Thursday, 28 August 2014

This week....

....has been incredibly hot.  I think I said something in my last post about Autumn being just around the corner.  Well I take it back, as there is definitely no sign of it.

I am continuing to feed the village dogs every other day, and have to make sure I go down to the village and am back before 7am, because it gets hot so early.

Last week a lady called Sallyan from the animal rescue group Animal Antics in Ovacik, asked on Facebook if anyone was likely to be over near Milas as she had a few things to send to me to help with the dogs.

The request was answered by Susan, who lives in Fethiye.  She and her husband Mike, were to drive to Didim last Monday to transport a dog to a foster carer, until it was ready to go to it's new home in the UK in September.  They offered to bring the goodies to me.

At the same time. Sonia from Gokova Animal Rescue, said that she would also be sending me some things and would give them to Susan to bring.  I met Sonia when we went to collect Monty, and she has been very supportive.  She gives good advice, and has supplied me with worm tablets and food on occasion.   This time, not only did she send some useful items, but also a cash donation towards my winter feeding programme.

Susan and Mike arrived late Monday morning and delivered my parcels.  So many useful things, and such a help when I am trying to budget to make sure I can feed the dogs during the winter, which is the time they need it most.  (Susan took some photos of my 9 dogs, and when I receive them I will post them on my blog.  I think she is a much better photographer than I am, so am looking forward to seeing them)

Thankyou all of you for thinking of me, and the help you have provided.  There are some wonderful animal lovers in this country, and it is brilliant when groups help each other out.

This is also an opportunity for me to thank all the kind people who have donated to my fund since I first put a Paypal button on my blog.  The five people who donate by standing order every month giving me a regular income of £55...this is just so useful to me and helps me budget for food and vet fees.   But also to all the others who have donated, once or several times...every single penny is put to good use.   Many thanks to all of you.

And one more thankyou to my friend David, who has been such a help while Mr A is away.  David helped me by transporting Melek to the vet when she was spayed, and he regularly drives over from Mumcular to collect me from the village and take to Milas to collect the sacks of dog food, and my shopping.  I don't know how I would have managed without him.   Apart from that, he is great company and I enjoy our coffee and chats.

PS  I always thank donors by email.  Yesterday I received a donation from Jayne Crampton.  I emailed twice but it wasn't delivered, so I am hoping that she picks up this message on here.  Thankyou Jayne xx

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sally, Dursune and cats

Mr A spoke again to the people who gave a home to Sally a week ago.  She is very happy.   She lives outside, and has immediately taken up the role of guard dog.  Unlike many dogs here that are kept on short chains, as Sally was before we rescued her, she now has the complete run of the enclosed garden.  Mr  A tells me it's about 4,000 sq.metres.  I have no idea when it comes to measuring areas, but it does sound pretty big to me.  So she has plenty of space.  They will shortly be taking her to be spayed and vaccinated.

Dursune on the left
I sometimes mention Dursune, my neighbour, in my blog.  She's a grumpy old woman most of the time.  We have had a few run-ins and shouting matches, but generally we get along reasonably well.  There are things I dislike about her, but I do like the fact that she cares for animals.  Perhaps not so well as we do, but certainly better than a lot of Turks.

She cared for her old donkey until it died and was very upset, as she also was when she could no longer manage to look after her two cows, and they had to go.  She is completely over-run with chickens, but they all look quite healthy.

Last year she had a cat in her yard that gave birth to kittens.  Some of them have gone elsewhere, but the mother remains, and a few of the kittens, who are now fully grown.  Dursune feeds them scraps, although she doesn't seem to eat much more than scraps herself, so it can be difficult.   Every time I go down to the village for bread she asks me to get some for her.  She never offers to pay, and I never ask.  It's cheap enough and I really don't mind.  If I am in Milas I usually bring her a couple of simits back.

