Sunday, 30 March 2014

Jobs on the horizon?

Well we went off to vote in the village school this morning.  What a performance.  The system could not be simpler, but waiting in the queue to go into the voting room and watching the antics of the villagers was comical to say the least.   You'd think it was the most difficult thing in the world for people to cope with.  

Elderly women refusing to enter without their husbands..the officials not allowing it...the shouting and waving of arms as a result.  These women are so used to their husbands thinking for them, making all their decisions, that they can't cope with thinking for themselves.  One woman accidentally knocking a whole pile of voting papers from the official's tables, bending down to pick them up, then having to get assistance to help her up.  The official wasn't happy, but the one on the door was laughing hysterically (and so I'm afraid were we..not at the woman I hasten to add, but at the reactions of the officials).

Others, spoiling voting papers and having to get replacements.  Posting envelopes in the wrong ballot boxes, in spite of being told which one to use (there were for district candidates and one for the muhtar).

It was all so easy.  I was in and out within minutes, but wouldn't have missed the entertainment for the world.   I was tempted to hang around a bit beats spending time on Facebook!   Mr A went over to Kusadasi the week before last, to see a man who owns several hotels and wanted someone to sell the hamam experience in one of them.   It really isn't the kind of job that Mr A wants to do again, but needs must, and it would have been immediate start.   The job was salary...just 5% commission on sales.  We know only too well what this means.  18 hour days, 7 days a week, just to survive.  Apart from having paid for petrol for him to do the round trip, we would need to find the money for him to return, and then a week later for him to come back home for today's voting.  He decided against it.

I recently mentioned a carpet centre not far from the industrial estate where we feed the dogs.  The job didn't materialise because plans for anticipated groups of tourists hadn't been finalised, and there was no guarantee of a job for Mr A.

Two days ago he had a phone call from the owner of the carpet centre, offering him the job.  Groups have now been booked, and Mr A is to start work on 1st May.  You all know how I tend not to believe any of this until it actually happens, but it seems genuine, because he had to produce lots of paperwork, including blood tests and medical check-up, etc.  He managed to do all this the same day.  Went to the centre, handed over to the boss, and hands were shaken on it.

So he has a month to spare.  He has now decided to drive over to Kusadasi early tomorrow morning and work in the hamam for a month.  We're not sure he will earn much, but anything is better than nothing.  At least he is provided with accommodation and food, which keeps our costs down.  And it gives him something to do before starting his proper job. 

In the meantime, our street dog feeding programme will continue.  The café owner at the industrial estate, who adopted one of the pups, has agreed to feed the other dogs every other day.  We have left him sacks of food to do this.  If he has a problem, or he is not going to be there, he will let us know, in which case I will catch the village dolmus up to the estate and do the feeding myself.

The teahouse owner (another man who adopted one of the pups) will feed the village dogs in the meantime.  I am not so certain he is as reliable as the estate man, but it won't be too difficult for me to check on what he is doing.

Once Mr A starts his job on 1st May, he will pass the industrial estate on his way to work so will resume the feeding himself.

Now I just have to get through this month with my nine furry friends, and try not to get too stressed about being on my own once again, and worrying about whether all this will work out.  Roll on 1st May when hopefully I'll be able to relax....fingers crossed!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Election fever

Tomorrow, all over the country, people will be voting in the local elections.

The peace and quiet of this remote village has been disturbed over the last couple of weeks with vehicles driving up and down. plastered in election signs and photos of candidates, and with music blasting out at all hours of the day and evening.

Mr A and I rarely discuss politics.  There is one good reason for this.  We have, until now, had totally opposing views.  For some ridiculous reason he has only been able to see the "good" in our current prime minister, refusing to listen to everything that has been said about him on the social media sites.  He just could not see how this mentally disturbed dictator is destroying this country.  

This past week I asked him if he was completely serious about all this, and he seemed to be wavering a little.  Up until then he had believed what the PM was telling everyone, that all the criticism and accusations against him were part of some kind of conspiracy.

Naturally Mr A is a little peeved in recent days because Youtube has been banned.  He and I don't use Twitter, but he's heard the rumours that Facebook will be next.  I downloaded a VPN for him but he can't get to grips with it.  "Don't bother" I said, "the VPNs will be blocked next, then you won't be able to get any of your favourite websites.  (And  I may well risk losing my blog after this post)

I had a message from a mutual friend this week. A Turkish guy who spends the winter with his wife in Belgium, but who is following events here closely, and will be back today, in time to vote tomorrow.  He asked me whether Mr A was feeling quite well.  He had recently chatted with him on Facebook, and couldn't understand Mr A's political views at this point in time.  They had a pretty heated discussion as I understand it.

