There are about 120,000 stray dogs in Greece right now. And some may find a home in Canada, thanks to a Scarborough organization.
The not-for-profit group Cause 4 Paws, at 300 Borough Dr., focuses on re-homing animals, mainly dogs,that have been abandoned or abused.
It held its first fundraising gala on Nov. 9 at the Dogfish Pub at Bluffer’s Park Marina.
Helen Antoniou, co-owner of Cause 4 Paws, says because of the economic downturn in Greece, people have “gotten to the point where they’re not financially able to take care of them anymore,” so they’re discarding them.
The group has partners working in Greece to foster the dogs for up to nine months before they are ready to come to Canada. This gives the dogs a chance to get some training and to get healthy.
“Matching them up with a family becomes really easy because we know whether they’re good with kids, are they good with other dogs and cats,” Antoniou said. “It’s not like getting a dog from a shelter where we don’t have that history.”
Rob and Donna Whiting adopted their dog, Gussie, a 1-year-old border collie cross through Cause 4 Paws.
Even though Gussie was found in a swamp, Donna says she has “never put a foot wrong.” She has never barked, jumped up or ever tried to get on the furniture. All they had to do was get her used to a couple things in her new home, such as using the stairs and teaching her how to walk on a leash.
Cause 4 Paws was officially started in March by Antoniou and Chris Ramzy. Prior to that, both of them were involved with other animal rescue groups so they finally decided to start their own.
Since their official start eight months ago, they have re-homed about 30 dogs.
“We’re very passionate,” Ramzy said. “It’s just one of those things that we’ve always talked about doing and we’ve finally been able to do it.”
The Whitings said their devotion to the dogs is obvious. “We just had the one day at the airport and it was a big, long, inspiring, wonderful, draining and exhausting experience —and they just do it all the time.”
About a year ago, Antoniou adopted one of her own dogs, Bebba, a Prince Charles mix from Greece who had been tied up for two years of her life, so she understands the emotion that comes with rescuing a dog.
“Actually seeing the dog come out of the crate to be welcomed by their forever family and you know, never having to worry about being a stray anymore [is the biggest success story],” she said.