Dog Rescues: How It All Began

Published in Animals

The story of how I became involved in animal rescue on the island, and why ECO HVAR for Animals came into being.

Eco Hvar for Animals Eco Hvar for Animals Vivian Grisogono

It all started in September 2004 with Babe, the dog who should have been a rose. My Croatian isn't that good, despite my being a member of Dalmatia's oldest surviving noble family. But it wasn't due to linguistic failings that I set out to buy a rose and came back with a black labrador called Babe. The scorn that was heaped on me for my poor grasp of the language after this incident was unjust. No, I wasn't looking for a dog-rose. And rescuing Babe wasn't all my fault either. 

It happened like this: my distant relative Igor Skelin runs Jelsa's garden centre, a place where one could buy plants, including roses, but not dogs. Babe belonged to Branko, one of Igor’s staff, and was generally to be found in the hot-house sitting quietly under the table or wandering around, causing no trouble to anyone. She was a beautiful, nicely mannered and contented dog, as labradors tend to be.

babe-may-05

On this particular Saturday morning she was sitting under the table looking unusually morose. No sign of Branko, so I asked after him. Igor told me that he was very ill in hospital, and had asked Igor to find Babe a good home or have her put down. Babe had been in the care of one of Branko’s relatives, but had run off and gone missing for several days. Today she had reappeared at the garden centre, totally unexpectedly.

The news was a shock. I digested it for a few moments. I had a sense of some inescapable destiny. I looked at my brother, another Branko. He looked at me. Dog-lovers both, the pulling on heart-strings was almost audible. We had a short silent consultation, and he willed me forward. Easy enough for him, he would be leaving shortly for the UK, leaving me holding the Babe. “Well,” I said slowly, “If you really can’t find her a home, let me know, perhaps I…” Igor was on the case like a shot. Announcing that there was no chance of anyone else taking her on, he opened the car door and Babe hopped inside.

Roses were forgotten and we headed off home. I was musing, rather late in the day, on whether Babe would fit in. I had brought with me two dogs from the UK when I had relocated to Dalmatia earlier in 2004. They were both females, and used to having their territory to themselves. How would they take to the new arrival? Would they fight? And what’s more, one was called Beba, there could be a confusion of identities. The chain of command would be difficult to maintain. Oh dear. My low spirits sank another notch when Bella and Beba greeted our arrival with resounding hostile barking.

To my surprise, all went well. The barking subsided when the two realized Babe was coming in. Babe entered, there were introductions all round, tails wagged, and she settled in without a hitch. Perhaps Bella and Beba recognized a kindred spirit, as their mother Connie was a labrador, albeit golden rather than black. Babe lived on happily for several years in Pitve, and eventually died naturally and peacefully in her sleep. Happily her former owner Branko recovered from his illness and returned to the island, although he was unable to take Babe back.

So began the influx of canine intruders into our peaceful home in Pitve. And, yes, my Croatian has improved in the interim. No, I have not set out to buy a rose since. But every year there are homeless or unwanted dogs wandering around the island, and I have taken in as many of them as I could manage at any given time. Sadly, I have been forced to leave even more to their fate.

 

There are just too many unwanted dogs being born on the island, or in some cases being brought here. There is no organization on the island responsible for caring for these poor animals. It seems this is a problem throughout Dalmatia. The obvious thing to do was to establish a framework in order to carry out projects which would address the problems. This is how ECO HVAR for Animals, now a registered charity, was born.

© Vivian Grisogono 2013

You are here: Home animal articles Dog Rescues: How It All Began

Eco Environment News feeds

  • A conference marked by squabbling and deferral yielded little progress despite protests

    Governments at the UN climate talks in Madrid responded to the growing urgency of the crisis with a partial admission that carbon-cutting targets are too weak, but few concrete plans to strengthen them in line with the Paris agreement.

    Two weeks of talks ended on Sunday afternoon with a formal recognition of the need to bridge the gap between greenhouse gas targets set in 2015 in Paris and scientific advice that says much deeper cuts are needed. Current targets would put the world on track for 3C of warming, which scientists say would ravage coastal cities and destroy agriculture over swathes of the globe.

    Continue reading...

