Educational Resources

“S.M.A.R.T. Guide for Animal Care in Greece”

In 2015 we published a “S.M.A.R.T. Guide for Animal Care in Greece” where we provide practical and useful information & tips to the public related to the awareness and animal care. In our brochure you can learn about important topics, such as:

  • picking up the poop and spaying/neutering

  • needs of stray animals

  • care for animals

  • health and therapeutic benefits of animals

  • necessity of ending the cruel practice of animal poisoning in Greece

  • links to the NGO’ s, vets, shelters, S.O.S. centres in Greece

  • Greek law protecting animal rights

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Here is an excerpt from the “S.M.A.R.T. Guide for Animal Care in Greece”:

Pick Up the Poop

When we (dog owners) take our pets for a walk down the street it is our responsibility to help keep streets free from dog poop. Not only is this an act of respect for other people, their pets, one’s neighbourhood and community, but it is also a preventative measure for possible disease and health risks that affect us all. It is also against the Greek law (4039/2012) and dog owners who do not pick up after their pets can be fined.

Here are some S.M.A.R.T. tips to help curb the problem:
  • Carry some plastic bags with you at all times (for your dog’s poop).

  • Speak out to others that you may see not picking up their dog’s poop and ask them to please help keep the area clean.

  • Ask your local mayor to install “dog poop bag stations” at the local park and public areas. These stations provide convenient access to the bags and a waste disposal.

  • Understand the health implications of bacteria from exposed dog poop. Dog waste is an environmental pollutant. In 1991, it was labeled a non-point source pollutant, placing it in the same category as herbicides and insecticides; oil, grease and toxic chemicals; and acid drainage from abandoned mines.
STOP the poisonings

Poisoning animals, especially stray dogs and cats, has been unfortunately common practice in Greece for decades. Only recently there has been raised public awareness about this cruel and inhuman practice which causes animals unbearable suffering.

 

Solution for overpopulation of stray animals is not poisoning but birth control of stray animals through neutering and spaying.

Poisoning animals is illegal under Greek law 4039/2012 and can be punished by prison and substantial financial fine.

 

Please do report poisonings to the police!

Let’s Be S.M.A.R.T. is working very hard to manage a campaign in order to help educate the public about the unnecessary poisonings happening on a regular basis here in Greece.  We are collaborating with other animal organizations and the Global Citizens program affiliated with an American University in Athens in order to display posters and flyers which obtain important information about the poisonings, a contact number, the penalties for carrying out these acts, etc.  This is a serious matter.  We believe that when people care and love animals, they are better people in general. Studies have linked animal abuse to carry over to human abuse.  A country that takes responsibility for its animals will evolve into a very positive and rich country.
Spaying/Neutering

As a pet owner, one of the most important health decisions you’ll make is to spay or neuter your cat or dog.

Spaying – removing the ovaries and uterus of a female pet – is a simple veterinary procedure that requires minimal hospitalization and offers lifelong health benefits.

Neutering – removing the testicles of your male dog or cat – will vastly improve your pet’s behaviour and keep him close to home.

Main benefits and reasons for spaying/neutering your pet:

  • Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life

  • Neutering provides major health benefits for your male

  • Your spayed female won’t go into heat/come into season

  • Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home/your male cat won’t spray around the house

  • Your neutered male will be much better behaved

  • Spaying/neutering is highly cost-effective, good for the community and helps to reduce the number of stray animals on the streets.

In Greece there is a large population of stray dogs and cats as a result of irresponsible behaviour of pet owners who often do not spay/neuter their pets. Unwanted offsprings of their pets then end up in animal shelters, on the streets or in worse case are subject of cruelty from the pet owners themselves who are trying to get rid of them in unethical ways. The stray animals pose a real problem as they can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna, frighten children and adults. At the same time the stray animals are very often subject of abuse and cruelty. Spaying and neutering is therefore indispensable for reducing the number of animals on the streets. There are numerous networks of volunteers in Greece dedicated to the reduction of the stray cat overpopulation through “trap-neuter-return” programs.

Other educational resources

Benefits of animals for elderly people

Humans benefit greatly from the companionship of a pet. An animal in the life of a senior can help them to overcome feelings of loneliness, offer sense of security, give them new meaning and improve their overall well-being tremendously. Therefore it is important for seniors to have a pet in their living environment.

Animals are not only great company for elderly people but there are studies showing proven benefits of animal therapy for patients that have Alzheimer or dementia. Some animals can even remind their companion to take their medicine!

Benefits that animals have for War Veterans with PTSD (Post Trauma Stress Disorder)

For years, animals have been used with great benefit in the treatment of the elderly people, children with autistic and other
disorders and diseases or the terminally ill patients. Now Animal Assisted Therapy is benefiting war veterans sufferers of the so called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While the majority of cases involve pairing PTSD patients with dogs, the treatment has also seen positive results when patients interact with other animals like horses, cats, birds and dolphins.

Ways in which animals can help PTSD war veterans:

* Demanding care - for the PTSD patient troubled by recurring thoughts of a traumatizing experience, it is helpful to have an animal which requires the focus to be shifted away from self and toward them and their needs.

* Overcoming emotional numbness - animals draw out even the most isolated personality, and having to praise the animals helps traumatized veterans overcome emotional numbness.

* Animals are accepting creatures - for the PTSD patient, pets are the ever-affectionate friend determined to give and receive comfort and attention without judgement.

