Save pets!

The front page article in Sunday Mail (Cyprus Mail Internet Edition of 2, August 2009) adresses the issue which has been my constant concern over the last 10 years, that is abandoned pets in Cyprus, mostly cats and dogs.

Record numbers of dogs abandoned
By Nathan Morley

Britons packing up are not only kissing goodbye to their life in the sun, but their pets as well.
Despite UK's reputation of being a nation of animal lovers, British expats are rapidly becoming the main culprits behind the growing scourge of pet dumping in Cyprus<...>

A recent case in Paphos left animal rescuers close to tears when they were tipped off by an anonymous caller that a dog had been left alone in an apartment.
Rescuers were forced to break down the door, only to discover the family had packed up and fled to England, leaving the dog locked indoors and left to starve.

And only last week a family had abandoned their pet dog and cats in their garden and left for the UK, a concerned neighbour told the Sunday Mail, “they were such lovely people, I cannot understand it."

Every time I read a story of that kind, my heart is bleeding. There is no excuse for people leaving their loving and devoted pets behind knowing that they'll be lonely and not taken care of and eventually dying of starvation.

Last summer we'd nearly hit a dog on a motorway and only a miracle had saved us and that dog (see photo) which we'd picked up, fed and later delivered to a safe place. The dog was rather old but very cute and friendly. He had a little dirty scarf on his fluffy neck, and looking at him I thought about his owners and how much they'd worried about their pet being lost. But now I'm thinking that probably that cute dog might be just discarded, brought to the deserted and dangerous place near a motorway and left on his own.

The other day, we'd found a newborn kitten sealed in a plastic box and left in the middle of the road in front of our house. Thank God, we live in a quiet dead-end corner of the village and just a few cars a day roll by our house. That kitten was taken home and we'd almost broke our nails just to unseal that box! He was blind, wet and cried from cold and hunger.
Now he is one of our favorite cats named Cucumber (see photos) who shares daily food and home with the other 15 to 18 cats and kittens we'd saved and sheltered over the last few years. Yes, they leave in our garden and my husband had built a two-storeyed wooden house for them!

Some cats come and go, probably for better life someplace else. People in our village are pet-friendly, and the one can see cats and dogs in every courtyard and garden. Sometimes we feed our neighbours' dogs and they share their BBQ with our cats ) )

I do not suggest that everybody should follow our example, but I'm sure that anyone who wants to get a pet should think twice and realize that this is and always will be a lifelong (at least, the pet's lifelong) responsibility regardless of whether the one wishes so or not.

And those who betrayed their pets must beg for the Lord's forgiveness...


I'm a proud parent

After one year of study Biomedical Sciences at the University of Glasgow, our daughter has made her first important achievement - she's been awarded the Dobbie Smith Prize for 2009 which is a great honour for her and, obviously, for us as her loving parents.

Well done, Ksen!


Crisis... Recession... What we gonna do in 2009?

Since the mass-media is profusely infested by massive reports and opinions on the global financial and economic crisis and the longest recession in a quarter-century (that's for the USA but I assume it's applicable for the European community as well), it's impossible to avoid the constant pondering on what we gonna do next year and after the next and, what is our real perspective for the nearest future?

When I say "our", I mean myself, my family, our friends and colleagues and, generally, our country.

  • So, about myself... I'd worked hard the last 10 years and it seems that nothing gonna change in this department, which is quite OK with me. I'd get used to a tough business environment and do not expect anything special that I've not met before (including job loss, pressure, tight money etc.).
  • About the family... We've obviously get more disciplined in our domestic finance, spend less, try to keep up with the monthly budget and think twice before making any decision which may be quite risky and material. We've suspended our plans for building a new house for a while, unlike our neighbors who's house has been under construction for the last 10 months and the work is nearing the happy end (so, they've managed to escape the crisis so far).
  • About our friends and colleagues. Well, some of them are calm and confident, the others are nervous and pessimistic. It depends on the starting point at which they've met the so called "global crisis" (job, money, health) and, of course, on the personal approach to the living strategy.
  • And as for our country... Our President has reassured the public that his government follows a "calculated financial and social policy" to safeguard the island from the world financial crisis. We shall see how well they've made their calculations and whether Cyprus is strong enough to sustain the tough times when the big brothers are in trouble.

So, what we gonna do next year is: work hard, control our spending, take care of each other, help our relatives if they're hit by crisis, think positive and believe in future.


Highlands, Scotland

The divine natural beauty of Scotland will never cease to impress me.

During the last few days we've traveled across the Highlands and every day there was something new and different for us, something that we've never experienced before. Like a crystal lake hidden between the rocky folds of Glen Coe just about a mile or so from the main road and yet invisible and accidentally discovered by us when looking for a ... mobile phone lost somewhere on the way and found by another tourist who bothered to call us from there!!!

Or, like feeding a wild reindeer at Black Mount - he liked nuts and raisins but also chewed on some apple:
Or me get caught on the Ben Nevis path in darkness and walking a few miles back to Fort William through the forest. That was quite an experience for me, as I'd realised too late that I'd forgotten to ask at hotel whether there were any wild animals in the area (like wolves, bears etc.)...

I've also made hundreds of pictures of the most adorable Scottish sheep who've proved to be really cute and very intelligent as they kept on standing still and looking at camera while being photographed!!

I love this country.

For more photos look here.



Last weekend I’ve attended the annual Les Mills festival in Cyprus, and that was fantastic!

First of all, the location. Coral Beach Hotel and Resort in Paphos is a beautiful place to visit and stay for a couple of days or more. From my room balcony I could enjoy a view of the picturesque landscape where the sea looked more like a placid lake surrounded by the rich green frame of tropic trees and cypresses. The sun was shining, the weather was really nice and summer-like, and that was a good start for a really impressive and exciting two-days sport event.

Yes, the spirit of festival was all over the place. I could not imagine how many people would come and join the fascinating program made of a range of various fitness classes and presentations, including Body Attack, Body Combat, Body Jam, Body Pump, Body Step, Body Vive and, of course, my favorite Body Balance! And you shouldn’t be a very well trained and perfectly fit person to enjoy a great fun of this event – all sort of people of all ages and body shapes were rubbing shoulders at a huge hall designed for training sessions and sharing a genuine joy of being together and doing sport together.

And, of course, our instructors were great! I believe that 50% percent of the success in doing exercises belongs to the quality of the coaching and the understanding of people’s needs. We come to classes to get fit, to lose some fat but also to have fun and get a real change from our everyday routine at work. And our instructors were the best! They made us feeling involved and engaged, they’d never forgotten to praise our good performance and cheer up our spirit during the exhausting training sessions. Sometimes, I felt like a real professional, and that experience was unforgettable.

I will definitely go to Les Mills festival next year, because this is a great chance to feel myself involved and being the part of a big community, to meet new friends, to share experience and have fun and happiness which last much longer than just a weekend.