Since they’d arrived in the country, the couple couldn’t help but notice that it was full of stray dogs. They were animal lovers themselves, so naturally they started feeding the animals. And soon they had their very own pack. But the couple found themselves falling in love with one stray in particular.
Those two travelers were freelance writer Gina Martin and her boyfriend, who were visiting Orei, Greece, in 2017. During their stay, they made lots of new friends; some of these were furrier than others. That’s because a fair few of them were dogs.
Greece has many good qualities, but care for animals sadly doesn’t seem to be one of them. Apparently, animal abuse is rife in the country, and unwanted pets are constantly left on the streets to fend for themselves. Some are even treated as vermin, by all accounts, and illegally poisoned.
Tourists are a lifeline for many of these animals, and Martin was no exception. She and her boyfriend noticed the large amount of dogs in need of a friend. Not only that, but the animals were also in need of a good meal, too.
The couple couldn’t bring themselves to leave the poor dogs to starve, though. So whenever she could, Martin and her partner fed them. “We travel[led] back to our base every two weeks,” Martin subsequently explained on her blog, From London to Anywhere. “Every time we made the trip, new dogs would appear.”
The strays were so thankful for the food and affection, in fact, that they followed their new friends on their travels. “Eventually there were a pack of four dogs that followed my boyfriend and I’s every step,” Martin continued. “Hungry, loving dogs… they were family dogs, just without a family.”
And one of the strays caught Martin’s affections more than any other. It was a young puppy begging for scraps. Martin explained that he crept under their table while they were having dinner. “I made a noise like a child and picked him up straight away,” she recalled.
“He cuddled into me with his snout and licked me incessantly,” Martin added. “I loved him straight away.” They subsequently named the puppy Spud, and he followed them everywhere come rain or shine. Indeed, the couple even had a surprise when they woke up one morning.
Spud wasn’t just waiting outside to greet his best friends; he had his face at the window. And from that day forward, he would wait for them just like that every day. As a result, Martin described Spud as her “little fluffy white shadow.”
Spud loved the couple so much, in fact, that he hated to see them go anywhere that he couldn’t follow. So when they embarked on boat trips, he would run as far along the quay as he could. Furthermore, he would even be there waiting for them when they returned.
The moment when Martin and her boyfriend would have to return home was approaching, however. “As our time in Greece was coming to an end I started to panic,” Martin admitted. “I was the one to cuddle him and keep him safe when the weather got bad.”
“The next day I was close to tears for hours; I had no idea how to save this little guy,” she continued. “I uploaded a video of him … on Facebook. [I asked] for the last time if anyone would take [Spud] if I got him to the U.K.”
Suddenly – when Martin was almost out of hope – she finally received a reply to her message. It was one of her British friends called Tori, who expressed an interest in Spud. Tori spent a lot of time at home and offered to take in Spud as his foster mom.
Naturally, Martin jumped at the offer, but she still had to get Spud out of Greece. “So, I did something totally spur of the moment,” she explained. “A few friends had said I should set up a giving page … so I did.”
Martin stated that although she had never asked the public for money before, she felt guilty crowdfunding. No doubt all that melted away when she looked at Spud’s little face, though. She subsequently asked for $730 for the transport fees, while ensuring that she had a contingency plan if the fundraising was unsuccessful.
If the target wasn’t met, Martin said that she’d place Spud in a Greek animal shelter and donate any funding raised to them. But that scenario never came to pass. Indeed, more than $250 was donated in a single day, and before long she’d reached her goal.
Martin and her boyfriend then went to find Spud, but he was nowhere in sight – and panic set in. After a long and frantic search, though, they found the adorable little puppy playing on the beach by himself. Now it was time to prepare for his journey.
Spud had his medical checks and then had to spend a week alone while Martin made travel arrangements. Thankfully, the pupper was there waiting for her when she returned. And shortly afterwards he set off on the long trip to his new life in the U.K.
After a lengthy adventure spanning four different countries, Spud was introduced to his new foster mom, Tori. And it didn’t take long for her to fall for Spud’s charms, just like Martin had. Tori is now Spud’s forever mom, in fact, and showers him with love and affection.
“The moral of the story here, is don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Martin concluded on her blog. “If you’re genuinely trying to do something [meaningful] people are happy to contribute … If you can save a furry baby from dying on the street, why wouldn’t you?”