Tag Archives: Sophia

FROM HOMELESS TO PROPERTY PORTFOLIO

Bella has moved right up in the world, and well she deserves it. When she got what I’m calling her sunlounger, she surely thought that’s as good as it could possibly get.

 I was certainly not prepared for how fast her offspring would grow, and soon it became clear that it was getting a bit crowded in Sophia’s kennel, big though it is.

 Several years ago we turned the large space under the front steps into a dog house for Sophia to use during the day if we were away; Costa would put her into the house at night. We had the cement floor tiled, installed a heater for winter, and ordered a dog door over the internet. It certainly is very comfortable, but Sophia preferred to use the kennel on the porch if she wasn’t inside the house with us.

Over the last few years we put a large pallet inside the understairs space and placed several olive crates with blankets on it. In there the many and varied cats who seek refuge here, and which we provide food for, could get shelter from the miserable winter weather. (We have seven much-loved pet cats who sleep inside the main house).

Last week we took all the cat beds out – the hanger-on cats are not sleeping there now as it’s warm – and arranged bedding for Bella, who was not made aware of the new accommodations. We went to Volos for the day, intending to introduce her to the new home when we returned. The kennel was empty when we got back and I panicked for a moment, but would you believe – Bella and family were stretched out in there! How she got them in I have no idea. They are far too big for her to pick up, so we can only assume she pushed them out of the kennel, and then rolled them into the new apartment. She loves it in there. That dog is not stupid, that’s for sure.

Ron was anxious about not having a kennel for the ‘wild’ cats to use if they wanted to, so while we were in Volos, he bought another kennel of the same brand, but smaller. These are made of cedar wood, stand on legs and are wind and water tight; very nicely constructed.

Well, no sooner had he assembled it and placed it on the porch than Bella took her ease in it.

Got to hand it to that dog – she knows a good thing when she sees it. When she’s not feeding her pups she has a choice of three spots to relax in, and she all but grins.

 The pups are walking about in their house-under-the stairs – not that they’re awake very much – and it can only be a day or two before they’ll get out into the yard. We’re having to give some thought to containing them. It’s certainly going to get very lively around here, and I will literally have to watch my step.

 

A BELLAFUL OF PUPS

 A few weeks ago a rather scrawny, rather timid dog showed up in the yard, obviously very hungry. I fed her, and hoped she’d go away, and for a while, she did. I noticed that she’d clearly had pups at some point though how long ago I couldn’t tell, and she wasn’t nursing at the time.

She came back now and again, ravenous, and began gaining in confidence. We weren’t sure if she had a home, and even if she did there was nobody in Kalamos that we were aware of, so it was highly unlikely that she was being fed. She came and went. Came and went. I decided we needed to give her some kind of name, so Bella she became. I bought her a collar which I managed to put on her – she didn’t like it much – so that at least she’d appear to have a home and not be shot as a stray.

Yes, it happens. And yes, there’s no excuse for it, and yes, I’m likely to be arrested for attacking any person I see doing such a thing, but the area is remote and the population outside of the holiday season can be counted on one hand. And the @#$%#@ who do this sort of thing know that. And they know it’s illegal and they know they won’t be caught and frankly, they don’t give a damn.

We didn’t see Bella for a while, and then she arrived, fat with pups, her face, head and neck bloodied with many tiny wounds. “Birdshot,” Ron said. “Birdshot. Some bastard has shot her full in the face.”

We cleaned her up and put Betadine and Fucidine on the wounds. She shook her head violently at the Betadine, making the nasty wound on her ear worse, so now I only use the cream. It’s slow going, but is getting better.

It was obvious that she was very close to birthing puppies. What could we do? We still have the kennel that my beautiful dog, Sophia, who broke my heart when she died, hardly ever used; her bed was in the house with us.

I persuaded Bella  to get inside it and she settled in. For one night. The following night she wasn’t in it, but she didn’t show up for breakfast either. “She’s had the puppies somewhere,” I said to Ron. We started looking through the grounds, and although we couldn’t see her, we could hear little noises in the forest. The forest is dense; no way could we have penetrated to search for her.

We left a large bowl of food which was eaten at some point during the day. We left another that night. And that night it poured and poured and poured, and was cold. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t appear. Why she didn’t come to the kennel. It’s a very big one, very nicely made. The bedding was clean. I worried that harm could come to Bella and the pups she surely had, and spent most of the following day calling and calling to her.

And then, late in the day, as night began to fall and I was filling the drinking troughs outside, I saw Bella racing across the yard to the kennel. She’d definitely had the pups. She dashed into the kennel and emerged in a flash with the teensiest of puppies dangling by the scruff. Hardly bigger than a large mouse. It was all kinds of colors, but the way it dangled, and the way Bella was keening, I realized it was dead. She raced into the forest with it. There was no other puppy in the kennel and there hadn’t been all through the day. It was very strange.

