopting a dog from overseas can seem very daunting if you have never done so, but Lyn ensures that the experience is one you will never regret.” Maria – Tedburn St Mary, Exeter – May 2018
If you are thinking of adopting a dog please read my story which may help you consider one from The Strays of Greece. Ever since we went on holiday to Greece and saw the sad plight of so many dogs we said we would like to give one a home. We already had a 12 year old Dachshund called Rolo but decided to have a look at The Strays of Greece Website and fell for so many dogs. We contacted Lyn who runs the Charity and she came to see us and gave us advice which ones would be suitable to have with our older dog. The whole adoption process was so easy, they sort everything out for you and they liaise with you every step of the way. On the day of Mandy’s arrival we were so excited to meet her. I was amazed how quickly Rolo and Mandy bonded and for 3 years they were such good friends. Sadly through illness we then lost Rolo, he was 16 years old but we were all heartbroken and we know Mandy missed him too.
After a few months I was speaking to Lyn, who had just returned from Greece, and she told me a sad story of one dog she wanted to find a home so we decided to have Vassilia who arrived in April 2017. She was scared and nervous to begin with because of things that had happened to her but despite this she was so gentle and affectionate. Just being there with her she quickly settled with us and has become an adorable family dog. Now after only 6 months it is as if she has always been here. Mandy is so good with her, they get on so well, they are such great companions we love them both.
Lyn and her helpers are so dedicated to finding homes for The Strays of Greece we cannot praise them enough. From my experience I can say the dogs are quick to learn, eager to please, grateful beyond words, adapt well, have very sad stories to tell and deserve a chance. Also any dog you rescue from a shelter means they can take in another stray off the streets.
Ann Abate – Bournemouth
Zamira is one of the dogs recommended by Lyn to suit our environment. We chose her because she had the worst story of being beaten and poisoned. It was so hard to choose from so many, so what better reason? I was naturally a little nervous before her arrival because I didn’t know how damaged she would be or how long she would take to be happy with us. She got out of the van and was immediately on her tummy, cowering as if I may harm her. I got down to her level and stayed there for the following two days. When she lay down, (every few paces), I did. Sometimes this meant lying next to her on the grass for half an hour. It took only a day of this before she started to feel comfortable. As I write, she is playing with our border collie puppy, has already been down to the river where she darts in and out, and then lies on her back for a tummy rub. We make every effort to be calm around her as it does not take much for her to be fearful, holding a ball up or running towards her. She is beautiful, playful and loving. We are so happy we are giving her a lot of love and a chance to enjoy life. We feel she was very well matched to us and all parties could not be happier.
We got our Greekie in May, so still very early days for him. He is 9 months old and very appealing. He is still scared of lots of things but has come on in leaps and bounds. It is very rewarding to see that with lots of love, much patience how he is learning to be a part of our family. Molly our 10 year old gets on well with him and of course they have lots of mad playtimes in the garden. It did take nearly 2 weeks before he would venture Outside, he was really very scared, but lots of puppy pads, disinfectant, and air freshener and a sense of humour he made it. Would I recommend getting a Greek rescue dog,absolutely, a resounding yes. He will be a wonderful loving companion for many years to come. Lyn and Mark go all out to help every step of the way, so you never feel abandoned with a problem if one should arise. If you are hesitating go on take the plunge, you will not regret it.
Anne and Pip Giddins
LEO & DORIS
16 months ago we took delivery of our first greekie, Leo. Leo is a true ‘street dog’ and attracts compliments wherever he goes. Obedient, friendly to all other dogs (and humans) and a joy to take out ,we have never had a dog before who just runs and runs for the pure pleasure of it. 3 weeks ago our second greekie arrived. Doris is one year old and was found in a bin when 3 weeks old. She is great company for Leo, and us, with a wonderful gentle temperament and already off the lead and running free. Both adoptions were handled in an extremely professional way by Lyn and her team. Simply put, there is no better way to find the perfect dog whilst helping to reduce the suffering in Greece!
Roger near Andover
Our lovely 8 year old girl Greek Shepherd, Naya, arrived 4 months ago now and has quickly become a member of the family. She was very thin and shy on arrival but with some cuddles and food, quickly came out of her shell and now gives a paw, begging for more fuss or treats! We also had 2 cats when she arrived and although they were a little put out by the arrival of such a large dog (or any dog!) they quickly adapted and learned to get along. It’s now a battle as to who claims Naya’s bed! We love her and she loves us back – I can’t imagine not having her with us now. I’d strongly recommend getting a Greekie as they have very special characters (they are survivors!) and they desperately need the care. We’re so grateful to Lyn and her team for making it all possible. Thank you!
Jo & Chris
We adopted our beautiful Thourea in April this year. We fell in love with her in the video of her from the site. Two months later thanks to the amazing efforts and hard work of Lyn and Mark and their colleagues, our beautiful girl arrived. She had some very funny and entertaining habits, but she has settled in so well. It feels like she has been with us forever now. She’s loving, affectionate, funny and such a great character. She loves jumping into the postman’s van, she pops across to our neighbours and lets herself into their house if they leave their door open. She welcomes everyone who comes to our house but is a great guard dog as well. She’s worked her way into the heart of all our family and friends. We can’t imagine life without her.
Nas – London
In December 2013, Brownie, our rescued hunting dog from The friends of the Strays of Greece, entered our lives, completing our family and bringing us so much joy. She is bright, affectionate and the most loving dog you could ever wish to meet. We feel blessed to have found her!
R Alves, Brighton. Dec 2016
FLOYD & MOOSE
September 21st 2015 was the awful day we had to say our final goodbye to one of our beloved twelve year old Labradors. George was a real ‘mummy’s boy’ and his passing completely devastated me to the point of real depression. Our worry too, was how his sister, Libby would cope without him. At first, she seemed to be managing, helped largely I think by being included in absolutely everything we did, but by the beginning of November, she became very quiet and forlorn. We had virtually made the decision that when Libby’s time came, we would try our lives without dogs so that we could pack up at a moments notice and have a few more holidays….unthinkable!! So, after a few unexplainable coincidences, we found ourselves looking at all the videos of dogs on FSOG website for a suitable companion for Libby!
