Sunday, 29 December 2013

This week

It's only a matter of weeks since Tommy arrived, and he has settled in so well.

Both he and Monty have spent time swapping beds but not really settling in them, preferring to snuggle up on our bed.  For the past three nights Monty has slept in the pink bed that used to be Poppy's and Tommy on our bed, even though I tried to encourage him into the blue one.   Finally the night before last, after several attempts, they both went to sleep in their own beds, meaning we were at last able to move our legs during the night without having to move two dogs.

 When I woke up yesterday morning, this was what I saw...both in the same bed.  However, it didn't last long.  After much squabbling, Monty pushed Tommy out and he ended up back on our bed.

Monty seems happy to sleep in his bed.  Tommy prefers ours.  Ah well, at least there's a bit more room with just one on the bed.

Mr A recovered from his eye problem.  It wasn't serious but he enjoyed exaggerating and making a fuss about it.  He is now preoccupied in trying to get the car back on the road.  It's been parked half-way down the hill since earlier in the week.  He had a quote from one of the workshops and as I expected it's going to be expensive to put it right.  Late yesterday, with the help of a mechanic, they managed to get the car to the workshop just off the main road, and there it will stay until it's fixed. 

After much negotiating, Mr A has managed to get them to agree to fix it and allow him to pay in instalments.  He has a labouring job lined up for when I get back from England, so a few weeks work will enable him to pay for the repairs.  (Fingers crossed the job doesn't fall through).  

I made a trip into Milas on Friday by dolmus, and how I've missed this wonderful form of travel in recent weeks!   Packed in like sardines, and on the return journey being wedged up against the window by a very large lady with two children on her lap.  One of them whinged and fidgeted whilst the other continually kicked my leg, which is now covered in bruises.   Then having to climb over several bags of fertiliser and a large petrol container to get off the bus.  I'll be glad when the car is back on the road.  Unfortunately, this won't be in time to take me to the airport tomorrow morning for my trip to England, so Mr A has enlisted the services of a friend in the village to get me there.

The dogs had me up at around 4 o clock this morning.  The big ones wanted to go out for a run, and Monty and Tommy wanted to play.   Much as I love them dearly, all this activity so early in the morning can get a bit much at times! 

We continue to feed the strays in the village, and more seem to be arriving by the day.  I have a feeling some may well have been dumped here from elsewhere.  The problem is never-ending.

So for 13 days from tomorrow Mr A will be up early with the dogs, whilst I will have two small boys to play with.    I'd like to say I'll get a rest while I'm away, but I very much doubt it!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The art of exagerration... something the Turks are experts at.  Put them in any situation and they will always tell a bigger/better/worse story later.  I'm trying not to generalise too much, because for the sake of my Turkish readers, I'm not saying every Turk is prone to exaggerating, but in my 15 plus years of experience here, an awful lot are.  I find men are the worst.

Mr A does it all the time.  I'm used to it and take a lot of his stories with a huge pinch of salt.  I think he, and others, like to make their lives a little more exciting than they actually are.

Take illness, for example.  I am pretty sure "Manflu" was invented by the Turks.  Womanflu of course consists of feeling absolutely rough, but still carrying on regardless.  Manflu is much worse necessitating a lot of sniffing, coughing, moaning, taking to his bed and the expectation that his woman will become nurse and administer to his every need.

What about headaches?  I get them from time to time.  I take a paracetomol or ibubrofen if it's really bad, then carry on as usual.  Mr A has been known to go to the hospital with a headache on several occasions so that he can get instant relief by means of a painkilling injection.

Earlier this week when Mr A was out working on the wall, something went in his eye.  Not sure what, but it was slightly bloodshot.  I had some eye drops at home, so he used these for a few days.  Well to be precise I had to put the drops into his eye because he couldn't manage by himself.  It's no longer bloodshot, but he says it still feels like there is something in his eye.

He took himself off to the hospital this morning to get it checked out.  Later he phoned me to say he was about to undergo an operation on his eye.  When I questioned him further I established that in fact there was a miniscule piece of grit in his eye and trying to wash it out had failed to remove it.  So the doctor was going to remove it with tweezers.   If I wasn't so used to his exaggerating I would have thought that he was about to be carted off to the operating theatre.

I have no doubt of course that he will need a few days to recover from his "operation"...poor man!

What is it that people say?  If men were able to have babies, they'd only ever have one.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas on Facebook

I have to be admit to being a bit of a Facebook addict.  Although I am selective in what I post or what I choose to read.

There are two main reasons for my using this social network site.  I can chat to my daughter and see photos of my grandsons seconds after they are taken...wonderful.

Secondly, my interest in animal welfare.  It has been a great platform for sharing information about dogs and cats that have been rescued by the many volunteers here, and are up for adoption.  So many unfortunate animals have managed to find their forever homes through Facebook, and that makes me very happy.

I do get irritated by some of the stuff though.  I keep receiving invitations to play games, even though I often post to say I am not interested and please don't ask me to join in. but it makes very little difference.

Christmas Day on Facebook was something else.  Why do people feel the need to post photos of their Christmas dinner?   Do they think we have never seen roast turkey before?  You've seen've seen them all.

Then we have presents, opened, carefully arranged and posed for the camera. What's that all about?

We are living in a recession.  Many people in the UK are now relying on food banks to survive.  Others get into debt in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses and spend money on gifts that they can't afford, and that people don't really need.

Perhaps some of those who are unable to over-indulge for this one day of the year, have managed to access Facebook...what do they feel when they see photo upon photo of huge turkey dinners and piles of presents?

I'm being just a bit Bah Humbug about it all today.  I am an atheist, but I do respect others' beliefs, and as I see it, for true Christians, over-indulgence is not what it's all about.   And whether you are religious or not, this is a time of year for reflection, and for caring for others less fortunate, and not a time for showing off your Christmas dinners and presents.

How many people gave a thought for the homeless?  Thank goodness for the kind people in many parts of the world, who sacrificed their day to help feed those much less fortunate than themselves.

For me, and for many of my animal rescue friends here in Turkey, whether they celebrated  yesterday or not, it was still a normal day as far as the animals are concerned.  Dogs and cats were still fed on the streets, and the sick cared for.  That will continue, every day of the year.

If you wish to help us continue with this work, you will find many groups on Facebook who need your support.  I also need your support, and a donation, however small, will go a long way in helping me to continue.  Thankyou x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Service Animals and Dorothy Harrison Eustis

Today we take the concept of service animals for granted but it's easy to forget that, less than 100 years ago, impaired individuals had no such support. That was the situation following WWI when countless young men, blinded by mustard gas in the trenches of Europe, were trying to re-acclimatise to society. One woman, Dorothy Harrison Eustis, believed that with a helping hand -- or more accurately, four helping paws -- these individuals could find their place and become contributing members of their communities.

Dorothy Leib Harrison was born in Philadelphia in 1886 and raised in an upper middle class household. She married Walter Wood in 1906. Wood was a businessman who operated an experimental farm for the selective breeding of dairy cattle. Dorothy had a German Shepherd on the farm. The dog's exceptional intelligence and loyalty encouraged Dorothy to begin thinking about how dogs could be used to help humans.

Wood died in 1917 and Dorothy moved to Vevey, Switzerland. In Vevey she established a kennel and began to experiment with the selective breeding of dogs. In 1923 Dorothy married George Eustis, a horse breeder, and together they continued Dorothy's project. By the late 1920s the pair had succeeded in creating a strain of loyal and intelligent German Shepherds and word of their endeavours spread. The Swiss army and a number of European police units acquired some of the Eustis's dogs and integrated them into their work.

In 1927 the Eustises heard about a school in Germany that trained dogs as guides for blind veterans. Dorothy Eustis wrote an article about the school for the Saturday Evening Post which was brought to the attention of Morris S. Frank, a blind man from Nashville, Tennessee. Frank corresponded with Dorothy. He asked her to train a dog for him and promised that he would return to the United States and spread the word about the wonderful programme of providing blind people with dogs who could help them create independent lives. After he completed instruction in Switzerland Frank returned to New York. Word of the project had proceeded him and he was met by a throng of news reporters who were enthralled with the abilities of his dog, Buddy, and the new life that it gave to Frank. Frank sent a one-word telegram to Dorothy -- “Success.”  With that telegram The Seeing Eye program was born with the goal of making the entire world accessible to people who are blind.

In 1929 Dorothy returned to the United States and incorporated The Seeing Eye, Inc. She established a training school for dogs and owners in Nashville Tennessee. In 1932 the school moved to Whippany, New Jersey.

Dorothy invested a great deal of her own fortune in The Seeing Eye and established a foundation that allowed the school to function independently. She served as the school's president until 1940 even while continuing to serve as president of L’Oeil Qui Voit, a Swiss training school for dogs and instructors. She believed in restricting the dogs to individuals of sufficient maturity, strength, ambition, and financial means that would allow them to fully benefit from the freedom that a guide dog could make possible. By the time that Dorothy passed away in 1946 The Seeing Eye had supplied more than 1,300 guide dogs to the blind.

Dorothy Eustis is the acknowledged pioneer of seeing eye dogs -- a concept which has exploded in recent years to service animals of many different types and for people with many different physical, mental, health and other types of challenges. However, until recently, very little was known about her or her involvement in the world of service animals.

Recently a group of Panama City Florida first-graders embarked on a project to ensure that Dorothy's efforts would be recognized and honoured. The class worked together to research Dorothy Eustis and create an "Unsung Heroes" project about her that is now featured at the Lowell Milken Center. The children partnered with a local dog-training programme where they observed the training process and created materials that could express their thoughts as they learned about Dorothy and observed the training facility. As a part of the LMC the students were able to gain knowledge about the program and respect for individuals with disabilities while they learned about how one person can make a difference in the lives of many.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

One of those days

The weather over the last couple of days has been lovely.  Yesterday it reached 17 degrees outside, although the house is freezing, but it enabled Mr A to continue with rebuilding the wall at the back of the house, and the dogs to enjoy the sunshine.

A trip into Milas yesterday afternoon to get some more dogfood, food shopping and two more bags of cement, started off well.  We took Monty and Tommy with us.  They seem to enjoy the back seat of the car, looking out of the windows and barking at cats, and a bit of play fighting.

The boot was full and we set off to the village.  Just as we were about to turn off the main road to the village, the car stalled and wouldn't start again.  Fortunately we were pretty close to the saniye (industrial estate) so with the help of a couple of men the car was pushed to a workshop.  They managed to get it going again.   There is a problem with the engine it seems and this will have to be investigated on Monday.   As always we have problems with cars.  It's inevitable because it's old, and the village roads are not helping.

So we are half way up the hill to the house and the car breaks down again and just won't start, so we had to leave it there.   Mr A told me to just take the dogs up to the house and he would make several journeys back to the car to bring up the sacks of dogfood, cement and shopping.  I should have taken notice, but I held on to the dog leads with my "bad" arm and carried a couple of shopping bags with my good arm.

On reaching the gate the 4 big dogs were barking and pleased to see us.  I struggled to get in with the dogs and shopping whilst trying to prevent the big dogs from getting out as Dursune's chickens were again running all over the place but my hands were full and  I failed.  Freddie squeezed past me and the other three pushed me out of the way to follow him.

Freddie immediately chased the chickens and the others followed suit.  Dursune appeared from her house and shouted and screamed.  I shouted at the dogs.  Mr A appeared with shopping, dropped it to deal with the dogs, and a large pot of yogurt burst and the contents went everywhere, along with half a dozen smashed eggs.

Result...two dead chickens.  Of course I am not happy about my dogs killing her chickens, but I am sick to death of her lack of responsibility.   She continued to shout and I shouted back....mostly in English with Mr A translating.  I have told her that she cannot just let her chickens wander all over the place.  If my dogs don't kill them, they will be killed by other street dogs or foxes. 

The shouting and translating continued, and then she suddenly shut up.   Mr A tells me that she has got the message and that she is scared of me now because I was so angry.  Of course I don't want to scare anyone but if that's what it takes then so be it.

I unloaded the shopping, fed the dogs, fed Mr A, and peace was restored.  Then to the highlight of my afternoon.

Another thing we did in Milas was to collect a parcel from the bus coming from Fethiye.  It was from Joanna, who we met when she brought Monty to Gokova for us to collect.  She had sent me goodies, including amongst other things Cadbury's chocolate and a bottle of wine, a blanket for the dogs and some fleecy pyjama bottoms for me to keep us warm.

What a lovely thing to do, and such kindness.  I won't be getting Christmas presents this year, so you can imagine my excitement.  Suddenly the stresses of the afternoon just slipped away.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Cards

It's that time of year to send seasonal greetings. 

My dear blogging friends, you know I'm not religious, and I don't like all the commercial stuff which starts far too early, but I always enjoyed Christmas with my family.  For me it has always been a special time when I have been fortunate enough to be with my family in England.  Otherwise it's just another day.

As far as cards are concerned, we have just one, which my brother gave to me when I visited the UK in October.  I have also received some eCards, which are very much appreciated...thankyou xx

I think cards brighten up a room, so in lieu of our lack of cards, Mr A and I have sent cards to ourselves from all the dogs...a bit silly really, but it cheered us up writing them! 

And here are my Christmas "cards" to all my blogging friends.  I know those of you who are religious, also have a sense of humour, so trust you won't be offended


And finally...not really a card...but a photo that brightened my day.  Billy and Jimi visiting Santa:

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Peaceful New Year xxx

Friday, 20 December 2013

Confession time

My blog is as good as any place to confess.  Both Mr A and I are keeping a secret.

Late yesterday afternoon we opened the gates to let out our 4 big dogs as usual for their run up the hill before dinner.   Also as usual, Dursune's chickens were running around everywhere.  Thankfully the dogs take very little notice of them these days.

However we did notice one chicken that appeared to have a broken leg and we're sure it was in pain.  Freddie also noticed and ran after it.  Mr A got there before him, shouted at him and he stopped dead in his tracks, then off he ran up the hill with the other dogs.

The chicken was in a sorry state so Mr A made the decision to put it out of it's misery.  Dursune was nowhere around so we couldn't tell her.

Mr A then brought the carcass around the back of the house, plucked it, washed it and asked me to cook it.   Aargh...I know I eat meat, but I don't find it easy to deal with an animal that I've seen running about...well in this case, not exactly running about, more hobbling in pain.

Well, I boiled it slowly...and there is very little meat on it, and I wouldn't be able to bring myself to eat it anyway.  Mr A will not be so squeamish, but if he is, the dogs will have a treat.

Now for the confession bit....we haven't told Dursune.  Why?  Because I am 100% certain that if we do she will accuse one of our dogs  of killing it, and whatever we say will make no difference.  Then we will have to put up with her constant moaning about it to us and the neighbours for weeks.  In any case she is absolutely over-run with chickens and hasn't noticed it missing. 

So that's it...I've confessed and feel a little relieved at having shared it.

Other news...Tommy has settled in very well here.  He's a lively little chap and very affectionate.  He and Monty squabble a fair bit, but they are becoming fond of each other.  Last night they were curled up on my bed.  They lay very close to each other and Monty had his head resting on Tommy...lovely to see.