I went back upstairs, not knowing if there were other puppies. Not knowing what had happened. Suddenly I heard heart-stopping screams and squeals and just managed to get a glimpse of Bella running from the forest with a most indignant pup clutched in her mouth.

For such a little thing it had a massive voice! She ran back and forth some 100 yards in a matter of mere minutes from forest to kennel, kennel to forest, and brought the rest of the family to their new home. She’d finally seen the light, or felt the warmth, or had some sort of epiphany and brought the babies in out of the cold and danger. So rapidly did she make the transfers that I barely had time to grab my camera, and take pics from the balcony.

Five. There are five of them. Had she brought the teensy one first? Was it already dead? Did she change her mind? And what did she do with it when she fled into the forest with it? It was much, much smaller than the rest of the litter, so perhaps it had no chance. I’ll never know what happened.

 Bella’s pups were born sometime through the night of 19th /20th March. She brought them to the kennel on the 21st, and they’ve not moved since. They’re growing at such a pace that she can’t pick them up in her mouth anymore.

Their eyes started opening yesterday, and they are cute, cute, cute. The black and white one’s already a live wire. He keeps tumbling out of the kennel…you’ll note ma’s keeping him firmly underfoot. Not yet two weeks old and their characters are becoming evident.

Somehow I have to find homes for them. And that’s going to be a real battle.

 

 

LOST AT SEA

 

The Pagasitic Gulf has a fairly good natured temperament, but as the saying goes, still waters run deep and in this case they do quite literally for the Gulf’s depth is about 100 meters in most parts. Though usually calm, the Pag can be moody, showing flashes of anger just when least expected, particularly after Poseidon decides to get his trident in a twist. Rather high and mighty is Poseidon, conscious of his position as one of the Twelve Gods; his realm is the sea and he’s a touchy character. Very. Poseidon is quick to take offense, and even quicker to vent his fury, striking his three pronged weapon to cause earthquake and tsunami, shipwreck and drowning. For my part I’ll take his raging seas any day rather than his earthquakes.

Pagasetic Gulf

Pagasitic Gulf from Google Earth

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The waters of the Pagasitic can boil up in no time, frequently subsiding just as swiftly, but when Poseidon’s tantrums are out of control, the sea might rage for days, depositing all manner of debris along the beaches and among the rocks. Plastic, that prince among pollutants in all its forms, nets, ropes, wood, medical waste bearing foreign labels and doubtless dumped at sea, bottles, branches, logs, shoes, clothing, toys, to name but a few. My dog Sophia, keen swimmer and beachcomber, supplemented the toys we constantly bought her, by retrieving various playthings and balls from the tangled messes hurled onto the shore.

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After one particularly fierce storm when Poseidon was completely out of control, I noticed a piece of green knitwear twisted tightly around some vegetation. Intrigued, I retrieved the mangled bundle and set about separating the knitting from the twigs and pine cones, burrs, thistles and bits of root gripping it. A very damaged, hand knitted sweater was finally freed. I was rather upset at first; it was difficult not to think that maybe a life had been lost. But then again, why should that have been the case? It could just as easily have been blown overboard, or accidentally dropped into the sea. Or been swept by a wave off the beach. Washed away in a heavy rainstorm. What about the person who’d lost it? Was it their only sweater? Sophia and I walked home, and I placed the matted little heap on a table to dry in the sun.

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The next day I picked off some of the seed pods stuck all over it. This sweater has been in the water a long time. It’s faded in parts, badly ripped, it’s brittle and disintegrating, but it has a story to tell and I’m trying to understand it. There’s a temptation to indulge in a flood of metaphor and sentiment with regard to it, with waffle about unraveling and dropped stitches, and being battered by life, about what it was and what it no longer is, but the fact remains that someone went to the trouble of making it, and somehow it got lost. The fact remains that it’s handknitted, and that one seldom sees handknitted clothing here any more. The street markets in Europe have seen to that.

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So where did it come from, this little sweater? And by whose hands was it made? The yarn is wool, it’s quite badly degraded, but it appears to have been handspun. This makes me think of Albania where I know women who spin beautiful yarns on drop spindles to knit for their families. The garment is knitted back and forth in pieces, which have been seamed together; the sleeves are set in; the neckband is crocheted. The yarn has been held double at all the cast on edges – a technique commonly used in Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey and parts of the Middle East. A close examination reveals no damage to the cast on edges, which is interesting in that other areas of the sweater have been torn. The cast on stitches are fairly rigid, they have very little elasticity, which again brings Albania to mind.

The workmanship would win no prizes, but this is a utilitarian garment, made to serve a need. It is not the work of privilege, if I may phrase it so. The hands that drew upon age-old knowledge and techniques to make it, that did so with love and concern, created a garment that links all those of us who knit. Who knows how far it’s traveled?P1110973 [HDTV (1080)]A IMG_2241 [HDTV (720)]A