Dimitra, from Leicester, said: ‘When I first moved to Cyprus, I felt extremely upset every time I walked past a stray dog who didn’t even have a drop of water.
‘I have seen dogs living in horrendous conditions, cooped up in a small cages covered with excrement and dirty water.
‘It doesn’t get any easier seeing dogs who are skin and bone every day and scared of everything and anything.
‘We have dogs who are covered in ticks and fleas but it more upsetting to see the ones who are mentally suffering.
Growing up. While the Chow Chow dogs are well known for their distinctive blue-black tongues, they’re actually born with pink tongues. They turn blue-black at 8-10 weeks of age.
‘We called one dog the ‘broken boy’ as he was too frightened to look up for three days, I couldn’t even imagine what had happened to him.
‘As much as it breaks you to see them like this, it is so rewarding when they find their trust in us and see that we are here to help.‘Before I moved to Cyprus, I worked full time and was the type of woman who would get my nails done and wear make-up but now half the time I am covered in dog poo.
‘I never thought I would invest all my time and money into looking after and re-homing dogs, but it is the best thing I ever did.’
The shelter relies on donations but there is never enough, she said, to cover its running costs, veterinary bills and food for the dogs.Since January Doggie Warriors has found 52 pooches a forever home, some of which have been flown to Europe and UK to meet their new owners. Estate agent husband Paul Kofteros, 42, has been supportive of the sanctuary from the beginning and puts ‘everything he has’ into it.They are also supported by their children Andrea, six, and Sotiris, five, who volunteer during their spare time.
She added: ‘I quit my job at Alliance bank and moved to Larnaca to be with my husband and help him with his admin but I have stopped doing this to give the shelter my all.Parents 'murdered baby then bound his tiny corpse in chains and tossed it down a well'
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‘During my walks to the school, I would see mistreated and neglected dogs and I had to do something about it.
‘I used to bring them to a local rescue shelter for check-ups and had fostered approximately 30 dogs before I decided to open up my own shelter.
‘My husband was sick to death of me bringing them back so when I proposed my initial idea of setting up a doggy hotel with some kennels for the strays, he was very supportive.
‘I never opened the hotel as I couldn’t turn my back on the strays, the locals don’t care about them but I do.
‘I love helping them and seeing them thrive with a little love and the medical attention they need.
‘We have kind donations, but it is never enough. It costs £350 per week for food alone and vet bills can be anything between £100 to £400 a time.’