Well, it didn’t take long, as a little chap called Floyd caught our eye…and Libby’s, as she kept barking at him every time we played it! The phone call to Lyn was made and the incredibly efficient adoption process was put in motion. We were kept informed all the way until the day our little boy arrived on January 20th. Oh my goodness, such excitement when he appeared out of the van. He settled straight in, was clean in the house after two days and even more importantly, Libby was quite happy with him. Then, tragedy struck. Libby was suddenly taken seriously ill seven days after Floyd (now Percy) arrived and heartbreakingly, we had to say goodbye to her too. The loss of our wonderful Labs in a matter of months was a bitter, bitter blow and very hard to get over, but, here was our little Greek man who needed all of our attention and I have to say he managed to take us out of our misery with all his love and antics! We couldn’t have hoped for a more beautiful dog and yes, you’ve guessed it….we found ourselves looking at the videos again a month or two later, possibly to find Percy a friend, and there was Moose, a gorgeous tricolour puppy. So, once again the wheels of adoption where put in progress and he arrived in June. Our two boys have got on famously from the start, treat the garden and our field like a Grand Prix circuit, wrestle and play all the time, and never a cross word with the dogs they meet on walks. The only thing we have to watch with Moose (now Morse) is food on kitchen tops. He found and enjoyed the Aberdeen Angus steak mince I was defrosting! It was my fault of course for not putting it out of reach but he is getting better at understanding what ‘NO’ means!
Looking at them now curled up with me, it almost seems as if they’ve been here forever and it’s hard to believe they have come from such awful beginnings. If you are reading this and contemplating adopting a dog, please consider FSOG and the beautiful dogs they work so hard to protect. As a charity, you won’t find one more efficient, experienced and friendly. Thank you Lyn and Mark for all the wonderful, tireless work you do and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing our ‘boys’ over to us.
Gilly and John, Wimborne (Dorset) Sept 2016
When I lost my last rescue dog to cancer I didn’t think I could ever have another dog, I lasted a few months before realising that for me a dog is essential in my life. I researched for a long time but for various reasons could not find the dog for me. A friend told me about Strays of Greece and having contacted Lyn it was only a short time before Carolyn visited and then sent me details of Maddie, (Erica) in the rescue in Athens. Within weeks Maddie was on her way to me. I cannot praise this charity enough, the contact, support, for both myself and Maddie was fantastic. She arrived vaccinated, spayed, wormed and micro chipped with a pet passport. She is fantastic, great nature and full of fun. If you are thinking of adopting a rescue animal you can’t go wrong with Strays of Greece.
Gillian (Christchurch, Dorset)
We have had Pele for over a year now and she has bought nothing but joy to our family. She seemed to instinctively know she was home; fitting in so well with the whole family including our elderly male Staffie. She retains some wariness of strangers and is sometimes fearful of other dogs but she has never shown the slightest aggression despite her very difficult early months. Pele came to us unfamiliar with all sorts of everyday things; stairs, joggers, traffic to name a few and it has been an absolute joy and privilege to watch her develop and grow in confidence. There are no words to adequately thank Lyn and the rest of the team for the wonderful work they do and I urge others to consider these fabulous dogs. You will not regret it.
Caroline Campbell, London
I can’t thank everybody enough, who had a hand in bringing Jasmine to me from her three year stay, in a shelter on Thassos. It was only due to the love, dedication and determination to rescue these dogs that it happened. Jasmine was so worth waiting for and has been a delight since she got here under two weeks ago. She has the sweetest nature and is so happy to go along with everything that is asked of her. She has slotted in with my other two dogs really well and finds the cat fascinating!! I would urge anyone who might be considering having a dog, to give one of these needy Greek dogs a home. They will fill your heart with joy to see them relishing all the comforts that every dog deserves. I’ve had two of my dogs from The Friends of the Strays of Greece and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them as a wonderful charity – everybody I have had contact with have been marvellous!!!!
Viv in Gloucester, January 2016
Firstly these owners would like to say a great big thank you to Lyn and Mark and all the other wonderful volunteers who make “Friends of the strays of Greece”. Mabel has given us such joy and we hope that we are making her happy in return.
For anyone thinking that they would like to give a rescue dog a home I would say please seriously consider rehoming through this charity. Not just because the Greek dogs desperately need your help (because they do and current economic hardships are only going to cause further animal welfare issues), but because as a rescue they are one of the best we have ever worked with.
Lyn took such care to consider our family and make sure we were matched with the right dog. This meant that Mabel seamlessly integrated into our family and bonded quickly with our existing dog. No stress for us and none for the dogs. The last thing anyone wants is for a rescue dog to end up back in rescue because the pairing hasn’t been right. Everyone who meets Mabel loves her and she is so full of love herself. When she first arrived however we literally did have teething problems as Mabel likes to nibble random items.
But, true to her word, Lyn arranged for a behaviourist to call and we were given many strategies to try. At no point have we felt unsupported or that simply by being with us that Lyn’s job is done. The after care is incredible and I think this is so important. Taking a rescue dog who may have a little baggage can be a leap of faith for the human and the dog. However because Lyn does her homework and truly has the happiness of everyone at heart then the best possible outcome is achieved.
It has been two weeks now since Suzie arrived in our family. She has been an absolute joy and has settled in wonderfully well with not only us but also our other animals. She has a lovely temperament and adores attention from everyone that she meets. We are so pleased that we have her and feel that she has enhanced our lives with her personality. I would certainly recommend to anybody that is thinking of adopting a dog to consider homing a Greek stray because it really has been such a rewarding experience for not only us but also to know that Suzie’s life has been enhanced too and that brings great satisfaction to us. We now have many years to reflect on our decision and know that we made the right choice from the start. I would like to add finally that because of the efficiency of everyone involved in the process of the adoption everything went so smoothly from first contact through to her arrival in the U.K. and I would like to thank all the people that made it possible for their hard work and professionalism because without their dedication there would not be success stories to tell and a lot of Greek dogs would have been denied the chance of real happiness. Thank you all.
from Sheila and John.
