Gismo is a little boy that did not have a good start in his young life. Approximately seven years ago, following a report by a resident in the settlement of Argithea, Peania, he came to ESPI together with Milka, another small pony. These two unfortunate ponies had been attacked and bitten by a herd of dogs but luckily for them, their benefactor had managed to close them both in her yard to shield them from their attackers until we could safely take them away.
Hereabouts, literally “next door”, not even five minutes from Koropi centre. Tied up permanently at the back of a rotting tractor, with only two meters of rope. Left at the mercy of the sun and the rain, except for the few hours that the roof provided a little cover from the elements. His only food consisting of thrown out aubergines and a few traces of wheat grains, the ground covered in manure…
Lucky is a Greek horse 20+ years old, who was found after a passing car spotted him running free on Spata Avenue. He was evidently in distress, dehydrated and malnourished. Following all necessary legal procedures and with great effort because he was very distressed, he was transferred to ESPI. After careful examination by our vet we began treatment for his eyes and are slowly restoring his overall health to a more normal state.
Litsa is a former racing mare found abandoned in Crete and taken in by the animal welfare club 'Walking with Donkeys' in order to have the care she needed. Because of her wayward character, possibly due to the hardships she had endured, it was considered wise to transfer her to ESPI and be trained by Stavros Vergis, a volunteer with our association, in order for her to learn to trust humans again. Her training is still ongoing.
Stefi was found stray along with two other horses near the area of Mesogeion. The ropes with which she was tied were tangled in the grapevines trapping her. Exposed to the hot sun without food and water the animals suffered in silence. As soon as our volunteers found them they neighed joyfully as if they knew we were their saviours! Their owner had disappeared leaving abandoning 15-20 dogs, as well as the horses. The case is in the hands of the law and fortunately all the animals are in good hands. Stefi has a severe fracture in her hind leg, which hurts her at times. She is a friendly, proud animal full of life. She cannot be used for riding or walking because of the wound in her hip.
When Hera was found she had been wandering for days in the region of Keratea in Attica. After a three day search we found her next to Lavrio Avenue grazing unconcerned while hundreds of cars raced passed her. Our first impression was a positive one; we could see a red mare with glossy hair and a rich mane. But when we looked closer we discovered that behind and under her tail was a huge, bleeding cyst. We moved the mare with some difficulty to the stable for emergency treatment as it was impossible to get her into the transport trailer. Eventually we managed to get her in, fortunately without anybody getting hurt. The diagnosis was a sarcoid tumor. Treatment is ongoing.
Rafaela is a 2.5 year old colt born prematurely in ESPI’s facilities in April 2014 from Eliza Jr. , an extremely abused mare from the racetrack. She was born so small that ESPI’s volunteers had to bottle-feed her with her mother’s milk every two hours for at least two months (!). Her legs were so weak that she needed to have stints tied with bandages to support her. She was monitored around the clock until she was finally able to stand and suckle alone from her mother when she was about four months old. Rafaela is now healthy and despite her small size and the “bad” behavior learnt, spends many hours alongside other horses in order to acquire the necessary herd attitude.
Eliza is a racing mare who was found one summer day in July on a side street off Attiki Odos. She was lying down at the side of the road, suffering with symptoms of heat stroke and a swollen hind leg. Without prior knowledge of her history, as is the case for most of the horses that we encounter, we began providing her with first aid under the presence of a veterinarian. Our immediate goal was to get her to stand up and see how we could help her as soon as possible, because time was against her. The vet found that in addition to heat stroke, she also had symptoms of colic, dehydration, abrasions on her feet and lemfangieitida in her hind leg. After our long stay with her waiting for the police and the necessary legal processedures to be completed, we were able to stand her up and put her on the trailer to be transported to our facilities.
Jerry is a beautiful speckled mare about 20 years old suffering with a chronic problem in her spine. She came to us because her owner could not be ride her. Every time her owner tried to ride her she would be thrown off as even contact with the saddle caused her pain. Today she lives happily in the company of our other two mares in the shelter's paddocks.
Angel is a black beauty that was rescued thanks to the sensitivity of a gentleman from Kranidi in Argolida. He contacted us to help 'Aggelo', as he had charmingly named her, as she was abandoned, malnourished and wounded in her hind leg. When she arrived at the shelter she could not stand on her foot at all. Her foot was a shapeless, swollen mass without any hoof [claw]. Slowly her claw began to appear again but lacked its original form. After treating the wound she was able to stand on it, and even occasionally to gallop. Her recovery lasted for more than five months with constant care and costs that exceeded 2,500€. Her hoof will never be completely healed but at least it hurts less without having open wounds. She is just four years old and has a great will to live.