Irma is a White Shepherd dog and this is her story.
Born with one of her ears bent, she was discarded and given away by her breeder, to one of the residents in Filyro, a town where we live.The owner did not take care of her very well and casually abused her. When she was found by my husband’s uncle, she wasn’t a puppy anymore. She was chained and covered in wounds all over. She easily got irritated and barked at anyone. But despite of this, uncle decided to take her home.
Uncle and my husband’s family live close to each other. So everyday they see Irma. They were curious why her wounds don’t heal. It won’t stop swelling and she scratched them continuously that her bleeding don’t stop. Uncle brought her to a local veterinarian who lived across the house and he said it’s nothing serious. Later, my dad-in-law wondered why her wounds weren’t healing if they are not serious? So they decided to bring her to someone who works as a volunteer vet in a bear sanctuary. He immediately recognized Irma’s disease.
It was called ‘lesmaniasis’ in Greek and known in english as “Leishmaniasis”. It is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of infected sand flies. These flies cannot be ridden off even if pets have bug collars. They can infect the cutaneous part of the body, or the internal organs. It has become a common animal disease in Mediterranean as what the last vet mentioned. For animals, there is no medicine for it so Irma had to take human medicine as long as she lives.
Now, Irma is about 12 years old. Her white coat is shining during Summer while it is tainted with brown during Autumn. During Winter, she rolls over the snowy ground and it makes you think it is her favorite season as she munches on the snow and sat on it like it’s her throne. From afar, you cannot find where she is unless she moves as she camouflaged with the snow. I was told that she used to be an irritable dog due to psychological and physical abuse from her first owner. But after living for more than 5 years with my husband’s family, having shown gentleness, she mellowed down. Her barks are still loud and recognizable, but she doesn’t bark as much as before. One thing remains the same though: she hates cats.
It did not take long for us to be friends. When I first came to Filyro, she was waiting for my husband. When she saw me, she did not show any signs that she wished to bite me. When I get time to play with her she whimpers to be touched. She would follow me wherever I go and keep sniffing my hands. I guess she’s looking for food or something? I think by now she understands the commands, “sit” (kat-se) and “come” (e-la). She is an adorable big-white-furry dog!
Irma lived longer than expected. But she is actually in a bad shape. She is overweight although she eats just enough for the day. And worst, her vagina is swelling and she’s having difficulties urinating. These are the results of taking those drugs for her parasitic disease.
It must be amazing that she’s surviving but the fact that her life was shortened due to inhumane deeds only proves that humans have the power in making a difference for the lives of other living things. It will be bad – or good.
Irma is only an example of an abused animal in Thessaloniki. I conclude that she’s lucky to find a peaceful home, at last. Although uncle does not take care of her personally – my husband’s family is humane enough to give her the pet accommodation that she deserves than just being chained and abused.
The picture above were all taken by me. The “eye” and the left photo was taken last October 16, while the photo on the right was taken last Summer 2009.