Tuesday, 29 December 2015

UPDATES for my non-Facebook users

It's been a sad few days on the Bodrum peninsular.  This was my post on Sunday:

Poisoning of animals ..dogs and some cats...happened yesterday in Yalikavak. As many as 15, but figures are yet to be confirmed. The police have been informed and an investigation is taking place.
A similar incident took place this time last year in Yalikavak, and also in our village. We all know how difficult it is to find the perpetrator of these murders, but someone must know something.
Please be vigilant with the animals you feed and care for all over the Bodrum peninsular. Watch out for any suspicious behaviour. We have to do what we can to protect our street animals.
In the meantime my thoughts are with all the lovely volunteers who care for the animals in Yalikavak. It's devastating and I feel your sorrow xx

By yesterday the story had reached the national press:

20 DOGS KILLED BY POISON İN WESTERN TURKEY.  Link to the report from Hurriyet HERE

A petition has been started and we need to get as many signatures as possible in the hope that some action will be taken.  This is happening far too often all over Turkey and to kill dogs is against the law here.  Sadly it is not taken seriously enough and there is often no justice for these innocent and harmless animals.

If you would like to sign the petition, you will find the link if you click HERE


And another dog rescued today in our village:

Kaya saw this dog today while he was in the village and noticed a large growth around the genital area. He followed the dog but couldn't get near enough to get hold of him. So he drove into Milas to get a sedative from our Vet.
After some coaxing and with the help of the Muhtar he managed to sedate him and return to the Vet.
The dog is about 5 years old. We've not seen him before so assume this is another one dumped.
The growth is a tumour. Our Vet has seen similar cases and is certain its cancer. He is operating on him now. Obviously he will be neutered at the same time and we hope that the tumour will be removed successfully. He will also be vaccinated and any other necessary treatment given.
We will cover all costs.
The Muhtar's wife had already tried to feed him earlier today and she has offered to take him in. We will help with anything that they need and will give them a sack of food to get started.
At last we are getting through to people here. They see what we do and are willing to help.
Fingers crossed for him please


Operation was successful and the growth removed. He is now sleeping off the anaesthetic.
It was decided not to neuter at the same time so he still has his collybobbles (as Kaya calls them). This can be done later when he has recovered. He has been vaccinated and he has antibiotics. The Muhtar and his wife have made a warm safe place for him and Kaya will take him there later.
We will check on him every day to make sure he is recovering well.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The spirit of Christmas

Here we are, the day after Boxing Day, and another Christmas has been and gone.

What does the spirit of Christmas mean to you?  I'm not religious so I don't celebrate the occasion in anyway related to religion.  I see it as a holiday.  A time for families to get together.  A time of excitement and the make-believe of Santa for children.  

Here in Turkey of course it is not celebrated, although there are gatherings of ex-pats who will do their best to create a Christmassy atmosphere.

Elsewhere we see the insanity of crowded supermarkets.  People emptying the shelves of food even though the shops are only closed for one day.   Food that will be wasted after everyone has over-indulged.  Excessive spending on presents leaving people with debts to pay for months of the new year.

We don't normally do anything special on Christmas Day, but this year we spent it with our dear friends David and Abdu.  We had a lovely meal and I ate a lot more than I usually would, necessitating the removal of my surgical corset for the rest of the day!   No excessive spending because our friends are much like us.  Just a  very pleasant time with people we care about.  Just as it should be.

It's a difficult time for so many people.  Those who live alone.  Those who have lost loved ones at this time of year.  Those who suffer from mental illness.  The homeless.  The millions of refugees and displaced persons all over the world, who don't have enough to eat at any time, let alone at Christmas.

I have many friends who do so much to help those less fortunate, but so many more don't because they live in their own little bubble and ignore what's going on in the world, or somehow believe that it's not their problem.   And there are those that buy into the right wing propaganda spouted by the UK gutter press that brainwash the gullible into believing that refugees are some kind of threat.

I make no apology for what might be seen as a "bah humbug" post.  I sincerely hope that all of you who celebrated Christmas have had a wonderful time with your friends and families.  I just hope that the coming year will see a change in attitude and that more people will stop and think about those in desperate need.

Here's wishing you all a Happy New Year,  one of peace and an end to conflict, but mostly one filled with hope for a better future for those who desperately need it.

