I still remember Jules’s face when she looked at me when we met the dogs outside our hotel in Cappadocia (a mountainous region of central Turkey (known for its spectacular scenery and stunning balloon flights that fill the sky with colour). It was that look that said ‘Houston, we have a problem – Jules has a madcap idea and we all need to get on the rollercoaster!’
We had been feeding the dogs for a couple of nights outside the hotel and we had fallen in love. Now if you’ve been following closely for the last seven years, you’ll know that we have always been batting for ‘Team Cat’ and we’ve never owned dogs. I may have even written the odd disparaging word about how cats are the supreme beings (possibly even aliens) – the master race and dogs are well, just a bit stupid. Yes, I said all of those things, but there was just something about these two. They looked into our souls and seemed to be pleading for a better life.
There are many street dogs in Turkey and it had affected us seeing this on our trip around the country. Thankfully, there are some very good people in the world who run shelters and rescue some of them – more on this later.
So, I remember Jules saying to Mustapha our lovely guide on our trip, ‘You must get loads of requests from holiday makers to take home rescue dogs?’. Mustapha, paused and with wonderful timing said, ‘I’ve been doing this job for 30 years and it hasn’t happened once!’
So, the plan was on. Mustapha said that if we could get the dogs into a shelter, he could help with a driver. We made a lot of phone calls over the next few days as we took in the sights of Troy, Gallipoli and back to Istanbul. We eventually found the amazing people at the Koycegiz Dogs Rehabilitation Centre, on the south coast of Turkey. All we had to worry about was how we got them there – just a mere 758km! But that was fine as we had our driver – Bulo, who had taken us to see the balloon flights.
Fast forward a week or so and the dogs had made the journey to Koycegiz and now the hard part began – all the health checks, jabs and paperwork required to prepare them for the journey. We knew this would take around four to five months to complete, but we received lots of pictures and videos to keep us updated. They were off the streets and they were thriving in the company of around 200 other hounds all waiting for their forever homes.
To be continued…..