We’ve had Kiros for 2 weeks now, and, as many other dog owners we’ve met have commented, it’s like he’s been with us all his life. He’s a lovely, confident and affectionate boy, who took about 3 days to settle in to his new home. After such a long journey and so much change and stress, this is remarkable, and I am indebted to Lyn from the charity for the expert advice she gave before we chose him. His settling in so quickly is, I believe, also a reflection of the wonderful care and love he received in Greece.
I had looked at other rescue centres and charities before FSOG was recommended to me by a work colleague, and found them difficult and sometimes unwelcoming, but FSOG is the polar opposite – they’re very open and friendly, very knowledgeable and professional, and clearly care about their dogs and finding good homes for them above all else.
If anyone is thinking of adopting a stray dog, I couldn’t recommend the Friends of the Strays of Greece highly enough. Not only do they have many genuine unfortunate dogs who need re-homing, but they are able to give expert advice and recommendations, and care more about the right home for them than shifting units and taking your money.
Tony & Kiros, Poole
I have no hesitation of saying how delighted I am with Alma. Have only known her for 9 days. But she is settling very well and has made me feel very grateful to all the effort you and Mark have put into finding the right dog for me. The caring information and videos have been wonderful . I am telling all my friends and people I know if they ever want a dog to get in touch with friends of strays of Greece. I shall always be so grateful to the hard work and dedication you have towards these poor dogs who have been treated so badly.
Yours Sheila Lyons – Nr Fordingbridge, Hants
MOCCA & BAYLEY
Our Adventures In Loving Two Greek Squiddley Diddleys
It’s just over a year since Mocca and Bayley now known as Ben and Sophie, came to us and what a year it has been. When they first came they were scared of virtually everything and everybody. They hate the colour red and before everybody tells me that they cannot see red they can see the texture and they cordially hate it. Large objects like dustbins and paths where the undergrowth grows close means they cuddle into me as they walk. However for the most part it’s tail high guys and off we go and with plenty of love and plenty of patience you see them flourish.
They have progressed from a pair of leads to a flexi and enjoy that, even staging mock fights between themselves and getting tangled up to my vexation as I have to sort them out! We have also recently taken on board a young flat coated collie bitch and she has been responsible for bringing both dogs out of themselves. We are however doubtful about letting them off at the moment for fear that they will disappear, but heigh-ho maybe one day.
Of course they are loose in the garden and Sophie (I call her JCB feet) has turned the paths through the little copse into something resembling the Somme and as I speak is in training for the new version of the Great Escape where she takes the part of the Chief Tunneller !!
So all is at peace in the household, the team have all settled down together and now that the smell of Autumn is in the air, they are busily pawing through the catalogues and making sure the supplies of Wagg, gravy bones and markies have been ordered so that they don’t have to get their little paws frozen going down to the shop. Mind they don’t mind sending me …………..but then what are humans for if not to see to their every whim and fancy.
To all of you may be contemplating a dog from Greece I can think of no finer thing than to share your life with a little Stray or more than one little Stray. The procedure to get your dogs is smooth and professional due to the dedication and experience by Lyn & Mark. The payback is a wet nose from a little warm body which has somehow unaccountably sneaked up onto the bed and found its way into the curve of your tummy and legs and is stretching up to lick your chin. It’s a privilege for us to have such an abundance of love from our fellow planet sharers, to help us through our path of life. Try it everybody!!
We had been very keen to get a second dog for some time, but already having Jessie, our 9 year old ex rescue bitch who is rather bossy with other dogs, we knew we needed expert advice in finding a good match. Unfortunately we didn’t have much luck receiving this from a couple of local UK rescue centers that we had made contact with. Then, through a friend at work I was introduced to Lyn from ‘The Friends of the Strays of Greece’ and we have never looked back. Alex has been with us for almost three weeks and he is just the most sweetest natured little chap you could ever imagine. He is growing in confidence every day and has really brought out the playfulness in Jessie. We found the whole adoption process, from start to finish, absolutely faultless. ‘The Friends of the Strays of Greece’ are an incredibly knowledgeable, organized and professional organization. I am still amazed how Lyn could have chosen the perfect addition to our family having met Jessie on just one occasion, she really knows her stuff. We cannot begin to thank ‘The Friends of the Strays of Greece’ enough.
Gill & Phil Eldridge
Rescuing Brownie from the Friends of the strays of Greece was a very pleasant and smooth experience all the way through, not only our new Pointer cross female Brownie was in very good condition when she arrived but her sweet temperament was everything you could wish for a new addition to a pack.
Rogerio and Julan Jerry
After losing our previous dog we were devastated, we thought we needed another dog to make up the final piece to the jigsaw, so we looked on the website and Lyn said that there was a lovely puppy who would be suitable for us and he ticks all the boxes. He is a delight to have in this family. He is the final piece to our jigsaw. Jerry is very clever, Lyn and Mark did a fantastic job of hand picking such a lovely puppy for us. He seems grateful for everything we do for him. Jerry is having training lesson and has learnt a lot of new tricks; he now knows sit, down, stay, paw, and high five. Jerry mastered, “Down” only a few days ago. He fits into this family lifestyle so well. When we first got him he wasn’t allowed off lead at all and now he is, when we take him to the park, the field and the woods and we call him he comes straight away even if he is playing or sniffing another dog. If anyone is looking for a rescue dog or puppy I would definitely recommend Mark and Lyn without a shadow of a doubt!!!!
Loki (originally called Elmer) has now been living with us and our two cats for nearly two weeks.
Our first encounter when he came out of the van from Greece was the most wonderful moment for us. Loki simply sat in front of me as I was kneeling down and he stared at me while I was stroking his lovely face and couldn’t stop telling him how beautiful and sweet he was. Matt did the same with him. We both totally fell in love with him and knew he was the perfect puppy for us.
We didn’t know what Loki would make of our cats, and to our amazement, as he entered the house for the first time and saw them, he gently went to them whilst on the lead and said hello to them. Our cats were totally chilled about him so we could only conclude that everything was alright for all of them and we let Loki off the lead. Since then Loki has been sharing sofa and bed with either cat and we expect to see them right against each other in the next few months. In fact Loki loves their company and they haven’t changed any of their habits for him.
Loki loves everybody on this planet, all people, dogs and cats! He is getting used to being around horses as well. He is the most affectionate dog we have ever had. Most evenings he will have a cuddle on the bed at bed time then go into his own bed when he is ready to sleep. Every morning he climbs on the bed again for his morning cuddles and sometimes has a doze with one or both of us before we get up.
He is very popular everywhere we take him and people usually ask where we got him from and comment on how beautiful, cute, pretty and sweet they think he is. I make sure to take him daily to people at the stables or in parks as well as follow him when he wants to meet other dogs so he can retain his extremely sociable personality. From day to day people he meets regularly have complimented him on his progress too as they can see the changes on the way he greets them – sitting down with a waggy tail rather than jumping up at them with muddy paws.
Loki is a very clever puppy and he knows how to use his charm and cuteness to make us melt. He loves cuddles and attention but he can also be very independent. He is so excited about his new life, all those new smells he can find in the woods, on the Ashdown Forest and even in town.
Loki makes us so happy and he seems to have been made for us. We adore him and Matt keeps telling me how pleased he is about him and how perfect he is. We are in fact very proud of him.
Lyn suggested Loki (Elmer) to me when we were discussing the ideal dog for our lifestyle and I decided to trust her experience in placing rescued dogs. I am glad I did as he is the perfect dog for us but also for our cats and for our lifestyle.
Many thanks to Lyn again for her perfect choice and to Mark and Chris for having brought this little wonderdog into our lives.
Benji has been with us for a week now and is just adorable; I have had no major problems with him at all. He has fitted in with my busy life and is adjusting well to life in England. (Although he’s not sure about mud and rain! Ha ha) I originally contacted Lyn about another dog. We had a good chat about my lifestyle and she suggest Benji to me as the other dog was not used to such a hectic life as was currently living with an older woman and as I have 3 children thought this would be too much for her. So after some more thought about taking on a Greek dog I went with Lyn’s decision about Benji, with no regrets as he’s just the sweetest, gentle dog considering he has had a massive change to his life.
My home was checked for suitability and Lyn contacted me again to make sure I wanted to go ahead so she could make arrangements for Benji to travel over. I was kept informed of everything that was happening on his way over by email and phone. Lyn was also concerned he may have some separation anxiety from his foster home in Greece and this was discussed with me.
I can’t imagine life without him now. He is a very quiet dog in the house and sometimes needs his own space. He loves to walk and is great on the lead. My children can also hold him when walking. His favorite place is on the shore where he gets so excited and runs and jumps and meets other dogs, he is not worried about traffic. We talk to him in Greek and the kids find it funny that he understands Greek and English!
I think for anyone wanting to give a Greek dog a forever home you just have to remember it will take time for them to adjust to their new homes and life. Don’t expect too much too soon and allow them to come out of their shell on their own and don’t push them… Then you will see their character shine through! I explained to my children its like when you first start school, it’s different and they may be scared to begin with and miss where they used to live as that’s what they have known for some time but they will soon make friends with you and want to be with you and play with you and then the fun begins!
Thank you Lyn and mark for all you have done. You do an amazing job!
Ezra the black Lurcher is a constant source of delight! Having been abandoned at the shelter in Aegina as a puppy, he knew nothing about the outside world. Everything was a source of amazement and anxiety; dogs running free, bicycles, pushchairs, old ladies with shopping trolleys, high heels clacking along, lorries rushing at him, horses, wet grass, brushes and especially the resident cat! Two weeks on and he knows it all! He has a cocky swagger, runs free off his lead, and greets every dog as if he owns the place…until he sees something he’s not sure of and then he’s behind our legs! The cat and he are best mates. He plays, barks and enjoys everything, even falling head first into the river! Training classes are a new source of wonder and endeavour for us all. And for us the new owners? What a wonderful opportunity to see the jaded old world afresh through the eyes of a 15 month old puppy! A privilege and source of constant enjoyment. Thank you Lyn and Mark!
From Georgette (Verwood)
This is Angel (Angie),she has been with me now for three weeks and has settled well. We are into our second week of her season. It was my choice, as I wanted a young dog, to get her to the U.K. and then have her spayed here in 3 months time. Lynn and Mark have been marvelous, it took only 6 weeks from my initial phone call to actually picking Angel up in Ringwood. I was kept informed over the two day travel period as to progress and at homing time, given lots of helpful advice. She is now accustomed to her reflection in the mirrors and TV, plus the household and garden machinery sounds. We are off to training classes in a couple of weeks, I can tell she will be a very willing pupil. Massive thanks to Friends of the Strays of Greece for finding me my very affectionate new companion.