She sometimes asks me for onion, a tomato, some cheese, sugar, etc.  If I have it I give.  She never says thankyou, but it's just how she is.  I'm used to it.

I have been giving her chicken bones to feed the cats which they enjoy.  The dried dog food I get from my vet consists of very small biscuits, and often on my way down to feed the dogs in the village I come across cats, so I leave them some as well.

This morning Dursune told me she had nothing to feed her cats and asked if I had anything.  I gave her a bag of the biscuits and she was delighted.

And as she has no qualms about asking me for anything, I suspect that I will be supplying biscuits for the cats from now on.

I guess I should now edit my blog to include feeding cats as well as dogs, and maybe use this opportunity to ask for donations from any of you cat lovers out there.   The more money I can raise, the more dogs and cats I can feed.  October will soon be here when I will be starting up the daily feeding programme again for as many street animals as possible, so every little helps. (As usual you will find the Paypal button at the top of my blog....thankyou).

Thursday, 21 August 2014


In my last post I told you how I managed to rescue Sally, the dog belonging to the sheep women, and that Mr A had managed to find her a new home in Milas.  He phoned them the following day and she had settled in OK.  We will be maintaining contact with them to make sure she continues to be happy in her new home.

I also mentioned that Mr A had returned home on Friday evening.  He had in fact left the job in Gumbet.  The reason being the usual one...a boss reluctant to pay.

Much as I would have preferred him to stay in the area, there was nothing else in Bodrum for him, so he decided to return to Kas, near Antalya, and continue to work there until the end of the season.  This means that I won't see him until the end of September at the earliest.  I'm not happy about this, but he has to earn money, so he has no choice but to go where he knows he will be paid.

I am continuing to feed the dogs down in the village.  I am now doing this every other day, to make sure I have enough food for them.  I think they are managing to find scraps as well, as they do not appear to be starving.

Sometimes I find them in the school playground, sometimes just outside the centre of the village, but occasionally I don't see them at all.  I leave the food where I know they will find it.   They are all still very scared.  I cannot approach them.  They keep their distance until I have left the food and walked away.

One puppy is limping.  Another female looks a little unwell.  But I can't get close enough to them to do anything about it.  If I approach, they run.   I have a feeling that they are constantly being chased away from the village.  No wonder they are frightened.

I'll continue feeding.  It's all I can do until Mr A returns.  I need him to organise rounding up and moving any dogs that need treatment to the Milas shelter.  Even then, it will be extremely difficult to manage if the dogs just run and hide when anyone approaches.  It's very frustrating, but I'm hoping in time I will gain their trust, and be able to at least flea and worm treat them.

My nine dogs at home are all fine.   Freddie had a slight ear infection earlier this week, but this has been cleared up with drops.  Tommy managed to escape from a window a few days ago, the only window that leads out to the road from the second bedroom.  He always jumps on the windowsills to bark at cats, people or sheep outside, but this time, the window was open and he had pushed the mosquito screen which landed outside on the ground, and he was off.   He ran up the hill behind the house.  I called him just once and he returned immediately.  No harm done, but this window will remain shut from now on!

The pups continue to grow and thrive.  They are three bundles of mischief.  Constantly play-fighting with each other, digging holes everywhere, and generally causing havoc.  They also eat far more than my four big dogs now.  They are very greedy!

Dave and Chas

Melek and Chas

Monty and Chas


Mr A's first day in Kas...making friends with dogs as usual!

The weather has been very hot and humid, but for the first time at around 4am this morning I felt slightly chilly.   A very welcome sign that Autumn isn't too far away.

And that's all for now......

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A happy ending for one dog...hopefully!

I haven't blogged for almost a week, due to various reasons.  The internet connection here is very bad at the moment.  It's slower than usual.  It's so hot, it's difficult to find the energy to write.  But I have also been busy feeding the dogs in the village, and trying to sort out the situation with the dog owned by the sheep women down the hill.  The story of this dog is in my last post CLICK HERE

This dog turned out to be female on closer inspection.  I called her Sally.  Once I give a dog a name I feel responsible for her.

