Takis Shelter is a non-profit organization that started in 2014 with the primary purpose of saving abandoned dogs in the region of Crete in Greece. The founder and creator, Theoklitos Proestakis, was a former businessman, night club owner and disc jockey who decided to quit his career to save abandoned dogs. At the time, Greece just entered the start of a horrific financial crisis that affected everyone. After the financial crisis, many people couldn’t afford to take care of their pets. Unfortunately, due to these circumstances, many of them were compelled to let go of their pets. Theoklitos Proestakis, also known as Takis, quit his former full-time profession to provide a new home for these helpless animals in need.
How and why Takis Shelter started
Takis Shelter received its name after Theoklitos Proestakis, and to this day, he has saved more than 500 animals, mainly dogs and cats. Takis sold his nightclub and used the money and all his savings to start an animal shelter. He keeps the non-profit organization afloat thanks to donations he receives from people all around the world. Takis first got the idea of creating an animal shelter several years ago after he noticed a dog that suffered a broken leg near a dumpster. He was devastated by how bad the dogs condition was, so he immediately took it to a veterinarian to receive proper medical attention and care.
Unfortunately, each time he would pass by the same location where he first saw the injured dog, he discovered more abandoned animals. People in the neighborhood were bothered by the population of homeless dogs and even threatened to poison the animals. Initially, they were flustered about the homeless dog population because the dogs were destroying their properties. Takis was troubled by the people’s anger towards the dogs and asked them if they could give him at least a month to provide a shelter for them. Right away, Takis decided to stop operating his night club business and dedicate his life to saving stray animals.
Abandoned animal crisis in Europe
Throughout Europe, there are about 100 million abandoned animals currently on the streets. Typically, domestic dogs and cats do not survive without shelter due to illness, various diseases, starvation, and frigid weather. Below are the European countries that currently have the most abandoned animals:
- Bulgaria – 300,000 dogs
- Greece – 500,000 dogs
- Hungary – 200,000 dogs
- Italy – 800,000 cats, 600,000 dogs
- Poland – 250,000 dogs
- Portugal – 250,000 cats, 250,000 dogs
- Romania – 2 million dogs, 50,000 horses/donkeys
- Slovakia – 100,000 dogs
- Spain – 800,000 dogs
- United Kingdom – 200,000 cats, 125,000 dogs
Attracts worldwide attention
Takis Shelter is now widely known throughout the entire world and sometimes receives more than 1 million views on their rescue videos. With more animal abuse laws currently in place, Takis believe that more people are paying close attention to pet abandonment. Nowadays, the younger crowd is more sensitive about animal abuse and are actively looking for ways to support causes that seek to prevent it. This worldwide attention has helped a lot financially because Takis Shelter does not receive government assistance.
Help by making a donation
Takis Shelter relies heavily on donations and support from everyday people. Anyone who wants to help can donate directly to the organization via PayPal. Takis Shelter also allows anyone to set up a monthly donation there as well. Donation funds will go towards disease prevention, food, puppy shots, annual vaccinations, and neuter fees, among others. Individuals who can make an in-kind donation can send the following items.
- Dog food
- Cat food
- Cleaning materials
- Collars and leashes
- Dog houses
Adopt from Takis Shelter
At the moment, Takis Shelter has over three hundred dogs, nearly fifty cats, and a couple of goats as well. Mostly people from European countries, commonly from Germany, have adopted pets from Takis Shelter and provided them with new homes. Usually, the summer is the most popular time for people to visit the shelter to meet rescued cats and dogs. During this time, hundreds of people from across Europe will visit and help out. Takis prefer to meet potential pet owners who are looking to adopt in person first because he wants to ensure the animals get a home with happy and loving pet owners.
Takis Shelter’s success and struggles
Over the years, Takis Shelter’s facility has expanded and is now 33,000 square meters. On average, at least one new animal enters the shelter each day, and to continue to run the facility, it costs Takis $8,000 each month. That is only possible thanks to the many donations the organization receives from people across the globe. When Takis Shelter first opened its doors, Takis used all of his own money from his savings account, that he had earned from his previous nightclub business.
In a recent promotional fundraising campaign video on YouTube, Takis Shelter generated over $25,000 from donations. His original plan from the campaign was to gather around $1,700. This would never have been possible in the beginning. Greece was in a financial crisis at the time, and it took a toll on Takis as well. To keep the shelter going and make ends meet, he had to sell his car as well as his caravan.
A very busy schedule
Takis has a deep passion for dogs and cats, and he continues to remain active by working every day of the week. Taking care of hundreds of animals is not easy, so he works 20 hours each day, with a total of 140 work hours per week. Takis revealed in an interview that he lives nearby close to the animal shelter and only sleeps for about three to four hours per day. He even shares his own bed with several dogs and cats.
Social media involvement
Takis is very active on all major social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) and he is a popular YouTuber as well. He uses all social media platforms to communicate with volunteers, potential pet owners etc. but the best way to get in contact with him is through Facebook. Takis Shelter’s Facebook page has received well over 300,000 likes and the same amount of followers. On average, Takis Shelter gathers thousands and thousands of views per video on their YouTube channel.
Takis is beyond grateful for the success and most certainly loves what he does, although it’s without doubt incredibly hard work. As of writing, Takis Shelter has been able to save over 500 animals, and nearly a quarter of them have found a new home since the beginning. Moving forward, Takis wants to continue to expand Takis Shelter by purchasing more property to provide temporary homes for stray animals. Takis, we wish you the best of luck in the future. Keep up the excellent work and continue to inspire us. You are a great man and a true hero to all animals in need.