Moreen of Christchurch
Christina – now called Maddie. Well, Maddie has been with us for less than two weeks and we can’t imagine our life without her. We were so concerned when she arrived in March and our weather was so cold, we thought she would want to turn around and go back to Greece! But no – she was off on her first walk with such enthusiasm that she didn’t seem to even notice the snow. We anticipated some problems with her settling in, especially after the long journey to get here, but within a few days she had really made herself at home. She is so well trained too; clean in the house, walks nicely on her lead, sits when told and waits patiently for her dinner. Her command of English now includes ‘walkies’, ‘biscuit’ and ‘chicken’. She seems to have got used to her new name without a problem and her recall in the garden was so good that we let her off her lead in the local park after just a week. It is a joy to see her running free and racing back when called, then sitting to wait for a treat. It will be a few weeks before we let her run free in our local woodland though as the smells of rabbit, squirrel and fox may be just too tempting. She has met all our grandchildren and loves them. In fact she loves everyone and thinks everyone should love her in return. Two of our grandsons have declared her ‘the cutest dog EVER’ (their own spaniel being relegated to third place!) We are so grateful to Lyn and Mark, their team of helpers and the rescue teams in Greece for their commitment and for enabling Maddie to come to live with us.
Dave and Elaine Nicholls
I started talking to Lyn last summer after I’d visited an animal rescue centre on the island of Evia who advised me to talk to Strays of Greece. I checked their website out straight away and got in contact. Lyn explained that they mainly work with a rescue centre on Aegina and I had a good look at the dogs that were available – so much choice and so many varieties! I really liked the look of a dog called Dexter but also talked at length about some others that might be suitable. The next stage was a lady who worked with the charity and the rescue centre (who was also fostering Dexter at the time on Aegina) came and did a home visit to check everything was in place and suitable for me to take a rescue dog. We talked in detail through all the options and decided there and then that I’d fly out to Aegina the following week and meet the five possibilities including Dexter! The trip was a great experience (in so many ways) and after two days of deliberating, I decided to go for Dexter. He had been dumped at the centre with his brother two years earlier by his Greek owner, had been adopted by a German couple some 9 months later (which sadly didn’t work out) and then returned to Aegina to live with Gaby and 18 other dogs at her foster home. He had probably been treated badly by his original owners and consequently was a nervous dog (particularly of men) so I knew there was going to be quite a lot of work to do to help develop his trust and confidence, but I felt such a connection with him, I had to choose him. He arrived in early September 2012 – what an exciting day it was! He seemed to settle so quickly considering his long journey and new surroundings. He is such a beautiful dog inside and out. Despite his past and his resulting anxieties, he is an extremely gentle and affectionate dog. He gets on well my other dog, Poppy, and she has accepted him completely. He’s learnt a few basic commands but his recall remains an issue – but we’re working on it! Dexter’s still nervous of new people (particularly if they come to the house) but there are great signs of improvement as each day goes by. What a difference Dexter has made to my life. I can’t imagine being without him.
We have had our gorgeous boy Ronnie for 2 months now and he is an absolute delight! He is everything Lyn and Mark told us he would be – big, cuddly, soft, gentle and very strong on the lead! Lyn and Mark did a fantastic job of ‘hand picking’ a dog for us. They were very honest about what we would should expect from Ronnie. As first time owners with young children we needed a loving and gentle dog. Lyn gave us the choice of three dogs who ticked all the boxes and we chose Ronnie. We love having him and are proud that after a few training sessions he is now walking well on his lead and he has learnt some new tricks! He seems so grateful for everything we do for him and we are grateful to Lyn and Mark for finding him for us. We would certainly recommend Lyn and Mark to anybody who is looking to adopt the perfect pet!
Our stunning girl Ilka, has been with us for just over a month now, she is undoubtedly the missing piece of our family jigsaw! Recently repatriated from Kuwait where we unfortunately lost our darling dog Brie, our family remained incomplete. Whilst out walking over the summer months with our young Collie, I met a number of people with fabulous, friendly dogs, all of whom had been re homed from Greece, which led me to Lyn and Mark Purden. Such a wonderful, helpful couple who’s dedicated charity work through ‘Friends of the strays of Greece’, united Ilka with our family. She has fitted in immediately; such a lovely temperament, graceful gait and playful sense of adventure, which is slowly showing itself! Having prepared myself for a few hiccups’ as one would expect with a re-homed animal, I was delighted that they didn’t arise. Our male Collie adores her, our cats Oscar and Lawrence warmed to her gentle nature and my husband thinks she is simple splendid, as do I. We would have no hesitation in recommending and indeed re-homing a further Greek dog in the future. The continued support from Lyn and Mark eased any apprehension we naturally had about the process, as does their ability to suggest the most suitable dog for their perspective new owners. May I take this opportunity to once again thank you both very much for bringing us all together….
Mel and Gary Hatcher, Ringwood
I came across Lyn and Mark quite by chance when I was looking for a new dog. I particularly wanted a rescue dog as our previous experience with a rescued terrier called Ellie many years ago was such a positive one. Lyn and Mark came to my home and we looked through photographs and videos of some of the dogs that need new homes. Although there were many beautiful dogs on the site I could have happily adopted, there wasn’t a scruffy type dog that we were looking for. Then Lyn recalled one of the volunteers talking about a scruffy dog who’d been found lying in the road starving and dehydrated. In fact someone had reported that he may have been hit by a car. Volunteers from the shelter went out and took him back to the shelter where he was examined and found that he didn’t have any broken bones. He was fed and cared for and months later was able to be adopted and brought to Ringwood. I explained to Lyn and Mark that whatever dog we got had to be good with children as my four year old grand daughter and I spend lots of time together. Lyn asked the shelter in Greece to take our prospective dog out to visit a volunteer who has a young son. The interaction was very positive and I was sent photos of the dog playing with the little boy. Lyn also arranged to have a video of him with a volunteer put on Youtube which enabled us to see him moving around, reacting to contact etc. The process of adopting a dog through Friends of the Strays of Greece was very easy and straightforward. Lyn and Mark and the volunteers know the dogs (and cats) and really listen to what the new family is looking for. They discuss the dogs and their traits to build up a good picture and tell you the pros and any cons there might be. The ‘adopter’ is kept informed every step of the way once the process has started. We knew when our dog had had a medical check up, his vaccinations, micro chipping and quarantine etc., before the journey. Our gorgeous dog was named Dragon at the shelter as he’d been found in Dragonara but we changed it to Guinness which suits him much more with his brown and cream colouring (although having cream coloured legs isn’t the most practical thing on wet and muddy walks!). Finding Lyn and Mark and asking them to find us a fabulous family pet was the best thing we could have done. It’s hard to believe but we really do have a dog!
