One of the most beautiful places on the face of this planet is Santorini, Greece. To be more specific, Oia, Santorini, Greece. For those looking for a honeymoon destination, I highly recommend booking yourself in Santorini.
A little unknown fact about Santorini…this island is ruled by the dogs. You’ll find them all over the island. The people of the island help take care of them. You’ll find buckets and bowls filled to the rim with dog food and water as you make your way around the little shops and buildings.
The dogs are seen as guardians of this ancient island (believed to be the resting point for Atlantis, which is buried somewhere underneath the Mediterranean waters near the volcano that you can see sitting across from the island).
Just so you understand the importance of these dogs…
When I was in Oia, Santorini, I hadn’t told my girlfriends that I knew my cancer had returned. I had planned on telling them during this trip. But because I was tired all of the time and barely eating, I had to tell them what was going on. Leave it to the dogs to out me.
On our first evening in Santorini, one of the dogs was walking around with a couple of tourists, but then he stopped and saw me walking up. He abandoned them to walk with me. He stayed with me for the next hour, acting as a tour guide. I told my friend we should do something different. Let’s follow the dog to see where he takes us.
He took us from one important spot to the next. We didn’t know where he was taking us until the next day when we ventured to those same spots during daylight hours. He took us to every single point that produced the best photograph of the island and its landmarks.
As we went from one section to the next, I realized that his territory ended. Within 30 seconds, a new dog picked us up and started walking with us. We’d walk into a new territory, the dog would stop, and then another dog would pick us up and walk with us.
This happened all throughout the trip. My friend said that when she went out alone, the dogs never bothered with her. She said she noticed that they only did this with me. She said that she’d never believe this if I had told her about it. Witnessing it with her own eyes, she was just amazed.
During one of our outings, I sat down to rest and I saw one of the dogs that had walked with us through most of our time there. He was walking with an old man that you could visually see had an ailment. The old man got to the top of the steps and took a seat near me, while the dog accompanied him. I started to watch the tourists walk by and the dogs paid no attention to them. It ends up they only paid attention to those that were sick.
While we were out walking one evening, my friend was going on and on about this Albanian she met during dinner. One of the dogs was with us when we stopped and she decided to go into a grocery store. I stood out in the street waiting for her. This Albanian she met earlier was walking down the path. The dog with me started growling and then barked. Within seconds, a whole pack of dogs came running out of nowhere. Three of them surrounded me and started pushing me towards the wall.
The rest went after the Albanian man, growling and barking at him. The dogs were livid.
My friend saw the commotion and how the dogs had surrounded me and were pushing me towards safety. She came out and saw the guy. She started chatting him up and introduced us. The entire time, I kept looking at all of the dogs surrounding us. I understood what they were all saying. This guy was really bad news.
I excused myself and my friend and said I wasn’t feeling well and needed to get back to the hotel. My friend obliged and we started walking away. The dogs walked with us down the road, huffing and puffing all the way. I turned to my friend and told her that I thought that guy was bad news and told her what happened when the dog saw him.
All of those dogs were protecting me. She even pointed out to me that they were only like this with me. They could care less about her.
I think that was the moment I almost cried, because I realized that I was in bad shape if the dogs could sense it. That cancer my doctor kept saying had returned…it was really there. This was back in 2009. It took 4 years for the cancer to make its appearance as a tumor in my parathyroid gland. Back in 2009, we were only discovering that it had returned. We were waiting to see where it would show up.
Santorini is a very beautiful island. The sunsets here are the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The best spot is down by the castle wall in Oia.
You’ll see in one of these pictures a black dog sitting on a wall. At every sunset, he comes down to the castle wall and watches the sun setting. I’ve never seen a dog do that before. Every night when I went to watch the sunset there, without fail, he showed up and watched from the castle wall.
It just amazed me how special these dogs are. They know the beauty of this island. They are caring, protective, and giving.
The people of the island of Santorini understand that about these dogs. That’s why they all pitch in to take care of the guardians of the island.
[LEGAL: All pictures are © 2009 Michelle Kenneth. You may not use any of these photos for any purpose without the express permission of the owner.]