Sammy, Megan, Freddie and Blondie seem quite relieved that they no longer have to put up with Monty nipping their legs, as he is happily occupied playing with Tommy.   So all is well in our camp.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Feeding feral cats

Just like the stray dogs, there is a huge population of feral cats in Turkey.  They mostly survive though because they are good scavengers.  They can jump in and out of rubbish bins and in my experience, in all the areas where we have lived, people put their scraps in bags next to the bins to make it a bit easier for them.

I have posted the following on Facebook, on my page and on several rescue group pages, and I'm glad to see it is being shared far and wide.  It's a message that needs to be circulated, and it's self-explanatory:

"Having just read a friend's status about yet another group of cats having been fed all summer by a German family staying here, only to be left to fend for themselves when the family leaves, I am copying my response here because I think it's important.

How many times have I said to people in tourist areas over the years, if you can't commit to feeding a street animal every day of the year,then don't start. Particularly where cats are concerned.

Unlike dogs, feral cats will scavenge for food. They can jump in and out of the bins, whereas dogs can't. Of course this isn't ideal but it's a means of survival for most. But if tourists or those visiting for a limited amount of time, just feed while they are here they take away the cats' natural scavenging instinct and give them a false sense of security.

I have said repeatedly to people doing this...don't feed individual cats..leave bags of food by the bins and allow them to find it. Some of my Turkish neighbours do this,and have done so in all areas where I've lived. This is why people in animal rescue groups all over Turkey have to implement feeding plans every year when the season ends.

Feeding a cat or dog for a limited amount of time while you are on holiday only makes the problem worse for the volunteers living here who are left behind to pick up the pieces"

This isn't just about Turkey.  There are cats roaming the streets in many countries where people go on holiday.  It's very tempting if you are an animal lover to want to feed them.  You do it out of kindness and I'm sure that for a limited time the cats are happy.

But when you leave, you don't see them returning to where you fed them, day after day to find no-one there.  It's heartbreaking.  In the example I mentioned above, volunteers in the area are now trying to sort out the aftermath.  There are many cats there, some pregnant, and also tiny kittens.  It is cold and they are starving.  It creates a huge problem for the rescue groups, whose funds are limited. 

 Many other cats who have become used to human contact, and kittens who need hand-rearing, have been taken in by volunteers and these they try to re-home if possible.  Large numbers of cats are now being neutered by groups and put back on the streets, to keep the population down.  

Please think twice when you are tempted to feed a stray when you are on holiday.  Leave food by the bins so that they can keep their scavenging instinct and survive when you return home.

It's different with dogs.  There are shelters here, although in most cases not ideal, but it is some kind of refuge.  Rescue groups do feed those left on the streets, particularly through the winter, and try to get as many as possible neutered...and some are re-homed.

Like other rescuers in Turkey, Mr A and I continue to feed the dogs on the streets, but not the cats.  People in this village leave scraps by the bins for them, as do we.

There are more stray dogs appearing in the village by the day and we are getting through a lot of food.  I know I keep mentioning it, and please do not feel obliged,  but a donation, no matter how small, will go a long way in enabling us to continue.  Thankyou x

Monday, 16 December 2013

The new boy

Tommy arrived today from Fethiye.  A very kind man called Clive brought him here, along with Kathy who has been looking after him, and her daughter Kirstie (who we first met when we collected Monty). 

He is a dear little chap.  Much smaller than we expected, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in personality and confidence.  We took Monty with us into Milas to meet them, and I think Kathy was a little embarrassed because from the moment they met Tommy started humping Monty, and this continued in the back seat of the car, and on and off for 3 or 4 hours when we reached home.  It's all perfectly normal of course.  Although he was neutered last week, testosterone remains in the body for a couple of weeks.  It's also a way of him trying to control Monty/

The two of them have been charging around the garden, each trying to assert their authority...Monty by nipping...and Tommy by humping.   The big dogs all looked on, thoroughly bemused, and I think quite relieved at the respite from Monty nipping their legs! 

They are now thoroughly exhausted and are both sleeping on my bed.   So much for their own cosy beds which I doubt will get any use from now on.

Here are a few photos (I've avoided posting any of the humping activity for those of a delicate nature).

Mr A is continuing to feed the village strays every evening down  near the teahouse.  The numbers are increasing, as we expected.  We are also feeding any others we come across when we are out and about.   If you would like to help us to continue with this, a donation via the Paypal button on my sidebar, would be very much appreciated.  No amount is ever too small to make a big difference.  A huge thankyou to those of you have donated.  It has really helped xxx

Friday, 13 December 2013

Monty The Destroyer

I've been blaming Freddie for all the chewing and destruction going on here.  Blankets ripped apart and dragged around the garden, shoes chewed, etc.  It's an easy mistake to make.  After all Freddie has chewed most things he could get his teeth into since he arrived.

However, I discovered the real perpetrator of all this damage today.  It's "innocent, butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" Monty.  When he's outside with the big guys he disappears into their dog room.  Megan and Sammy come out, leaving Blondie and Freddie with Monty.  Blondie has taken on the role of mother to Monty.  She tries very hard to distract him, and if he is having a rough and tumble with any of the others, she sits and watches to make sure he doesn't get hurt.  Not much chance of that as the others tolerate him biting their legs and ears with such good grace.

This morning I crept up on them.  And there he was in the dog room, ripping a blanket to shreds, whilst Freddie watched (looking a bit guilty as he usually does, hence my always assuming it's him) and Blondie watching Monty and looking quite anxious.

I called him out and shut him on the balcony.  Big mistake.  I was distracted for a while in the kitchen, and when I went out to the balcony, I discovered a chewed up throw from the sofa, my outdoor slip on shoes completely destroyed.  He had even managed to perch on the arm of the sofa to enable him to chew off the corner of the table.   Little bugger!

I'm really not very good with discipline but I realised I needed to make him understand he had been naughty, so I told him firmly to go inside in his bed and to stay.  He got out of his bed a couple of times and followed me into the kitchen and I made him return and eventually he got the message.  Of course I am just a big softy, and within half an hour, and a look into his eyes,  I just had to give him a cuddle and he is now curled up on my bed.

Mr A is worse than me.  Every time I tell him that one of the dogs has misbehaved he just laughs.  What a right pair we are.  We really need to toughen up!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A trip to the hospital and a new arrival

Ah...that got you wondering didn't it?  No I haven't just given birth..I'm far too old...thank goodness!

We did go to the hospital today, reluctantly on my part.  I do have a habit of putting up with things for too long.   I saw an orthopaedic surgeon today and I have tendonitis in my right arm from above the elbow down to my fingers.  It's been painful for weeks now, and then two days ago a ganglion appeared on the top of my wrist and seemed to get bigger overnight.

I had x-rays which confirmed his diagnosis.  I now have a splint on my wrist and lower arm which I
have to keep in place for a minimum of 2 weeks, and four lots of medication.  The doctors really overdo medication here.  In fact one lot of tablets is to counteract the side effects of one of the others.  It's hoped that this will deal with the problem.  If not I may have to have an operation.  To ensure that I don't reach that point I am not allowed now, or any time in the future, to lift anything heavy or put any strain on the arm and wrist.  Hmm...easier said than done.  Everyday life consists of lifting, carrying and moving things about.

And the new arrival?  Well he hasn't arrived yet, it will be a further 10 days or so.  His name is Tommy, and he lives in the Fethiye area. He is about a year old.  He was abused and neglected as a pup until rescued by an English woman who could only keep him for 6 weeks, he was then fostered by another English woman, but it was only going to be a temporary measure to prevent him going to the council shelter.

Time is running out, he had to be re-homed or it would be the shelter for him.  It is a heartbreaking situation.  Little dogs that have learned to live with people have no chance of surviving in these shelters.  So he is coming to us.  Today he was neutered and is recovering well.  The fosterer is arranging transport to get him to us, because we daren't risk using the car at the moment while it's not yet registered in our name.

I wondered if it was too soon after losing Poppy.  I didn't think I could do it, but then I looked at her empty bed and just knew it had to be filled with another in need.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Crooks everywhere

When we bought the truck recently from an oto galeri (car sales) in Milas, we knew that we would have to change ownership and get the relevant paperwork in order.  This, I feel, is something that the oto galeri should be responsible for.  However, they didn't deal with it but left it to Mr A to contact the previous owner to get this done.

Ever since the day of purchase, Mr A has been trying to contact the previous owner by phone with the number given on the paperwork, and confirmed as correct by the oto galeri.  With no success.  He rings every day, but there is no answer.  He asked the oto galeri to try, but they say there is no answer.

He really should not have been driving it without the change of ownership, but needs must.  He was stopped once by the traffic police outside Milas, showed the papers and explained the problem to them.  They were fine about it and just said to keep trying to make contact and change the papers as soon as possible.  I think he was lucky to have found a policeman having a good day!

On Sunday morning, he drove the truck down to the village to collect a friend from the teahouse and they were then going to pick oranges and mandarins from the friend's land.

Just as he set off from the teahouse, a traffic police car pulled up and stopped him.  They informed him that the truck was stolen!  He was escorted to the oto galeri where the owner was waiting.  He says he bought the car in good faith from a "relative" of the person who owned the truck.   It now transpired that the owner did not give a relative permission to sell the truck and wanted it back.

Mr A insisted to the oto galeri owner that he is at fault and that our money should be refunded.  He says he doesn't have the money but that Mr A could take another of his cars as a replacement.  I am furious.  If I had been with him I would have kicked up such a stink.  But Mr A, gullible as always, has accepted another car.  The good news is that this car is in the name of the oto galeri owner, so at least we know where to find him to change the ownership.    Mr A will not be using it for the next couple of months, and it will be parked outside the house, so we are not going to rush to change ownership and the cost involved in that.    The bad news...well two lots of bad news that this car is more expensive than the truck, so Mr A will owe money on it.  Which means that he will have to find a job as soon as possible.  The other issue is that we have spent money on this truck since we bought it, which we will never see again, and the oto galeri is allowing a lower price than we paid for the truck in part exchange for the car.  

I'm not sure I've explained this particularly well, but the bottom line is that we are out of pocket on the "stolen" truck, and are left owing money on a different car.

I'd have insisted on the money being returned in full.  I would not have accepted another car.  But then I'm just a woman, and no-one takes any notice of women here.

This whole sorry story  sounds very suspicious to me.  I think the oto galeri man knows more than he's letting on, and perhaps this is a scam to make money out of us.  I guess we'll never find out.  But he sounds like just as much of a crook as the "relative" who allegedly sold the truck without permission from the owner.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Food glorious food

We had to go into Milas on Friday to talk to Mehmet the vet about Poppy.  I knew I had to discuss everything that happened, how fast it happened, and what Mehmet had done for her, but couldn't face it for a few days.

We took Monty with us because I found some fleas on him and needed to get some more treatment.  I believe he was treated recently, before he came to us, but seems to have picked up these nasty creatures from somewhere so wanted to prevent him passing them on to the others.   I use Bayticol solution on the other 4 dogs, because it comes in a large bottle which provides several treatments.  It's much the same as Frontline, very effective and it works out cheaper.  Vets here won't generally tell you about it because there's less profit, so it's always worth asking.    I never used it on Poppy because she was a white-haired dog with more sensitive skin, so because Monty has similar hair and skin, Bayticol wouldn't be suitable for him either.  So we used Frontline.

A total bill for Poppy's treatment was worked out, and we paid some of it...the rest will follow in due course.  Mehmet is always happy to wait for payment, because not only are we reliable, but he always puts the animals first before money.

While we were in his clinic a tiny dog ran in and jumped on my lap, then onto my shoulder and started licking my face.  Apparently Mehmet found him on the street.  He knew who it belonged to because he had previously treated him.  He contacted the owners who said they no longer wanted him, so Mehmet seems to be stuck with him.  His wife (also a vet) said she would be happy to keep him, but if this proves too much for her, as they are always so busy, maybe we will take him.

On the way back we decided to make a detour to the saniye (industrial estate) on the main road near the turn off to our village.  Mr A has been there recently and noticed a number of stray dogs.  We always carry dried dog food in the truck so we decided to feed some of them.

There weren't as many dogs  as there were when Mr A was last there, so we are a little concerned about what has happened to them.  No doubt they have been disposed of.  However we fed the ones we found.  Whilst doing so, a man appeared from one of the workshops and told us about the 4 pedigree pups he had just bought from Izmir.  I was just about to open my mouth and Mr A gave me one his looks that says "don't get into an argument".   It just makes me so angry when people buy special breeds here, whilst ignoring the starving dogs all around them.

We couldn't get close enough to a few dogs, who were clearly scared, so left the food at a distance from them, but here are some that we managed to feed that weren't so timid:

We would like to continue to feed these dogs, our village strays, and any others we come across, on a regular basis throughout the winter. 

I have received donations from some very kind people recently which will enable us to do our best for these dogs.  Thankyou so much to those of you who have donated.  I am so grateful...and the dogs are too!

If you want to help, there is a Paypal button on my sidebar.  Please do not feel obliged, and never feel that any amount is too small to make a huge difference.  

Thankyou xxx

Friday, 6 December 2013

Pets, landlords and the need to keep moving.

When I first moved here in 1998, Mr A and I spent a couple of months travelling along the south and west coasts of Turkey.  It was the beginning of winter.  Mr A had finished his job in a restaurant at the end of the season, and it seemed the perfect opportunity for him to show me different areas where we might like to settle, and where there would be work for him, hopefully for the winter, but also for the following summer.

We eventually arrived in Gumusluk, on the Bodrum peninsular, and we rented an apartment.  Our first proper home together.  It was an old building set amongst olive and orange groves.  But it was a summer holiday let, and unsuitable for winter.  No hot water or cooker, every room leading out to an open terrace, and metal framed windows that let in the rain. 

We were walking along the beach one morning and discovered a tiny ginger kitten trying desperately to eat a raw fish.  We took her home and called her Kuci. 

After a few months, the cold and damp apartment was just too much to cope with so we found a new apartment in Turgutreis and moved there.   Kuci settled very well.  She liked to go out during the day, then she would return early evening, jump onto the kitchen windowsill and scratch the window to be let in.

Unfortunately, the landlord who lived on site, objected to her being around.   One evening Kuci didn't return.  We sat up all night waiting.   The next day we searched for her...and the next and so on.  Mr A even offered a reward to the local kids if they could find her, and he spoke to the rubbish collectors, asking them to also look out for her.   She never returned.   To this day, I believe the landlord disposed of her, although we couldn't prove it.

A month or so later, a tiny puppy turned up at the gate.  We smuggled her in and called her Maisie.Every time we took her out I would put her in a large handbag so that the landlord wouldn't see her.  Eventually she started to grow and it was impossible to hide her, so we moved again.

And this is how it has been ever since.  Until we moved to this house nearly 5 years ago, we moved a total of 14 times.

We had Maisie for a couple of years.   My father in England was very ill and I needed to return to be with him.  Mr A was coming up to the end of the season and money was tight.  He could no longer pay the rent so had to move out of the apartment.  The landlord and his family, who were very kind people, who had a dog of their own had always treated Maisie well, and they offered to have Maisie.  Reluctantly Mr A left her with them and moved to Izmir to find work with accommodation.

In the meantime, my father died.  I stayed on because my mother was ill, and she passed away a few months later.  I wasn't able to return to Turkey for about six months.