This morning at breakfast Mr A actually  said to me  "You're right and I'm wrong about this PM".   This has to be a first!  Turkish men rarely admit to being wrong about anything!

We went food shopping in Milas this morning.  As we loaded up the motorbike and came out onto the road to come home, we were caught up in a massive convoy of vehicles...buses, lorries, vans, cars, motorbikes, all sporting CHP (Peoples' Republican Party) posters, flags being waved by passengers leaning out of the windows, horns blasting, music blaring.  There must have been at least 200 vehicles.  We had no alternative but to join in.  The CHP is the party I will be voting for and I was delighted to be part of this procession.  Before we knew it, we were handed a flag which I proudly waved along with everyone else.

It's the first time that it's  hit me in reality rather than on the internet, just how much support there is for this opposing party, and how much people want the ruling party to be gone.

We eventually reached the end of Milas town and the turn off to the Bodrum Road.   I continued to wave my flag all the way back to the village, receiving lots of hoots of approval from passing vehicles.

As we entered the village, the men in the teahouse clapped and shouted  "Bravo". 

At my request, Mr A erected the flag outside our house.   He has now given in, and will be voting for the CHP candidates tomorrow.   One small victory!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A busy day for Mr A

I've not been as active as I normally am this past week, which started off for me with a bout of what seemed to be food poisoning, and a chest infection added for good measure.  The stomach bug has cleared up now and the chest is being dealt with...still coughing but it's nowhere near as bad.

If I didn't have the help and support of Mr A with our dogs and the street dogs, I would never be able to manage all this.

I deal with our nine dogs, which involves feeding from around 5am in the morning, cleaning all areas where the dogs are (poo patrol as I fondly call it).  Cleaning out the pups kennel and the four big dogs' "bedroom", washing their blankets, etc.  I also administer worm and flea treatments, and I have to keep a book now to make sure I know when all of the dogs are due their next treatments and vaccinations.   The pups are now down to three meals a day and they are becoming more lively and curious by the day.  They are quite a handful but an absolute delight.

Mr A deals with the feeding programme for the dogs at the industrial estate and in the village.  We are continuing to feed them every other day, as explained in my other page (link at the top of this page).  He is also excellent at administering injections.

Yesterday we learned that a group of people from one of the government departments were coming to the village to administer vaccinations to sheep and all dogs OWNED by people here.  I'm not sure what this department is called, but it's something like Village Services.   We wanted to see if our street dogs could also be given vaccinations so Mr A set off to the village early to see what could be done.  They were only prepared to vaccinate the street dogs if we paid a small fee for each dog, so we agreed.

Mr A normally feeds the village dogs in the evening.  They know this and turn up to wait for him.  Because this was not their normal time, he had to go out and search for them.   He found five and got them vaccinated.   He also popped up to the industrial estate to feed the dogs there, but was surprised to find that there were no dogs, except owned dogs, to be found.  We wondered if they had been rounded up by the Belediye, and Mr A tried constantly to get hold of both the Belediye Manager and vet by phone, but his calls were not answered.

So back to the village, where he managed to find more dogs (some that don't turn up each day to be fed), and managed to get a total of 11 dogs vaccinated.

He then asked the Village Services people if they were also prepared to vaccinate the dogs on the industrial estate if he could locate them.  They agreed, and having taken one of their phone numbers, he set off back to the estate.  By the time he arrived, 13 dogs had re-appeared, so he phoned the people to join him, and they were all vaccinated.  They waited around for a little longer, while Mr A searched the area, but no more were to be found.  But we are happy that we were able to get so many vaccinated.  The Muhtar also agreed to share some of the cost for this, for which we are grateful.  We are still in need of donations to continue to feed the dogs, and give worm and flea treatments on a regular basis, so anything you can manage, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received.

This was a whole day's work for Mr A.  I love his dedication.  What would I do without him? 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Sad and Happy

You will probably recall the post I did a while ago about the two black puppies on the estate who had parvovirus, which we sadly had to have put to sleep.  I'm still upset about losing them, but thank goodness we made sure that the virus hasn't spread to the rest of the estate, and there have been no other outbreaks to date.