How to help Syrian Refugees

Homeless Charities in the UK

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Update on the back pain

My back had become excruciatingly painful and I knew it would be impossible for me to wait two weeks for an appointment for an MRI scan with the devlet hospital so we decided to check out the cost with the small private hospital in Milas and got an appointment for yesterday.  The total cost was 150 lira as part of it is covered by our government health insurance, so not too expensive.

Here is my Facebook update:

Thanks everyone for your kind wishes today.
I had a further x-ray and an MRI today at the private hospital in Milas and at last after about 16 years of constant visits to hospital with the same problem I now know what causes it. I have an old fracture of the T12 vertebrae in my spine. This also seems to affect muscles and joints including the stomach. The spine degenerates as we get older so its to be expected.
I have stronger painkillers, muscle relaxant, gel pain relief and joy of joys an orthopaedic corset to wear for a month! I will be checked again in 10 days time. I'm still in a lot of pain but at least hopefully this will be manageable in the future.

The pain continues, which makes it difficult to sit for any length of time so no lengthy blog posts from me for the coming days or weeks.  Hopefully all will improve once the medication kicks in and  I get used to the corset.

So that's all from me for now xx

Monday, 21 December 2015

Turkish state hospitals

The state (or devlet) hospitals here in Turkey vary from town to town, some being better, or worse, than others.

Every time I have an appointment and enter the hospital, as I did this morning, I am filled with dread.  It is always packed and Monday more so than other days. Every seat was taken and people stood shoulder to shoulder, filling up all the corridors.  I always assume I am going to be stuck here all day, but surprisingly that doesn't happen.

If you removed all the people who don't actually have appointments, I reckon you could reduce the crowds by at least 50%.  The Turks do love to take their families along with them for hospital visits, and seem happy to make a day of it.

I should have had an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor this morning, to check out the problem with my hands, but I'm afraid this was rather overshadowed by excruciating pain on the left side of my back that gradually spread to my abdomen which started on Friday.  This problem has been recurring for years.  It has been due to kidney or urinary tract infections in the past, and more often than not a bowel infection as the result of eating something dodgy.  It usually clears up on it's own but if it is particularly bad, a trip to the hospital and a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers does the trick.

Kaya spoke to his surgeon friend yesterday who suggested a different doctor at the devlet, so the appointment with the orthopaedic doctor was cancelled and another made for 9.00am today with a general doctor.

So, in spite of the crowds in the hospital, the system works remarkably well.  My name flashed up on the screen to enter the consulting room at 8.55am.  I was examined then sent along for blood and urine tests and an x-ray and advised to make another appointment regarding the problem with my hands.    No waiting about.   There are eight members of staff just taking blood samples so that was very fast.  My name appeared on the screen in the x-ray department as soon as I arrived so I was in and out in a flash.   We came out of the hospital at 9.20am having established that the results would all be ready by 11.30am at the latest.

We popped into Milas for a coffee and had a long chat with the manager of the coffee shop where we found Sadie, who was delighted that she has settled in so well with us.  

When we returned to the hospital at 11.15am we established that the results were all with the general doctor.  When we arrived at the consulting room, we waited 5 minutes then my name appeared.

No infection.  Mostly everything was fine, Except that my cholesterol is high (I asked for this to be tested as suggested by the eye doctor on Friday).  I was advised to watch my diet and get more exercise.   As usual I was given a prescription for vast amounts of medication..... gel to apply to the painful area, painkillers, and as there appears to be gas under my ribcage (albeit on the opposite side to the pain) 3 lots of medication to deal with this!

As not everything shows up on x-rays, I have to make an appointment for an MRI scan.  We phoned but they don't have the appointment list as yet so we have to phone again later today.

I collected my prescription from my favourite eczane in Milas where the pharmacist speaks English and as normal we discussed how doctors here always over-medicate.   "It's all about capitalism.  The drug companies are in control", he said (as he always does).  

As always, I am amazed at the efficiency of the Turkish health system.  The NHS could learn a lot from this.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Seasons Greetings

To those of you who don't use Facebook or prefer to catch up with my blog,  I want to wish you all the very best for the festive season, and a peaceful, happy and healthy New Year.

With lots of love from me, Kaya and all our furry friends xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Going with my gut instinct

You may recall a recent post when I mentioned the problem with my eyes (you can read it HERE)

My gut instinct told me that I should cancel the planned operation on my eyes, and explore the problem and other options.

I made enquiries at a Mugla hospital and was given the name of a doctor should I wish to make an appointment.  I googled him and discovered an article about him in a Turkish daily newspaper concerning his unprofessional practices so gave that one a miss.

It was suggested I talk to our local doctor (she visits our village twice a week and performs a GP role)  to see if she could refer me to the devlet (state) hospital in the hope any op would be covered by our government health insurance, but she was unable to do so.  She suggested going direct to the devlet hospital.

So this morning I had an appointment with an eye doctor at the devlet hospital.  I was filled with confidence the moment I walked into the consulting room, and delighted that the doctor was a woman who spoke perfect English.

She thoroughly examined my eyes and listened carefully to the problems I was experiencing.  She says that I will eventually need the operation but not yet..maybe in six months or a year, but she will monitor the situation.  It seems that I also have dry eye syndrome which is not helping. She also asked if I suffer with rheumatism or arthritis because at my age these things can be connected.

By coincidence I have an appointment on Monday with an orthopaedic doctor.  I do have arthritis but I don't take any medication for it, other than an occasional dose of ibubrofen.  Recently I have developed problems with my hands which show all the signs of carpal tunnel syndrome and this is what I need to have checked on Monday.  The eye doctor said that if any medication is prescribed for my arthritis this may well help with the eye situation.  She noticed that I have yellow cholesterol spots on my eyelids which can be removed at some stage, and said I should get my cholesterol levels checked on Monday too....and that I should tell the orthopaedic doctor about my consultation with her today.

So I have a huge quantity of three different types of eye drops.  If I paid the full price for these the chemist informed me that the cost would be in excess of 300 lira.  Instead, with our insurance, all I paid was 21.5 lira.

These should keep me going for a while!!

These things are all signs of the aging process of course, but we need to keep eyes and hands working well for as long as possible, so I am relieved to be getting things sorted out.

Have a good weekend everyone xxx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

NO SENSE OF DİRECTİON (or getting lost in Izmir)

I have never had any sense of direction...ever.   I lived in my home town for more than 40 years but still got lost on more than one occasion.

I set off for Izmir on the bus from Milas this morning.  I decided to take a taxi to the apartotel as from the reviews on Tripadvisor, it wasn't easy to find.  However I didn't bank on the taxi driver not knowing how to find it either.

I tried desperately to follow the route he was taking so that I could get my bearings, but once we hit Alsançak he hadn't a clue where he was going.  He stopped and asked people, he set lost again, asked again...set lost again, and so on.  A journey that should have taken about 20 minutes  maximum actually took almost an hour.

Eventually I booked in.  I  had reserved a standard double room but on special requests I had asked for a bath and also a smoking room.  To achieve both these requests I had been upgraded to an apartment, with a double bedroom, sitting room, kitchen, dining area and bathroom with an enormous bath.  All this at no extra charge!  The kitchen is equipped with a full sized fridge, pots and pans etc, so as I didn't want to be out after dark in an unfamiliar area, decided to find the nearest supermarket.

I got directions from reception and a map (at this point I would mention that maps are of no use to me at all...can't read them and they confuse me even more than I already am).

I found a Migros supermarket and bought a few things to eat for tonight and tomorrow night, and then I spotted a bottle of Prosecco!!!  I almost danced around the store.  I didn't think it existed in Turkey.  So I hesitated, because the price on the shelf said 45 lira...I hardly ever buy wine and if I do it's cheap plonk at around 9 lira a bottle.  Anyway I justified it because my friend had paid for my hotel, so I thought I would treat myself.  I was so busy getting anxious about finding my way back to the hotel that I didn't stop to think about how much my total bill was....more of that later.

I came out of Migros and headed back to the hotel (at least I attempted to head back) but I got hopelessly lost.  I had the number of the street, but there seemed to be no logical order to the street numbers.  I must have asked about 20 people where the hotel was and no-one knew.  I walked up and down the same street about 6 times, stopping to ask directions...but no-one could help.

Finally I went into another shop and asked and one of the customers said he knew where I needed to go so he kindly escorted me all the way to the hotel.  The kindness of Turkish people never fails to amaze me.

I am meeting my friend Maxine tomorrow to spend the day with her.  She is flying tonight.  I am very much looking forward to catching up with her again.  But if you are by some chance reading this Maxine, please please come and find me tomorrow morning.  I don't dare set foot outside again on my own or I could be lost for days.

Oh and the bottle of Prosecco....when I checked the receipt it was a hell of a lot more than I thought.  So much so that I am too embarrassed to say.  I phoned Kaya and told him, explaining that I would take it back to the shop tomorrow.  He told me not to be so silly and that I should just enjoy it.  Of course I feel guilty, but he did a lot to make me feel less so.

So now I am going to have a long hot soak in the enormous bath, followed by a glass or two of wine and some food.

Hope you are all having a good evening wherever you are.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Getting back into the blogging mood

It's been difficult for a while now to find inspiration to blog as much as I used to.  Those of you who blog will know that the longer you leave it, the harder it is to get motivated.

So I was rather surprised this week to learn that my blog is still in the Top Ten Turkey Blogs on TURKİSH TRAVEL BLOG.   The blog's author, Natalie, first produced her list in 2010, and since then many great blogs about this country have appeared on the scene.  It's not easy to find the time to read them all, but there's something for everyone ...take a look.

Thankyou Natalie for keeping me on your list, and I'll try to do better from now on!

It's proving to be another busy week so far.  Sadie, the golden retriever that we found in a Milas shopping centre, has settled in well with the rest of the crew.  She was checked for a microchip on Friday, and when none was found we went ahead and had her spayed.  This afternoon she will go for her vaccinations.
Sadie after her op

While we were in Milas on Monday we stopped at the coffee shop where we found Sadie.  One of the girls who works there wasn't working on the day we found Sadie but the guy who owns the place told her that we had taken Sadie and left our phone number in case anyone was looking for her.  The girl told us that Sadie had been there for about a week (not two days as we were first told) and that she had been feeding her.  She said no-one had been looking for her, so she is sure, as we are, that Sadie was dumped. She asked how Sadie  was doing and said she was really happy that we had given her a home.

I noticed a lump on Fistik's side last week, but a few days ago I couldn't find it.  However, it has appeared again so she will also be going to the vet to be checked this afternoon.  She has started to lick her paw pads again, which we established was a yeast infection so this will also need to be checked.

My neighbour Dursune has adopted a kitten.  Here's my Facebook update about this:

We don't see much of our neighbour Dursune these days as she has moved down the hill but she comes back to her old house occasionally. This morning she was followed by a kitten. She introduced him to us. He is about two or three months old and she found him when he was only weeks old.
She calls him Tekir and he follows her everywhere, even when she goes up to the hills to collect kindling and sometimes has a ride back in a bag on her donkey.
We gave her some catfood and will continue to do so. He has fleas so we will collect treatment tomorrow from the Vet and will also worm him.
He is a delightful little chap 
Dursune and Tekir


The cathouse is being put to good use, photos here of three cats who are using it and eating the food we supply.
Tabby cat
Button (because of his/her button nose!)
Casey (meaning brave) who inspired us to build the cathouse. (Taken through window and mozzy screen)

Yesterday we stocked up with more dogfood and delivered sacks to the sanayi, the shepherd and Annie's mum.

And that's all for now.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Facebook Updates

I don't have much time to blog at the moment but for those of you who don't do Facebook, here are some updates copied and pasted from when I last did a blog post.

24th November
For those who read my latest blog post this morning, Kaya has made a start on the cat house. It is under the carport so sheltered, but it will be covered in something waterproof. Three sections with room for at least two cats in each one.

25th November
Just had a phone call from the man who went with Kaya to collect the Bodrum pups a couple of weeks ago and adopted one of them. The pup is poorly and Kaya has gone to check on him. He hasn't eaten much for a couple of days and now has diarhoea. It's not severe and he is drinking water ok. Kaya spoke to our vet on the phone, and he will take him to the clinic first thing in the morning. Fingers crossed for him please.

