One of the main goals of Save a Greek Stray is to be able to demonstrate practically the benefit of interaction between humans and animals for society.
The Rural Department of the Women's Prison in Eleonas, Thebes, met all the requirements and provided the ideal conditions for us to highlight the essence of our main goal.
Two socially marginalized groups, prisoners and stray animals, come together, live together, are trained simultaneously, and seek new opportunities for the future.
The program 'Saved by a Greek Stray' is licensed by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and has been successfully implemented since March 2018, having trained 7 dogs and 4 inmates so far.
Believing in the magical ability of animals to reduce stress in their environment, enhance people's self-confidence and empathy, and tighten human relationships by cultivating the need for care and compassion, we have united these two groups in an effort to harness the positive elements that would emerge from their collaboration.
Imprisoned women, with limited opportunities for creative and psychotherapeutic employment, live, train, and offer their love to those who have also been deprived of it, just like themselves.
In this way, they feel the need to contribute to society, reduce stress levels, and the feelings of depression caused by confinement, while also gaining the tools for future employment after their release.
'With dogs in our space, our daily life has changed. We have a purpose in our day. I train Lolita, and through this, I feel useful. I feel that I am doing something meaningful, offering in my own way to society. All this functions as psychotherapy for me; it relaxes me a lot,' says an inmate.
Dogs selected based on specific criteria are considered 'privileged' as they have the opportunity to live with people who offer them exclusive attention and care.
They are trained in social behavior rules and basic commands, live in family-like conditions, and can overcome their fears and inhibitions, trust people again, away from the stressful conditions of the shelter.
Our trainer ensures that inmates acquire the knowledge of methods that will make these animals happy and therefore more easily adoptable.
Preventing stigmatization, social marginalization, and providing opportunities for social integration have been our benchmarks and driving force to work hard and manage to introduce an action into the state structure, without any pan-European precedent.
Wanting every citizen to be a part of this tremendous effort and its results, we collaborated with Rise TV and captured the entire endeavor in a documentary that presents the evolutionary path of both humans and animals, both in terms of learning and psychological aspects.
'Every inmate deserves a second chance, just like our dogs do. We hope they find it together.'
(Erietta, founder of Save a Greek Stray)"