We are continuing with our feeding programme, but now we feed every two days, rather than every day.  This is for two reasons.  Firstly, the winter months are the most difficult and the dogs cannot find food anywhere, and we have managed to get them through this.   The estate is busier now and as there are more men working there, there are more food scraps for the dogs.  The estate café owner, who adopted one of our 7 pups, also saves his food scraps for the other dogs too.  Secondly, our finances just won't allow us to buy enough food to feed every day.   We will soon have to cut back to feeding every three days and so on, unless we can raise more money.

Not a brilliant photo I'm afraid
But now for some happy news.   We have managed to find a home for one of the dogs on the estate.  He was often to be found with the two black pups who had parvo.  Thankfully, he wasn't affected, and is a very healthy little dog.  We think he could be about a year old.  We have been giving him immune boosters along with other dogs on the estate, and flea-treating and worming him regularly.  And now a man from our village has adopted him.   We wormed him and flea treated again yesterday, and have the man a new collar and lead for him.  He has promised to take him to the vet to get his vaccinations as soon as possible. One lucky little boy!

Mr A has also been talking to the head of the Belediye again, putting pressure on him about the plight of the dogs at the industrial estate.  The belediye vet has been contacted and it would seem that they are willing to take a number of the dogs to the shelter to be neutered and cared for.  We have no idea of numbers or when this will happen (no doubt after the elections), or if it will happen at all, but it gives us hope, and something to work on.

Fingers crossed it happens!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

Mr A is still frantically searching for work.  I think I mentioned previously that he didn't get the airport job, but that he was waiting to here from the carpet centre which is quite near the industrial estate where we feed the dogs.   He contacted them a couple of days ago, and it would seem that promised group visits to the centre have been cancelled, so there will not be enough work to offer Mr A a job.  They have said that if business improves within the next few months, they will get in touch.
As always, there are promises of jobs that often don't materialise, but we are used to it.  In the meantime, he has talked to some of his contacts in Kusadasi, and will go over there next week some time to see what's available.  Mainly because of the cruise ships coming into Kusadasi, the season starts earlier than other resorts, so a job is more likely to become available sooner rather than later.

He has spoken to people in Bodrum, but no-one wants to employ anyone until mid-May.  Although the season will be well underway by then, bosses tend to hedge their bets and wait to see how good business is, before taking on more people.

In the meantime, Mr A has been keeping busy around the garden.  He has tiled the balcony, although it still needs finishing off, but it's a vast improvement on the concrete floor.  We've been doing a bit of recycling, which we get much pleasure from.  The balcony table collapsed the other day.  The fittings on the underside just came away, bringing most of the table top with it.   We had a large piece of formica covered wood which he had originally used on the seat of the sofa that the dogs had demolished.  He cut this to size and used it as a new table top.  This table, along with 3 plastic chairs are now sitting under the fig tree (where he has cleaned up the ground, and will cement the area to make it level.

We wanted a small coffee table for the balcony, and one I had in the house was the right size, but the legs were not stable and it tends to tip over.  We found an old stool with sturdy legs, but a broken seat, so the legs have now been attached to the table.  It does the job perfectly.  We intend to get two chairs to go with it eventually, but in the meantime, we are using two of our four kitchen chairs.

He has also made a new picnic table.  He made one last year, but we didn't treat the wood and it started to splinter in places.  The new one has been treated, and looks really nice.  We haven't taken many photos lately, but did take one of the picnic table, which is now under the gazebo.  Mr A has moved the large grape vine and replanted it to cover the gazebo.  As grapes are poisonous to dogs, we needed to remove it from the area where the dogs run around.

And the big dogs (well mostly Freddie) have gradually destroyed the aforementioned sofa, one armchair, and a sofabed.   They've had great fun doing it...removing all the stuffing and making a hell of a mess.  What was left of this furniture has now been removed from the dogs' bedroom and burnt.  They now have two long wooden pallets, made by Mr A.  These are covered with blankets and each will accommodate two dogs.  So Megan, Sammy, Blondie and Freddie have tested them out and are happy with them.  They will probably chew the blankets, but the pallets are at least pretty indestructible.

The pups are doing very well.  Our 3, as well as the other 4 we homed.  They have all had flea and worm treatments, and this week we collected vaccines from our vet and administered to all of them.  They have already had two previous vaccinations each, suitable for young puppies, to give them some protection, but the ones this week were the proper mixed vaccine.  They will be due further vaccinations in May.   Megan, Sammy and Blondie also had booster vaccinations.  Tommy will be due his on 1st May, Freddie in July, and Monty in November.  I now have to keep a book with dates and lists of all vaccines, flea and worm treatments, or I would completely lose track with so many dogs to look after!

Chas and Dave, and Melek are just adorable and becoming quite adventurous.  Melek in particular is more daring than the two boys.  She is already able to climb the steps up to the balcony, whilst the two boys get halfway up and then sit and cry to be rescued.  We have now had to put chicken wire on the balcony gate and around the balcony railings to prevent the pups from falling through the gaps.  This dog-proofing of the house and garden is a full-time job, but we're getting there!

The weather is glorious right now, and it's a real treat to be able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine before it gets too hot.  Mr A is about to start on whitewashing the outside of the house today.  The last of the jobs on his "essential to-do list".   Hopefully he will have a bit of relaxation time before he secures a job,  although he is very anxious to start work as soon as possible.

Edited to add a video that Mr A has just uploaded to Facebook of the pups playing.  Hope you can see it from this link:

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Frustrating times

I'm pretty sure that all those lovely people dotted around this country, who give up their time and money to feed, care for, and rescue the animals on the streets, will feel like I do at times.  I bet they wonder what the hell they signed up for.

We do our best under such difficult circumstances.  Whilst we are caring for many animals, there are others out there shooting the animals and poisoning them.  There are shelters all over the country, run by the local authorities who have an obligation by law to take responsibility for strays.  This is the law as it stands at the moment

ANIMAL PROTECTION BILL LAW NO. 5199    It makes interesting reading...and that's about it.  Very rarely is it put into practise.

Only yesterday we were informed on Facebook about Didim shelter.  Volunteers who regularly visit the shelter to do what they can, turned up on Sunday to find puppies dead, and others dying, and no staff on duty.  It's a sadly familiar story.  I can't tell you how many times I shed tears for the plight of the thousands upon thousands of desperate animals here.

All those who give up their time to do what they can, have to rely on the generosity of others and money from their own pockets, to be able to continue.

I have been lucky enough to receive donations from people who cannot be here to help, but feel the need to do something.  I am so grateful for their generosity.   But donations are drying up now.  As a result we have had to cut back the feeding on the industrial estate and village to every other day.  We are committed to giving the 7 pups the best start in life, so not only have we wormed, flea-treated and started the vaccination process for the 3 that we have taken in, but also for the other 4 that we homed. 

I have just received a promised donation which was earmarked to get the mum of the pups spayed.  But we have a hefty vet bill to pay, so it will have to be used towards that.  In the meantime, we are still putting pressure on the Belediye vet to spay the mum, along with others that urgently need doing.  However, the local elections due to take place at the end of the month are taking priority over everything else.  Every time we approach the Belediye vet, he is "too busy" to help.  Even if we manage to get him to do the job he should be doing by law, he will do only the bare minimum, as we discovered with the two bitches we recently had spayed by him.  He will do the operation, but we end up buying antibiotics and painkillers from our own vet.  We then check them every day, spraying the wounds with antibacterial spray, buying the bucket collars for them, until they are fully recovered.

In a conversation Mr A recently had with one of the candidates running for the head of the Milas Belediye, it was suggested by this man that perhaps a shelter might be considered for our village, and that maybe Mr A and I would run it.  What a wonderful idea.  But I take a lot of this with a huge pinch of salt.  It's all talk.  They'll tell people what they want to hear at any given time, just to get votes.   Time will tell.

You can follow my feeding programme by clicking the link to the page on the top of my blog.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Village photos

Browsing our village Facebook page I came across some photos which I found interesting.  I have no dates to go with these.  I intend to collect as many village photos as possible, particularly old ones, and store them on my blog for safe-keeping.

Apparently the old building on the left used to be a cinema

An old photo of a village wedding... they don't look very happy do they?

Not sure of the date but looking at the dress I'd guess at around 1950s or 60s?  Fewer women seemed to be covered and certainly looked a lot more relaxed.

Lovely to see village women enjoying themselves

I find it quite disturbing to see this young boy proudly holding his rifle.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

New roads and routines

At long last progress has been made on re-doing the roads in our village, and over the past couple of days the work reached us at the top of the hill.

I'm actually shocked that we now have something resembling a normal road outside our house.  We have been here for almost 5 years and it's been talked about and promised ever since we moved here.

The road  prepared. .AFTER removal of large rocks
Laying sand and unloading bricks
Laying the bricks

I will say at this point that Mr A has been instrumental in getting this work carried out.  The current assistant Muhtar is standing for the position of Muhtar at the upcoming local elections.  Mr A has been putting pressure on him for months to do something about the roads, and has accompanied him to various meetings in Milas and Mugla.  This man does need a kick up the backside, and it would seem that he hasn't had much to say at these meetings, so Mr A has stepped in to do the talking.  He has also made many phone calls to the powers that be, and as a result, work started just over a week ago.

We were originally informed that the new road wouldn't actually be laid as far as our house.  The fact that Mr A was present at the meetings has meant that he has been able to make sure that our road would be done as well.  To ensure it happened he has been outside with the workers for the last two days from the time they arrive, until they finish for the day, helping with the unloading of bricks, and spreading of sand.   The bricks are now laid, and sand thrown over them to bed them in.  In a few days it will be perfect (well as perfect as is possible here!).

The routine with feeding our 9 dogs and those elsewhere, is getting better each day.   Every morning around 5am (sometimes earlier), I let the 4 big dogs out for a run up the hill.  They need the exercise and it's impossible for us to think about taking all these dogs out on leads.   Whilst they are out, I feed Monty and Tommy in the kitchen, and the three pups down in the driveway.   At this point I manage to wake Mr A to look after the pups when the big dogs return to be fed.  They then go back to their large area at the back of the house, which is fenced off but also gives them access to their "bedroom". Monty and Tommy have a run around the garden and Monty plays with the pups for a while.

All this can take between one or two hours.   We sometimes manage to grab another hour's sleep and then after a quick breakfast, Mr A goes up to feed the industrial estate dogs (this is now every other day...see my feeding programme).     The pups are still on 4 meals a day, a further one late morning, early evening when all the other dogs are fed again, then late at night before we go to bed.

In between all this, Mr A is attempting to lay tiles on the balcony floor.  We managed to get these tiles very cheaply some time ago because they were old stock, but there has been so much other work to do making the garden dog-safe that the job has had to wait until now.  He is doing a little each day and it's almost finished.  Hopefully, if/when he manages to secure a job, all the most important things that need to be done will be completed.

Looking after all these dogs is hard work, but we get so much pleasure from seeing our dogs, and others on the streets, thrive.  It's reward enough.   I am concerned about the financial aspect though.  Regular donations of £55 per month are going a long way to help with the food for the dogs, but we do need more.  I feel like I am always holding out a begging bowl, and I don't feel comfortable about it, but I just keep telling myself that without the generosity of others, we won't be able to do what we can for so many helpless animals.

So this is pretty much our daily life.  Not exactly the relaxing retirement I had planned, but very satisfying and rewarding nevertheless!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

And some more paintings

This is my brother's latest painting...just finished... Sunrise in Corfu
And here are a few of his older ones:

He is shortly going to start on a painting of the view from our house, which I am very much looking forward to.   Hope you are enjoying these works of art as much as I am.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A farmer's market and a new kennel.

Dave asleep in the sunshine today
After torrential rain again on Friday, yesterday we had sunshine.  I was delighted because I had decided to do the bus journey over to Gumbet.  It was very muddy in the village. More than usual in fact because the roads are being dug up ready for resurfacing, so I would never have been able to get down to the bus in the village without being ankle deep in mud.

Mr A gave me a lift on the motorbike out of the village to the main road to catch the bus to Bodrum.  I then got the dolmus to Gumbet.

The expat community in Gumbet has been running a monthly farmers market for some time now.  I joined their Facebook page a little while ago, and have been very tempted by the mouthwatering goodies that they bake, but as yet hadn't been over to sample them for myself.

As the produce seems to sell very quickly as soon as the market starts at 12 noon, it is possible to pre-order, so I reserved some mini Belgian iced buns, and also some Cadbury's crème eggs.  I'm actually not that keen on the filling, but I only have to see the word Cadbury's chocolate and I come out in a cold sweat.....this is what happens to chocoholics of course!  I also ordered two birthday cards for Billy and Jimi's birthdays in April, from a man who personalises them, and they were brilliant.

I had been chatting to a woman on another group page who lives in Bitez, and who goes to the farmers market so we decided to meet up for a coffee beforehand.  She was very nice.  Easy to get along with.  Also a bit of a crazy dog woman like me, so we had much in common.  She also introduced me to a few other people at the market, and a group of us sat outside the restaurant where it's held, and enjoyed a beer in the sunshine.

Apart from my pre-ordered items, I also bought two Cornish pasties and two scones.  They were delicious.  I should really make my own, and maybe I will sometime, but somehow these things always taste much better when someone else bakes them.  So I will definitely be attending more in the future.

