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"When my daughter got A in primary school I gave her a Cocker Spaniel as a reward. That was when my great love for animals was born. After a while I bought German Shepheard’s, Rottweilers, Labradors, Yorkshires, cats, hens, doves, gooses, peacocks. I also bought an estate so that they would have enough space to live”.
Five hundred animals
On pilot Antonis Papagiannoulis's estate in Karinoscala of Pieria, beat the hearts of more than 500 happy animals. Those hearts are grateful to him and they love him dearly. He is a special kind of ‘king’, not like the ones who at the expense of their people.
He has never eaten or traded a hen or a dove among those who live in his manor; he just breeds them and improves the species. He is the undisputed leader of a huge pack of different animals who live together in harmony.
"If I place a little dove in front of a cat, the cat won't hurt it, it will just smell it. Once a cat gave birth to in the same nest as a dove, and the kittens grew up along with the squabs without any problem. My dogs chase outside cats, but not mine".
The only creatures that feel pain in some way are the hens chased by the "Brahma" cocks, the ones with the thick feathers on their feet, when they are looking to mate. Especially when the hens are getting fewer in the coop, woe to those who are left in there.
Passionate with the doves
Adonis, a pilot of military helicopters and airplanes, adored watching pigeons flying at 3.000 feet. He admired their technique and was taught by the.
He travels far and low around the world to buy diving pigeons (also known as nose divers), which fly into the sky with their tails open.
Then they dive vertically, in such speed that some of them have no time to stop. Due to his profession he understands their ‘flight plan’ and admires them when they spread their wings and tails for landing. He does the exact during training for force landing.
Some of his pigeons are killed by hawks, which adopt a special technique in order to grab them. At first the hawks fly among the pigeons without harming them, only to frighten them. Then they fly below the flock so that they force it to fly at a higher altitude. They then single out the pigeon they are going to attack, usually it the most wondrous, the one doing stunts. Finally, they swoop in with enormous speed and grab their quarry. Often, they choose to attack with the sun behind them, so that the pigeons are blinded by its rays and don’t see them coming.
He communicates with animals
Antonis's ark-farm is very clean and perfectly organized. When he was young he didn't live with animals, so he is not very familiar to this situation. He has tried hard to understand his animals and see each one of them as a unique entity.
"I have bought a different toy for each one of my dogs. All of them need my caresses, they need me to talk to them and take them for walks. One of my Rottweilers loves football, and if it can't find a ball he throws his food dish in the air and then grabs it with his teeth. The jealous Yorkshire always wants to be the first one I will hug and if it doesn’t get its way it gets mad and runs into its doghouse. If I don't go to talk to it, it stays in there for hours. My Doberman is totally obedient; it doesn't even eat if I don't give the order. The Labradors are easily tricked with a toy and they can even forget their master".
When the animals see the pilot approaching, massive cries of joy can be heard. Dogs and cats try to jump on him, the birds start flapping their wings and hens start clucking. When he walks his dogs he can feel their love and it lifts him up into the clouds, higher than any helicopter ever could.
"I spend a lot of money on my animals, but I don't smoke, I don't drink and I don't have any other personal expenses. They give me much more than I give them. Every day is a new experience with them. I'm glad my daughters love them as much as I do. Every time I hear lightning, I'm worried because my animals are scared. I feel very sad when they get sick and I can't cure them. Under each flower of my estate, a beloved animal is buried".
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS