Animal rights activists have voiced concern over what has happened to the roughly 15,000 stray dogs that roam the streets of Athens. Most disappeared on the eve of the Games as part of a cleanup effort intended to put a shiny, modern face on the city in time for the arrival of Olympic visitors. Greek officials say the dogs were rounded up humanely and sent to shelters, but some fear they have been euthanized.

The city's teeming population of stray cats has apparently been left free to wander the streets and prowl the cafes. But at least one is getting a new home as a result of the Games. After falling in love with a tiny stray kitten, a Chicago sportswriter and her husband took her to an Athens veterinarian and paid roughly $200 for the requisite shots and paperwork to clear her through customs, then another $150 for the kitty's Lufthansa fight home to Chicago via Frankfurt. But as Olympic souvenirs go, they say their new kitty, now named Athena, is priceless.

-- Liz Clarke

Hail to the Bus Driver

The workdays are long for the hundreds of volunteers who drive the motor coaches that shuttle athletes and journalists to and from their hotels, training complexes, offices and sports venues. As the 2004 Games grind into their second week, many of the drivers have turned their bus compartments into homes away from home. On a recent morning I hopped onto a bus furnished with the following: a horseshoe and worry beads dangling from rearview mirror; a crucifix taped to the dashboard; a blue teddy bear perched near the steering wheel; a pack of Marlboros and ashtray on a ledge by the driver's window; three icons of the Madonna and child; and a Playboy bunny decal on the windshield.

-- Liz Clarke

A Cry for Help

It is hot in Athens.

It is hot in Athens.

I'm glad Wilbon and Svrluga showered.

I'm glad Wilbon and Svrluga showered.

I am a synchronized swimming expert.

I am a synchronized swimming expert.

-- Mike Wise