When I returned home, Mr A went out to find a large plastic kennel for the pups.  They are really expensive, but Mehmet the vet had one that was secondhand, which he was selling for a friend, so this saved us a bit of money.   The pups love it.   We have placed it near to the house at the bottom of the balcony steps and they took to it straight away.  They are coming out to go to the toilet, no accidents inside at all.  Monty, who still continues to take on the role of father, pokes his head inside every time he passes, to make sure they are OK, and when they are outside, he plays with them and generally keeps them in order.  Bless him.

So a pretty successful day yesterday, and I have to admit to enjoying a few dog-free hours away from the village with good company.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Trial and Error

Sometimes, we just dive into a project without much planning.  Simply because the situation seems desperate and we don't stop to think about the long term.

Over the past week or so, I have begun to realise that if I don't stop, take stock, and plan properly, then things will get out of control.

Mr A and I are passionate about helping as many dogs on the streets as is humanly possible.  We will never give up, but we have to be realistic.

There are animal rescue and welfare groups in other areas in Turkey and I follow their pages on Facebook.  I have gained much useful advice along the way, as well as adopting Monty and Tommy from one of these groups.

These groups plan their winter feeding programmes properly.  They have much more experience than I do, and they are more realistic about what can and can't be done.   They know, as I do, that winter time is the most harsh for these animals, so they raise money, and their groups of volunteers go out every day to feed.  As the winter comes to an end, they gradually reduce the feeding to every 2 days, then 3 and so on, so that when summer arrives, and there is more food around from restaurants etc, the animals will continue to eat.   Then the programme starts up again the following winter.

We are isolated where we live.  No-one around here is interested in helping the dogs...just Mr A and I.  We are also not near a tourist area, so cannot rely on visitors to feed dogs during the summer.  But there will be more units up and running on the industrial estate, and those already there are helping sometimes with their scraps, particularly the café owner, who is the man with one of the 7 pups.  He is saving scraps for all the other dogs too, so this is very useful.

With the addition of the three pups from the litter of 7, we now have 9 rescues to look after at home.  They are being vaccinated at regular intervals, de-flead, wormed, etc.  We have done the same so far for all the other pups that have been homed, and hope we can continue.   We had intended to get the mum spayed by our vet on Wednesday, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, she wasn't around, so we gave up.  She has been back since, and we are still intending to get her to our vet at some point.  To be perfectly honest, it was a relief that this didn't happen on Wednesday, because there just wasn't enough money in the pot.

I have some regular donations coming in every month from 5 lovely people, amounting to a total of £55.  This covers the food, but not much more.  A few more donations have trickled through, and this has been a great help and I am very grateful.

We know that we cannot keep relying on others' generosity, so we have to plan ahead.  We will start this week to reduce the feeding visits to the industrial estate.  This will free up some of the food money to help towards the cost of  vaccinations, worm and flea treatments which are essential.  It's no use just feeding animals if you can't help to avoid the spread of disease.   It isn't something I'm particularly happy to do, but we have got these dogs through the worst period of the year.   We will also attempt to ask as many people as possible locally to provide us with food scraps to supplement the feeding.  It's not ideal, but it's the best we can do.  We also need to get as many females spayed as possible, and Mr A is still putting pressure on the Belediye vet to get this started.  Hopefully when the local elections are out of the way  (which seem to be taking over everything else) then it might be easier to get this done.

We have to get a proper kennel for the three pups today.  The wooden one has proved to be unsuitable.  It's getting wet inside with all the rain, and wood isn't easy to keep clean.  We will be getting a large plastic one from our vet, which can be moved around the garden easier and provide better shelter for the pups, and can be cleaned easily.  He will let us have it at cost price, and he will wait for payment.  I don't expect donations for this, because it is our choice and something we want to do for the new additions to our dog family.

But if anyone can help with a small donation towards all other costs, please go to the Paypal button at the top of the blog.  Anything you can manage, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated.

This has been a learning experience for us.  We will make mistakes along the way, but we have no intention of giving up.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Post No 1,000

It's nearly 5 years since I started blogging, and this is my 1000th post.  Who would have believed it?

I'm not going to write much on this post, but I would like to mark it with some photos of those who are important in my life.

My beautiful daughter, Stella, and my adorable grandsons Billy and Jimi


My 9 rescue dogs.  Megan, Sammy, Blondie, Freddie, Monty, Tommy, Chas, Dave and Melek.

And those we rescued, but no longer with us.  Gone but never forgotten.  Beki and Poppy.


