No one knows precisely when the happy event took place but the vet in Greece reckons Rex was born sometime in May 2010. Sometime in August 2010, I was sitting with Joe, Ed and their friend Cosima, outside a cafe in Lavrio - a town by the sea just south of Athens. We'd been in Greece for three weeks and were getting to know most of the local strays. They spent the hottest part of the day lying around in any shade they could find.
The 'Don' - as Joe called him - always took the best spot; on the cool marble steps outside The National Bank of Greece, enjoying the little pockets of air-conditioning that escaped every time a customer went in or out.
We were chatting to the Don and feeding him chips, when, from between two parked cars, another dog approached. I could tell straight away that he was young; he still had that fluffy look. Then we saw that he had the most ghastly wound to his front leg and could barely walk. Well, you can imagine the commotion at the table - wailing children sobbing into their food pleading with me to do something.... so, before I could speak to the voice of reason (Brian had stayed in London to mind the whippets, the house and the celebs) I had agreed to adopt the dishevelled beast and bring him to the UK.
That night we took him back to our tiny apartment. Over the following two weeks the vet showed us how to bathe and treat his wounds. We passed many hours lying under a palm tree in the gardens, removing ticks, lice and fleas. He came with us to the beach, the ice cream parlour and on nocturnal picnics to watch shooting stars.
It's taken 9 months for the rabies injections, blood samples, passport and all the other documents to be ready and now, finally, with an enormous amount of help from the vet in Greece and her friend Katherina (who has been looking after Rex all this time) he's ready to make the trip. Friends of the Strays of Greece are organising his transit. They are dedicated to improving the lives of strays in Greece and, whenever possible, rehoming dogs in the UK and other parts of Europe. Their website is both heart-rending and uplifting.
When we went back for a visit him in December we found he had grown somewhat..... and his leg is completely healed!