On Tuesday  I went down to the sheep women's house to check on Sally but she was nowhere to be seen.  I thought that perhaps when I had released her from the rope she had run away, or maybe the owners had put her somewhere else.  On Wednesday she was back, tied up again to a small tree next to their house.  I saw the old lady (her name is Sultan) and told her to give Sally water.  I also gave her some dogfood.  At this point I am having to control myself.  Trying not to interfere too much or I might make matters worse for the dog.

On Thursday morning, I checked again on my way into the village.  It was a little later and the sun was beating down.  Sally was still tied up, no shelter from the sun.  Her water bowl just contained an inch of mud.  I cleaned and refilled the bowl, fed her and also gave her worm tablets and flea treatment.  As much as I could I tried to explain that the conditions for Sally were dreadful.  As usual these people pay lip service.  They nod in agreement, but not much sinks in.

After I had fed the village dogs and returned to the house, I sorted out a long rope, a collar and a lead and went back down to see Sally.  I put the collar on her, attached it to the lead, which was joined to the rope, and moved her down in front of the house under a large tree.  All the time I'm doing this, Sultan was standing next to me with a stick.  The dog was terrified of her and quite distressed, making it difficult for me to move her.  I tried to move the woman away, but she insisted on staying close, and every so often grabbing at Sally in an aggressive manner,thinking she was helping me.  Several times I shouted "no" and pushed her hands away.

On Friday morning I had arranged to meet David in the village.  We had planned to go shopping in Milas and also to pick up some more sacks of dog food from the vet.

On the way down, I went to check on Sally.  She was back up next to the house, in the sun, again tied up with the short rope around her neck.  I was furious.  I called Sultan and asked where the collar,lead and rope were.  She told me that Sally had slipped through the collar and escaped.  I told her to bring the collar to me.  I adjusted it to fit, and again moved her down under the tree. The man of the house turned up during this activity and offered his knife for me to cut the rope.   All the time I'm trying to do this, the bloody women was hitting the dog.  I'm shouting at her and pushing her hands away, trying to stop myself from actually punching her in the face!

After shopping, David and I returned to the village.  We stopped to check on Sally and at first couldn't see her.  When we went up towards the house and asked Sultan where she was, she pointed to a shed at the back of the yard.  In there was a cow and the floor covered with excrement, and tied up with a short rope next to the cow was Sally.  At least she was in the shade, but she had no water, so we filled up her bowl. 

At this point I was concerned that as Sally is a Staffie type, that she was being kept to breed from and I was determined to rescue her somehow from these appalling living conditions.

I phoned Mr A who said he would come home that night.  He didn't arrive until late so left it until Saturday to speak to the people with the dog.   (He has left his job in Bodrum, and is now on his way back to Kas, near Antalya again.   Another story...don't ask!!)

We decided that we wanted to get Sally spayed if the owners agreed.  If they didn't agree then we would be certain they were going to use her for breeding.  When Mr A went down to see them, they agreed.  He phoned me and asked me to go down and join him.

It turned out that Sultan's daughter died yesterday.  I expressed my condolences, but then realised that every cloud has a silver lining.  One of the sons asked us to please take the dog.  He said the old woman can hardly take care of herself, let alone a dog.  I was tempted to say that she seemed to have enough energy to beat the dog, but I bit my tongue.

We weren't quite sure what we were going to do with Sally.   We tried to bring her into our garden, but she and the rest of our dogs went absolutely berserk.  Sally broke free from her collar and ran.  This was clearly not going to work, and as Mr A was about to set off for Kas, there was no way that I could try to integrate her into my pack on my own.  It was too much of a risk.

