14 Jun2008

dogs1

I’m sure the title of this post threw you off a bit. But all of these pictures were taken on our trek up to the Acropolis. Within hours of our arrival in Athens, we noticed a huge number of stray dogs all over the city. In the Plaka area, where our hotel was, it seemed nearly every blog had a stray dog and we just figured the owners were really relaxed and trusting that their pets would come home at some point. If you have dog phobias, you may be seriously disconcerted by the number of strays on the streets. I grew up with five humongous and lovable German Shepherds so I love dogs, but I have seen what a vicious crazed canine can do, so I am still reasonably wary of strays, particularly if there is any chance of rabies in the equation. Our curiosity was really peaked when this rather healthy and good looking dog of unknown breed (could be part shepherd, part labrador, part I don’t know what) was spotted resting in the shade of a tree on the official grounds of the Acropolis. It had a collar and tag, so we presumed it was “official” or belonged to someone; and it certainly seemed comfortable with all of the tourists around. Well, it turns out, there are THOUSANDS of stray dogs in Athens these days, with literally no owners. They live on the streets, reliant on handouts, neutered, vaccinated or treated by animal rights organizations. It is a bit bizarre. But it you are curious, read about it in detail here, it is an interesting story. In many ways I feel badly for the dogs, but if I were King, I would have their owners (that let them go to begin with), beheaded or neutered instead. :)

dogs4

As for tortoises on the grounds, I couldn’t figure out what the story was there. There were dozens of tortoises just moseying on along beneath the pine trees and among the ruins. Many had numbered shells and obviously someone was keeping track of them, but again it was both pleasant and bizarre to run into them. Greeks have animal issues, perhaps?

dogs2

In another part of the grounds, I spied this and many other orange trees just groaning under the weight of all the fruit that was ripening on their branches! All over Athens, orange and lemon trees had fabulous fruit all over them. On closer inspection, the ground right under the tree was just filled with fallen oranges…

dogs3

I was really tempted to take a few to replenish the lost body fluids from sweating so much on the climb to the top, but I worried that I would be taking food from the tortoises or dogs…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Blaise says:

    It’s so nice to blog again.. =)

    It really is bizaare, that they they vaccinate, neuter their animals and then let them go off in the streets..

    If that tortoise is here in the Philippines, I am pretty sure that somebody would have already killed and cooked it..

    Jun 14, 2008 | 3:28 pm

     
  2. Cher says:

    At least they are somewhat taken care of compared to the starving, sickly dogs here in Manila…

    Jun 14, 2008 | 4:14 pm

     
  3. quiapo says:

    I wonder about the meaning of so much animal ife in a major city. It is quite perturbing when a city has no strays, such as Hongkong, where you cannot even find a single wild bird in the streets. Are reources so tight in Hongkong that tere is no margin left for wildlife?
    I remember Manila when I was a boy – there were rice fields and batobato: snakes would slither right into the living room. There was a season when the garden would be alive with the glow of fireflies.
    The disappearance of animal life in a city may be an ominous sign, perhaps the amount of dogs and torotises in Athens is a healthy barometer reading!

    Jun 14, 2008 | 4:36 pm

     
  4. Joseph says:

    If they are in the Philippines they’ll be made into pulutan asucena. They are luckier there in Greece.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 5:40 pm

     
  5. connieC says:

    Thank God you didn’t sample those oranges MM ! You were good!

    You didn’t think those Greeks would pass up those ripe luscious looking fruits for nothing. At the Alhambra, many years ago we came upon rows of orange trees teeming with beautiful ripe fruits on a promenade. We wondered why nobody even bothered with them as we saw some fruits that had fallen on the ground. Like Eve who could not help partake of the forbidden fruit, my husband plucked one and we both sampled it. It was the most bitter and sourest orange we have ever tasted in our lives! We would find out later that those were ornamental oranges….. especially bred perhaps so nobody would pick them? That was our curse of the Alhambra experience.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 6:44 pm

     
  6. fried-neurons says:

    Downtown Buenos Aires is crawling with stray dogs, too. They are friendly, calm amidst large crowds, and reliant on handouts just like the Athenian dogs. You’d see them walking with the crowds, stopping at “Don’t Walk” signs when the crowds do, and sunning themselves on the grass at Plaza San Martin. Kinda cute and heartbreaking at the same time.

    Jun 14, 2008 | 11:17 pm

     
  7. shalimar says:

    this i can explain… before the Olympics the mayor had to find solution with stray dogs
    many animal rights fought for the dogs rights.
    so if you see tags on them they have been neutered and been checked by the govt and the charity. that way they can ease the population of stray dogs…

    many moons ago when we first arrived there Athens had no strays… somehow inthe 90s the problems started. parents buying pets for their children then realizing that summer or holidays come they cant take the dogs with them…

    so they leave them at streests.
    A friend of mine saw one at the rubbish bin a puppy…. mix raced and she has adopted it
    Another friend of mine took one back to Sweden

    Majority of the people who are involved with the animal rights are the ex pat community in Athens….

    Jun 15, 2008 | 3:59 am

     
  8. nonymous says:

    Did you ever go outside of Athens MM. Corinth, Mycenea (city of Agammemnon) Delphi, Olympia? What about the greek Isles like Crete, Santorini,Mykonos, Patmos, and Rhodes?

    Did you ever taste the famous Greek Fast Food Souvlaki?

    Did you get to listen to Bozooki music instruments.

    What do you think of the licorice flavored Oozo (similar to the Turkish Raki?

    What is your impression of the Greek Baklava?

    Greek Feta any better in Greece?

    Jun 15, 2008 | 3:59 am

     
  9. shalimar says:

    blaise It really is bizaare, that they they vaccinate, neuter their animals and then let them go off in the streets..

    they have been on streets already… the community with the urging with the mayors help are doing their best to neuters and tag all the dogs.. they have been living vagrantly for years
    most shops offices have sort of adopted their own dog.

    big big issue… used to join the marches and protests!!!!

    Jun 15, 2008 | 4:01 am

     
  10. pinoydogs.com says:

    what an interesting read. I do agree, it is totally bizarre! In a way, it is still pleasant because these dogs are still given food, water and shelter even as they stray at the Acropolis. What happens to those dogs that they were not able to neuter? Shall it still go forth and multiply?

    Anyway, I envy you. I so love the Baklava with those delicious walnut bits…hmmm and the delightful smell of cinnamon! Any chance you could post your own version of the recipe? :)

    Jun 15, 2008 | 7:10 am

     
  11. hpf says:

    i enjoyed reading this post, as well as QUIAPO’s nostalgic story about Manila :) sayang yung oranges! i’m glad they’re taking care of the dogs/tortoises and that these pets get to mingle with people in public spaces.

    Jun 15, 2008 | 8:14 pm

     
  12. Katrina says:

    My friend who was in Santorini recently, and also told me of the many stray dogs. She’s a huge dog lover, too, and actually found it cute to see so many of them wandering about, sunning themselves on rooftops, etc, almost like they owned the place. And they never seemed hungry, because the people there would actually leave food out on the sidewalks for them. She said the same thing you did — that anyone with a dog phobia should think twice before visiting there.

    Jun 15, 2008 | 11:51 pm

     
  13. rianne says:

    Those oranges are poisonous according to one of the greek cab drivers when I asked him on the way to the airport…was just curious why nobody picks them and eats them as they look so refreshing.

    Jun 16, 2008 | 12:29 am

     
  14. rianne says:

    ***driver

    Jun 16, 2008 | 12:31 am

     
  15. sister says:

    Sour oranges are all over Rome, Athens, Costa Rica, Seville, etc. They are good for larmalade and used for acidity in cooked dishes. I guess no one wants to bother making marmalade anymore.
    However, they are quite wonderful to see in the middle of very busy cities.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 12:36 am

     
  16. Kathang Isip says:

    Hi Marketman!

    Thanks for sharing your Athens trip with us. At least all of us can see this amazing place and its offerings, albeit virtually.

    I read the article you attached regarding the stray dog situation in Athens. To say the least, I have a really soft spot for dogs, and so it will be a dream come true to see this situation up close and maybe help out in some way. I got really curious about that dog Dogopotamus… has she been seen?

    Oh anyway…

    MM, I am enjoying your blog a lot.
    Thanks for taking the time for this.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 5:17 pm

     
  17. dragon says:

    Stray dogs are also all over Bangkok. The proliferation of these dogs is explained through the Buddhist belief of reincarnation: those dogs were people before and you will be one when you die. So people actually take food, feed these strays ALL the time. The dogs, more often than not, are very timid and tame.

    Leaving Caledonia and moving to Melbourne (for good???)

    A bientot!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 1:07 pm

     
  18. kurzhaar says:

    connieC wrote:
    We wondered why nobody even bothered with them as we saw some fruits that had fallen on the ground. Like Eve who could not help partake of the forbidden fruit, my husband plucked one and we both sampled it. It was the most bitter and sourest orange we have ever tasted in our lives! We would find out later that those were ornamental oranges….. especially bred perhaps so nobody would pick them? That was our curse of the Alhambra experience.

    Curse it should not have been–nor were those merely ornamental oranges. Those are Seville oranges and are meant for marmalade. They are highly aromatic but not sweet. In parts of Seville the fruit used to be off limits to the public as every year’s crop was sold to commercial marmalade makers.

    Jun 19, 2008 | 6:08 am

     
 

Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2017