In a world of chaos and strife, we sometimes hear stories that restore our faith in humanity. By no mistake, one man’s mission in life changed the day he visited his local dumpster.
One day six years ago, Theoklitos (‘Takis’) Proestakis was curious about his local garbage dump on the Greek island of Crete, where he lives. So, he decided to pay a visit. A dog he met there completely changed his life forever.
Proestakis told CBS News that there he met an injured dog that he knew he had to help. After giving the pup medical help from a local veterinarian, and not having any space in his own home to keep the pup, he returned the dog to the area where he found him…but, checked on him with food every day.
Well, the dogs began to come out of the cracks and crevices. “I was taking care of 50 dogs. After a few days, I was taking care of 70 dogs. Every single day,” Proestakis recounted.
Neighbors began to complain and even threatened to poison the innocent dogs. Proestakis made a decision at that moment to change his own life to save theirs. Fate allowed him to be able to find and purchase a 500-square-meter piece of land near the dump, and before the 30 days was up, he moved the 70 or so dogs he was caring for to the space. He named the area “Takis Shelter.”
Now, six years later, Proestakis is caring for 342 dogs at his shelter, along with goats and cats that he has rescued, by himself. He says all of the dogs have names and he remembers each and every one of them. The space is a “free shelter,” so the dogs are permitted to run around the land and are not locked inside. The shelter has grown to 33,000-square-meters and costs about $8,000 monthly to operate, with new dogs coming in regularly.
Proestakis credits the generous donations from people all over the world with keeping his doors open after he spent $185,000 of his own money, earned from 20 years in the night club industry. “This is how the shelter is alive still,” said Proestakis.”Because of donations around the world.”
He says people don’t throw dogs in the garbage dump area anymore, as the space is no longer used for rubbish, he regularly saves abandoned or stray dogs and posts the incredible rescues on Facebook, as well.
Proestakis lives on the shelter property in a small container house, so he could be closer to the pups. But even when he’s in his home, he’s surrounded by furry friends.
“I have about 11 to 12 dogs in the bed,” he said. “I have the most sensitive dogs in the container house with me — two paralyzed dogs, young puppies…”
While taking care of the dogs may be grueling, Proestakis said he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “Everything happens for a reason,” Proestakis told CBS News. “I think I was born for this. I love it so much.”
There are angels among us…even for pups! Seems Proestakis might be another St. Francis of Assisi.
Ref. CBS News, MSN/News
Photo courtesy of Bing via fundrazr.com