He phoned the vet and spoke to Mehmet's wife to ask if they knew anyone who would take her.  They said they knew of a shelter, miles away, but she could only go there if spayed first, but that they would be unable to do this for several days.  So we felt the only other alternative was for Mr A to take her to Milas shelter on his way to Kas.  It wasn't an ideal solution, but far better than the way she was currently living.

Then Mr A remembered a man he knew in Milas who, when we were trying to rehome the pups months ago (the siblings of my three pups), had shown an interest in taking one for his daughter.  We successfully rehomed them in the village, but Mr A said he would let the man know if he came across another dog that he thought might be suitable.  Mr A phoned the man and he said he was interested.  His daughter is about 16 years old, so a responsible age.

We tied up Sally outside our house while Mr A packed his things for his journey.  At one point Sally escaped again, but Mr A managed to find her.  Eventually they set off in the car, along with a sack of food to help out the new owner.

If it turned out that she (or they) weren't suitable, then Mr A would revert back to taking Sally to the shelter.

I received a phone call later to say that they were very happy with Sally, and she seemed to like them.  They have an enclosed garden so she will be safe.  We will keep in touch with them and check from time to time, to see that Sally is OK.  They have agreed to have her spayed and all her vaccinations done.

It's great to have one happy ending amidst all the misery.   I remember seeing a quote on Facebook recently, which seems very apt  "'Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever"

P.S.  Having now stocked up with 6 more sacks of dried food (I am getting through more than one sack a week), plus frontline treatments for Monty and Tommy, my fund is pretty low again, so if anyone would like to donate a little something, to enable me to continue feeding the dogs in the village, it would be very much appreciated.  You will find the Paypal button at the top of this blog.  And thanks again to the 5 friends who are donating regularly monthly know who you are....your continued support really helps.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Fighting ignorance

When my existing rescued dogs first started to arrive, my lovely Beki and gorgeous Poppy were still alive.

Megan turned up outside my gate, very thin, exhausted and hungry.  We fed her outside the gate.  Sammy started arriving each day with her, also very hungry.  At this time Sammy belonged to the women with sheep just down the hill from us.  He was about a year old, and they had had him since he was a puppy.  I had several run-ins with them over the fact that they kept him on a short chain, with not enough shade, inadequate food and little water.  In fact some of you may remember that one day I released him from his chain in front of them, and was soon surrounded by other neighbours looking a bit bemused.

I tried to tell them that there was no need to keep him chained up.  They only had him there to guard their property, but if they fed him well, gave him water, and treated him kindly, he wouldn't leave them.  They took notice for a few days, but then chained him up again.  It was at least a longer chain, in shade, and they remembered to give him water every day.

So when he turned up at my gate each day with Megan, I fed him too.  After about a week I decided to adopt Megan, but I felt sure that I should take Sammy as well.  Mr A said yes we should, and he told the sheep women in no uncertain terms that because they had neglected him, he was now ours.  They didn't argue.  Although several weeks later when he was looking considerably healthier they asked to take him back.  By this time we had paid for them both to be vaccinated, had flea and worm treated them, and they had been neutered.   So the answer was no, he was now our dog.

Over the next few months Blondie arrived, then Freddie.  We adopted Monty and Tommy from animal groups in other areas, then earlier this year we rescued the three pups, Dave, Chas and Melek.

I have noticed in recent weeks that the sheep women have another dog.   He is kept on a chain, where Sammy used to be, and when I pass he seems relatively OK.   However, yesterday morning around 6am, I set off down the hill to feed the dogs in the village.   I heard the dog whimpering as soon as I turned the corner.  He was not in his usual place, but up the hill slightly away from the sheep women's house, tied with thin rope around his neck, attached to a telegraph pole.  The rope was so short he couldn't move.   I went up to investigate.  He was very distressed.  He was standing in his own excrement because he had no choice, and there was no water.

