Our 2020 visit to SANTORINI

WITH SANTORINI NOW UNDER SPECIAL MEASURES, WHAT FUTURE FOR THE WORKING MULES AND DONKEYS?

Alkis… hmmm, we can ALMOST see your handsome face. We know it’s the work that counts but we’re going to have to find a way to make you look up for the camera. Trouble is, we can’t use anything noisy because it would SCARE THE HORSES!

The Greek government has announced special measures for some of the most popular tourist destinations as numbers of COVID infections rise dramatically, and Santorini is one of the victims. This means even fewer visitors, so the animals working the caldera’s steep path face an uncertain future. Unless the tourists return in large numbers next Summer, the older ones are almost certain to be ‘retired’ and no one knows what, exactly, that will mean for them.

Business as usual… Backs and bottoms; bottoms and backs! We wonder whether our guys are just shy or is it something about working with equidae? We suppose it’s not the easiest thing to pose for the camera when you’re concentrating on listening to a heartbeat. But next time we’re DETERMINED to make Kostas turn round (just for a second).

Some are fortunate enough to have found their way to the shelter run by Christina Kaloudi for SAWA and our Equine Team was there again earlier this Summer, bringing relief to the animals that SAWA cares for. 22 cases were treated. Most had dental issues and all were living with the kinds of problems that are associated with advancing years. (Chronic laminitis, arthritis, and some even showed signs of the cruel practice of hobbling).
Our vet, Kostas Okkas, farrier Aris Vlachakis, and dental technician Alkis Gkeskos did their best for each of them according to their needs but there was little to be done for “Maggie”, the mule, who has severe wasting of muscle due, Kostas suspects, to a fractured pelvis. Local vet, Margarita Valvis, has been supporting the animals at SAWA for years and it was a pleasure to be assisted on this visit by her two daughters, Christina and Katerina.

If Aris can do it – mid trim – then EVERYONE can! (At least that’s what we’re telling them)…

Shelters and rescue centres are very important to our Equine Team as they provide the most vulnerable animals – the ones that are no longer fit to work – with the chance of a dignified retirement. We intend to continue to offer them our support.
If you would like to be part of this work, please consider sending a contribution – large or small – via this link:
Thank you for caring and for everything you do. (We say this often and we absolutely mean it… every time).

Alkis, Aris and Kostas were delighted to have the assistance of Christina and Katerina.