During this time, Mr A discovered that Maisie had been dumped in the local shelter by the landlord and was furious.  He drove all the way to Turgutreis to search for her.  He found her and took her with him.  He was now in Antalya, having searched for work, but found nothing.  He and Maisie slept in the car, sharing whatever food he could afford to buy.  A man who worked near where Mr A parked, stopped each evening and gave Mr A food for Maisie.  He offered to give her a home on his farm, along with his other dogs.  Mr A didn't want to let her go, but eventually he took Maisie there and she was happy.  Mr A went back there to visit several times just to make sure.

There have been other cats and dogs since then.   Bobby, the black and white cat, who we just could not tame and didn't want to stay in the house and eventually decided to park himself at a local hotel, where everyone loved him because he chased the dogs away!

A tiny kitten who I fed but she was too weak to survive long enough to be given a name.  An emaciated black and white dog called Molly, who was so riddled with worms that she had gone blind in one eye.  We had her treated by the vet, and kept her for about 6 months before re-homing her.  This was now the established pattern.  Landlords don't want dogs and cats in their apartments, so if we wanted to keep one we would have to keep moving.

Living in Side, 11 years ago, we found Beki dumped in the road along with 3 other pups. Although all from the same litter, Beki was clearly the runt...very tiny and only two weeks old.  An Australian girl living closeby took one of them and the other two were adopted by a vet.  We smuggled Beki in to our apartment.  The landlord objected.  We moved again, and again.  I had hand-reared Beki and was determined to keep her.   We did, for 10 years, until she died from cancer last year.

There was Susie,a street dog that I fed outside our apartment in Avanos, Cappodocia, until I witnessed an old lady beating her with a stick, so we took her in.  The landlord had tolerated Beki but refused to allow us to keep two dogs.  Even though Mr A actually built a big fenced area in the garden for her to stay in.   We managed to find her a home on a farm near Kayseri, where she was happy.

Beki continued to move with us, from Cappodocia, to Selcuk, and finally to this village.  This house belongs to my father-in-law but although his name is still on the tapu (deeds) it is ours.  We used to get lots of visits from him and mother-in-law, but not anymore, so we can live our life now, do as we wish without the threat of being evicted by a landlord.

I took in another pup when we had been here a few months, and she lived outside in the shed.  Her brother turned up a few weeks later, cold and wet, so he came in as well.   By this time we had decided that because father-in-law was still on the scene, and doesn't really like dogs, that any we rescued would only be a temporary measure until we could re-home them.   And after two months, the two pups, who had by this time started to grow very quickly, were found a home in another village near here.   Mr A has always vetted the new owners.  He has to be certain the dogs will be taken care of, and he would go back at regular intervals to check on them.

Then we took in Poppy.   Father-in-law's visits became less frequent fortunately (any long term readers of my blog will know how much I detest him), and it's now 18 months since we last saw him.  They are building their retirement home up near Ankara, and have no desire to come down this way again.

So we have stopped moving on.  We can now enjoy our life with our rescued dogs, without the fear of  having to re-home them or move elsewhere.   Peace at last.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

More scandal?

If you were hoping for more tales of murder, prostitution and teahouse brawls, I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed.

I don't have much faith these days in those people in positions of power, or responsible for decision making.  There is so much corruption and it starts at the top.

After all, our esteemed prime minister had a vested interest in destroying and re-developing the park in Istanbul which was the start of all the demonstrations in recent months.  The contract for re-development had of course been given to his son-in-law.   And to think that people were killed and badly injured because they felt they should have the right to an opinion. 

Getting back to our village.   The roads are dreadful.  Two years ago some of them at the bottom of the village were repaired.   But we are still waiting for the rest to be done.  Mr A's truck has been damaged countless times since we bought it.  We are constantly taking it into the workshop in Milas to repair the damage caused by the roads full of potholes and big rocks. 

There was a certain amount of optimism recently when we heard that Milas Belediye would be taking control of the village.  We also heard that work on the village roads would start in January.  Mr A asked the Muhtar when it was likely that the road that runs from the hill behind and alongside our house would be done.  This road (see the picture) is in constant use, not only by us, but by tractors, flocks of sheep and people.    Apparently this stretch of road is not going to be repaired.  The reason given...there's not enough stone available.  The repairs will continue from the bottom of the village halfway up to the top.  Then that's it.  I have a sneaking suspicion that there was money available to carry out ALL of the work, but either the money or the stone has been used elsewhere.  I don't suppose we will ever know.

Mr A's truck at the top of  our road. 

Mr A just shakes his head in despair but accepts it.  Although he did write to to Milas Belediye about the yet no reply. My suggested solution  is that Mr A undertakes the task  and just covers it with cement.  BUT I said he should discuss it with the neighbours and the men with tractors that use it, and ask them to contribute towards the cost.  In fact, whoever uses it should pay, not us, because Mr A would be doing the work.

I somehow think that the usual apathy will prevail, and no-one will be willing to cough up.  My answer to this is that if we can improve this stretch of road as economically as possible, then we close it off at the top and the bottom, and it will then be for our use only.   I have of course suggested that he tell the Muhtar of his plans then maybe he  will be forced to do something about it.

So not the usual tales of excitement from the village, but scandalous nevertheless.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


I was uncertain yesterday about posting on Facebook and here on my blog about losing Poppy.  I'm not sure I really knew what to say.  Words can't really describe how I feel.

When we rescued Poppy about 4 years ago, she was already at least 3 years old.  The state she was in was clearly indicative of the appalling life she had already led.  She was around 2kg in weight, hardly any fur.  She had mange, ticks, worms, fleas, and we established that she didn't have a very strong heart.  As if this wasn't enough, she was also in season when she arrived.  What a timid forelorn little thing she was.

She needed a hell of a lot more TLC than any dogs I have had before or since.  Of course we adored Beki, who was only 2 weeks old when we rescued her, who died last year aged 10 years old,  but we had her from the beginning so we knew what we were dealing with.

My other dogs know something has happened.  When Mr A was going back and forth to the vet over the past few days, carrying her in her cosy bed, the dogs all rushed out to him when he returned, jumping up at him.  When he returned yesterday with Poppy's body in her bed, they didn't jump.  All 5 of them sat quietly at the gate, and allowed him to walk past them without moving.

Monty has not left my side since yesterday.  It's as if he knows he now has to comfort me.  If I was religious, maybe I would believe that adopting him a few weeks ago was some sort of divine intervention...that he was destined to be here at this time.

Mr A has spent all his time since yesterday making a beautiful grave for Poppy at the end of the garden, with a little brick wall around it.  He is distraught and he has to find something practical to do.

People who don't have, or have never had, pets probably don't get all this.  Some would say that people are more important than animals.  I don't agree.  All living creatures on this earth are important.  As far as dogs and cats are concerned, when you give them a home they love you unconditionally.  I'm not sure I could always say the same about people.

The situation for the animals in this country is dire.  It breaks my heart every day to see the starving and sick animals on the streets.  It's a desperate, and ever escalating problem, but we can only do our best.

As I was waiting for Mr A to return with Poppy yesterday, a very thin and quite young dog turned up at my gate.   I rushed in to get some food, but he ran away.   I saw him at a distance.  I followed but he wouldn't return, so I left the food down at the bottom of the road in the hope that he might return.  I haven't seen him since, but I live in hope.

But the main reason for writing this post is to say thankyou to everyone for the kind messages that you have left here and on Facebook.   Your words have been such a comfort to me  xxxx

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Goodbye Darling Poppy

I really hoped I would have good news to report today.  Dear little Poppy passed away this morning.

There was nothing anyone could do.  She had a dreadful night with laboured breathing, and deep in my heart I feared the worse.

