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We have known her for six years. She was old when we first met her. On January 7, she passed away, 15 years old. We said goodbye to her the night before. She was called the Queen of Agion Deka. Her real name was Daphne and she was a very big and furry street dog. She will be missed by many residents of Chania and many of the tourists who got to know her over the years.
She spent the last week of her life at Eleftheria’s home. Eleftheria owns one of the hotels in the alley. We went there to bid farwell, we knew it was the last time we saw her. We had met the week before outside a store, where she lay with a huge plate of meat in front of her, which she couldn’t bear to care about.
Eleftheria and the other people at Agion Deka, a small alley full of tourists in the Old Town of Chania, made sure that Daphne got food and water all these years. Sometimes they took her in and washed her, sometimes she received veterinary care. She became very fat over time. But she lived for 15 years, which is a lot of years for a street dog.
I asked Eleftheria about Daphne’s story. This is what she told us:
“ A young man from Epirus in northern Greece brought a sheepdog from home when he came here to work as a waiter at a café down the harbor. The dog stayed behind when he left the island and started hanging in the alley. It wasn’t easy for him in the heat ”
“One day the dog brought a puppy we had not seen before. Maybe he was her dad, we don’t know. We named her Daphne and she has lived here ever since. ”
This is how it works for the dogs and cats living in the streets. Smaller and weaker animals seek protection from bigger and stronger animals. When they themselves become big, they retaliate by protecting them who are smaller and weaker than themselves. For Daphne, it became a cat.
“One day she came with a kitten that we named Voula. She protected her all these years and she is also very old now,” says Eleftheria.
We always used to greet Daphne and scratch her on the belly when we walked by or sat down outside The Black Rooster. She used to roll around belly up and kick in the air with one of her hind legs. Then she stubbornly patted us with the paw when we stopped, we always got tired long before her. She was very sociable.
There are many stories about Daphne. About how she used to hide food and how she chased away other street dogs, even when she was so old she could hardly walk. Everyone agrees that it was her who called the shots on Agion Deka.
She spent her last days indoors. But she was a street dog of her own choice and she had a long and good life. Rest in peace, Daphne mou!