My name is Alex. I am 23 years old and I am just like any other girl apart from the fact that my priority in life is saving stray, abused and neglected dogs in Cyprus and rehoming them. I was only 17 when I started finding dogs on the streets and taking them home. Other people started asking me if they can leave dogs they found stay with me as they knew because of my love for animals I wouldn’t say “No”. I had 5 then 10, then 15 dogs at home that I was caring for all alone.
I used to work night shifts in a hotel. My salary was going for vet bills and food. While my friends were out living their lives, I dedicated mine to the dogs. I didn’t have any financial support, I didn’t have any fundraiser, I couldn’t find any homes for them. The 15 became 30 and I couldn’t manage work and looking after for the dogs. It was unbelievably tiring and difficult. I had to make a choice. So, I quit my job to care for the dogs.
I started posting on Facebook, I did a fundraiser and I started asking people for help. The dogs were too many to stay at home, so I was forced to find a place where I could look after them. I rented a field, built whatever I could with whatever funds and personal money I had, and I took the dogs there. That, in 2012, was how Alex’s Farm of Strays Animal Rescue opened its doors. The 30 dogs became 35…40… I didn’t know anyone at the time who could help me with rehoming them and no one was offering to help me either.
In 2015 I met a kind man who had saved 10 dogs from the pound that were due to be euthanized and put them in a fenced field that he had. He asked me to help him rehome them and look after them as he couldn’t do it alone and come to care for them every day. With the help of some kind people we managed to built some cages. When other dogs started coming in they would go to the new field as the other one was already full. From 40 the dogs became 60, then 70, then a 100 and later nearly 150, to 200+ at present. It is very difficult as it’s only very few of us, 4-5 people that care for all the dogs. Not everyone is here every day apart from me.
At the Farm we also take all the dogs that nobody wants for different reasons – they have problems, they are sick, or they need surgeries. We have dogs with leishmaniasis that most shelters wouldn’t even consider taking in, we have dogs with brain damage, neurological problems, very old, dogs that need or had more than one surgery. That’s why we owe the Vets so much money, because we cannot leave them ill and suffering in pain. It would break my heart. The Vets are patient and help us, but they also want their money.
Our expenses are overwhelming. On average per month we need 2500 euros for food and 1500 euros for medical care (and that is after we pay off the huge amount we owe already). People keep on bringing in dogs every day and we can’t say “No” to any of them. We also save dogs from government pounds that are on a death row. Euthanasia is a forbidden word in the Farm. Once they join the pack the dogs become our responsibility – they need food, medical care, some of them need tablets on daily basis, we need to neuter and spay them as we don’t have enough cages to separate them. Some days we give them the last food and we don’t know what we are going to feed them the next day. Those are the worst days and the sleepless nights worrying and feeling helpless and broken. That our babies will have to stay hungry until we find a solution. It is so difficult when they look at you, waiting and you just don’t know what to do. It is heartbreaking, it is unfair. We don’t mind spending hours cleaning and looking after them. All we want is to have some adequate financial help, so we can at least give them a decent way of life until they find their forever homes… We welcome help from anyone everywhere around the world. Donations of any kind – financial, food, blankets, towels, leads, collars, bowls, toys, any materials that we can build something for the dogs. Volunteers are always welcome as we could really do with some help in the Farm. Even to take the dogs for a walk.
We work with rehoming charities in UK and Belgium. That is where most of our dogs get rehomed. If any rehoming charities in other countries want to help us with rehoming and want to work together can contact us. We had and have many pure breed dogs as well – Dobermans, Akita, Staffs, GSD, Pointers, Beagles, Chihuahua, Pekingese, Labrador etc. We have all kind of dogs – small, big, puppies, young dogs, senior dogs, mix breeds, pure breeds… something to fit anyone’s criteria. And yet people prefer to buy a dog rather than give a shelter dog a second chance in life. Even fostering will change the life of many dogs in the shelter – so many of them need a loving environment just so they can start thrust people again. Something that the shelter unfortunately can’t give them as we have to care for all of them and we don’t have time for one on one. They are depressed, scared, hiding in a corner all day, terrified from human touch. It is so painful seeing them like that it makes us cry just thinking what those innocent souls have been through to become so sad and broken. Some of the dogs have been with us for years without anyone having any interest in them just because they are black or too old or have a life long illness.
Least but not last, whatever difficulties we face, we will never stop saving and caring for the poor and neglected dogs that one way or another find their way to our Farm. It’s very hard at times, stressful, upsetting and emotionally draining but I don’t regret a day I helped an animal in need. When you see the pictures of them with their new families enjoying life…that is what keeps me going, the best reward. The love and gratitude they give us… it is priceless. We have rehomed over 200 dogs over the years and hopefully many more in the years coming.