She was at the vet's twice yesterday for serum and time in the oxygen tank.  She had an ultrasound that showed an enlarged liver.  Blood tests couldn't be taken until today, because the serum and oxygen were the priority.  They were keeping her alive.

Mr A took her to the vet very early this morning, and within minutes of arriving her little heart just gave up.   I am grateful that it happened this way, fairly quickly, with no unnecessary suffering, and that I didn't have to make the awful decision to let her go.

It never gets any easier.

 We loved you so much and gave you a chance 4 years ago.  If we hadn't, you would not have survived.

Rest in Peace darling Poppy

Sunday, 1 December 2013

VIP visit

Today a Very Important Prat Person, the prime minister of this country, visited Milas on his whistle-stop tour of the area.

Mr A was intending to join the crowds but I decided not to.   I can think of better things to do than look at or listen to this dictator who is systematically destroying the democracy created by the great Ataturk.

As it turned out, Mr A did go into Milas, but NOT to see the VIP.   He felt that there could potentially be some trouble, and thought it best to avoid the area. 

However, our dear little Poppy is unwell.  She has been off her food for the past week.  I didn't worry about this unduly as she has always been a bit of a fussy eater, and some days doesn't eat much at all, but she suddenly went downhill  late last night, becoming quite lethargic and struggling a little to get about.   I stayed awake all night watching her to make sure she was OK.

Mr A phoned Mehmet this morning and even though he wasn't working today, he arranged to meet Mr A at his clinic.   He examined her thoroughly but cannot find anything specific.  He gave her a couple of injections, one of which is to help her regain her appetite, but other than that all we can do is to watch her closely and keep her warm.   She was sick in the truck on the way back home, but this actually seemed to wake her up a little bit.

She managed to eat a little cooked chicken this evening, but otherwise she has just slept.  But at least the food has stayed inside her which is promising.   It's awful when they are ill but can't tell you how they feel.  It's a case of having to wait and see.  Fingers crossed.

I asked Mr A if he saw the VIP on his way through.  He had actually been quite excited at the prospect yesterday (the Turks just love to see famous people).  No he hadn't seen him, and wasn't the least bit interested, but irritated at having to get through the crowds and traffic.  He was more anxious about getting Poppy to the vet.   She is our Very Important Person Poppy.

Sunday Share

I read a lot of interesting articles on the internet, and sometimes share them on Facebook.  So I thought I would start to share on my blog those I think worth reading.

This is one by Russell Brand.  When he first started out in stand-up comedy I didn't like him or his humour particularly.  I have learned so much more about the man since then.  The article by this intelligent and articulate man is brilliant, and sums up everything I believe.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

It's a dog's life...for some

We continue to have sunny days, which is lovely for this time of year, but as soon as night falls the temperatures plummet.   And within the next month or so and into the new year, we will also have rain.

It's a grim time for animals on the streets.  Many animals are fed during the summer months in tourist areas by people on holiday and by restaurants and my Monty was for the first few months of his life.  And for him and so many others, he was used as an attraction...cute puppy to bring in the tourists.  Once the season is over they are no longer of use so are dumped on the streets to fend for themselves.  Monty was one of the lucky ones, rescued by the group Animal Antics in Ovacik. He was fostered short term by one of their supporters, and would have ended up in a council shelter if it hadn't been for their intervention.  Then we collected him and he is now part of our family.
The blue object is a small spare dogbed which I put out for Poppy. She was sick in her usual bed after eating bones.  It's too small for her really, but Monty thought he would try it out for size...silly boy!

Monty and Poppy on balcony sofa, enjoying the winter sunshine

Rescue groups, mostly run by expats, in various areas of Turkey are getting themselves prepared for winter..  It's this time that the dogs and cats need our help if they are to survive.  They organise their volunteers and work out rotas for their feeding programme.  They are doing a wonderful job.

Mr A and I are working alone in this remote village to help as many animals as we can.  We have had some wonderful support from some lovely people through this blog and Facebook.  You can read more about their kindness IN THIS POST

We have had vet costs recently with Sammy's operation.  This is the second time the tumour has been removed.  It's a bone tumour, and it may grow back again.  If so, we will continue to have it removed when it prevents him from eating.

 Monty had a check up yesterday with our vet, Mehmet.  He is doing  well, very healthy apart from his skin disorder.  He had an antibiotic injection because his neck was a bit inflamed, just to make sure it doesn't become infected, and on his advice we are leaving his collar off as this may irritate him.  Mehmet supplies us with 15kg sacks of dried food at cost price, for which we are very grateful, but we get through an awful lot of it.  Our 6 rescue dogs eat twice a day and we take some with us wherever we go..Milas yesterday...and feed dogs who are looking lost and hungry...four were fed yesterday .

Just part of our supply of dog food and medication., in our kitchen. More will be stored in the secondhand cupboard we recently bought cheap, in our shed, along with towels and blankets kindly donated by people in Bodrum.

Until recently there were a fair number of stray dogs in our village and we fed them as much as we could.  Not as much as we would have liked to.  It's not easy with Mr A being out of work all winter and money is tight, but we, like many others dotted about Turkey, do the best we can.  During the past week or so most of these dogs have disappeared.  No-one would say what had happened to them, but yesterday Mr A was told that they were "removed from the village and dumped somewhere" knows (or at least they're not saying) where this is.  To attempt to find them would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Two or three dogs however are still doubt more will turn up... and Mr A takes food down every evening when he goes to the teahouse.  They are very timid and won't come close enough for Mr A to take photos, so he puts the food down at a distance and leaves them to eat.  This little guy however plucked up the courage to come a bit nearer.  Maybe he has yet to experience the cruelty of people who shoo away the dogs, kick them or throw stones at them.


When I first bowed down to advice  and installed a Paypal  button on my blog, I had an immediate response of a donation from our dear blogging friend Janice.  She made me realise that it wasn't wrong to ask for help.  I've had a few more donations since and I am so grateful for the kindness of people.

I don't want to turn this blog into one that is just about rescuing and feeding dogs, and I do try to post about other things.  But this is the most important thing in my life in this village, and the plight of these animals is constantly on my mind.

Janice commented on the post that I linked to above, as follows:

"People want to help Ayak, because they can see what a great job you are doing. I have such admiration for you. I think the donate button is a good idea, and from time to time you should do what you have done today...update people on what is happening, and remind people about the donate button. You are right of course that people often have their own "causes" that they are involved with, but many of them, who follow your blog, will know how hard things can be, and will want to help, even if only a little. I am sure every little bit helps. Good luck with it all. Jxxx"

So that's the aim of this post today.

Thankyou for reading xxx

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Health & Safety...forget it!

The electrics in this country leave an awful lot to be desired, particularly in old houses like those in our village.   Although even new apartments that we've rented over the years have had their share of electricity problems.

I remember the old house we rented in Goreme, Cappadocia, where I couldn't use more than one appliance at a time without blowing a fuse...or blowing something up.  I discovered this the hard way when I had my washing machine running and switched on the oven...and the oven literally exploded.. a huge bang and smoke coming out of it.  When I moved it away from the wall it was impossible to remove the plug  because it had melted and was firmly fixed to the socket.

And of course we have lots of power cuts.  Today the electricity went off around midday and I thought nothing of it.  So I carried on as usual doing everything I would normally do that doesn't need a power supply.  At around 4.30pm I popped out to see Mr A who was working at the back of the house and asked him if he had any idea when the power would be back on.  He phoned the Muhtar to check.   There hadn't been a power cut at all.  It was just our house that was without electricity.

Mr A phoned Aydem, the electricity supply company for this area, and reported it.  They said they would send someone out as soon as possible.

