Sam Wilson is a volunteer at https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeShelterCrete/ She is a former police inspector with Nottinghamshire, England police. She served on the force for 30 years and retired in September 2020. A week later, she flew to Crete, Greece to volunteer with George Orfanidis and his George Stray Dogs organization. Sam’s plan was volunteer for four weeks, improve her Greek language skills, and then return home. The return-home part of her plan became complicated. Her time there inspired her to book three additional flights to Crete over the following two months, with more planned in the future. Sam now has a very long commute to work and works side by side with George.
George Stray Dogs was founded by George Orfanidis, who has devoted more than 20 years to rescuing and caring for dogs and bringing about positive change for animals by changing people’s minds and hearts through education. George houses 100 dogs at his shelters, which lack electricity and water supply. Every day, without fail, he drives the 70 km round trip bringing water and food to the dogs.
Animal welfare is not a priority in Greece. There are estimated to be 8 million stray dogs and cats in the country. They are routinely abandoned in the rubbish, in the mountains, and on the street. Some dogs are chained to barrels for the length of their lives, with little food and fresh water, and riddled with ticks, fleas, and worms.
George has been reliant on his fellow Greeks for donations for food for veterinary medicine, but Greece has been in recession for a long time. Many of the people who care about animal welfare have little money to give. The struggle for funding was somewhat alleviated when Australian animal activist Stella Savvas set up the organization’s Facebook page. George has also received various volunteer assistance from his brother Nikos Orfandis, and volunteers Katerina and Debra. The organization also received a boost when George’s friend, well-known Greek rescuer Takis Proestakis, mentioned him on his FB page.
The access to a wider audience has allowed George to build infrastructure at one of the shelters, which will allow all of the dogs to be housed at one site. Fencing, kennels, and easy access to water will make the rescue work easier. George, Sam, and other volunteers are currently working to complete the site work before winter sets in.
Some of George Stray Dogs rescue success stories – Before and After:
Tommy – George found Tommy in the filth of an abandoned house. The sight of Tommy reduced George to tears. Tommy had little fur and wounds all over his face and body from the effects of leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease which afflicts many dogs in the southern Mediterranean. After months of care, love, and treatment, Tommy was transformed into a beautiful dog. Tommy and George are now inseparable.
Hara – Hara was abandoned in the rubbish five years ago. George was caring for her as a stray on the streets. One day, he was alerted that some men had her on a chain and were ready to hang her. George went to the location and fought with the men to save her life. (He has been attacked more than one occasion for his work.) The men damaged George’s car and bruised him, but Hara was saved and she now lives at the shelter. Hara is a contented dog with a sweet and gentle nature. The deformed leg with which she was born causes her no issues.
Dias – Dias is known as the Gentle Giant. He is a 60kg Greek Shepherd found on the highway with shattered legs, unable to move. With two surgeries and care from George he is thriving. The puppies particularly adore him. He’s the alpha dog in his pen but calm and even natured with others.
The transformation of dogs from when they arrive at the shelter in heart-breaking condition to health, balance, and friendly dispositions. They form close bonds with each other and adore George. George has a huge heart, dedication, and deep compassion for the neglected, abused, abandoned, tortured animals on Crete, Greece.
If you would like to make a donation to George Stray Dogs, their Paypal account is
George Stray Dogs also have a Go Fund Me to raise money for a 4×4 car to provide consistently reliable transport to the shelter in winter.
For further information: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeShelterCrete/