Amfissa - Speech by Anastasia Angeletou - Leiden University

Leiden University 

Argumentative and Rhetorical Strategies 

Speech (December 2021)

Anastasia Angeletou 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me take you on a mental trip to a place a little bit far from here,

Imagine you are one of them, one of its residents, 

Inside a cell, where you are thrown really low-quality food once per day. If you are lucky, you will be fast enough to get there first, if you are lucky the food will not land between the stones and you will be able to eat without breaking your teeth. If you are lucky the food wont land in the mud. 

Access to water is not secured either. Your water is filled with mud and bacteria. New clean water might be put in your cage once in a while but it might not. Once again you will have to be lucky.

Furthermore, imagine you have never bathed, not even once in your life. Yet again, why would someone even bother to help you bath, since the place that you have learned to call home is so dirty.

There is no electricity either. When the sun sets you are left in the darkness and in the cold

Human love, touch and affection are all unknown to you. All you know is fear and desperation.

The situation of what I just described you is not taken from a horror movie neither is part of a prison where bad people go after committing a crime. It’s the situation in the Amfissa dog shelter and is located 30 minutes from the well-known oracle of Delphi in Greece.

Ladies and gentlemen, National Geographic has defined animal’s basic survival needs as the following: food, water, shelter from predators and a place to raise the young.

These dogs get absolutely nothing.

In the meantime, dog breeders breed dogs with specific physical characteristics with each other and then sell their puppies for money.

I am asking you, why are people buying breed dogs when at the same time there are dog shelters like the one I described you in many countries in Europe? Maybe they don’t know what the situation is, maybe they do not understand what exactly is happening and why it is so important to save a dog from this place. Maybe they do not know how to adopt from abroad and it seems very complex and time consuming. Maybe they don’t want to accept it and prefer to see it as a fake exaggerated situation.

Unfortunately, it’s real, and I know because I have been there, and I have cried, and I have tried to help. But this is hell. This is hell with trapped angels inside. 

I will tell you about a mother, her name is Hope. Hope was chained behind a truck, and she had breast cancer, leishmania, erlichia, scratches by other angry dogs and was also pregnant. Hope gave birth in January 2021 to 7 dead puppies. Her story has a happy ending. She has been treated and in January 2022 will be living with a wonderful woman. 

There are more stories like Hope’s, stories with not so good endings. 

Dogs have been selectively bred by humans over millennial and now have become uniquely adapted to human behavior. They were bred to serve our ancestors needs but as a result now they cannot survive in the wild without humans. As a result of what our species did, this species who did nothing wrong but accommodate our needs gets to suffer.

Whoever in this room has experienced the love of a dog can confirm with me that we are lucky to have them in our lives. Many say that dogs are humans’ best friends. Ladies and gentlemen, we have been horrible friends. I don’t think anyone in this room would tolerate such toxic, manipulative and selfish behavior from a friend.

One year ago, my family and I contacted a Dutch Non-profit Organization called Dog Rescue Greece. The president of the organization came to the shelter and has been offering tremendous help ever since. 

Now it’s not complex anymore as some supporters of buying breed dogs would claim. Now you, I and whoever wants, can help this specific organization or other similar ones. What they need? Loving people who want to adopt, host families who agree to host a dog for a while, donations that will be used in medical care, neutering, operations, and transportation. 

I know that as a student you probably feel that there is nothing you can do. You don’t have a stable income and you probably keep changing accommodation once in a while. Thus, what I mentioned above seems hard. However, there is more. There is a lot you can do. Everyone here can be their voice and spread the word. Stop your friend from buying a dog and eliminate misinformation around this issue. Together we can create a society where rescuing is more trending and cooler than owning an expensive dog. A society where we become the friends that they deserve. And then maybe, just maybe, the mental trip I asked you to take in the beginning of my speech will finally be only part of a horror movie but not reality.  

Thank you

Please watch the Movie on YouTube: 

Read in our weblog of April 3rd which improvements have been made.