* Physical health benefits - physical benefits include lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

* Psychological benefits - animals ease the impacts of PTSD, such as depression and anxiety.

Click here to read more about benefits that our amazing animals have for war veterans suffering of PTSD.

What to do (and not do) in case you find a newborn kitten

During high kitten season in the spring and summer, it’s not unusual to discover a nest of unattended kittens or a single kitten seemingly abandoned by the mother.

 

First of all, wait and watch since their mother can be off searching for food, or is in the process of moving kittens to a different location. Try to determine if the mother is coming back for them, or if they are truly orphaned. If mom returns and the area is relatively safe, leave the kittens alone with mom until they are weaned. If you discover that mom has been hit by a car, or if for any reason it appears that she is not coming back, then you should remove the kittens. This is crucial to the kittens’ survival. But you must be prepared to see this project through to weaning if you decide to intervene!

First Steps

  • prepare for bottle-feeding and proper care before you take the kittens off the street

  • if you take kittens in, wrap the carrier or container you will use for transportation in a towel for warmth (make sure you leave air holes uncovered so the kittens won’t suffocate)

  • check to see if the kittens are warm - this is more important than feeding. Never feed a cold kitten! If the kittens are cold, you will need to warm them up slowly. Check the pads of his feet and/or if ears feel cool or cold. Put your finger in the kitten’s mouth. If it feels cold, then the kitten’s temperature is too low. This is life-threatening and must be dealt with immediately.

  • warm up the kitten slowly over 20 minutes by wrapping him in a towel or baby blanket, holding him close to your body, and continually rubbing him with your warm hands

  • try to determine the age of the kittens (by visiting a vet or searching in the internet)

Feeding & Elimination

  • neonatal kittens (under four weeks of age) cannot eat solid food (not canned, not dry) and cannot urinate or defecate on their own, so you must bottle-feed them around-the-clock and stimulate their genitals after every feeding so they can eliminate

  • example: kittens less than one week old need to be fed and stimulated every three hours. That means you will be caring for them eight times a day. As the kittens age, the number of feeding per day goes down (you can start weaning at four weeks of age)

  • skipping feeding or overfeeding can cause diarrhea, which results in dehydration. This might be fatal for small kittens. Diarrhea requires a visit to the veterinarian.

  • Powdered kitten milk replacement formula is better for kittens than the canned liquid formula as it prevents diarrhea. It can be purchased at pet food stores, veterinarians’ offices, or online
  • you have stimulate their genitals after every feeding to help them eliminate

How to help your child overcome anxiety with animals

by Dr. Chrysoula Kostogiannis, Ph.D.

Many children are afraid of animals either because they have had a personal

bad experience with an animal or have observed someone else in a dangerous situation with an animal.

 

Regardless of how the fear and/or anxiety developed, these children tend to overreact when close to an animal and learn to avoid situations with animals, thus maintaining their anxiety.

Dr. Chrysoula Kostogiannis, Ph.D. is a Clinical & School Psychologist and Director of Hellenic Institute for Rational Emotive & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Below you will find suggestions on how you as a parent can help your child overcome his/her anxiety with an animal:

  • Recognize that the anxiety for animals is there = it is real; recognize your own (possible) anxiety for animals

  • Identify the source of the anxiety and start to deal with it step by step

  • Discuss the underlying (negative, unhelpful) thinking that maintains fear and/or anxiety for animals

  • Gradually and in a step by step process introduce the animal to your child; give it time, but be consistent with exposing your child to the animal. Remember! It is important to respect your child’s pace of change, while together you are moving forward to overcoming his/her anxiety

  • Talk about the animal, read books, meet an animal trainer and let your child ask questions

  • Discuss the benefits of being with an animal - bond, sharing, friendship, responsibility, less stress/loneliness, better health and much, much more!

  • Think in a positive and helpful way

  • When ready: start with a trained or adult animal first

  • Smile and use an animal voice (i.e.,doggie voice when approaching a dog )

  • Recognize the signs of a smile in an animal (i.e.,dog: mouth open, lips pulled back, tongue sort of lolling, no tension in the face )

  • Ask to touch the animal

  • First touch the animal on its body (i.e., dog’s body, then let the dog sniff/lick you)

  • Avoid pulling tails!

  • Avoid using words like “Does your animal bite?” when you see an animal!

  • When your child experiences successful interactions with animals, reinforce him/her by saying “You did it!” enthusiastically and continue with opportunities for exposure

  • Emphasize all the benefits of connecting with animals!!

  • If you have a fear of animals, go through the process with your child and work on overcoming your personal fear. The benefits will be multiple!!! You will have the chance to set yourself free from your anxiety, you can be a role model for your child and ..... experience a unique bonding experience with your child

 

 

Useful Site: www.recbt.gr

Hellenic Institute for Rational Emotive & Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy

Educational semminars

“DARE TO CARE”
Presentation of Mrs. Julie Kelley
President of Let's be S.M.A.R.T.
Hellenic American University in Athens
Mrs. Julie Kelley presented on the campus of the Hellenic American University in Athens her vision and activities of Let's be S.M.A.R.T. in Greece. She spoke with the young audience about following topics:
  • importance of giving time and resources to charity work for animals
  • why caring for animals is of the vital importance for humans
  • facts & interesting information about animals
  • healing and therapeutic benefits of animals
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