The PAWS Story
Paws was founded in 2005 when Lindsay Geddes and Linda Parker met on the island of Paxos whilst on holiday with their partners. They were both shocked at the state of the cats on the island and were even more shocked to hear that Paxos had never had a regular veterinary service.
On returning to the UK Lindsay decided to write to the mayor of Paxos to ask if he would like help with animal welfare. Unexpectedly his response was positive, so PAWS charity was created!
Linda and Lindsay invested £10,000 to get the charity started. This enabled us to buy basic supplies and fund UK vet teams. As Paxos is such a beautiful island, there was no trouble in finding vets and nurses to volunteer for us. We offered to pay their flights, accommodation, car hire and ferries.
For the first 3 years, we worked outside under olive trees, in café courtyards, and in people’s gardens...wherever there was water and electricity. The vet teams became quite a tourist attraction! We always stayed at the Baronessa apartments in Gaios and the owner Katerina very kindly offered us in 2009 the use of her garden flat to use as a temporary clinic off season. This was a huge step forward and was very successful as we also had a garage space to store equipment when not working.
Lindsay continued to have meetings with the mayor about improving education, the introduction of neutering programmes and municipality support. PAWS also built numerous feeding stations around the island of which there are currently 18. They are looked after by volunteers and the charity donates over 4000 euros every year towards the food.
In 2011 Linda retired from the charity due to other commitments in the UK but Lindsay decided to pursue her objective of creating something permanent. Finally in 2012 the mayor donated an old building in Magazia to use as a permanent clinic for PAWS. Lindsay with financial help from The Dogs Trust and other sponsors managed to raise enough money to convert the building into a 4 roomed well equipped clinic. It was with great excitement that the PAWS municipal clinic was opened by the mayor in September 2013 and the charity launched its first website.
Since then, PAWS on Paxos has gone from strength to strength becoming a registered charity in the UK in 2014. We were delighted when Greek vet Nefeli Damigou joined the team in 2015 and worked at the PAWS clinic for 3 years. Due to our educational efforts, Nefeli realised there was enough business on the island for a private veterinary clinic which she opened in September 2018. Nefeli still supports PAWS and we very much enjoy working together. In 2020, the charity introduced a dog and cat neutering scheme which donates money towards the neutering of privately owned animals.
None of this would have been possible without the professional dedication and enthusiasm of all the voluntary vets and nurse that have worked for us on Paxos. Volunteers on Paxos have also played an important role in the success of the charity... too many names to mention here, but please take a tour around the website to discover more.
However, recognition must be given to the three trustees who all live on Paxos. Faye Lychnou has championed the charity from the beginning and given so much of her time and support. Di Mitchell, who since 2019 together with her husband Ian, have lovingly fostered so many cats and dogs finding homes for them in Greece and abroad. They have also helped all our UK vet teams on every visit. Our Greek vet Nefeli Damigou joined us in 2015, and since then has been a huge asset not only as an outstanding vet but always supporting the charity’s objectives.
We hope to continue our work on Paxos for as long as possible so please continue to support us with donations and grants.