News Winter 2010

It’s been a long hot summer.

With temperatures sizzling up in the 40s. It’s been tough and thirsty work keeping our animals clean, fed and watered.

However the constant joy of seeing sickly, frightened and confused animals blossom into happy healthy ones and move on to new and better lives makes every drop of sweat worthwhile.

As we reported in our last news letter the sanctuary faces a daily struggle to meet it costs and this hasn’t changed. We would however like to thank all of those people who responded to our pleas for help and funding.

As we head into winter things are looking up but it’s a huge mountain to climb so please keep up the good work, the fund raising and the financial support. With your help we can help!


Happy Hunde

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’)


Sponsor Stars

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.

One such animal is our gentle giant Bruno [pictured left]. Irish wolfhound Bruno came to the sanctuary after being dragged behind the truck of the local dogcatcher. Despite suffering scars both physical and emotional no legal action was taken.

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!


Dog News


As usual we have had our fair share of new dogs arriving over the summer and in particular a large number of puppies, so the new brick built kennels in our three puppy runs have been a huge success in keeping them cool.

The majority of the surrounding area has been tiled making the morning clean out quicker and more thorough.

Our biggest Summer problem on the dogs continues to be the prevention of ticks. Thriving in the soil and grass in hot weather these ghastly little critters not only cause discomfort to our dogs but in serious cases can also lead to diseases.

Eradicating them completely sadly requires funds that we simply don’t have so regular baths with tick shampoo and coat checks are made by the already over stretched volunteers.

In order to avoid a repeat of the chaos caused by last winters floods, Phil Frank and Jim have built a retaining wall at the high end of the dogs’ runs. The wall will work as a dam to prevent further mudslides down the sloping runs and trenches will channel the rainwater away

We were delighted back in June to be nominated for a Grant from the Body Shop Foundation. Sponsor program coordinator Nicos presented a proposal for the funding of 5 new holding areas for newly admitted dogs. His proposal was successful and In September we were awarded a full grant of £3000. A construction team of Jim, Phil Frank and Andreas have already begun to lay the foundations for a total of 14 holding pens working alongside project managers Nicos and Argos supporter Leda.

And finally as the colder nights arrive the team overseeing the dogs have taken delivery of a whole new set of kennels to make sure that all dogs are warm and cosy at night.


Mum's the Word

Much appreciated by Argos is the hard work put in by the many foster Mums and Dads who for various reasons take animals into their own homes for some extra TLC and training.

Volunteers Inga and Jana have endured many sleepless nights caring for orphaned kittens. Un weaned kittens require 3 hourly feeds in order to grow strong and thrive. Many people make the mistake of thinking that a saucer of milk is all that’s needed, far from it, in fact that saucer of milk will only make the kitten more sick.

Just like human babies, if mother’s milk is not available a special formula suitable for their tiny stomachs and delicate digestive systems needs to be fed. Between them Inga and Jana have fostered over a hundred kittens with as many as 16 at one time. Inga has no doubts about why she chooses to put in all the hard work "We do this because they need help and cannot survive without our help and of course they give us great satisfaction. They grow in front of our eyes from sick small kittens into beautiful cats and that is our reward"


Another Fosterer doing amazing work for Argos is Sue Hannis [pictured left]. Sue and her husband Roy have cared for 7 puppies over the last 2 years. Sues own words express perfectly both the highs and of course the tough times involved in fostering.

"Fostering involves giving love warmth security and training for the dogs. Some dogs that have had bad experiences will take longer than other dogs that have been abandoned as puppies. Boris, a terrier poodle cross who came to me at 4 weeks old with pneumonia and parvo wasn’t expected to live, he is the one we found hardest to let go.

From the day we got him he slept on my chest so I could hear him breath. Once he was out of the woods he went everywhere with me for 3 months until some lovely people in Germany adopted him. I took him to the airport and only put him in the carrier at the last moment. Of course you cry and think about keeping them but you have done your best to make sure they have a long and happy life with a new family who will love them as much as you.

Although I know Boris has a good and loving home typing this I’m crying because in the short time we shared his life he gave us so much love and so many happy memories. You can’t change the world but you can change the future of the abandoned animals of Cyprus and it has its own rewards, just try it and see.

The dog in the picture is Ben who is about 15 months old and was abused. When we first fostered him he would sit in the middle of the room and let no one near him, he had to see all the way round so he could escape from a beating.

Carers Andria and Alan found saying goodbye to foster dog Duke a tough day but were rewarded when they received photos of him with his wonderful new German family. For Jan Kerr memories of little terrier Effie bring a smile. ‘When Effie arrived she seemed very sad with her tail between her legs .By the end of the 1o days she was a different dog , she wanted to play, came on my lap and enjoyed her walks. She really came out of herself so much that she jumped up onto the bed and decided to tear up our car insurance which we had just renewed - we had to laugh"


Norma's Cat Chat


Despite the heat, which has made the cats very lethargic, they have had a good summer with fewer health issues to deal with. Last years work has certainly paid off and we now have a very happy healthy group of cats at the sanctuary.

The one problem that did need to be tackled this summer though was that of ear mites. Ear mites spread on contact, so in order to eradicate the problem a series of 3 injections were administered to each cat by vet Maria.

It may have been the most economical way of tackling the problem, but it did throw up the problem of how to quickly identify the cats that had been injected. The solution was a bindi style dab of the watercolour paint on the forehead of each cat after its jab. This led to a very colourful collection of cats!

A much-needed stretch of shade has been added running almost the entire length of the main cat area. Huge thanks to Frank for doing this in the searing heat.

Our much-loved little Rosie who has been with us since the sanctuary opened has found a new home. Rosie had a badly deformed paw after an accident as a kitten but never lets this slow her down. Rosie moves to Germany, adopted by supporter Susannah for her mother. We’ll miss you Rosie.

Gone too is Angus, one of our blind cats. This remarkable little cat never lets his disability spoIl his fun and has headed to a new home with our great friends the Iselin family in Switzerland.

Finally we were sad to lose our beautiful blind cat Thomas [pictured above] who sadly passed away , he leaves a big gap as he was a cat full of character and a huge heart.


Fund Raisers and Thank Yous

Various fund raisers over the past few months have helped us to make progress at the sanctuary.

They included a lively race Night at Dhekalia and the 4 km sponsored walk organized by Andria and Norma. Set to become an annual fun day out for humans and dogs alike, the walk raised in excess of €2,400.

We thank The Cyprus Cactus and Succulent Society whose party at the garden of an Argos supporter raised €200.

Thanks too, to those who helped with our cake and bric a brac stall at the Agia Napa festival which raised over €600.

Special thanks go to Charlie, Noff and the boys for taking the collection and to Marian who baked over 100 delicious cup cakes.

Restaurants Folio in Kapparis, Sage, Hokkaido and Limelight in Agia Napa and Blue Spice in Pernera supported our "Help us to feed them too" campaign which ran over the weekend leading up to World Animal Day on October 4th, raising another €620.


In October Nicos [pictured left] ran the 3rd category section of the Nicosia Marathon. He completed his run in only 28 minutes [which MUST be a record], raising more than €2000, and is already gathering support for an Argos team to run in next years event so if anyone is keen to get fit this might be your motivation!

There are so many people who continually support Argos either financially or by giving their time. We would like to thank you all for your generosity.

To the anonymous sponsor from Nicosia who covered the expenses of our first calendar with her donation of €1500 to another supporter from Nicosia who over the year has provided us with free building materials worth over €10,000, to the Nicosian sponsor who donated an incredible €5000.

Businesses such as Azzuro Hair Design, Auto Car wash, Just So Crafty, Woof Cuts, Hairport , G.I Burgers, Park Cafe, Lambros Restaurant, Lysia Restaurant, Rock and Bowl. Designer Nails, Oak Tree Wine Cellar and Dog Splash Nicosia are always willing supporters of any fund raising events.