Last, but by no means, least, my lovely husband Mr A, who shares my passion and determination to help as many stray dogs as possible.  I couldn't do it without him.

Finally, thankyou my loyal  followers and friends for making blogging so enjoyable.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Communication,wasted journeys and rain

I recently wrongly accused the worker at the industrial estate of bringing back a puppy to our village and dumping at the teahouse, because she was a girl and he didn't want her.

Mr A and I often have breakdowns in communication, and total misunderstandings.  Sometimes it can be blamed on language difference, but often it's because I don't listen properly, and nor does he.

The man at the industrial estate actually has a male puppy, and he is in fact looking after her very well.  It was one of the men from the village who took a pup and later realised it was a girl, then dumped her.  We are regularly checking on the other three pups homed in the village and they are fine and being well cared for.

We've had a lot of rain this past week.  We do need it of course, but I do wish it wasn't quite so heavy and that we didn't get it all in one go.

We had made arrangements to take the mum of the pups to our vet this morning to be spayed.  I also had a hairdressers appointment at 10.00am and was going to catch the bus, but the vet told Mr A that he could borrow his car from Milas to collect the dog and transport her to the surgery, if we covered the cost of petrol, so Mr A  decided to drop me off at the same time.

Mr A collected the car from Milas, and we set off for the industrial estate first  to collect the dog, but she wasn't there.  Very strange as she is always in the same place every morning.  We spent a great deal of time searching for her without success.  We also looked for another bitch that we could  take in her place to save a wasted journey, but sod's law we couldn't find one.  So, having phoned my hairdresser to say I would be late, we headed off to Milas. 

Whilst I was getting my hair done, Mr A returned the car to the vet, and also picked up vaccinations for the 4 pups in the village and industrial estate.  We are paying for these and will continue to worm/flea treat them at regular intervals.  This, together with getting the mum spayed and vaccinated is, for us, completing our project of protecting mum and her babies.  We will keep looking out for her and make arrangements again as soon as possible to get her spayed.

Mr A vaccinated the pup at the industrial estate, and then fed all the dogs there.  The rain, which had been falling steadily, suddenly became torrential, and Mr A was stranded.  He phoned to say that a friend with a car had offered to pick him up but he and a couple of other men were then going on to Milas to a political meeting, so Mr A decided to join them.

Please remind me never to go to the hairdressers again on a day like today.  My hair looked lovely but within 10 second of stepping outside the salon, I looked like a drowned rat.

Apart from that, the road from the salon to the centre of town was flooded, and I found myself wading ankle deep in water in some places.   I managed to get to the bus station only to find that also flooded and buses cancelled.  I phoned Mr A, interrupted his political meeting (I'm sure he didn't miss much).  He borrowed a car, put in petrol (more expense) and took me home.  

Because I had been longer than anticipated, there was quite a lot of poo in the pups' kennel which they had managed to tread into their bedding.  Out it all came, clean bedding and newspaper replaced.  Pups cleaned up and put back in.   Me?  Drenched again.

I put on dry clothes.  An hour later pups crying for food.  Out to feed them and give them time to go to toilet, put them back, and I am drenched again.

The rain let up for the remainder of the week so it seems.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Chas, Dave and Melek...

...are doing so well.  Three little bundles of joy, each with very different personalities.  Dave is very noisy and boisterous.  He is always the first to scream to be let out of the kennel ...and  he means immediately.  Chas is the quiet, shy one, and Melek is quite bossy, and loves nothing more than jumping on the boys and biting their ears.

They are eating well...four meals a day at the moment.  We are kind of getting into a routine, but it's still a bit hit and miss.   Early morning around 5am, which means that the 4 big dogs together with Monty and Tommy also demand to be fed at the same time.  It takes a bit of juggling, I can tell you! Then they eat again around 10am,   4pm along with the other dogs, and finally around 10 or 11pm, and with a bit of luck we manage to get some sleep until it all starts again at 5am the next day.

They have a basket with blankets inside the kennel where they sleep, and newspaper for going to the toilet, but apart from the odd accident, they are actually letting me know when they want to come out to go to do their business.  Amazing considering they are only 4 and a half weeks old.  Mr A has made some little wooden steps for them to climb in and out of the kennel, but they are growing quite quickly so I doubt these will be needed for much longer.

They had flea spray from the vet, which didn't seem to stop them scratching, and then one of my friends, David, mentioned using lemon.  I cut some lemons in half and rubbed them into their fur,  and they hardly scratch at all now, and it smells a lot nicer than flea spray.   Good tip...thankyou David.

