CULTURE

‘Adopt a stray; share your home with true friend’

Today is World Animal Day and animal lovers can show their love in a practical fashion by adopting one of the 20 stray dogs rounded up by the municipality of Athens. The dogs will be there at Klafthmonos Square from 10 a.m. for an event organized by the city. Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni will announce a program for the protection of stray animals. Budgeted at 1.8 million euros, the project provides for the collection and electronic-tagging of strays and development of a data bank on 5,000 animals a year. These measures are being taken in view of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, so that the sight of strays on the roads doesn’t spoil the city’s image in the eyes of foreign visitors who love animals and respect their rights. Tomorrow the Animal Welfare Society of Greece, which has a long history of caring for animals, invites animal lovers to the Animal Welfare Health center in Koropi, exit 21, Lavrion-Vari junction on the Attiki Odos toward the airport. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., anyone who wants to can adopt a stray. Now that houses have lost their courtyards and become box-like apartments, people limit themselves to the dubious companionship of television and don’t get up to take the dog for a walk, these faithful creatures have come to be seen as a problem. But the sight of a wagging tail is a wonderful reward for a plate of food, clean water and a pat.