A COUPLE from Wokingham came home from holiday with a little more than just a souvenir – they rescued a dog.
Sue Gilder and Phil Richardson, who live in the town centre, were holidaying on the Greek island of Crete when they found a stray dog which had been hanging around their resort, looking lost.
Unlike the street dogs that are common in the Greek islands, this dog was wearing a red collar with a tag attached, and it was obvious it had once had an owner.
Sue and another guest at the hotel, Carole Kendall, who lives in Yorkshire, asked the receptionist at their hotel if they could print off some posters asking for the dog’s owner to come forward, but after several days with no news, it became clear the dog had been abandoned.
The holidaymakers drove the dog, who is believed to be between two and four years old, to the local vet, who examined her and gave her a full bill of good health, but told Sue and Carole that she had probably been dumped by someone who was employed at a nearby naval base.
The vet told them that people were known to come to the island on a three-year contract, home a puppy, and then leave it behind when their contract came to an end.
The women returned to the hotel where they left the dog with the hotel’s management, but were devastated to find out that the dog had been driven out of the resort and dumped by the side of a road. Luckily, someone found the dog and saw one of the posters with Sue’s number on it, and they picked her up from a nearby beach.
Carole said: “We spent three days hiding her in a bedroom, and decided that all four of us would share the cost of getting her back to England.
“After countless trips to the vet to get her documents and a passport, we drove to the airport and begged them to get her on a flight to Heathrow on the same day as Sue and Phil were leaving.”
Thankfully the begging worked and the dog, who has been named Ela which is Greek for ‘come here’, is now safely at her new home in Wokingham.
Sue said: “We wanted to choose a Greek word for her name as it may be a sound that she is familiar with, and Hellas is the Greek word for Greece, so we thought it was appropriate to call her that.
“She has settled in well with our other dog, Bob, and we’ve even taken her away camping for the weekend.”
Carole added: “We thought it would be best for Ela to stay with Sue and Phil as myself and my husband, Ian, spend a lot of time out of the country and it wouldn’t be fair on the dog.
“We are planning to visit her in her new home soon though!”