I photographed a little peak of Matthew and my life here on the island of Lesvos for You Magazine a couple of months ago and here it is. Thank you Clare Nolan for loving our lifestyle and Fiona McCarthy for your kind words.
Living with dogs is a new thing for me. I had never had a dog until now, and I have gone from one extreme to another. As a child I begged my mother for a dog but she dug her heels in saying she had enough of us to look after without a dog. I now understand she was completely right and admire her for sticking to her guns especially even when I did my up most to sway her. Matthew and I have found ourselves taking care of many waifs and stray cats and dogs, that have made their way to our doorstep. We both find it curious the way we have become so fond of these furry friendsWe help them as much as we can but it’s very difficult as there are so many. As I write this we feed about sixteen cats, one of which has just has two of the sweetest kittens and six dogs, three of which need new homes. We only have a small garden so exercising the dogs is important. I usually do one long walk in the morning and Matthew another four around the village throughout the day. A couple of the cats like to join in the walks and our village friends are amused when they see the parade.
I dedicated a chapter in my book My Greek Island Home’ its called ‘Nature Nurture’. I write about some of the characters that have passed through our lives. One of my Greek friends, Vasillia has 25 rescue dogs in her care. She once told me that it was important to harden my heart otherwise it would be broken. It often is. We do our best and over the years have re-homed many four legged friends, especially dogs. A couple are now living happily in America, the others in the UK and Europe. We get help where we can and have been lucky to have very generous friends.
London florist Nikki Tibbles absolutely loves dogs and she has helped us with some of the financing and re homing of our four legged friends. We like have make contact with the potential new owners to get an idea if they are compatable with the dog. We have made some new friends along the way and also kept up with most of the dogs beautiful new lives. It’s hard work and expensive. There are the vet bills for injections, chipping and neutering together with the transportation costs, it all adds up. Matthew does the lion’s share of transportation dealing with the flights and the paper work which seems to change daily can be extremely time consuming and challenging.It’s always hard to say goodbye when they go off to their new lives, I sob but I know it’s for the best. When we see the lives these beautiful dogs are living now its so, so worth it.
Matthew has designed a t shirt to raise awareness and money for the dogs and cats we rescue, care for and re home. If you would like to be part of raising the awareness and helping the dogs and cats the ‘want me’ t shirt can be purchased on line www.usmarstudio.bigcartel.com And don’t forget to take a selfie in the t shirt and post it wherever you can. The t shirts will aslo be on sale at my London book launch on Wednesday night.
Last weekend our rescue dog Fanti left us and boarded the overnight ferry from Mytilene to Athens. He was accompanied by our friend and dog lover, Vassilia. On their arrival at the port in Athens they were met by a pet taxi and taken to Athens airport where Big Fanti had to be brave and travel in a large box for the next part of his journey, a flight to London’s Heathrow. Matthew found Fanti next to the bins on the outskirts of our Greek village just over two months ago. He was suffering from malnutrition and had very little fur due to skin parasites. He was in a very sorry state indeed. Matthew scooped him up and took him to the local vet where he was given treatment. Fanti didn’t like the needles one bit and cried. When he arrived home Matthew and my father showered him using ‘Fur so fresh’ shampoo. Fanti did not looked back and loved being in our garden with all our other pets, particularly Bingo our white cat. They would play for hours. As Fanti began growing it became clear he was going to be a big dog. He was floppy and very uncoordinated and often fell over his own head when running. On several occasions he did this on the beach, running into the water. It was so funny to watch but a shock for him. He became part of our family over the short time we had him and was a joy, a gentle loveable giant. We fell in love with him and I shed many tears when we said goodbye. Fanti has gone to a great home and he has new friends to keep him company. His life will be a full and fun one and we both know he will be loved dearly. Thank you to his new family for taking Fanti and loving him, allowing us the space to rescue yet another . I took these shots of Fanti before his departure.
As promised another one of Vassilia’s beautiful Greek rescue dogs we met.This is Bessie and she is looking for a beautiful home. She is a little larger than a medium sized dog and weighs about 20 kilos. She is 4 years old, VERY affectionate and good with cats. Lets us know if you need more info on Bessie, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last weekend Matthew and I went to photograph some of Vassilia’s rescue dogs. Vasillia is one of the wonderful people on the island working to help stray cats and dogs. Over the next week or so I will post some of our sweet friends who need good homes. If you have a lovely home and would like to share it with one of these beauties please email me, email@example.com. If not if you could introduce them to your friends please. Thank you Vassillia for all the good work you do. I will now introduce you to Amber a big gentle dog around 18 kilos and three and a half years old.