I have had several rescue dogs over the years and wanted a companion for my x Saluki Nell (from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home). Having decided I would really like to give a home to a Greek dog the problem was how to go about it. After hunting on the internet looking at lots of rescue sites I finally came across ‘the strays of Greece.” I was amazed there were so many beautiful dogs and such variety. If they were in London rescue centres where the majority of dogs are Staffies they would be snapped up. After chatting with Lyn at “strays” about the kind of dog I wanted she found me the most handsome English Setter x called Fotis, and when I saw the videos of him I knew he was the one for me and Nell. There was a process to go through but Lyn and Mark are wonderfully organised and so kind and helpful, everything went smoothly. Fotis has been with me for 7 weeks now. He has the sweetest nature and is affectionate to everyone he meets and he and Nell are like brother and sister, a real twosome! I would recommend anyone planning to get a rescue dog to think seriously about getting a Greek dog. They have little chance of finding a home in their own country, it is incredibly rewarding, not expensive, and something I would definitely do again.
Just thought I would give you an update on Dougie that you could put on your site.
Having adopted one Greek dog, Sky, three years ago, we thought we would give another one a home. After discussing with Lyn at length which dog might be suitable for us, it was decided to bring Dougie (Douglas) to join Sky and Jet (our Doberman). He is the most wonderfully gentle natured animal and absolutely loves running and playing in our garden. He is incredible with our Grandchildren and they all love him. He fitted into our family from day one. The pleasure and satisfaction you receive from giving one of these dogs a home is immeasurable and I would recommend anyone wishing to adopt a dog to contact Lyn and Mark.
Love, Carolyn and Bill
We took on our Greek Girl, Flo, approximately 3 months ago and can honestly say what a joy she is. She is such a biddable, adaptable little character who has slotted straight into our rather busy household with all our other inmates- cats, chickens and donkeys among others, and gets on extremely well with our three other rescue dogs. Happy and confident she has learnt the house rules in record time is a great playmate for our youngest lurcher and loves a cuddle when there is one on offer. Everybody who meets her falls in love with her lovely nature. We will definitely be adopting another Greekie when the time comes.
Having lost our lovely Bearded Collie Lurcher at Christmas due to old age and then soon after our handsome Doberman cross through illness, our house was very empty. I contacted several local rescue centers but they didn’t bother to reply. I remembered donating to a collection when we were down in Bournemouth for ‘Friends of the Strays of Greece’. All the family had a look at the website and fell in love with a lot of the dogs. A firm favorite was a waggy tailed hound called Romero. I phoned Lyn and she spent a long time chatting (and vetting!). We had a few questions which needed answering to check Romero was the right dog for us and would he be happy, Lynn made sure this was the case. At the end of May we picked up a very nervous and confused skinny dog. The first night he wouldn’t come in the living room because he was scared of the TV. Since then he has progressed so quickly – he loves his dog bed (and the settee and our beds if he can sneak on!). He loves his food, going for walks and meeting people. Most of all he loves us. He is so gentle with the children. Romero loves to play with them and is a bit disappointed when they have to go to school. He is a brilliant dog, so grateful and happy and always ready for a tummy rub! There may be a time in the future when we will add a second dog and we would certainly consider another Greek rescue.
Alex, Mick, Genna, Elodie, Lucas and Romero…
Ya Ssou or hello. My name is Frank, but I was called Stratos when I lived in the dog rescue centre in Aegina where I had lived since I was a puppy, that was before I was adopted by Jan in March of this year. She said when we met it was love at first sight, easy for her to say as I think she had seen pictures and video clips of me before we met, she said something also about how brilliant Lyn was in matching us up. Happily Jan is alright and as she has recently retired she is able to take me for lovely walks in the woods and on the heath-land which is just at the end of the road we live in. I don’t miss the other dogs I have grown up with as I am such a good dog that I could very quickly be let off my lead safely and Jan knows I would come back when I am called even though there are some really friendly dogs that also seem to enjoy playing with me. When we go out I can chase pigeons and squirrels but I only seem to be able to actually catch the ball when Jan throws it!
I had a clean bill of health when I came to live with Jan and Lennox (the cat) so we know that everything is taken care of and Jan does not have to worry about nasty diseases coming into the house and I think I have settled down really well here. I can be left to have a decent doze in my bed when Jan goes shopping for the dog food and biscuits and I am quite a sociable chap when we go out together to dog training classes or with friends.
I think I have been pretty lucky really and it was well worth the trip. I know Jan is always pleased to see me and we spend lots of time together. She says I was just what she needed to make every day special for her.
At first I was apprehensive about getting a rescue dog, having heard a few stories about rescue dogs with “issues”. However, I took the plunge and eighteen months ago adopted Amber who I understand was found roaming the streets in Greece scavenging for food. To my surprise and delight she settled in immediately and is a kind, loving dog who treats people, other dogs and even cats with the greatest respect and affection. Her only vice is that she does love to raid waste bins and is an accomplished rabbit hunter but that’s not surprising as she used to be so hungry. Despite this I often see her sitting politely watching my cat slowly eating his dinner then licking the bowl when the cat has finished. Obviously the Greek street cats showed her who was boss. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a Greek dog to anyone who is hesitant about taking on a rescue. Amber has been an absolute joy from day one.
Marilyn – Alderholt
In the search to replace our previous dog, who had been with us for fourteen years, we tried a number of UK animal shelters but for various reasons failed in our attempts. As luck would have it, we came across an advert in the local Vet’s surgery for a Greek rescue dog called Lottie. Lottie had been dumped outside a shelter in a desperate condition with a piece of wire around her tail following a failed amateur docking attempt. She lost her tail, contracted septicemia and undoubtedly would have died if a volunteer vet had not been visiting that week. She had eventually come to the UK but had had two different owners through no fault of her own. We visited her, fell in love instantly and she has become a huge part of our family.
