Must Love (Greek) Dogs

Volunteering for Animal Rights in Greece

One of the hardest things about traveling abroad is seeing how other cultures treat their animals… often not very well. In many third world countries, it’s hard enough for people to get by, let alone all of God’s other creatures. So if you’re tired of turning a blind eye to the dark side of travel, here’s an enlightening trip for animal lovers.

Photo by JespelInside/Out is a “humanitourism” company that specializes in worldwide humanitarian projects coupled with local adventure to create greater understanding, connection, and longer-term relationships between communities and travelers. From May 21-31, 2010, they will be taking a group of dedicated dog-lovers to Northern Greece to volunteer their support for abused and abandoned dogs in Ioannina. Ioannina is in the Zagoria region, a magnificently beautiful part of the country that offers a different perspective on Greece than the typical tourist areas. While foreigners vacation in the islands, the Greeks vacation in Zagoria. Unfortunately, they poison and hang stray dogs (and cats) as part of their population control practices, which is a big buzz kill. To fight cruelty and help strays, small grassroots groups are cropping up all over Greece. Many buy food and pay for veterinary services out of their own pockets, help to re-home dogs both locally and abroad, and some are even opening small shelters on their own properties.

Fortunately, many young people are taking an interest in the animal rights movement and travel companies like Inside/Out are giving animal welfare conscious travelers the opportunity to make a real difference. Participants will spend time working on feeding stations for the massive stray population and providing hands-on care to animals in shelters to prepare them for adoption. Community outreach, distribution of educational materials on sterilization, anti-cruelty practices, and responsible pet ownership are also part of the program, as well as organizing a demonstration with local activists. No special skills or knowledge are required for the assistance projects. Anyone who has a desire to help is welcome. Other less altruistic but exciting activities will include trekking, rafting, sea kayaking/canoeing, and sightseeing trips to experience the local culture and history. The best part–you may also have the opportunity to adopt a dog or transport rescue dogs to homes in your country of residence. How’s that for a holiday souvenir!

Trip Cost:  US$2795, includes all accommodations during the listed itinerary, all specified meals, all guides and permits, all local transportation to and from projects, adventures and activities, all train and bus transfers necessary in detailed itineraries, all equipment and fees for any project and adventure activities and all project logistics and materials. A portion of the trip cost is also designated for funding the project. (Airfare not included.)

Can’t make this trip but still want to help? Click here.

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