This man loves dogs.  Any dog.  My husband is as burly and masculine as you can be, but get him near any type of canine and he is like butter.  Which is truly adorable.  We spend a lot of time petting street dogs.   Lately we have also been feeding them.  We bring our leftovers to the park near our house where the dogs hang out.  They love it.  When I jog in the park I am now trailed by several dogs who alternately beg for food and affection.  Spring 2010 Ankara 164

Recently we heard about a dog shelter through some friends of ours who volunteer there and have started a community campaign.  It is the only one we are aware of in the  city.  Dogville, as  has been dubbed, is home to over four thousand dogs.  There are even hundreds of purebred dogs there, due to dog ownership issues in Turkey. The shelter is supported by the city, but there are just not enough funds to sustain the dogs.  They are malnourished due to a mainly bread and water diet.    A large problem now is the cold.  The dogs are hungry to start with, but the bread/water mush freezes in the winter before they have a chance to eat it. They are in mostly uncovered cages with no protection from the elements. There are some doghouses for shelter, but usually not enough for all the dogs in the cage.  The cages also tend to be crowded.

Bulent has been buying dry dog food and organizing food donations from hotels in the area and feeding the dogs at the shelter a couple of times a week.   Our friends have also been volunteering and are working on creating awareness and a sustainable aid project.  There are lots of ways to help, both physically at the shelter, and with other types of aid.  If anyone is interested in helping please check out the website.

Ways to help:
• Bring and distribute food
• Make sure the cages have water
• Clean the cages
• Help with improving the cages
• Pet the dogs
• Donate food, or blankets
• Call local restaurants and hotels for leftover food donations
• Send food (via mail order)
• Spread the Word

Epic Cuteness

Bulent picked me up from the Servis bus the other day and told me he had a surprise for me.  He could not keep from smiling.  I kept trying to guess but was no where near close.  We drove around the neighborhood and finally ended up a nearby park.  I thought maybe he had set up a romantic picnic.  

Until I saw the fuzzy wriggling bodies.  Spring 2010 Ankara 152

To be precise, seven of them. 

A neighborhood street dog had puppies and the den is in the park nearby.  The mother is part German Sheppard and from her behavior she may have been an (abused) pet.  She is very shy and non confrontational.  If you speak to her she wags her tail but if you get get close she runs away.

The puppies are absolutely adorable.  They loved to be petted and cuddled. Unlike the last puppies we found.

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They hate to be ignored.  If they want attention they will clearly state their needs.

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They are NOT shy.

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If we owned a house with a yard I know Bulent would have wanted to adopt at least two of them.

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However, since that is not an option we have been bringing them, and their mother, food and water, as is a teenage boy who lives in the neighborhood.  The mother is quite thin – she has been nursing seven pups and has been scavenging for food.  Bulent posted photos on a Craigslist-ish type site advertising the puppies.  There are many people with large homes who want guard dogs.  This would be better than if the dogs were left to scavenge.  They would eventually be picked up by the city and vaccinated and be spayed/neutered, but then released back on to the street.   The problem is that in Turkey dog-ownership outside of villages is new and dogs are a status symbol. People want purebreds not mutts. 

So… if you are in the Ankara area and want a FREE PUPPY who is sweet and trainable, leave a comment.  We would love to hook you up with one of these darlings.  They need a home. 

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Look!  He likes you already!

Cute but Cursed


This is Butterfinger.  She is cute, but fate hates her!  Because she is not human, though she thinks she is, she needs at least two walks a day.  We try to take her out for at least two half hour walks a day.  But lately she has been screwed.  I am telling you, it can be sunny all day and then when I put on her leash it starts to pour.  A few weeks ago I took her out and I swear there were hurricane force winds.  Car alarms were being triggered by this wind.

Today it was a little gray and then the sun came out.  I took her out for a walk, it was a little cool.  It had been warm and lovely for days.  So today when I took her for her evening walk I grabbed my coat.  And wouldn’t you know the second we stepped outside it stated to  rain. Not a problem.   We persevered.  But the rain started to come sidewise and it was very cold.  Butterfinger herself decided to turn around and come back.  by the time we cam back she looked like a drenched rat and my glasses were all frosted and my nose was red.

That poor dog.  Every time the sky looks grey, all it takes to unleash the wrath of the sky is to take out her leash.

Winter Wind is Dangerous

The weather here has been crazy, warm spring days, then snowfall and chilling winds.  The chilling winds are a problem.  Seriously.  The other day I took the dog for a walk.  All was going well.  It was cooler than usual—not a problem.  So we are walking, and the dog takes care of her business…not strange.  So then I do the normal, socially responsible thing and I pick up her poo with a plastic shopping bag.

There was a hole in the bag.   A. Hole. In. The. Bag.  So then I have poo smeared all on my fingers.  Do I have a wipe? A napkin?  A used tissue?  No.  Nothing.  I even though about picking up tissues of the ground, but then I realized whatever was on them might be worse that poo.   Or it might  be poo.  As least I knew whose fecal matter was smeared on my fingers.   So I found a nice soft patch of grass and did the best I could.

I decided not to turn back and go home because the dog had only been outside for 5 minutes.  She needed a walk and besides that, if I had turned around I would have have to drag her back or carry her because she did NOT want to go home yet.  So with pooey fingers we proceed on our walk.  Then that “Winter Wind” became a problem.  There was a hole in the bag, this I knew.  And the poo was slowly falling out the bottom of the bag.  I started to hurry towards the trash—still wanting to be social responsible with my gooey, warm bag of poo.  But then the wind came and the poo started flying out of the bottom the bag.  This was when I decided to forget social responsibility.  By this time the poo was spraying with the wind and I decided, poo on my fingers—I can deal with. Poo all over my clothes.  Forget it.    That winter wind makes me nervous.

RIP:Dog Watching

Butterfinger, our Norwich Terrier, used to sit on the window sill to watch the dogs and passersby.  She loved it.  Sometimes she barked, but mostly she just made us feel guilty enough to take her for another walk.


From now on there will be no more dog watching for her.  We have moved and our new apartment does not have a good “viewing” ledge.  Butterfinger will just have do make do with frequent walks and oodles of space to make up for her window sill.