Greece’s economic struggles have been tough for all of its residents. For the abandoned dogs of Greece left to fend for themselves, every day is a battle between life and death. When a curious dentist decided to investigate his local garbage dump, an encounter with a dog in need changed his life. Without hesitation, Theoklitos Proestakis pivoted away from practicing dentistry to saving the lives of homeless dogs. In a country where many street dogs are starving, poisoned, or left to die from their injuries, one kind man opened his heart selflessly.
Couldn’t Turn His Back
Theoklitos Proestakis, known as Theo for short, lives on the Greek island of Crete. One day curiosity got the better of him, and he found himself investigating the local garbage dump. There, amidst the refuse strewn about, Theo spotted an injured stray dog close to death. Immediately, Takis scooped up the vulnerable canine and took him for medical treatment. Unfortunately, Takis couldn’t take the poor dog home, but he traveled religiously to the dump to give the dog medicine until it recovered.
It wasn’t long before Takis found himself caring for more than just one stray dog who called the dump home. Soon, the successful dentist was looking out for 50 dogs at the dump, as more and more canines kept appearing. Proestakis said, “After a few days, I was taking care of 70 dogs. Every single day.” For over a year, the dentist dedicated himself to feeding the animals and administering medication as needed. When neighbors complained about the dogs at the dump and threatened their lives, Takis knew he had to act.
Making Moves For A Mission
Since Takis didn’t have the space to care for the dogs at the dump, he made an unbelievably selfless decision. The dentist gave up his career, sold his home and car, and purchased a piece of land measuring 500-square-meters. The former dentist, now dog advocate, named the area “Takis Shelter,” and moved 70 stray dogs to the site.
Within a span of six years, Takis Shelter expanded to 33,000 square-meters and housed 342 dogs. New dogs would come in regularly, and Takis also provided a safe harbor for rescued cats and goats. Unlike other shelters, Takis allows the dogs to roam free without cages. All of the canine residents have names, and Takis proudly remembers each and every one of his rescues.
Shelter Supported And Thriving
Thanks to the generous donations from people all over the world, Takis has managed to keep his shelter up and running. The cost of operations for Takis Shelter is $8,000 a month, and the dentist has spent $185,000 of his own money to keep the doors open. Harnessing the power of Facebook, Takis updates his followers with daily videos and provides information about adoption. 279,000 people have liked Takis’s Facebook page for the shelter and his videos have received thousands of views. Thank to the help of social media, Takis’s mission to save the lives of countless abandoned animals in need has been easier.
Taking care of hundreds of dogs and running a successful shelter is an intense labor of love. Takis reported, “I am working 20 hours per day. I try to sleep two to three hours per day.” So he can stay close to his canine charges, Takis lives in a modestly-sized home near the shelter. No matter where he is, Takis always keeps his furry friends close. Since the shelter’s inception, over 200 of its dogs have been adopted and over 1,000 dogs have been rescued. On YouTube, user Haroula commented, “Taki…you are a hero!” And Jenny Leung commented, “I just donated. Takis – thank you for giving love to the dogs. Thank you so much. You have beautiful soul.”
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