Sun 15 Nov, Moni, Limassol: Anna asks me to return to Sirius to photograph the Dog Walk, an event which is run monthly. They’re expecting, and get, a good turn out, as the weather is perfect for walking (not too hot and no rain). I arrive at 11 and many dogs have already joined their walkers; the dirt track leading to the shelter is full of animated people being pulled along by eager dogs to the sound of laughter, barking and chatter. Some arrive alone, others in couples or family groups.
Anna and her team of volunteers are trying their best to meet the demand for dogs, but queues are forming. She argues with a woman with two small children, explaining that they can’t take three dogs they have no small dogs, only hunting dogs who are extremely strong; eventually the woman agrees to take one, and is suddenly swept down the road, pulled by an excited canine.
“…familiarity with animals was regarded by the devout as proof of a dirty, beastly and unholy life.” (p101 Samantha Hurn, Humans and Other Animals: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Human-Animal Interactions, 2012)
The dogs know from early morning that it is Dog Walk day, and are already in a state of high excitement by the time the walkers arrive. Some people return a dog after their walk and immediately take another (and some yet another). A (British Army) family take two pointer dogs all the way down to the beach; Anna, worried that they are not going to return, takes off on a bicycle to find them, but they turn up a little while later smiling, dogs tongues lolling, apologetic. I walk a little way along the track that most are taking which leads to the sea; they are happy to pose for photographs, seeing it as part of the event.
“…pets are valuable social catalysts.” (p 102 Humans and Other Animals: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Human-Animal Interactions, 2012)
I leave at 1.30pm and take the motorway back to Nicosia.