One of our biggest success stories at Argos is our work in conjunction with CYDRA (Cyprus dogs re-homing association)
Coordinated by Argos volunteer Sandy, this scheme has to date re-homed a staggering 94 dogs in wonderful new German homes, including Errol [pictured left] who is just one of the lucky dogs.
Here Sandy tells us a little about how the scheme works, why it has been such a success and how Argos supporters can help:
• How did the scheme start?
I had heard word of mouth about the great things that CYDRA and the German re-homing site “Zypern Hunde” had been doing. Both sites have had great success in the re-homing of Cyprus dogs in Germany so I approached Cyprus based coordinator Helen in 2009. I wanted to see if they would consider including taking some of our many dogs on their web pages so I invited Helen to meet Argos President Stella and see the shelter for herself. An impressed Helen soon requested photos and information on several of our dogs..
•How many Argos dogs have gone to Germany since the scheme began?
As of today the total is 94. Jake, a lovely white Cyprus poodle was the first to go on 20th March 2009. Our most recent is Sunshine, a friendly cross breed who left us in November.
•How does the scheme work?
I send photographs of the dogs along with details such as their size, age, likes, dislikes, are they good with cats and children and so on. Any other information relevant to type of home they would fit into helps potential new owners to choose their perfect dog.
No dogs details are sent until they have had their annual vaccinations and we have assessed they have no major physiological problems. CYDRA then selects dogs that will go well on German website Zypern Hunde. In the early days of the scheme it was always the young, small fluffy dogs such as Cyprus poodles that were popular. However, there has been more interest in the older dogs of late and the bigger dogs too. This is great news for our more mature dogs.
We have even had a couple of dogs go who have some disablement .It is good to know that disabled dogs are also given the chance of a new and happy life.
Our friends in Germany have also have started looking on the CYDRA website and our own Argos sanctuary website. The interest continues to grow and Zypern Hunde have recently asked for a history of ARGOS and also photographs of the shelter for their website. They also often send us donations of bedding and medical first aid packs for which we are very grateful. A good friendship is forming between us thanks to CYDRA.
•How can we be sure that our dogs are going to safe homes?
The Zypern Hunde charity does a vetting of all homes that the dogs are going to. There are also training sessions for the Cyprus dogs in the area that they have been re-homed. Here new owners get together and as well as training their new “babies” from Cyprus they support each other. German animal welfare laws are also far stricter than here in Cyprus and well implemented.
•Exactly how do the dogs travel to Germany?
Dogs travel by air in specially designed travel boxes. Travelers flying to Germany are approached to ask if they will take a dog or dogs as their excess baggage.
Advertisements are left in hotels predominantly used by German people and also on the web site.
There is no charge for the traveler to pay and CYDRA and/or Zypern Hunde organize the whole process.
Paperwork is also completed and usually it runs very smoothly with the German airports already expecting the precious cargo and waiting for their arrival. We meet and identify the travelers who will be taking the dog at the Cyprus airport.
The dog is then weighed, passports and documents before waving them off onto their plane. It’s vital to cause no stress to the dogs and so far it has run very smoothly.
The very professional staff at Air Berlin desk know us well now and gives us priority when we arrive. Some dogs even go in celebrity style as we have a businessman who regularly takes up to 14 dogs at a time for us on his private jet.
This charitable gentleman prefers to remain anonymous and we would like to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his kindness and generosity.
•Why is it so much easier take dogs into Germany than it is to with a travel a dog back to the UK?
Dogs going to Germany only require one Rabies vaccine (21 days before their flight).
Here volunteer Sandy has a last cuddle with Piper before she heads off for a new life [pictured right].
They must be tested for the diseases Leichmania and Erlichia, have up to date Annual vaccinations and micro chipping, and a’ fit to fly’ statement from the vet. If they are old enough they also require spaying or neutering.
Dogs traveling to the UK need all of the above plus an extra rabies vaccination 4 weeks after the first and blood tests for rabies, which can take 4 months for blood test results.
The blood cannot be tested for rabies in Cyprus and has to be sent to Greece. The dog then has to wait a couple more months before they can travel.
A dog can travel to the UK 6 months and 1 day after the rabies blood test results on the condition that they are negative. All in all the process will take up to 8 months so if anyone is thinking that they may need to go back to the UK one day with their beloved pets they should start to prepare them now.
You never know if you may need to leave in a hurry. I have seen it happen so often recently that people have returned to UK very quickly and have left their dogs behind at the shelter because they were not prepared. Domesticated dogs that have lived in a home do not fare well at a shelter
•What is the process of getting them ready?
After all of the above are completed the dogs are bathed and are then moved to either a foster home or the boarding area to keep them safe and clean. Two days before their flight they are given tick treatment and a worming pill. Their travel day starts early with a visit to groomers so that they look their best on arrival.
•How can people help?
We need help with vet and airport runs and with getting dogs prepared. When there is more than one dog traveling it would be helpful to have an extra hand to help with documentation. Anyone traveling to Germany who can take a dog (or two) for us will be very welcomed help.
We also need foster homes for a maximum of 2 weeks prior to traveling. ( read more about our fostering scheme in ‘Mums the word’)
Our sponsorship program, which started last July, has gone from strength to strength. Giving animal lovers (including those who are perhaps not able to own their own pets) the chance to support both Argos and some of our more needy animals personally.
The brainchild of Argos supporters Nicos and Angelos, the scheme was designed not only as a way of gathering financial support for Argos but also to encourage a more personal approach to getting involved with our work.
The idea was simple; since Argos has a no kill policy, this means that some of our four legged (and occasionally three legged) residents will stay at the sanctuary for a long time.
Since this is creating a financial burden on Argos, and in order for Argos to continue taking in more animals, Nicos and Angelos came up with the idea of finding sponsors to cover the expenses of our less fortunate animals, those who for various reasons have less chance of adoption.
Bruno has slowly learnt to trust people again and is a wonderful and loyal dog, his size however means that he will be difficult to home.
The team was delighted to find that interest was immediate as people’s hearts warmed to the stories of our special few. With the yearly sponsorship of 50 euro for a dog and of 20 euro for a cat the Argos’s sponsors are making a difference.
Today we are happy to say that the Argos Sponsorship Program has crossed the borders of our small island and we now have sponsorships from as far afield as Sweden, Germany and New Zealand!