Patience is not one of Mr A's virtues, and in the meantime he phoned an "electrician" friend.  You might wonder why I have put electrician in inverted commas.  It's simply because it's difficult to find a fully qualified electrician in these parts.  There are men who call themselves electricians, but really they just dabble with electrics and have been lucky enough not to have given themselves a far.  

By the time Mr A was deep in conversation with this man it was getting dark.  Mr A asked me to shine the torch on the fusebox while he was on the phone.  He opened the box and with instructions from the other end of the phone, started prodding about with a screwdriver.   I wasn't happy about this, although I should be used to it by now, because it's not the first time he has fiddled about with electrical wiring  (he'll be calling himself an electrician before long).   I suggested he trip the switches before he did anything else just in case there was a live wire somewhere.  Not necessary he said...the "electrician" said it would be fine.   What's the number for the ambulance service, I asked, just in case I need it.

Fortunately he couldn't find the problem, so finished the phone call, closed the fusebox and set off to the teahouse to wait for the "real" electrician from Aydem.

By now it was pitch black, so I lit candles and got into bed to keep warm.  I could just about read a book by candlelight and it brought back memories of when I used to stay with my grandmother in her old cottage which had no electricity, just gas mantles downstairs, and candles upstairs.  My grandparents managed very well for years without electricity.  How times change...we're lost without it these days.

Finally the electrician arrived at about 6.30pm and discovered a loose wire outside the house, possibly damaged by the storm a week ago, and within 5 minutes it was fixed and power restored.

Monday, 25 November 2013


...ok it's not a particularly interesting topic, but you know how we British love to talk about the weather.  We moan when it's cold and we moan when it's hot.  We are never satisfied.   Generally speaking though, I love the climate in this country, but my preference is for Spring and Autumn when the temperatures are up in the high 20s and it's pleasantly comfortable.  I hate the high temperatures in mid Summer.  I've never coped well with extreme heat.

I actually don't mind Winter here too much.  Winter seems to have started quite late this year and it is still quite mild.  I really don't mind the rain either, except when it leaks into the house making it damp, but hopefully the work Mr A has been doing to deal with this will work this year...fingers crossed.  The biggest problem here is drainage, or more to the point, a lack of a proper drainage system.  This means that when it rains (and it REALLY rains here) we get flooding.

I quite like storms, at least I enjoy watching them.  The storms here are terrific but sometimes terrifying, particularly the one we experienced on Friday which resulted in smoke coming from the fuse box, the modem splitter box being burnt out, my new(ish) landline phone battery being destroyed, loss of internet and phone line.  

The internet connection was restored pretty quickly, and the phone line fixed this morning.  It wasn't until this point that I realised that the phone was damaged.   Mr A thinks he can fixed it but I have my doubts, so in the meantime the old crappy phone is plugged in which is stuck together with sellotape, crackles a lot, and it's difficult, almost impossible, to hear the person on the other end of the line.  Ah well, I don't make many calls, so it will do for now.

The village was flooded on Friday but by Saturday afternoon it was possible to get out.  Sunday brought another dry day, enabling Mr A to put some more silicone around the persistant leaks in the window frames.

Today another storm arrived, not so bad, but torrential rain which has caused the bottom of the village to flood again...and more rain is due tonight and tomorrow.  There is much flooding all over the country today.  Here are some pictures:



The bottom of our village just 10 minutes after the rain started
And the following photo has nothing whatsoever to do with the weather.   This is Monty.  He has a cosy bed of his own but has decided he prefers this one.   And not to be outdone, Poppy has joined him......she's not in the picture because as soon as she spotted the camera she jumped off the bed.  Just as well the four big dogs have no interest in coming inside the house, or there would be nowhere for us to sleep!

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Dogs just love them, but not all dogs can cope with them.  The four big dogs who have spent the first year at least on the streets get very excited when Mr A manages to find bones at one of the butchers in Milas.   They have of course managed to survive on all sorts of rubbish before I rescued them, and they still manage to find all kinds of rotting parts of dead animals when they go out for a run, and insist on bringing them home.   You can take the dogs out of the streets........

I've learned from experience that Poppy loves them but her little stomach rejects them and hours after chewing a bone, she will throw up, so I'm afraid she has to miss out.  

A sunny day yesterday, and the flooding having more or less dried out at the bottom of the village, enabled Mr A to get into Milas to collect another two 15kg sacks of dried food and pay the vet's bill for Sammy's operation.   He also managed to find an old cupboard in one of the secondhand shops, very cheap, which we need to store towels, blankets and the sacks of food out in the shed to keep them dry and secure.

He called in at the butcher's shop where we occasionally manage to get bones, and came away with a huge bag full of knuckle and marrow bones.  A real treat.  At one time these would be given away or thrown out, but we now have to pay for them.  I think it's a sign of the times that nothing these days is free.  It would seem that people are desperately hard up and now buy bones for making soup.  The butcher has enough customers for them, so if we want them in future, Mr A will need to phone him to reserve some for us.

After chopping up the bones into manageable chunks,we gave one each to the four big dogs.  Sammy immediately takes his into the dogs' room, Blondie and Freddie chew theirs down by the gate, and Megan goes up to the top of the driveway with hers.  She is so lazy.  She will chew for half an hour and then give up, by which time Freddie will have demolished his bone and start on hers.

Poppy stays in the house with a chewstick, sulking because it's not a bone.  I wasn't sure how Monty would manage with a bone but decided to give it a try, and he spent a couple of hours with his on the balcony.  It's now 3am and Monty has been throwing up.  He is now fine and back to sleep ...and I'm wide awake.  No point in going back to sleep because the 4 big dogs will have me up at 5am anyway!    So no more bones for Monty I'm afraid.  It's all trial and error.

Mr A continues to feed two, sometimes three, dogs down in the village every evening.  He has persuaded the teahouse owner to keep water topped up for them in an area away from people.  And he has made a few threats too.  The men are very cruel and will kick the dogs if they come near or throw stones at them.  Mr A can be quite intimidating when he is upset, and has told the men in no uncertain terms that he will be extremely angry if he sees this happening.  They think he is crazy and ask him why he doesn't keep cows or sheep instead of dogs...they just don't get it.

Mr A has tried to take some photos of the dogs feeding, but they are so timid that he has to put the food down at a distance then retreat.  If he tries to get near them when they are eating, they run away.  It will take a while for them to trust.  

There were far more dogs around, and we still cannot find out what has happened to them.  I fear the worst, but no-one will own up to disposing of them.  However we know from experience that it won't be long before more arrive, and we will continue to feed them, and protect them, whether people like it or not.

All this costs money, and I am so grateful for the few donations I received recently which has helped tremendously, but we need more to continue to feed not only our rescues, but to make sure that any strays in the village can survive the winter.  When we have gained their trust, we will gradually arrange for them to be neutered and spayed, to keep the population under control.

You all know how hard I find it to ask, but if you want to help, please go to the Paypal button on my sidebar.  Every little amount helps.  Thankyou xx

Friday, 22 November 2013

I may be gone for some time

This is an attempt at a post before I am disconnected.

Today we had one of the worst storms I can remember.  The thunder was so loud it seemed to shake the house and the lightening so vivid, it was like being in a war zone.  

We pulled out all the electric plugs then decided also to trip all the switches in the fuse box to be on the safe side.  One flash of lightening produced a loud bang inside the house which appeared to come from the fuse box, and we could smell burning.   Mr A checked inside the box but all seemed to be OK.

Once the storm had subsided he tripped the switches again and electricity was restored.  I plugged the wires back into the modem and switched on my laptop.  No internet connection.  We phoned TTNet but as there has been a lot of damage from the storm, all they could do was add my name to the list of problems being passed on to the engineers to deal with, and gave us no idea when this would be likely to happen.