One great joy was taking her to Cornwall with us and our family for a long weekend last Autumn. Lottie simply loved the beach and the sea, spending much time rushing a few feet into the water, literally leaping up on all four legs and then running back up the beach. It was pure joy to see her so happy and enjoying life. Lottie also loves socializing with other dogs, always up for a bit of “rough and tumble” when out walking and, in particular, she finds agility classes very exciting and has proven very adept at negotiating the obstacles. She also thoroughly enjoyed her recent holiday in France with us.
In short, our new dog is affectionate, lively, makes us laugh constantly and we are delighted to have welcomed to our family. The incredibly hard work that Friends of the Strays of Greece does has brought much happiness to the lives of dogs and owners alike and particularly to us and to Lottie.
Paul and Sue Gunovsky
When my Golden Retriever died, I was devastated. We had spent 15 glorious years riding together. He was my constant (and often only) companion, whilst spending most enjoyable and endless hours in the saddle. I missed him dreadfully, but my friends pointed out that it would be a shame to deprive another dog of the wonderfully rich life, he had so enjoyed. So half a year later, I started to approach the various rescues, but since I had specific requirements, none of them had the right dog for me. 15 years or so is a huge commitment, so I wanted to make sure I got it right, especially since my lifestyle was somewhat unusual! I am lucky in my job, inasmuch that I get more time off than most people and so my dog and I would travel around, staying with various friends, who needed their horses exercised and pretty much spend all day in the saddle. Eventually I came across Strays Of Greece and I emailed Lyn with my long list of requirements: I was looking for a high-energy dog, that would love to be out and about all day, had the stamina to go riding all day, was confident enough to adjust to my nomadic lifestyle, was good with other animals etc etc. Needless to say I expected to be turned down, but to my surprise Lyn said that she might just have one such dog for me! Photos of Bianca followed, then a trip to Lyn’s house to view a video clip of Bianca and arrangements were made to adopt her. It took a while for her to come over, but each week my excitement grew. Lyn had told me that poor Bianca was so stressed in her kennel (where she had been a year from 6 months old), that she literally bounced off the kennel walls. Well, I thought, she’ll at least be happy to exercise! I was right! I was so excited, when she finally came to the UK! I remember, when the doors to the van opened and there was Bianca, equally excited to be here! All I could think of, was how this poor dog had spent the last year bouncing off a concrete wall and how she would never again be so stressed out. The first day I exchanged my riding boots for walking boots and we set off for hours each day, walking. At the end of the day, she would sleep peacefully in her bed. We gradually introduced her to the horses and she started walking alongside them, me on the horse, husband alongside with Bianca. Eventually we mastered the recall and that meant I could finally take her riding. And we have never looked back. She was easy to train, as she was so keen to please (probably also because she now had enough exercise to take the hyper out of her, I never once saw the stressed dog, that Lyn had told me about). We built her exercise level up gradually and eventually she was up for riding all day. She is of very athletic built, naturally, so we knew that she was made for running. It is pure joy to watch gallop alongside the horse, flat out, hind legs overtaking the front legs like a greyhound, with a mad grin on her face and her tongue flying behind her and then to suddenly shift up a gear and take the lead. She absolutely enjoys racing the horses (and she always wins!). We are lucky that we have unlimited riding in the New Forest and I remember flying up this mile-long hill at a flat out gallop and how Bianca held the same speed till we were almost at the top, then she grinned at me and took off ahead of me! Every time I watch her have so much fun, I think of how it must have been for her, when she was in her kennel for a year. I see nothing of the once so stressed out and sad little dog, instead I see a happy, content, affectionate, gorgeous, fabulous dog, who is loved by all she meets and who is the most affectionate dog, I have ever had and who is the best companion at all times. She is a joy to take with me everywhere and has settled beautifully into her very busy life. It gives me so much pleasure to see her having fun out riding and I only wish that all the people, who helped save her, could see how much fun she is having and how much they have changed her life. Lyn absolutely picked the right dog for me and we wouldn’t swap Bianca for anything, we absolutely love and adore her. People say to me, why bring in more dogs into the UK, when we have enough over here already, but I reply that if they knew, how badly animals suffer in Greece, they would do the same. We can’t save them all, but we can save one at a time and each life counts. And I don’t think there is more risk in choosing a dog from abroad, than one from here. At the end of the day, you don’t really get to know the dog, till it lives with you. And there might be hiccups, the same as if you had given a home to a UK one, but just the same, you work it out. And so I would say, that Lyn and Mark gave me tremendous support and helped me overcome initial hiccups.
I commend them for all their hard work, but of course, they need as many supporters as possible to carry on with their tremendous dedication.
TOBY & JACK
I own 2 Greek dogs, called Toby & Jack. Toby is a great big softie who loves to sit on an open field and watch the world go by, and Jack is a 3 legged hooligan who doesn’t let anything slow him down, despite only having 3 legs! Their personalities vary so much and they always bring out the best in each other. All they ever ask for is to be fed, loved and walked. These rescue dogs make great companions, and will be sure to make you smile every day. I would really recommend this charity if you are looking for a loyal and loving dog – but you must be patient, and willing to give your dog time to trust you. Almost all of these dogs have had a traumatic time, and need time to trust humans again. With Mark & Lyn’s help I’ve landed myself with 2 smashing dogs. We are the proud owners of 5 dogs from Greece: a walking holiday in 2001 started it for us, as we were so upset by the cruelty we saw and wanted to help. I know it is a big step initially, but I would recommend it wholeheartedly: it is immensely rewarding to see our dogs enjoying their lives, knowing what they have come from. They are all so lovely in their different ways and give us so much pleasure. Don’t hesitate – go for it!
Chadband family, Tewkesbury
Jack arrived with us in May 2011. He was just over a year old . All I can say, is that he is the sweetest , most affectionate dog I have ever met. He loves everyone, and is so appreciative of everything from his food, to his walks, and best of all he loves cuddles. Initially he was nervous of things he didn’t understand: e.g. . staircases, adverse weather conditions, children on bikes, and joggers. But his trust in us and eagerness to learn helped him overcome any hesitancies and he has grown hugely in confidence. The whole adoption process was handled brilliantly, from start to finish, and that was down to the support and advice given by Mark and Lyn.
Hi Mark & Lyn We have had Zoomie our dog now for 2 yrs. She is a well loved family pet who has given us a lot of love . has settled with our cat no problem, really glad we have her.
Helen Watts – Alderholt
We have had our Greek Rescue dog, Grace (formerly Palma) since September 2011, and all love her to bits. She’s a German Pointer, very sweet and extremely well behaved. She’s responded quickly to clicker training and is now able to be let off her lead safely when on walks in the forest. We’ve had so much pleasure from Grace, she gets on well with people and is sociable to other dogs. We very much recommend adopting a rescue dog – and Strays of Greece were supportive and helpful throughout the adoption process.
Val Newberry in Ringwood
REMY, LORIS & BAZI
We have 3 Greek boys all of varying sizes but all with one thing in common Remy is our older Spaniel cross and is a devoted companion to our daughter Hollie who is now 8 years old. Loris is a big powerful lad with the athleticism of a gazelle and the temperament of a mouse. Last but not least, our newest boy Bazi is a collie sized bundle of mischief who loves nothing better than to spend all day on his back awaiting the obligatory attention. 3 different dogs in every way but the one thing they have in common is the pure love and affection they show as a gratitude from being spared a life of trauma and misery. We would recommend anyone considering adopting a dog to contact Lyn and Mark and give a Greek dog a chance to re-discover human trust and affection. Lyn and Mark have found us 3 wonderful family pets who socialize so well. The hard work put in by the charity is truly appreciated by us and we could not have wished for 3 better dogs – here’s looking forward to a 4th!
Andy, Trina and Hollie Thompson
LIZZIE & COOKIE
1 Greek dog becomes 3
We own three Greek dogs, which in itself says what lovely pets they make. Lizzie arrived February two years ago, took a few days to settle in but now very loving and obedient. Cookie followed in the June she took a few months and a lot of love and patience to settle in but we had been told that she was a scared girl, she now is loving and loyal. Then last August came 3 legged Ollie he took a few minutes to settle in! Nearly the perfect dog. They all get on well together as they are used to mixing with other dogs at the shelters. We have had so much love and pleasure from our 3 greekies, a few problems as with all rescue dogs, but easily overcome with love and patience. They give so much love in return for there for ever homes, we wouldn’t be without them.
Mary Bates in Fordingbridge.
After searching high and low for a rescue dog we settled on Joshi. He settled in very quickly, soon becoming one of the family. Josh is a lovely laid back dog with a great character, loves his walks and has to make sure he says hello to every single dog even if it’s a quick sniff and even if the dog he meets isn’t particularly friendly!! The funniest time was the first time he saw snow. He ran up and down skidding in it like a child. Having a Stray from Greece was the best decision we made.
Michelle Robins Poole
We have found owning a Greek dog to be so rewarding and she has given us a great deal of pleasure. We would have no hesitation in recommending offering one of them a home.
Sky was terrified when she first arrived and we had a sleepless night with her but following a walk around the park the following morning, she curled up on the rug, gave a deep sigh and – we think – realised she was Home.
Carolyn and Bill Kirk, Ringwood
Dear Lyn and Mark, We want to share our wonderful experience of having one of the special Greek dogs that you and your wonderful team rescue. Abbie ( formally Peg ) has been with us since 5th Feb 2010. We had lost our beloved Cassie, a German Shepherd we had rescued in Spain and we had the privilege of four wonderful years with her. After our sad loss, it took a few months before we thought we should rescue another dog from a life of trauma, and have the wonderful companionship again. We looked at your website and saw Abbie, then phoned you. That evening we went to your house and saw a video of her and that was it. We had to wait 3 months for her to come to the UK ( thank goodness that has changed ), anyway very late at night on 5th Feb 2010 along with 8 other dogs she arrived safely at your place. We took her home and after lots of tlc and time she has become the perfect dog anyone could wish for. We moved to Winterbourne Whitechurch, Blandford last May and have many fields and woods to walk in. Abbie has made many canine friends, and so have we. Every time on these lovely walks we think that if it wasn’t for you both poor Abbie would still be in a small concrete pen in Greece, we and Abbie thank you both for all your hard work and will continue too support The Friends of the Strays of Greece.
Kind regards Pam and Trevor Hall
Our Greek Odyssey
He arrived, with nine other dogs and 1 cat, travelling in the van for many days just to be with us! We consider ourselves very fortunate to have found the most amenable (and handsome) dog in the World. After just two one-to-one sessions with a trainer he was off the lead, obeying simple commands and enjoying his freedom. Best friends with our cat, he loves just every dog he meets and (almost) every person. How different his life could have been had the FSOG not found him that day abandoned, as a small puppy, in the road. In just four short months he has turned his (and our) life around not to mention our fitness level!. His apparent happiness is its own reward – AND his English is improving too!!
Dorothy Bardock in Surrey
ROBBIE & SAMI
We have two Greek dogs Robbie and Sami. Both were very timid dogs when we got them as had obviously been severely traumatized at some point and we took them knowing that they would need time and patience to adjust to their new lives. It did take time to get them to overcome their fears but it was worth it. Just to see them on their walks, free to run, or curled up in front of the fire is a joy. We have now had 3 Greek dogs and all have had such a lovely personality and temperament – so gentle and sociable with other dogs. They have all given us so much pleasure and been so rewarding that we would not doubt getting another one and can thoroughly recommend getting one through Lyn and Mark.
Penny and Nigel, Ringwood