Meeting of friends and members of Animal Rescue Kos
Sunday’s meeting in Antimachia brought friends of ARK and members to come together, listen and learn about future projects, exchange ideas, get to know one another, ask questions, volunteer help where needed and join together and support the charity organisation.
Having finally found the location of the current Animal Rescue Kos site it was wonderful to put names to faces and meet past and present members. It was a very good turn out with 38 people in attendance.
Currently, Susan McGrane (the founder of Animal Rescue Ark) stated that there are 52 dogs in their care and another 14 dogs with foster families. They have incredibly managed to re-home 108 dogs as well as 14 cats in the last year, but of course there are still many dogs needing a home. They are sadly limited at the moment to accepting more dogs and cats. It is just not possible, they do not have the space or funding. The dogs alone need a lot of food daily and upkeep to keep them healthy.
We were introduced to Astrid Schreuder a wonderful lady from Luxembourg who should be awarded a medal by the Mayor for her help over the years in Kos. Thanks to Astrid who has been visiting the island since 1995, many a stray dog has found a loving home abroad and many dogs that have been injured or were sick are now healthy and well. Not forgetting of course the sterilisation of many of the dogs on the street that has helped with the ever mounting numbers of homeless puppies on the island.
Astrid has won awards in her own country for the part that she plays in re-homing the dogs from Kos in Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland. Astrid recollected a number of instances where she was able to give dogs a loving home and the new owners were so thankful. Astrid helps the owners (and the dogs) to settle in. Astrid also introduces the dogs and is well known for her work with special need associations, handicapped and old people’s homes and organisations where the dogs bring joy and laughter and Astrid helps with the training.
Astrid for the last 2 years has been working with ARK and has helped achieve so much. Her determination and ‘hobby’ (which costs quite a lot), has not only helped the island and the dogs, but has brought so much happiness to many others as well.
Veronica Boland was next up on the ‘floor’ and talked of the Education Program that was quite recently introduced for ARK into the English Language Schools in Kos, starting in Zipari with Danni and Katarina.
It is a presentation that was easy for children to follow with pictures speaking a thousand words. The aim of the presentations in the schools (which will continue and will also be adapted for the mainstream schools in Greece, it is hoped) help to teach the basics of animal care and that a pet is for life and is a responsibility. The presentation enables children to ask questions and to answer ones asked. Many important issues are raised during these talks as well as how easily animals breed and the importance of the sterilisation of pets.
Astrid remarked that the power point presentation by Veronica and Katarina was well received in The Netherlands and will be used in programs there too. This in itself is a great achievement and congratulations must be given. The Netherlands have offered a donation of food and material to help towards Astrid and ARK’s work in Kos having seen the good work that ARK and their volunteers are doing and continuing to do on the island.
Next in line was Dave ‘Bandana’ a commercial architect who is working very hard on the design of ARK’s new look and premises in Kefalos. 11,500 metres (approx 3 acres) of land towards The Robinson Hotel in Kefalos is currently under plan. Hopes and hopefully dreams will come true for a whole new full scale veterinary clinic for animals (including a radiology room), accommodation for volunteers, visiting vets and a permanent Site Manager. A taverna, cafe and shop, as well as kennels and a cattery will also be included.
At present, as you can imagine there is a great deal of paper work involved. The land has electricity , water and telephone lines and there is a possibility in the future of a well system.
So far on the drawing board all matters discussed are ECO friendly with plans for underground tanks and recycling of water and energy saved by solar power.
Still at the early stages of this huge project which could take up to 6/7 years there is still much to be done as well as funds raised. It is hoped that with the local community, the citizens of Kos and help from outside this dream will turn into reality.
But they need your input. ARK would like to help the local Kos economy by looking for quotes from local builders, engineers, etc, etc…to get this project off the ground. Do you know of any? Firstly they will need kennels and the cattery as well as over 700m of fencing around the area. They will be also be looking for a caravan until the final building work is completed. They are still at phase 1 and they still have quite a number of steps to go…..
BUT they will not give up! They will continue to apply for grants and enter competitions and fund raise both here and abroad. They are looking into also becoming a registered British Charity (they are already registered in Greece), which will make some areas a little easier when it comes to entering competitions and for funding from abroad.
Already money has been donated, but as you can imagine a whole lot more is needed.
So how can you help?
Financially you can always donate money via the bank account listed on Animal Rescue Kos website and pay-pal.
You could also pay the 5 euro membership and If you wish to be an active member you will need to contact David Williams, you will be asked to fill in a form with details of how you will be able to contribute to the charity whether it is in the form of dog walking or being able to help with fundraising or vet visits. Every little counts and the more people that can help in one way or another the better too!
For those living outside of Kos you can also become an associate member by paying a fee of 20 euro and you will receive 3 newsletters throughout the year keeping you informed of ARK’s latest developments, news and information.
David Williams joined ARK quite recently and is now quite a known ‘face’ for the charity and organisation. He has seen the charity from all angles over the last months and cannot help feeling a little frustrated at times. He is now hoping to whip everyone into shape and create an organisation that allows everyone to input their ideas, as well as share the work load involved in such a large project on the island and the everyday running of the charity.
Susan McGrane with the help of several volunteers over the last few years have achieved so much, but they are often left feeling exhausted and literally bogged down with the workload. Telephone calls in the middle of the night, visits to the vets and foster families, animal care, paperwork, fund raising, re-homing, raising awareness in schools and interviews with the local media stations…the list goes on. David Williams aim is to distribute and delegate the work involved in ARK via active members working together and helping each other.
David Williams is also asking for people to step forward and volunteer …can you walk dogs for a few times a week, sand down wood, write emails to local companies, do you have ideas for fund raising? If you do have a skill and can use it to help ARK it would be very much appreciated.
ARK will continue to raise funds this wintertime at car-boot sales, table top sales and Bazaars. They are also hoping to sell ARK calenders. Local businesses have been very kind with a honey producer offering 1 euro to ARK with every 1 Kilo purchase. There is also an artist in Lagoudi, Kos who sells her paintings and half the proceeds go to ARK. Collection boxes are dotted around the island and it has been talked of having more with perhaps The Hotel Association and Apartment Association being approached too.
The tour operator Apollo must be congratulated this year as not only did they advertise ARK and all the wonderful work that they do on the island, but visitors were sent an email about how they could help….there were a number of holiday makers that got in touch with ARK or donated to their cause this year.
Here’s hoping others might follow ……
If you haven’t already, please take a look at Animal Rescue Ark’s website and facebook pages and if you need any information at all, please drop them an email/ message.
If you can help foster a dog they would be very grateful and if you feel that you can give a dog a home, then take a look at all those lovely dogs and puppies looking for a forever home on their website.
On behalf of ARK they would like to thank everyone in attendance today and all those that continue to support them both home and abroad.