  • Unsavoury flavour may explain why certain species do not flee from predators, scientist says

    It might seem like they are being lazy but some moths do not bother to flee from predators because they make themselves taste disgusting.

    That is the case for a certain species of tiger moth, which researchers have found displays a nonchalant approach when faced with potential predators, on account of its disgusting flavour.

    Continue reading...

  • The spread of electrical lighting is blocking out the stars and threatens the health of many species … including humans. Now our national parks plan to take back the night

    NOAA-20 probably has the best view of the North York Moors, even though it’s 512 miles away. In one sweep – on a clear night – the weather satellite can see the whole national park, from the forests in the south near Scarborough to the heather-covered moorland just south-east of Middlesbrough.

    When Richard Darn walks these hills – on a clear night – he can’t quite make out NOAA-20 as it scurries from pole to pole because the skyglow from Middlesbrough pollutes the darkness. Yet down in the southern forests, the night sky is pristine and ideal for satellite spotting. Places with truly dark skies like this are shrinking. In the areas where you can see why the ancients decided that a group of stars looked like a great bear, or scorpion, or Orion the hunter, the faintest dots of the constellations are being drowned in skyglow, or winked out by a brash neon sign or stray security light.

    Continue reading...

  • Charity finds one in five won’t re-wear new outfits, despite spending average of £73.90 each

    Britons are poised to spend £2.4bn on new outfits for the Christmasparty season this year – yet many items may be worn fewer than three times – a survey shows.

    After shelling out an average of £73.90 per person on partywear for the festive period, one in five people admit they won’t wear the same outfit to more than one party or event, according to the study from environmental charity Hubbub.

    Continue reading...

  • Martijn Wilder says more companies are talking about the climate crisis but not moving quickly enough – and his new firm Pollination aims to improve that

    A growing number of governments, including of every Australian state, Britain and the European Union, have set targets of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Few have mapped how to get there.

    It is a similar story in the corporate sector. Businesses are under increasing pressure from investors and shareholders to back up claims they are committed to the goals of the Paris agreement. Take BHP, one of the world’s 20 big emitters: it has set a mid-century net-zero emissions target but is yet explain how it will reach it, and plans to invest more in oil and gas than climate solutions.

    Continue reading...

  • Tougher limits on pollutants could cut dangers of heart disease, cancers and poor brain development in children

    The UK’s failure to meet World Health Organisation standards limiting the amount of ultra-fine particles in the air represents a major danger to health that is only now being recognised, experts claim.

    Studies published this year link the particles to cancers, lung and heart disease, adverse effects on foetal development, and poor lung and brain development in children. They are considered a key threat to health because they go deep into the lungs and then reach other organs, including the brain. But European standards allow the levels of particles in the air to be 2.5 times higher than those stipulated by the WHO.

    Continue reading...

  • Brazil, India and China singled out in UN talks as acting to block agreement on article 6 of Paris agreement

    Poor countries have accused a handful of richer nations of holding up progress on tackling the climate crisis at UN talks in Madrid, as demonstrators and activists vented their frustration in the final hours of two weeks of negotiations.

    The talks, which had been due to end on Friday, dragged on with negotiators still battling on Saturday to salvage a result, as governments wrangled over the details of a seemingly arcane issue: carbon markets, governed by a provision of the 2015 Paris agreement known as article 6.

    Continue reading...

  • Helped by volunteers, Trees for Life planted nearly 2m native trees on its Scottish projects. It wants to plant millions more

    The bracken-clad hills are marked “Dundreggan forest” on the map but this Scottish glen is mostly stark Highland scenery: open, beautiful, and almost totally devoid of trees.

    On a steep-sided little gully, 40 years ago, a few baby silver birches escaped relentless browsing by red deer and grew tall. Now, the nearby path through the bracken is dusted with thousands of brown specks: birch seeds.

    Continue reading...

  • Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest in November more than doubled the same period last year

    Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jumped to the highest level for the month of November since record-keeping began in 2015, according to preliminary government data published.

    Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest totalled 563 square kms in November, which is more than double the area in the same month last year, according to the country’s space research agency INPE on Friday.

    Continue reading...

  • The pick of the best flora and fauna photos from around the world, from an illuminated giraffe to an elusive southern elephant seal

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds