Canilos is a Dutch, independent, non-profit organization, with the goal to make Lesbos the first island in Greece that is free of barrel dogs.
What is a barrel dog? A barrel dog is the victim of an old tradition to tether a dog on a short chain. It should stop sheep from straying, to mark out an area, or to guard house and grounds. However, sheep are rare, and moreover they can be kept in place in other ways. The dog, which many times as a puppy already has been put on a chain somewhere in the mountains, spends his often short life aimless, lonely and abandoned in the burning sun or in the bitter cold. Often without a real shelter, most of the time it is only an empty barrel or a wooden crate. Just once in a while the dog gets food and water. A barrel dog usually does not get older than one year…..
In the western world, dogs often are a part of the family. They fulfil a social function, and can be deployed for security and protection; they are vigilant in case of peril. A dog is able to assist people who are blind or have bad vision, they can help in tracing people who are in danger, and furthermore they can be deployed during operations by the police and investigating authorities. Dogs are exceptionally social, intelligent and loyal animals who deserve the right care and attention from us, human beings. Therefore these animals should be taken care of in the best possible way.
Paula van Loo, who took the initiative to found Canilos, tells a bit more about the organization in this short video
The name “Canilos” is a combination of the latin word for dog - “Canis” - and the Dutch word for loose/free – “los”. It describes our main objective, which we actively are working for to achieve, with the help of local co-workers, the Greek authorities, and hopefully you!
Since 2012 European law prohibits the permanent chaining of dogs, and the neglect of their care and other welfare requirements. (Read more here)
It is NOT Canilos’ aim to free the barrel dogs, and thus turn them into stray animals, or to overburden existing dog shelters. That is not a solution. Instead, our aim is to tackle the roots of the problem by slowly changing a tradition, and creating a different perception about the way dogs should be treated. In addition we use education to help the youngest generations in forming a new understanding about the interrelationship with dogs.
Read more on this website about the way in which we, for a number of years already, have been successful in diminishing the number of barrel dogs on Lesbos, thanks to a structural approach.
Read also how you can help us to make Lesbos, and ultimately the whole Greek archipelago, FREE OF BARREL DOGS!