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Santorini travel blog

Keep up with SantoriniExperts and learn everything about Oia, Fira and Thirassia island, from useful tips for your trip to suggestions for various activities.

Santorini is not only home to the locals, seasonal employees and tourists, it is home for many cats, dogs and donkeys too. And just like the rest of the world, this island paradise also must take action to protect these vulnerable inhabitants.


In 1993, the Santorini Animal Welfare Association (SAWA) was founded by active and devoted animal lovers. This is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, strictly run by donations to help house, treat and protect the animals of this beautiful Greek island. In collaboration with the municipality and the local veterinarian, stray dogs and cats are cleaned, dewormed, sterilized and placed in the shelter. Then, volunteers take care of the animals until they can find a loving family to adopt them and offer a forever home in Greece or other European countries.



Also, one of the hardest working inhabitants and favorite attraction to many tourists, the donkeys, are supported by SAWA. In cooperation with the Donkey Sanctuary Organization of Great Britain, health inspections of working donkeys and mules are executed and the older, “retired” donkeys can find a quiet, peaceful home in the shelter to live out their final years.



SAWA’s shelter has been located in the Karterados vicinity for the past couple of decades. However, due to property issues, the shelter has had to move locations. Currently, SAWA is still in the process of moving from Karterados to the Pyrgos area. All the volunteers and tenants of the new shelter are excited and anticipating its opening, which is slowly underway. The new shelter, though, is exposed to a lot of wind and is still not quite ready for its guests as it still needs more dog houses, nets for shade and building material to complete its construction. It is critical that they finish the new shelter building soon, but since they are run solely on donations, it is financial help that is essential to its completion.


Luckily, a lovely couple from Germany named Angelika and Mike, who are animal advocates and lovers, call Santorini their “favorite place” and are on a mission to help solve SAWA’s problem and help the animals of this gorgeous Greek island. Mike, who has been working for more than 30 years in international long-distance transport business, came up with the idea to do what he knows best. So, his idea is to carry out transport with the needed supplies for Santorini’s animals and the new shelter. Now, after approval to transport the goods, he is finishing the planning and organization to get everything needed together as there is still a lot missing on site. They are seeking to acquire things like building materials, stables, isolated kennels, cat cottages, dog houses and much more. For this part, it is just the financial support that is needed. Also, in order to keep transport costs as low as possible, Mike and his wife will carry out the assistance of transport free of charge and personally guarantee that every single cent will arrive at SAWA. Mike and Angelika have also set up a Facebook page to keep supporters updated about the progress. Please take a moment to check out the pages of SAWA and Mike and Angelika’s supporters page to view pictures of everything in its development.


If you are an animal lover, a lover of Santorini, have ever rode on a donkey up Santorini’s deep caldera side and believe that this great project deserves support, please help them in donating and spreading the word to others everywhere. Right now, they are scheduled to send the truck to Santorini in the beginning of June. They just need help in filling it with everything the island’s animals need.
Santorini’s animals and volunteers thank you for your support and help!

You can find links for donations and Facebook pages below:

Donate to SAWA via PayPal

Here is the bank account details to support Mike and Angelika


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