Walk around Crete in 50 days – 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.

Gayner Vlastou

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.

Each 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 World Animal Protection, the Greek Animal Rescue and the RSPCA.

Moblie Clinic for Animals

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 support.

The project “Walk around Crete in 50 days”

Ivan 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 his words:

Ivan van Driessche

“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 animals.

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.

the walking route of Ivan around Crete
Ivan’s route around Crete

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“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.

stray dog

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 abroad.

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.

The total 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.”

Yannis Samatas,

Walk around Crete in 50 days – Daily Reports

the walking route of Ivan around Crete

The map above shows the route of Ivan’s walk around Crete. Ivan started his walk from Malia on March 1, 2005 and ended it at the same place on April 19, 2005.

Ivan van Driesche walked around Crete in order to raise funds for the support of “The Haven”, the animal welfare group of Malia. ExploreCrete supported this project by designing Ivan’s website, publishing the daily reports online and by raising more funds from our visitors.

Daily Reports from Ivan’s walk around Crete

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