SAXO the taverna stray – named after a car because he was broken, scruffy, white and his days were numbered!
Saxo lived his first life as a scruffy taverna boy, probably dumped by hunters because he wouldn’t obey them. He survived by begging at the tables and scrounging fish scraps at the harbour where the boats came in. The fishermen would wash their boots at the standpipe on the corner where he found fresh water dripping which was his lifeline. If only they would leave a dish under the continuous drips….
The waiters didn’t seem to mind him sitting patiently next to the tables begging with his eyes for food, no noise or pestering – just huge sad eyes desperately willing us to feed him. I guess the extra portions ordered by some kind people would be better for profits so they turned a blind eye.
I am Saxo…. I am hungry… I am tortured by the parasites infesting my fur. I must survive somehow but I am exhausted.
The sun rises and again the heat is unbearable, my fur is so matted with parasites and sand that I feel like a concrete ornament to touch. I need to find food and water so I take trips to the dumpsters at each end of the harbour strip where the few restaurants feed people. I can dodge the cars and motorbikes – I’ve learnt the ropes.
If I’m lucky there will be some vegetable peelings or bone scraps that have fallen off the dumpster. Then I’ll stretch my legs and follow the beach line where tourists sometimes leave scraps. I might just beat the birds to them if its early enough.
The water is so tempting to cool my raging skin being eaten alive by fleas and ticks. I’m happy to walk in up to my neck in the hope that these damn fleas will jump off and quell my torture. I sometimes see humans laughing at me and yet they have no clue why I am doing this. A good roll in the sand afterwards will help but when it dries I turn into a stiff, cement-like creature.
As I wade through the beautiful water I wonder what tonight will bring, whether there will be any kind tourists who will take pity on me. Sometimes I get lucky, then other times I go for days without food – those are just the worst days….
Sleeping in the bushes at the hottest part of the day is the best thing for me. When the sun sets I will go and stand with the tall dark waiter who stands in the road waiting for his customers. He doesn’t chase me off like some of them do. He is obviously one of the kinder people.
The sun has dropped and the gorgeous smell of fresh fish grilling has me drooling and telling me it’s time to turn on the charm. There aren’t many people at the tables tonight but I see two blonde ladies feeding some kittens so I might get lucky.
And so it was, my lucky night! One of the blonde ladies gave me food and made a fuss of me. The look of sadness in her eyes wasn’t unusual, but nothing usually came of that look.
But to my huge surprise, next night she was back with ham, a collar and a lead. I was so hungry I would have done anything for that ham so I let het put that ‘collar’ around my neck and I followed that ham right back to her car.
I was carefully lifted onto the back seat and taken to one of those ‘houses’ where I spent all night inside, not knowing what would happen. That was a first for me and I didn’t like it.
I drank lots of water, ate some biscuits but all night long I tossed and turned and couldn’t settle. When the sun rose I was again lifted into their car and taken to the airport to meet a lovely lady called Fotini. She promised me things that I didn’t understand and took me to a hell-hole of a place which they called ‘the shelter’.
Was this my end?
Some days went past with trips to the vets and the groomers where they shaved off ALL of my fur. But it just felt so good to get rid of those parasites sucking my life away. Food and water daily, although it was some boring hard kibble but I didn’t care, it was sustenance, my survival.
I had mixed feelings about this but could it be the beginning of something new ?
One day Fotini took me to the main harbour and lead me onto one of those big metal houses that floats on the seas, a ferry they called it. When we arrived on land again me and another dog were put into a travel cage on a rather nice vehicle and off we went, my fate still unknown.
The journey was long but I wasn’t alone, there were other dogs as nervous and worried as me, but our sixth sense told us that there was something good about this.
Four days later I set eyes upon the same blonde lady that I’d met at the harbour restaurant. I heard her warm voice but it was her kind soft smell which I recognised immediately – just it was strange she didn’t have any ham….
She helped me down from the van and kindly coaxed me into her home with a large green garden and two little terriers yapping at me. The unusual smells were so different from my first home. The bird song was loud but suddenly everything felt safe and I think I’m going to love it here.
I’ve since chased them rodent things called squirrels, it’s a bit like hunting but nobody hits me when I don’t catch them, what a result !
Six years on …..by June
We are so pleased to share Saxo’s story.
From the moment I first met him sat next to our table I just knew that I couldn’t leave him there. He has bonded with my husband, Mick, and goes everywhere with him.
Pre-Brexit they used to travel together around the home counties collecting dog food donations in the van which was sent to Greece to help feed the poor dogs who haven’t yet made it into new homes.
Post Brexit sadly we are no longer allowed to do this!
Saxo has inspired us as a family to get involved with dog rescue, to raise awareness and help the amazing shelter volunteers to care for these dogs as best possible and most importantly to help find good homes for them in the UK. There is no point in paying breeders here for a puppy which encourages breeding when there are thousands upon thousands of homeless dogs around the world.
So please ADOPT and don’t SHOP.
Thank you from Saxo, Mick and June xxx