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A coffee shop in Aegean, Greece opens its doors to stray animals after opening hours to shelter them from the cold. A local, Eustratios Papanis, shared a photo of dogs resting on the shop’s furniture to Facebook, and the post has now been shared over 8000 times.
Stray animals, particularly dogs, are a huge problem in Greece. They will not attack you or chase you down the street, they are simply an image problem. Greece is an extremely gorgeous, popular destination for holidays, and the countless number of dogs wandering aimlessly through its streets has a clear effect on tourism interest for the country. Some of these dogs are pets, some are former pets and some have never been pets at all.
When Papanis visited a coffee shop, Hott Spott, in the city of Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, he was moved to discover the simple yet overwhelmingly kind action of the coffee shop owner. The shop opens its doors every night to welcome in stray animals. He uploaded a photo to Facebook and was shocked by the huge number of Facebook users who shared the post that raised awareness of the increasing number of abandoned animals living on the streets of Greece. Papanis, a 46-year-old Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of the Aegean, explained that:
“More than 700,000 refugees from Syria and other Middle East countries have entered Europe from this island this year  and solidarity towards humans and animals was remarkable.”
Since he uploaded the photo on 2nd December 2016, the post has been liked over 8000 times. The country has strict laws about animal protection. Hott Spott have claimed to be a shelter for stray animals as the animal protection laws define this as a
“special facility, intended for the care and temporary stay of a large number of stray or unwanted companion animals.”
Papanis claims that the “customers have no problem” because the dogs simply stay in the coffee shop overnight and not during opening hours. He further explains that “In the city there are many dogs. When the bar closes each night, the dogs come and sleep here. We don’t have a problem. From July , every night there is a dog on the couch.”
Papanis also thanked those who had shared it through Facebook, and explained that:
“The photo went viral without any intention or effort. I uploaded it to the social media just to highlight that financial problems cannot hinder love, tolerance and compassion.”
Despite the current wicked goings on in the world, I take comfort in simple, selfless acts like these and hope for the future.