What would you do if you saw a helpless puppy that was carelessly thrown in the trash? The thought might be too much for some to bear. But this occurrence is pretty common in places like Crete, Greece. That’s why Theoklitos Proestakis has dedicated his life to saving hundreds of homeless dogs. Proestakis bought land and now spends 20 hours a day caring for dogs he has rescued. He’s rescued about 1,000 dogs so far. At this point, he’s basically a superhero to all the dogs in his local community.
“The situation for dogs in this part of Crete is a disaster. Many of them are used for hunting and they are abandoned in the mountain if not good enough. Others are used to guard the house and are tied to barrels, with a one-meter rope, for their entire life. None of them are sterilized, which means that they often get pregnant. Most of the time, puppies are abandoned on the road or in garbages. There is a huge amount of stray dogs in this area and only a few people care about and try to help them,” Proestakis said on his Facebook page.
It All Started With One Dog
Proestakis’ mission to save as many dogs as he can started in 2013 when he decided to explore the local garbage dump in Crete. Proestakis came across an injured dog and felt compelled to help it. He had no clue that this would lead to him helping hundreds more. He scooped the sick pup up and brought it to the vet. He wasn’t able to care for the dog in his home at the time so he brought it back to the dump and made sure to visit the dog every single day to administer its medicine. The more time he spent at the dump, the more dogs started to show up. And Proestakis couldn’t help one without helping others. “Another dog and another dog and another dog,” Proestakis told CBS News. “I was taking care of 50 dogs. After a few days, I was taking care of 70 dogs. Every single day.”
Building A Sanctuary
Eventually, nearby neighbors started to complain about all the dogs and threatened to poison them. Proestakis, protector of dogs, was not about to let that happen. He asked the neighbors for a 30-day grace period and began his search for a piece of land to house all the pups. He ended up purchasing a 500-square-meter piece of land near the dump and moved 70 days to the property. He called it “Takis Shelter.” The shelter started out with 70 dogs. Now there is 342 who roam free on the site. Takis takes care of the dogs every day and names every single one of them. He has since expanded the site to 33,000-square-meters. “There is not any time for myself,” he said. “I am working 20 hours per day. I try to sleep two to three hours per day.”
Funding Takis Shelter
It now costs about $8,000 a month to operate the sanctuary. Proestakis spent about $185,000 of his own money to fund Takis Shelter and care for the dogs. He lives in a small container house on the shelter’s property. Now he says people from all around the world fund the sanctuary with generous donations. “This is how the shelter is alive still,” said Proestakis.”Because of donations around the world.”
His sanctuary gained notoriety through his social media posts on his Facebook page which has about 289,306 followers. New batches of dogs arrive at the sanctuary all the time. Proestakis has had luck in finding adoptive homes for some of them but hopes to find forever homes for them all. He hopes to expand his shelter so that he can give even more dogs the life they deserve. You can learn more about the sanctuary here and make a PayPal donation to the sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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