Shakeel Ahmed, 35 | International Organization for Migration

Shakeel Ahmed, 35



Back in 2010, I decided to leave Pakistan and come to Greece. I wasn’t unemployed or anything, but the smugglers managed to convince me that in Greece I’d make a fortune in a couple of years’ time. Silly me, I fell for that and I embarked on my journey to Europe.

The trip was far from easy. I would walk all night long and hide during the day. At the borders between Iran and Turkey, I got captured by some people who demanded €5,000 to let me go. Of course, I didn’t have that much money with me and I wouldn’t be able to find it even if I could ask for money from all my family and friends in Pakistan. So, one day that I was alone in the room, I jumped off the 3rd floor of the building where they held me. I was saved. In total, it took me 25 days to complete the journey. I crossed the river Evros at the Greek-Turkish border and I was finally on Greek soil.

Two years ago, I was strolling on a mountain at Heraklion, on the island of Crete and I stumbled upon a crying little puppy. It was a new-born, probably someone who didn’t want it had abandoned it there to die. I took it home with me and I named him Mino. He could fit in a teacup, that’s how small he was! A couple of elderly Germans, my neighbours at the village of Moires, helped me with Mino’s vaccines and other obligations. They are so nice, I love them very much. Since that day, Mino and I are inseparable. I take him with me at work, we play together and we sleep together. He even looks after me when I fall ill. I love my Mino!

Many of my compatriots, when they return home from Europe, they bring laptops, TV sets and other electronic devices with them. But I don’t care about all that. I only want to take Mino home with me. I couldn’t leave him behind after all that we’ve been through together. I am not returning to Pakistan without him. I’ve told my children that I am bringing Mino with me and they are so excited! I can’t wait to return to Pakistan and build him a new dog house.