The work of the Greek Animal Welfare Fund began in 1959 – the year Mrs. Eleanor Close arrived in Greece.

 

Following World War II and a devastating civil war in Greece, Mrs Close came to spend time in Greece when her husband was posted to the country. She was soon confronted by appalling animal suffering; sick and starving cats and dogs, painfully thin and broken down horses and donkeys at the end of their working lives, brutal treatment in slaughterhouses and the dog pound.

With permission from the Greek authorities Mrs. Close set up a Working Committee of Greek, English and American ladies to change this.

 

However, they soon realised, that in order to maintain the substantial amount of efforts put into the protection of animals, further financial resources were needed. As such, GAWF was inaugurated in London in 1961 with the object of ‘raising funds to promote humane behaviour towards animals on the mainland and islands of Greece’. With a better financial standing, it was made possible for the organization to act up on reports of neglected and abused animals and provide necessary treatment and services.

 

Through continuous efforts and hard work, GAWF expanded its reach and achieved wonders at a time where animal welfare was a very low priority for society. The near derelict dog pound in Athens was rebuilt and soon humane methods of euthanasia, anaesthesia and slaughter were introduced.

 

In 1965 Eleanor Close was given the Victoria Medal, the RSPCA’s highest award for outstanding animal welfare work in Greece and in 1966 she returned to the UK to become Vice President of GAWF.

 

Spanning almost six decades of existence, GAWF counts a number of attainments such as:

- Support towards Animal Sanctuaries

- Financial and practical assistance to local Animal Welfare Societies in the form of veterinary equipment and medicines

- The establishment of a clinic for pet owners with subsidised sterilisation of dogs and cats

- Construction of stables for abandoned equines

 

Today, in the spirit championed by our founder’s work, we continue to spread the importance of animal welfare through various events and campaigns, as well as sponsor associations that share the same passion, loyalty and determination in raising public awareness.

 

Individual efforts, with the encouragement of loyal supporters, can be leveraged to extraordinary levels of achievement and make a world of difference for the animals.