My name is Helen Glass and I am now the UK Coordinator for Zante Strays. A holiday to Zakynthos in September 2011 change my life forever !
I went on holiday to Zakynthos (Zante) in September 2011, having not had a holiday for 7 years as I would NOT leave my 2 dogs that were getting on in their years. My last one, Poppy had died the previous July from spleen cancer aged 14. I felt lost as I have had dogs all my life but looking around the rescue centres in the UK I felt disloyal to her. So I said to my partner, IF I was meant to have another dog then that dog would find me!
Just didn’t think I would have to go ALL the way to Zante to find her!!
Lola hung around the Zante Maris Hotel, sleeping in many a person’s room at night. The hotel never shooed her away which was unusual but then again Lola was no ordinary dog. I said I would do EVERYTHING in my power to bring her to the UK. I had a team of holidaymakers at the hotel helping me and looking out for her when I left. Lola is the kind of dog that people fall in love with instantly.
I didn’t know where to start to bring her back then to the UK back then, as there was no Zante Strays to help me. I sent emails EVERYWHERE. It was more luck than judgement that my emails landed in the right lap and Lola was picked up and taken into foster care.
She came over on the 4th March 2012 and our lives were complete once more.......BUT that was just the start for me. So many people asked me how I had managed it as they too also wanted to bring a stray home they had fallen in love with on holiday.
In January 2012 the law changed and you no longer had to wait 6 months. It was just 21 days after the rabies injection and they could travel.
I started to work with the volunteers in Zante and together we set up Zante Strays. Primarily it was just to help the odd tourist like myself and to make the whole process less complicated for them. I for one knew what it was like to leave the island with a tortured soul not knowing what the future would hold for Lola. Little did I realise just how Zante Strays would take off. It has become so much more and we are all so proud of how hard everyone works and the support we have. .
Personally for me, 2 more Zante Strays followed. Woody and Troy. So I now have 3 Zante Strays of my own. Greek dogs are amazing. They are so loyal, loving and highly intelligent. I thank them for educating me to what REAL love between an animal and human can be. I will continue to work hard for all their Greek cousins left behind in the hope they too get the chance that so many more have since Zante Strays started operating in January 2012.
Helen Glass - UK