The 4 big dogs, from behind the fence at the back of the house, watch the pups moving about, quite bemused at their antics. They have all been introduced, but I'm keeping them apart for the time being while they are so tiny, to avoid one of the big dogs treading on them.  But they do sniff each other through the fence.  Megan started out being quite protective, but then decided it was boring, so went off to the dog area with the others.   Tommy ignores them completely.  Monty, on the other hand, seems to have become a surrogate father.  He watches them, licks their faces, and lets them jump all over him.  He's such a lovable boy.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased at their progress.

Chas and Melek



Monty and Melek

Monty and Dave

Monty with Melek and Dave

More of my brother's paintings

By popular request, here are some more of my talented brother's paintings.  Hope you enjoy them:

More to follow

Monday, 3 March 2014

Blogger problems

Just a quick post to let you know that for some reason Blogger and Wordpress are not allowing me to post comments on your blogs. 

I have no idea what's causing this.  Sometimes my comment just disappears.  Other times I try to post and am told my comment is a duplicate.  I try again and it tells me it's an error.

I am also getting an error message pop-up EVERY time I click onto my Blogger dashboard, although the pop-up then disappears and I am taken to my dashboard.   This same pop-up appears every time I click on my comments page, my dog feeding page...every page on my blog.

So I'm letting you know that I am reading all my favourite blogs even though you are not seeing my comments.  (Or if for some odd reason my comments DO appear on your blog...please let me know)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Sleepless nights...and days!

I'm writing this post at 2am as this is my third sleepless night since the pups arrived.  It's rather like having babies again, in this case triplets!

I've tried to take a nap during the day but as soon as I close my eyes, the squealing starts up again, so I give up.

It's early days of course and only to be expected. There's lots of advice about how to react to crying puppies....well, not reacting is apparently the best way to deal with it.  As long as they are fed and warm, then one should just ignore the crying and eventually they will settle.  This can go on for a few weeks and eventually they get the message.  It's hard to function on no sleep, but I reassure myself that this situation won't last forever.

Melek had a check-up with the vet yesterday and her first vaccination.  She is also very healthy.  Dave has been scratching a fair bit, which is probably fleas and very normal in young pups, but they won't be able to have frontline for a couple of weeks.  Mr A saw Mehmet's wife yesterday, who is also a vet, and she used a spray on Melek and he bought some for Chas and Dave.  I was a bit wary about spraying them, but the vet assured Mr A that this was suitable for the pups.  They haven't had any adverse reaction to the spray, but I'm not sure it's working as Dave is still scratching.  We need to consider that he may also have a touch of mange, which Mehmet said was possible.  There are no signs of this at the moment, but he will check again next week.

Mr A was worried about them not being warm enough so he bought 3 little soft jumpers for them from the vet.   Below is a photo of Melek wearing hers.  She is in the puppy carry bag just before leaving the vets.  Also inside the bag was the flea spray, a towel, and the 2 jumpers for Chas and Dave.  On his return I met him at the gate and he said Melek had had an "accident" in the bag on the way home.   There was poo everywhere.  So Melek was washed and dried.  Bag and contents hosed down and put in the washing machine.   And as it wasn't drying weather yesterday, they'll have to wait for their jumpers until today.   (See what I mean about it being like having babies again?  Maybe I should get them nappies!)

They are having 4 small meals a day and are eating well, and in spite of the sleepless nights, I absolutely adore them.  They are just so cute.   Monty is fascinated by them and follows them about.  Tommy ignores them.  Blondie, Sammy and Freddie are completely indifferent, but Megan seems to have taken on the role of a watchful mother.   She is no longer sleeping in the dog bedroom with the others, but is on the balcony, watching the kennel day and night, and when they come out during the day she stands close to them, giving their faces the odd lick. Bless her.

We continue to feed the village dogs and those at the industrial estate.  We have booked the mum of the pups in to be spayed next Wednesday with Mehmet, as the Belediye vet is being very unhelpful at the moment.   She will also be vaccinated and her skin condition treated.  I will then feel that we have  done as much as we can for her and her puppies.  I am still waiting for the promised donation for her operation, and we also have vaccinations for the pups to be paid for, flea treatments, more worm tablets, etc.    As well as needing to stock up on more sacks of dog food, so any help with this will be very gratefully received.

Finally, all is now quiet, so I think I should switch off my laptop and try to sleep.  What's betting as soon as I switch off the light and close my eyes, the crying will start up again?  The joys of having puppies!