Χείρα βοηθείας από όλον τον κόσμοDecember 11, 2013
Bernie Διαλυνά, Εθελόντρια των Εφτάψυχων, ΕρωτήσειςDecember 11, 2013
When did you get involved with Nine Lives?
My first contact with Nine Lives Greece was at the beginning of 2010. I was in London at the time visiting family and getting ready to go back to Crete where I live. I read on Facebook an escort appeal for a disabled cat that was due to travel from Athens to Heraklion so I sent a message to Nine Lives offering my help. The wheels were set in motion and I added a kitty cat to my booking reservation, couldn’t be simpler. As it turned out there was a change in plans and little kitty did not travel after all. I never got to meet that cat but from then on I kept in touch with Nine Lives through their website and on Facebook. It was great reading about their work in Athens and also about the fabulous felines that they care for.
My first face to face contact with some of the volunteers was in September of 2012 when I went along to a Nine Lives bazaar at the Galerie in Acropolis. Little did I know then that I would soon be behind those very same stalls!
What drew you to offer as a volunteer?
Seeing the escort appeal was the initial thing plus the fact that I had already been helping out with the stray cat situation on Crete. Spaying and neutering is the only way to go to have healthy, happy colonies of cats.
What are your tasks/responsibilities?
I have recently been asked to be the volunteer coordinator which quite simply means sending out volunteer application forms to people offering their help. From their replies we can see how much time they have available and in what areas they are interested in aiding Nine Lives. It can be anything from helping to trap cats and take them to the vets to being part of the feeding groups in the National Gardens or around Acropolis. We welcome anyone wishing to give a little of their spare time.
What do you get out of volunteering with Nine Lives?
Quite simply the feel good factor! Who can’t resist the beautiful cats of Athens? Also, as corny as it sounds, knowing that being a volunteer makes a difference. Seeing the cats that have been spayed or neutered looking so much better. Hopefully they will have longer, healthier lives, and that makes my work for Nine Lives feel very worthwhile.
What do you feel is your proudest achievement so far?
For me it probably has to be getting a cat we called Shadow off the street. She was a very timid kitten that lived with a colony of cats not far from Omonia . It took months to get her trust. We would leave her food under a car where she would sit and wait. We finally managed to catch her with a slam-dunk (dropper) cage after numerous unsuccessful attempts. She is now a beautiful cat and very happy.
And your happiest moment?
That’s a difficult one. Seeing the cats when we go to feed them always brings a smile to my face. They are so pleased to see us – it doesn’t take much to make them happy for a few minutes. Just a good meal and a stroke or a twine around our legs while we feed them.
What are some of your goals as a volunteer/cat-saviour, and have any of them been realised yet?
I feel that it is important to get the message across about sterilisation and to show that it is the correct and only effective way to keep the cat population in check. What always worries me here is the very real threat of poisoning and it is a heartbreaking thought. Education is essential
In the course of volunteering, you have met many cats – can you tell us about a couple who are or were particularly special to you?
Oh my, who to begin with, and I don’t want to hurt any little feelings! One very special boy was Moustache. I say ‘was’ as I have not seen him since August but I live in hope. He was from the same colony as Shadow. A real character, he would come running when he heard his name, tail ramrod straight. The man from the car park where the colony live is always asking me if I have seen him about, he misses him too.
Another cat who is special to me is a beautiful grey tabby that lives in a derelict building on 3rd September street close to Omonia. I have been feeding her for over a year now through a gap in the corrugated iron door, it is hard to believe that she lives in such squalor. She has the sweetest nature and loves to have her head rubbed. I am hoping to catch her in the next couple of weeks as she has finally started to come out of the gap when I am there , fingers crossed.
Would you recommend to others to volunteer?
Most definitely. Even if someone only has a couple of hours spare a week every little helps. They will get the chance to meet lots of wonderful cats – and also a great group of people!