I was so angry.  I gave him a handful of biscuits, then proceeded to try and undo the rope.  It was very difficult because it had been knotted so many times.  I persisted, actually making my fingers very sore, until I had loosened enough of the knots to force the rope over his head.  He yelped as I squashed his ears, poor little thing, but did not once try to bite me.   He ran down the hill to a water bowl and drank it dry.   (Actually this dog could be female.  I'm not sure, because I was so anxious about setting him free, I didn't look).

I then realised that the sheep women, the man of the house, and the kids were all out on their balcony watching me.   The man just glared at me.  I glared back.  He said "good morning" in English.  Probably the only words he knows.  I told him as best I could in my limited Turkish, that this dog shouldn't be tied up like this.  He/she should be kept next to the house in the shade with water and food.   He  didn't say much, although I didn't give him much of a chance to say anything, but he kept nodding in agreement.   I threw in "cok ayip" a few times (which roughly translates as "shame on you"), then I set off to the village.

I don't know if this dog has returned to the sheep women, as I haven't been down there since yesterday.  I'll know later.

The problem is that when you give advice to these people, they just pay lip service.  They make an attempt to do the right thing for a couple of days, then it's back to their normal neglectful treatment.

It's incredibly frustrating, and I'm not sure if I'll ever get through to them, as long as I live.

Friday, 8 August 2014


I hate guns.  The Turks seem to like them though. 

I live in a farming village so I am used to hearing the sound of shooting the wild boar to stop them eating crops.  Often this is at night.  My heart skips a beat because I worry that these men might be shooting the street dogs, which I am absolutely certain does happen.

Men get trigger happy at village weddings.  Getting drunk and firing their guns into the air as if in some way this adds to the celebration.  There have been many reports in this country of people being killed or injured at weddings due to stray bullets.   One of the reasons why I never attend village weddings.

I have encountered several incidents during my years in Turkey.  When we lived in Side, a man fired his gun and shattered the windows of all the banks in the nearby town of Manavgat.  Why?  Because they wouldn't give him a loan.   An off-duty policeman once sat on a beach in Side, firing his gun at pebbles....with holidaymakers all around him.  He was arrested of course, and sent for psychiatric reports.

When we lived in Selcuk, a neighbour several apartment blocks away was firing his gun from his balcony, and shouting at the top of his voice.  In spite of my protests, Mr A went to investigate, and actually stood talking to the man, who it seemed had been having a fight with his wife, who was cowering in the corner of the balcony.  Thankfully the jandarma arrived and he was taken away before anyone was hurt.

Young men have to do their national service in Turkey, so they will be taught how to use guns.  From an early age boys run around with toy guns, often dressed in little army uniforms, which I find quite sickening.  Bad enough that they will possibly have to fight for their country when they are older, but it seems that parents find it somehow amusing to introduce them to this when they are so young.

Parents in this village think it is quite acceptable to allow their 11 and 12 year old boys to carry the small guns that fire pellets (I think they are called BB guns, but am not quite sure).

Two such boys, with guns, walked up past my gate yesterday.  Luckily I was in the kitchen.  I could see out but they couldn't see me.  They raised their guns and started firing at my dogs in the driveway.  Just a couple of pops...none of the dogs were hurt, but they were frightened.

I have never leapt out of my house so fast in all my life.  I shouted at them, using a few choice Turkish swear words and told them I would be ringing the jandarma.  I chased them up the hill and noticed which house they entered.

I phoned Mr A and it seems that these boys are sons of a friend of his, so he phoned him.  The boys denied having fired the guns...well they would, wouldn't they?  Apparently they only use them for shooting birds...clearly this is acceptable!!!

I posted the following on the village Facebook page, and a friend translated it into Turkish for me.  I had several "likes", interestingly all from people who have moved away from the village.

