Walk around Crete in 50 days to support the stray animals in Crete
In 2005 Ivan Van Driesche walked around Crete in 50 days to raise funds for the stray animals in Crete.
Stray animals in Crete
The Cretan Animal
Welfare Group THE
HAVEN is based in Malia, which is 40 km from Heraklion, the
capital of Crete and working under the registered charity Nr. 104/880/52/93.
Founded in 1995 by Gayner Vlastou and her husband Michael, who is
always by her side and constantly supports her. The group consists
of 7 board members, elected by an annual, members general meeting.
The President is Mr. Nikos Halkiadakis.
Since the start, Gayner, Michael and their collaborators (only volunteers!)
work very hard to take care of the sick, wounded and neglected animals
on the island of Crete. Working every day…certainly more than
a 9 to 5 job…they know that sunshine alone doesn’t help
or solve the numerous problems!
Strays are a big problem on Crete. The group doesn’t have
the facilities to help them all, and the problem grows every year.
They operate a neutering and spaying program, before re-homing.
year, volunteer vets from Germany and Holland come to help neutering
cats and dogs. This is welcomed by Hotels and Local Authorities,
yet CAWG do not receive help (funds) from them for this service.
The CAWG is backed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals
(WSPA), the Greek Animal Rescue and Animal Welfare
(GAR) and the RSPCA.
WSPA has donated a Mobile Animal Clinic,
one of a total of only five worldwide to the Haven in Malia. The
aim of this clinic is to be able to help in places where no vets
visit. Because education is a priority, they try to reach as many
children and parents as they can. The group also uses the mobile
clinic as an educative item. The mobile clinic is equipped with a
video and screen to visit schools showing the groups work and the
correct way to care for animals.
Furnishing, maintenance and the functioning of the clinic needs
a lot of money and the Haven could benefit a lot from your financial
The project "Walk around Crete in 50 days"
van Driessche is a man from Belgium living in Crete since 1998. He
has been guiding tourists in Crete for the last 5 years and he decided
to walk around Crete in 50 days for his 50th birthday. These are
"One of my excursions, Samaria Gorge, gave me the
idea to walk around Crete. I have planned this for 2005, when I will
be 50 years old, and hope to achieve this venture in 50 days ! To
do this just for fun or to set a record, did not interest me, so
I looked for a welfare project on Crete, to which I could support
with my initiative.
After a while, and with the help of my friends Alan and Marilyn,
I met Gayner Vlastou ,
founder and owner of the "Cretan Animal Welfare Group" CAWG,
an organization, in Malia, which takes care for sick, wounded and neglected
When I met Gayner at her house "The Haven" , and
saw how dedicated she was to the animals, working with only volunteers,
her devotion and struggle broke my heart so I decided to help her.
This purpose of the project "Walk Crete in 50 days"
is to raise funds in order to update, maintain and make functional
the mobile animal clinic of the Haven.
- Ivan's route around Crete -
Support to Ivan's walk around Crete
"I have met Ivan personally and we had a long talk about his love
for Crete and the project "Crete in 50 days". He talked to me for
hours about the problem of the stray animals on Crete. It is true
that there are many stray animals in Crete and despite the fact that
many people feed some of them regularly, the problem has to be
handled in a more organised way.
Recently there are various volunteer groups from abroad mostly,
that operate a neutering and spaying program, before re-homing the
stray animals. A big number of them has also been adopted by families
All these efforts for the protection and the well-being of the animals
deserve every bit of support they can get and I promised Ivan that
I will help him by promoting his project on ExploreCrete and helping
him to redesign his website.
ExploreCrete receives more than 2000 visitors per day. I hope some
of you will share our concern about the stray animals and you will
decide to help Ivan's project by donating a small amount.
amount which will be gathered will be given to Ivan, one day before
the end of his long walk in Crete. On the last day of his walk,
Ivan will reach Malia, the starting and ending point of his walk,
he will meet with the Mayor of Malia and offer to Gayner Vlastou
of the Animal Welfare Group "the Heaven" the whole amount of money
he managed to gather from his project."
webmaster of ExploreCrete