The Author

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MARIJO GILLIS – FOUNDER OF WAG

 

I was ultra sensitive to the emotions and physicality of animals from a tiny child. My parents and Italian grandparents utterly adored all animals and they were permanent fixtures in our homes and hearts. A combination of my “genes”, experience and learning by parental example, created a whirling dervish of activity in the realm of animal rights and advocacy before I even reached puberty.

Oh, I followed protocol like a good girl; graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing; went on for my post grad and worked in just about every major medical center in New York City and thrived in the frenzied ambiance of critical care – burn units, trauma emergency wards and open heart recovery rooms.

I possessed a mad passion for my work in medicine and surgery but an even madder passion for animals. I made my first trip to Greece as a student in early 1972 during the “quiet turbulence” of the military junta/dictatorship and there were no tourists.

She was immaculate, pristine and I was hooked. Her breathtaking beauty was intoxicating. The thousands of years of history and culture of this tiny gem floating in the Aegean was mesmerizing, mysterious and therefore for me, quite enticing. The ghosts and glory of her amazing past and her shimmering present beckoned to me and I followed.

I was still considered a “kid” at the time of my first visit to Greece. Shortly after my arrival in Athens, it came to pass that the animals became the target of my emotions and attention; not the scores of exotic Greek men quietly wandering the streets, fingering their ever present koboloi (worry beads) or the ancient ruins. The heavily armed military was an omnipresent feature at every turn and huge tanks growled and grumbled as they patrolled endlessly on the look out for God knows what. Never one to give fear a fleeting glance, the smoldering atmosphere was intriguing.What was motivating were the hundreds upon hundreds of emaciated, starving, dying cats and dogs and tethered skeletal like donkeys that found their way to my line of vision and stumbled one by one into my heart. Each and every one to this day is a prisoner of my memory. Needless to say, this sojourn in this harsh vacation Mecca of the Mediterranean became the catalyst for my devotion, dedication and addiction to animal rights.

Thus began my 30 year plus journey and relationship with Greece; her land, her astonishing seas and astounding beaches, her hospitality, her mouth watering cuisine, her language, her culture, her mores and her cruelty. I speak her language, read and write her alphabet and understand every nuance of her spoken and unspoken word.

Over the years, my Greek saga took many twists and turns. Drama and excitement accompanied my every moment and movement on Greek soil. After my initiation to the “Cradle of Civilization”, I vowed to return and make a difference in the lives of her animals, domestic, farmed, captive and wild. I did, and will continue to do so.

Please join us!
Marijo

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hospitality degree  |  July 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    hospitality degree…

    Its really nice to see and come across your website….

    Reply
  • 2. Cristina  |  August 16, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Just a few lines to tell you that you are an angel.
    What you do is wonderful.
    Greece is a wonderful nation, but greeks still need to learn a lot about animal. Ignorance and cruelty are everywhere.
    I am italian but half greek and I travel to Greece many times evry year because I am a tour leader. Everytime I tell my groups (mostly americans) the truth about animals in Greece and then, of course, they see with their eyes. My aim is to make them sensible enogough not only to the beauty of delphi or the Parthenon, but also to those little starving creatures treated so badly. I work with teenagers, they often tell me they would love to live in Greece one day, “then come and do something for the dogs, the cats, the donkeys…” is my answer.
    I am about to leave again and go to Milos for ten days (vacation). I want to take some photos, I want to visit a shelter.
    I will probably end up living in my father’s country one day and I promise I will help greek animals.
    If there is anything else I can do now, when I go to Greece with the groups of americans, just let me know.
    Sincerely,
    cristina

    Reply
  • 3. XXX video  |  September 24, 2008 at 9:48 am

    greatings…

    wonderful…

    Reply
  • 4. cassandra  |  February 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    yes, greece is an extremely beautiful country, but the way that they re treating their animals is so shameful, only china is worse, and it s so very,very sad that any people can treat their animals in such a shameful way, and that noone, noone in greece cares, and that it s alllowed to countinue, and that the tourists or tourist operators, also close their eyes to these horrors, there are no words for what they are doing to their animals and their strays, in the 21st century, I can only cry, I spent last winter in cuprus and rescued and spayed and neutered and treated and fed as many cats as I could during a 6 month period, there are many dedicated english people on the island, dedicating their lives saving and rescuing the poor beautiful strays on the island, unfortunatelly, every winter all the hotels on the island kill off all their kittens and cats, and many of these hotels are british owned conglomerates, and that s very shameful too, that they re allowing that,.That would never, never be alllowed to take place in the Uk. One of the biggest and most beautiful hotels on cyprus, the Sungarden hotel in Ayia Napa, killed off alll their beautiful kittens and cats, that we ve fed for the 2 weeks that we stayed at the hotel, British owned conglomerate, what a SHAME, a million or billion dollar british hotel conglomerate, they should be stopped, for 20 dollars or so they can neuter and spay a cat, and save all the cats at all the hotels and let them LIVE, THEY CAN AFFORD THAT, OR HELP WITH MONEY TO HELP SHELTER THE CATS, AND CONTRIBUTE TO BUILDING NEW SHELTERS FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, that s the only humane way, and they re people and businesses that can afford this too, they should be forced to do that, by the general puplic and alll the tourists and tour operators visiting the island, we have to force them to do that, I m planning to go back there this winter, and I know that most of the cats that I cared for and fed last winter, now are gone, I only managed to save and shelter about 40 or 45 of the 200 that I fed and cared for every day, there weren t room for any more at the shelters, and all over the island, there are huge colonies of very, very beautiful ,friendly cats, that are very hungry and many of them are very sick and dying needlessly, sincerely cassie love, animal and cat lover

    Reply
  • 5. Bob Winter  |  March 18, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Thank you it is nice to know people like you are out there helping the animals. Where would Mankind be without the companionship of our beloved animals.
    There are plenty of people who help the humans-who cares about the poor animals??? You guys obviously do, it makes me feel better knowing that there are so many Animal lover,,,

    Thank you people for what you do for them.

    I wish more people cared about animals. It’s so sad that many people just do not care about animal suffering.
    I cannot say this enough: everyone needs to spay or neuter their pets. There’s too many animals that go to waste because people don’t want to get theirs fixed. Have a heart adopt! soooooo many animals not enough good people!

    *…Saving just one pet won’t change the world …but, surely, the world will change for that one pet…*

    May God bless you hope your having a pleasant day take care and have a wonderful time and alot of joyful moments with your pets in your life and please do keep up the good work. You Can Make a Difference!
    You get out of life what you put into life. We all have a voice we just need to use it. But if we stick to it we can make a difference!
    Have a nice Day

    Bob from New Zealand
    www Friends for the love of Animals

    “There is little that separates humans from other sentient beings—we all feel pain, we all feel joy, we all deeply crave to be alive and live freely, and we all share this planet together.” Gandhi

    ,,, LOVE AN ANIMAL-CHANGE THE WORLD,,,

    Reply
  • 6. tereza rizos  |  July 19, 2011 at 12:07 am

    TAHNK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELP!!PLEASE KEEP US INFORMED OF WHAT IS HAPPENING AND IF THERES ANYTHING THAT WE CAN DO ON OUR END.

    Reply

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