By Will Lethbridge
The initiative to re-home abandoned dogs from Cyprus in the Isles of Scilly has had a great start to 2017. The national campaign, set up by Helen McGarry has seen 15 dogs already make the move to the islands and another 2 are on the way.
Alison King who is spearheading the initiative on Scilly spoke to Will on Radio Scilly about her involvement as was also joined by Steve Sims and Beth Hilton who have recently adopted 2 dogs from Cyprus. Alison explained how she first got involved in the initiative and met Helen. “It basically came down to the fact we were trying rescue at the time, we were struggling to rescue from the UK simply because of the logistics of getting from the islands to look at a dog and my daughter in fact my daughter actually found them on Facebook.”
Alison went onto say “At the time I was the same as everyone else how does this work and also do I really want to rescue from another country when there is obviously there is availability in this country."
Will followed up by asking Alison why it’s so difficult to adopt from the UK and why Cyprus. “It’s difficult logistically for us. The expectation from any rescue centre is to make sure you’re happy with the animal, the animal is happy with you, if you’ve got children or other animals they would like them to socialise or meet and trying to do that 2 or 3 times from the islands it’s just not viable.” Helen still goes through a wide range of checks to make sure potential owners and pets are suitable for each other but these don’t involve the extensive trips to the mainland.
According to Alison there is many reasons why they're so many dogs abandoned in Cyprus. “Dogs like a lot of other things have become commodities and in Cyprus in particular there are a lot of expats, either through being stationed their through the forces and also with the credit crunch. What’s happened in Greece has been catastrophic for a lot of people and for their incomes.”
Recently Steve Sims and Beth Hilton have adopted two Kokoni Spaniels, Ollie and Stanley from Cyprus.
Beth said “They’re absolutely wonderful – we couldn’t believe how well adjusted and well behaved they are” before adding “ They’re just perfect and we couldn’t be more please with them and we would recommend anybody who’s thinking of getting a dog from this shelter not to think twice.”
The rescue dogs from Cyprus aren’t free and according to Alison it’s between £600 and £700. There is some limited financial assistance under some circumstances and they are in the process of setting up a system known as the Peoples Dog Program to help raise funds to help bring more dogs to the UK.
All vaccinations, EU Passports, microchipping, health checks and TRACE certificates are prepared on your behalf and are also included in the export costs. To find out more you can go on to "Helen McGarry Rehoming Cyprus Dogs" or contact Helen directly on Facebook. You can hear Will in conversation with Alison, Steve and Beth below.