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

  • Activists spend seven days occupying BP rig in Cromarty Firth, leading to 14 arrests

    Greenpeace has ended its protest against BP drilling for oil in the North Sea by handing in “people’s climate injunctions” at the company’s headquarters.

    Greenpeace protesters spent nearly seven days occupying an oil rig rented by BP in the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland last week, leading to the arrests of 14 activists, including three photographers hired by the pressure group.

    Continue reading...

  • Concern grow over ammonia particles from fertiliser and bioaerosol from intensive farms

    We think of the countryside as being a place of fresh air. Each weekend thousands of us leave our cities to hike or cycle in rural areas or simply to enjoy time in nature. Increasing attention is being given, however, to air pollution from farming. Ammonia from fertiliser and slurry mixes with air pollution from cities, traffic and industry to add to the particle pollution that plagues many parts of the world. It is estimated that halving ammonia from farming could avoid about 52,000 premature deaths from air pollution across Europe each year and 3,000 in the UK.

    Increasing attention is also being paid to bioaerosol from intensive farming. In animal houses these are tiny particles and dust from the animals themselves, their food, bedding and waste. They can also include fungi, bacteria and pollen. A recent review by Imperial College and Public Health England found evidence of respiratory problems in farm workers and raised concerns about exposure for people living close to intensive livestock farms, including some evidence of increased asthma in children. Bioaerosol concerns mean that composting facilities need to be at least 250 metres from UK homes and schools, but farms can be nearer and only require assessment if they are closer than 100 metres.

    Continue reading...

  • Event will take place on 22 September across 18 boroughs, with road closures and events

    Sadiq Khan has announced plans to implement London’s biggest car-free day to date, closing 12.3 miles (20km) of roads in the centre of the capital in September.

    Roads will be closed for the event around London Bridge, Tower Bridge and much of the City of London to help tackle the capital’s air pollution crisis, which kills thousands of people each year and leaves two million – including 400,000 children – living in areas with illegally dirty air.

    Continue reading...

  • MELTDOWN – a visualisation of climate change has opened at Natural History Museum of Vienna. Created by the climate crisis charity Project Pressure, the exhibition on vanishing glaciers uses art to inspire action and behavioural change. Unlike wildfires, flooding and other weather events, the retreat of the world’s glaciers can be attributed to global warming. To incite action, Project Pressure has created a carbon footprint calculator in collaboration with ClimateHero to learn how carbon-intense the users’ lifestyle is.

    Continue reading...

  • MPs launch assembly plan but environmental activists say its conclusions must be binding

    A citizens’ assembly on the climate emergency will take place this autumn to explore the fastest and fairest ways to end the UK’s carbon emissions.

    Six House of Commons select committees announced the assembly on Thursday. It is the second of the three demands made by the Extinction Rebellion protest group to be addressed.

    Continue reading...

  • There are only about 30 north Pacific right whales left after hunters nearly wiped out the slow-moving animals

    Marine biologists for the first time have recorded singing by one of the rarest whales on the planet, the north Pacific right whale.

    Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used moored acoustic recorders to capture repeated patterns of calls made by male north Pacific right whales.

    Continue reading...

  • Ice losses indicate ‘devastating’ future for region and 1 billion people who depend on it for water

    The melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a “devastating” future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water.

    The scientists combined declassified US spy satellite images from the mid-1970s with modern satellite data to create the first detailed, four-decade record of ice along the 2,000km (1,200-mile) mountain chain.

    Continue reading...

  • Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic refuse to sign up to text that activists already viewed as too vague

    A trio of central European countries have blocked the European Union from inching closer to a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.

    European leaders meeting in Brussels sparred over the EU’s role in tackling the unfolding climate emergency, which threatens to significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, poverty and destruction of wildlife around the world.

    Continue reading...

  • Mass migration back to UK waylaid by stormy conditions and lack of nesting places

    The number of swifts that returned to Britain from their wintering grounds in Africa this spring was the lowest since records began, with poor weather in the Mediterranean delaying their arrival by two weeks. Experts fear the recent wet weather will further hit their numbers. Swift numbers in Britain have fallen by more than 50% since 1995.

    More than 100 walks, talks and visits to urban areas to witness the swift’s aerial “screaming parties” will be held this week to raise awareness of the plight of this unique migratory bird.

    Continue reading...

  • Shell, BP and Centrica have talked of backing EU emissions target but withheld support

    The UK’s largest energy companies have withheld support for a legally binding target to reduce the EU’s emissions to net zero by 2050, even while publicly backing the plans.

    Royal Dutch Shell, BP and British Gas’s owner, Centrica, have all publicly thrown their weight behind more ambitious EU emissions cuts, but none supported the Brussels proposals for a tougher target in an official consultation.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds