Sandy was born and raised in Britain, at the age of 21 she moved to Andros and for a decade now she has built her own animal shelter on the Greek island.
Sandy, 76, was born in the United Kingdom but moved to Greece when she was 21 years old.
Sixteen years ago, with the money she had inherited from her wealthy family – her father was a British army officer – she opened the “Magic Mountain” animal shelter. Today she takes care of 25 dogs, 20 cats, 8 donkeys and a horse that live with her on a 300 year old farm.
Sandy described her life on Ben Fogle’s “New Lives in the Wild” show on Channel 5. She spends about 3,000 a month caring for animals, but as she said the money is running out and she is looking for a solution …
The decision to move permanently to Andros
Sandy went to a boarding school in Surrey when she was nine years old, when her family returned from Australia (where they lived for three years) back to the UK and bought a house in Norfolk. As she said on the show, her life was “good”, but she was “under strict discipline” and added: “There were times when I wanted to escape but I could not. Sometimes I think the reason I came to Greece was because it was a way to get out of this strict system that I did not really want to join. There were some people I could go out with, but not all. Coming here and looking back, I can say that I feel completely free. And I associate with Greeks who know nothing about my origin. “I’m just another person, I’m Sandy,” she said.
Sandi, as she described on the show, was moved by the beauty of Greece after a visit and decided to move to Andros. “Oh this beauty. I was shocked by the beauty. I am a visual person, it is what makes me happy but it took my place “he says, recalling how she felt seeing the view from the farm for the first time.
So she decided to buy it with the money she had from her parents. The decision to build its shelter, “Magic Mountain” came 16 years ago and was not easy. “It was a big decision, it is a huge place and it is an isolated area, I live here alone, I try to face everything here alone,” she says on the show.
Again, however, things were not simple. “In the beginning I did not know how to do many things. But I started noticing anyone coming here for repairs and so I learned. “Over time, I learned to run this place.”
Does she regret her decision?
As she told the presenter, she does not regret her decision 40 years later. “I could not imagine being able to be with these animals and do what I’m doing now,” she said. “But also to live this amazing life on this island. It’s the well-known story where money allows you to do things, but happiness ultimately comes from helping these animals. But now I have to think of ways to raise money to keep going. However, I do not regret what I did. I hope I am in good health to continue. “My plan is to keep where I live and have someone continue to run it and stay home.”
The presenter of the show was impressed by the huge number of dogs that lived in the house with Sandy. “I can barely hear myself talking,” Ben told the camera with the dogs barking behind him.
A selfless woman, passionate about animals
Another fact that impressed the presenter is that Sandy, although 76 years old, sleeps in a bunk to make room for more dogs in her room. Seven puppies sleep with her on the floor while the others lie in the living room, kitchen and other rooms of the 300-year-old farm.
“I do not know how she manages it. “She is passionate about animals, she is selfless eccentric, a woman in her 70s sleeping in a bunk bed so that the dogs can sleep wherever they want,” said the presenter.
Sandy spends her day feeding, training, caring for and bathing dogs that are waiting to be adopted by families either from Greece or abroad. He even said with pride to Ben that one of the puppies she rescued found a new home in Canada. It does not charge families that adopt its animals and relies on donations and fundraisers. “Everything I have inherited has basically gone to animals,”she said. “The cost of running the shelter, the cost of the house όμως But in reality right now, the money is starting to run out.”
Sandy explained to Ben that she used to paint animal portraits and sell them to finance her shelter, but she no longer has time to paint, which means she no longer makes money.
During Ben’s visit, Sandy revealed that she cares for 3-week-old puppies that were thrown into a bucket. “It’s horrible, one of the worst crimes I think you can commit,” she told the presenter. Puppies need to be fed every two hours, which takes a lot of time for her and her volunteers.
What are her relationships with men
She also revealed that she believes that dogs were a substitute for companions. “I had a lot of relationships, but I don’t think anyone would want me now,” she said, adding that her life with 50 animals made dating complicated. Ben then asked her if she would ever trade dogs for a relationship, to which she replied “definitely not”.
He also added that she did not buy the farm with the idea of turning it into a shelter, but decided to do it because she had the time, money and space to take care of the animals. She also said that people usually leave the animals they do not want tied up at the gate of her farm, or throw them over the fence.
The 76-year-old admitted that her childhood was very different from her current life. Her father was a British Army officer and her family, who lived in Norfolk, were financially well off. But Sandy said that she did not like her life then because her parents did not allow her to talk to anyone, they lived in a rather strict context and that was what made her decide to move to Greece.
From the age of three to six she lived in Australia because of their father’s job. Her older brother was sent to a boarding school in Britain from Australia by ship, a voyage that psychologically burdened the then little boy, who committed suicide, leaving a huge gap and burden on the family.
“It’s scary. “I’m sure it was very harmful for him,” he said. “And now that I think about it, I’m very sorry. It’s something that affects me. “I did not realize it at the time, but now I realize that my brother committed suicide because he could no longer bear his life.”