In the meantime, I am using my dongle which I keep for such emergencies.  The problem with this is that I can just about manage to open my email box, get into Blogger, and occasionally get into Facebook.  The oddest thing with Facebook though is that I type out a status, and it just disappears on it's own without me pressing any keys.  But all this is very s l o w and it's very frustrating.

There is another problem with the dongle.  It's on a pay as you go tariff, and I have not topped it up for months so I'm pretty sure it will disconnect at any moment.  I can't log into my bank account to top it up.

About half an hour ago I checked the modem again and the wires leading to it, only to find that I had forgotten to remove the wire from the splitter box that runs into the house.  The splitter box had exploded and burnt out, clearly hit by lightening, and the plastic connector was stuck in the splitter box leaving an exposed wire.

I found a spare splitter box, and some spare plastic connectors, so it could easily be fixed.  But there's not much point because Mr A has just received a phone call from TTNet to tell us that the whole village is without internet connection and they have no idea when they will have engineers available to fix it.  

I could go into Milas tomorrow to top up my dongle....but it's highly unlikely because the village is flooded and impossible to get in and out at the moment.  More rain is due tonight, so here I am confined to the house with no connection to the outside world.

 And my dogs are completely unperturbed by all this.   The four big guys have been snuggled up in their cosy room, whilst Poppy and Monty have slept through it in their beds in the bedroom.

Well there's nothing else for me to do now but go to bed early and catch up on some of the many books I've been meaning to read.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible....I hope.

Update 6.00am.  Up early with the dogs so Mr A fixed the wires and connected to spare splitter box and...hey presto...we have internet connection.  TTNet must have resolved the problem overnight, unless we are just one of the lucky ones, being up on the hill, and those down at the bottom perhaps still don't have connection.   If that is the case it's kind of karma isn't it?  Remember when those at the bottom of the village used all the water so there was none left for us at the top?

The phone line is dead but that doesn't bother me too much and will no doubt get sorted in due course.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sammy's operation

Sammy on his way to the vet
The dogs had me up at 4.15 this morning instead of the usual 5am.  At this rate I can see myself becoming totally nocturnal.

The positive side to this was that I could feed Sammy a little food as it was so early, and his operation wasn't due until 3.30pm.

You can read more about his problem in THIS POST

Mr A does the vet visits if there is anaesthetic to be administered.  He deals with it far better than I do.  I was fine when Freddie was neutered on our kitchen table with me assisting Mehmet, but somehow I find it upsetting in the vet clinic.

Mehmet is not convinced that this is a papilloma virus tumour because it doesn't have the usual appearance of one.  But he has seen similar growths in other patients.   He cut away the tumour from the gum and then cauterized it.   He has to have antibiotics for three days, but as he had developed fatty lumps at the injection sites on his body  last time, we have tablets to give him instead.  These lumps have disappeared by the way, which is good.

We have no idea if it will grow back again.  Mehmet says sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  He is convinced it is nothing more sinister and that a biopsy at this stage isn't necessary.  In any case if we decided to go down this route it would mean taking Sammy to the vet hospital in Aydin, and the expense of the procedure is something we just cannot manage at the moment.  I also can't forget the traumatic events last year when Beki had cancer and was operated on several times.  She ended up at the Aydin hospital for more cutting about and she still agony, leaving us with a hefty bill.  I am  never going to put another dog through this as long as I live.

 I am trying to be optimistic and we are just taking one step at a time.  Whatever happens, we will do whatever we can for Sammy.  He has recovered well from the anaesthetic so if we have to do this every few months, then so be it.  As long as it enables him to eat properly and be comfortable, then that's all that matters.

Monty continues to settle in well and is in his element playing in the garden with the 4 "big guys".  He is very bossy and absolutely fearless.  Blondie is particularly enamoured with him and follows him everywhere.  Night times are brilliant.  Monty and Poppy settle down in their beds, side by side in our bedroom, and I don't hear a peep out of them all night.   If only the other four outside would sleep a little longer, life would be perfect!

We have another trip to the vet tomorrow to introduce Monty to Mehmet.  The treatment that was started in Ovacik and continued here for his skin disorder, is almost finished.  I don't think it has improved, but Mr A thinks it has.  In any case I'd like Mehmet to take a look to see if there is anything further we can do for him.

Mr A is feeding two stray dogs in the village every evening.  I know there were more strays about.  I'm now concerned that they have been "disposed of" but no-one is saying anything.  There will no doubt be more, there always are.  One of the dogs being fed is pregnant, so we will have to keep an eye on her.

Finally, I have put Mr A on a strict diet.  This is day 2 and it's going well.  Only time will tell if he can stick with it.

Edited to add that I have just received an email from Mehmet informing me that what Sammy has is a
 "epulis granulomatosa tumour".  He says that he has completely removed it and at this stage doesn't feel the need to do a biopsy.  This is an article about this condition, which seems to be quite common in dogs

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A little more scandal from the village

Following on from a previous post about murder and mayhem which you can read HERE I'm gradually accumulating more snippets about the activities here.

It seems to be all about the women.  The men of course are mostly too busy getting drunk, or languishing in the teahouses.  But occasionally something happens which gets them out of their chairs.

I've known for a while that there are prostitutes in the village because Mr A told me.  Occasionally when driving up the lanes to our house, he would point out one of the ladies of the night and I'd be quite surprised because I'd never have guessed.   I don't know what I expect them to look like.  They are hardly going to be tottering up these uneven lanes in mini-skirts and stilettos are they?  I should try to stop myself thinking of stereotypes.

Mr A is a bit of a prude really and although he hasn't exactly led a sheltered life, he is easily shocked and disgusted by things.  It makes me smile when he tells me something that he considers to be shocking and I don't bat an eyelid. 

When I first moved here and started getting the dolmus into town, the ladies of the village would chat to me on the bus, asking me the usual questions about where I came from, what was my name, how long I'd been married, how many children, etc.  One lady in particular who lives in the centre of the village was very nice.  She realised my Turkish wasn't very good and always spoke very slowly so that I could grasp what she was saying.   I'm afraid I don't remember her name, which is bad of me, because she  always remembers mine.  Every time I see her she says Merhaba Linda, and usually sits next to me on the bus.  I'll call her Melek for the purposes of this post (although the meaning of the name.... "angel" is probably slightly inappropriate.

Anyway, I like her. 

One evening, a couple of weeks ago, Mr A was at the teahouse as usual chatting with his friends and playing Okey and cards.  Melek went into the shop next to the teahouse and one of the men called out something to her.  Mr A wouldn't tell me what he said, but he was at that point informed by one of his friends that Melek was one of the village prostitutes.   She retaliated by asking the man where his wife was, and what she was up to, insinuating that she was following a similar occupation to hers.

The man rose from his chair and threw a glass at her, which fortunately missed.  There was much shouting and waving of arms and Melek stormed off saying that she would fetch her "boyfriend" to sort him out.  The man also left the teahouse.  Melek returned with three men.  The man returned with about a dozen men.   A fight broke out.  Even men in the teahouse who had nothing to do with the incident got caught up in the fighting, including Mr A.   Bloody Turkish they love a good fight.  I guess it relieves the boredom.

The jandarma were called and they were all carted off to Milas (including Mr A).  The incident was explained and all but those directly involved in the incident were released.

I don't know if anyone was charged, but Mr A has informed me that I should have nothing to do with Melek and should ignore her if she speaks to me, as she is a troublemaker.  I suggested that perhaps the man who called something out to her was the troublemaker.  I also told him that no-one tells me who I should or should not talk to.  I make those decisions for myself.  I don't just stop talking to someone who has caused me no harm, and has been nothing but kind to me since I came to live here.  Her occupation is none of my business and it doesn't make her a bad person....far from it.