"Please parents of this village be responsible and do not allow your young children to have guns. Two boys have walked past my house today and were firing their small guns at my dogs. These boys are only about 12 years old. This is dangerous and irresponsible behaviour. It must stop, or I will notify the jandarma.  Incidentally, all my dogs have kimliks (pet passports) and as such are protected by the law, so if anyone harms them, they will be prosecuted"

I had a couple of comments:

"Mrs kaya , in the World of war today ,it seems inevitable to be affected by the events around us,you have wishful thoughts about that , I agree ,yet to some degree children will be children.
My response:
 "In my eyes, this is not normal behaviour for deliberately set out to harm innocent animals. It's up to the parents to teach them right from wrong. And this is wrong."

His response:   "yes,it is also the responsibility of teachers"
And from another man:
"Linda, i don't remember if i said that to you, but, wellcome to turkey.. we do not love ourselves and other people, we hate from our brothers and sisters.. so, animals, you know.. sorry.."
(I think it is clear what this man is trying to say...sad isn't it?)
I have just come back from feeding the dogs in the village, and judging by the looks and the whispers from the teahouse, I think news of my message has spread.
What good it will do, remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Too hot to blog

It's the middle of summer.  The hottest time of the year, with temperatures this week around 40 degrees C.  Too hot to do very much at all.  It seems to be affecting my brain and I'm finding  it difficult to think of anything to blog about.

I'm having to keep switching my laptop off to enable it to cool down.  It's feeling the heat like I am.  It doesn't help that our aircon isn't working.  I haven't used it for years, but I really feel the need of it at the moment.  I think it's  completely knackered.  It may well have been hit by one of the lightening strikes during previous winters, that blew up several modems. 

I was reluctant to get the engineer out and pay a call-out fee, just for him to tell me it was no good.  So a couple of weeks ago Mr A asked a friend to come out and take a look.  He didn't turn up, but promised to come the following day...he didn't.  So I've given up on him, and I am kind of getting used to being without aircon now.  I keep telling myself it's only a few weeks until the end of August, and then the weather will gradually start to get cooler.  So I move around the house finding the coolest spots. Bedroom early morning, spare bedroom late morning, balcony afternoon, and sitting room evening.  I'm also sleeping on the sofa in the sitting room at night because I can position myself next to an open (mozzy-screened) window and get a little air.

Mr A isn't managing to get home much.  Because he only earns commission, his working day is about 16 or 17 hours...and then sleep.   I think he was as relieved as I was that his relatives didn't turn up recently, because he would have felt obliged to take time off to see them and risk losing customers.

I would be really stuck when it comes to shopping, particularly for sacks of dogfood, but my friend David has been so kind, and has collected me from the village and taken me shopping in Milas.  We stop for a coffee and a chat, and as usual I enjoy his company.

If it wasn't for him, I doubt I would be going anywhere at all.  The thought of waiting around in this heat for buses, makes me sweat before I even step outside the house.

And an update on the village dogs.  Although I am still getting dirty looks and the odd comment, I am still feeding them.   I have no idea if, how and when we can get them to the Milas shelter, but until such time, I am trying to do what I can to make their lives a little more bearable.  They are scattered about the village and I don't always see them when I take food down.  On the occasions when they have been about I've noticed that there are couple more of them now...roughly 10 or 12 altogether.

So I leave food in several places, and refill water containers.  I have now reduced this to every two days rather than every day.  I am getting through so much dogfood, and with limited finances I have to be careful that I don't reach a situation where I can't feed them at all.

My own dogs are all well, although also affected by the heat.  But they have a lot of shady places in the garden, and plenty of water, so they are fine.  I did manage to inflate an old plastic paddling pool for them, but they are not interested in jumping in to cool down.  They think it's for drinking.  I have had a paddle in it though   (when I'm sure the neighbours aren't watching!)

So that's it for now.   Roll on winter!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sunday photos

Billy and Jimi strawberry picking

My beautiful daughter with Billy

My gorgeous boys

I have to wait until 18th October to see them all again.  My last visit was the end of December.  It's such a long time and I miss them so much.

Happy Sunday everyone xx