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Animal Welfare in Greece:

Everyone who knew Marley had their lives touched by him - without doubt one of the sweetest of souls.

He turned up, dumped, in the little fishing village of Platanias in November, tavernas all shut and just as the weather was really beginning to turn. For weeks he was only ever glimpsed fleetingly as he ran back and forth, lost and distressed, terrified of everyone and everything - a mad, ragged creature with matted dreadlocks flying out behind him. Marley...

Slowly he realised where the stray cats were being fed - and where Tanya's taverna was and he began to settle in the environs of the waterfront. Gradually, he learnt that, he too, would be fed along with the cats but it was still impossible to get close to him. We took a big flight kennel down and put it in a sheltered spot, wrapped it with insulation and put a big, cosy blanket in it for him. He loved it and guarded his corner jealously from all comers!

But over the days he became more and more ill. In some places his coat had worn right through to his itchy, flaking sore-infested skin; he stank of rot; his eyes were so full of pus he couldn't see and he was becoming weaker daily - yet still not weak enough to enable us to shut the door on his flight kennel and to catch him! As the weather worsened we resorted to a sedative in his food and when he went back into his box after feeding we were finally able to secure him inside it.

Once in Volos he let us quietly handle him and we all walked, in a very dignified manner, from the car to the vets on a lead (something it was obvious he was used to). The vet estimated Marley's age to be at least eight years old and it quickly became apparent that he was suffering from Kalazar. Very badly. One wonders how long he had been left in such an appalling condition. The rotting smell came from an enormous abcess in his right ear, which was opened and drained. He was placed on a regime of antibiotics, eye drops, ear drops, allopurinol (Zylapour) tablets and the expensive treatment of Milteforan syrup.

We took him home and made a bed up for him in our spare bathroom where he could have peace and quiet away from the rest of our very curious animals and even though he had a heated pad, he was still cold, maybe just feeling 'nervy and shakey' - so we made and gave him his own cardigan - which he loved. We'd got him just in time - that evening there was a blizzard and the snow started.

Marley spent almost a week living in the bathroom, docilely going for very short, wobbly walks on the lead to relieve himself; eating - a little; sleeping - a lot!! And then we came home one day and found him on the sofa! As he saw us he cheekily wagged his tail - "I know I shouldn't be here - but the other guys do it!" - he was finally on the mend. A glimmer of personality was shining through...  the pus was clearing from his eyes, the abcess was healing - the drugs were working - and Marley was coming back to life.

And then Marley's luck really changed. Some friends came over for lunch and, upon seeing him, Ann and Paul immediately fell in love with him and said they would home him. Just like that! He was like Cinderella watching her crystal coach coming to collect her.

Marley blossomed into the most beautiful boy imaginable, with masses of soft dark curls and the cutest of natures - he loved cats, dogs, people - everyone! And he was happy!  Though he never really recovered from his awful ordeal - who knows what he went through before we found him? He was definitely 'scarred' and had a tendency to gaze internally as if in some sort of meditation - which made him even the more loveable - a deep and profound soul. Couple that with his inate dignity - then add on his 'always being a bit wobbly' - and you have the cutest and 'mostest' of dogs. That was Marley!

Sadly, after a year of living in heaven on earth Marley took a turn for the worse. Tests revealed him to still be full of Kalazar. Much to Ann and Paul's huge sorrow he was put to sleep to stop further suffering. He is buried in a beautiful spot overlooking the Pagasitic Gulf - and if there is 'the' heaven - the one not of this earth - Marley is most certainly there! God bless!