26th November
he has been at the Vet clinic since early this morning. He has been diagnosed with parvovirus but I think we have caught it in time to allow him to be treated. My Vet is always willing to euthanise if there is no chance but on this occasion he feels he will recover.
He will need two further days of treatment and he has to be isolated for about a week.
There is no room to isolate him at the clinic so Kaya will now take him back to his owner. He will help him to bleach the area, and make sure that he knows how to continue with this to stop the spread of the virus.
All treatments will be collected from the Vet and we will administer them. We can only do our best to give this little chap the best chance of survival.
I would really appreciate some help in the way of donations at this time. It had been an expensive month for us. Stocking up on food, worm, flea, mange treatments, cream for eye infections, etc. We are using our own money at the moment and the Vet bill will have to wait until my regular donations start to arrive next month. So anything you can spare, no matter how small, will be very much appreciated.
As always thankyou to all of you who have supported us so far heart emoticon
My wonderful husband, knowing how difficult it will be to isolate this pup in the village and stop the spread of the virus has now collected all treatments, which we will pay for, and spoken to the Belediye vet. He agreed to keep the pup in quarantine in the belediye shelter for as long as necessary. (Kaya also spoke to the Belediye Manager first to get his make sure that the vet agreed).
Kaya has just taken him there and he is now in isolation.

27th November
His name is Karlos by the way. Kaya went to visit him at the shelter today and spoke at length to the vet. He asked him to confirm that it was parvo and it is. However he is doing well on the treatment so far, which we supplied. If he needs any further medication we have said we will pay for it.
He has eaten today and no diarrhoea after, so a good sign. We are not sure that the guy who adopted him is really capable of taking care of him so we will have to think again at some point about where he will go once he has recovered. In the meantime, the vet is happy for him to stay there and Kaya is happy that he is getting good care.
We sent a bag of dogfood to the shelter as a thankyou, and will continue to do this as and when we can afford it. We are slowly building a good relationship with this vet and are hopeful that we will be able to get more street dogs neutered by him, and poorly dogs treated. We need to tread carefully to keep on his good side, but I am cautiously optimistic. It will certainly help us to keep costs down. Something that we are having to seriously consider at the moment.

29th November
Sunday Update:
We have no further news on Karlos the pup with parvo who is at the belediye shelter. We are not concerned about this because the vet will inform us if there is any change. We are mindful that he is very busy and does get bogged down with so many phone calls, so he gets a bit irritated when we keep phoning up to check. We don't want to annoy him because he is helping us. We want to maintain a good relationship with him for the future.
The cathouse at the side of our house is being used. Food is being eaten every day and there's evidence that more than one cat is sleeping in there. I think they come late at night and disappear before it gets light in the we aren't able to get photos of them yet. I think the trust will take time, but I'm happy that they have some shelter, particularly with the bad weather we've had for the past few days.
Kaya saw a kitten in the village yesterday that had been hit and killed by a car. Another kitten was sitting next to him. He approached slowly to try and rescue the kitten but it ran off. He searched everywhere but was unable to find it. He has asked men at the teahouse to look out for it and let him know. If we find the kitten we will bring it to our cathouse to look after.

30th November
Some very sad news. We had a call from the shelter Vet to say that Karlos passed away this morning. We went to the shelter and spoke with the Vet. We are satisfied that he did all he could to save him. Even though the treatment seemed to be working a couple of days ago and he was eating he deteriorated rapidly this morning.
Parvo is such a dreadful virus. It sometimes gives you false hope as it did with Karlos. So sorry we couldn't save you. Rest in peace dear little boy heart emoticon
While in Milas we stopped at the Kipa shopping centre for a coffee before the supermarket. No sooner had we sat down than this beautiful golden retriever came and sat next to me, put her paw out for me to take then rested her head on my lap.
We asked at the coffee shop if she belonged to them or anyone else in the centre. We asked several people and a couple of them said she had been there for a couple of days and that they recalled first seeing her with someone but then she was alone.
Another one dumped. It makes me so bloody angry. How many more times do people need to be told that a dog is a commitment for life.
She has a collar on. She isn't very old. I would guess perhaps a year old. She is gentle and trusting.
We did our shopping and when we came out, she was waiting for us. We just could not drive away and leave her so brought her home. She jumped into the back seat of the car with no prompting and was as good as gold.
We left our phone number with the coffee shop just in case someone is looking for her.
We have spent the last two hours introducing her to our other dogs and apart from the usual bum sniffing and a few scuffles, they have all settled. So far so good.
We've called her Sadie.
So then there were 11 !!
She needs to be checked over this week but she seems in good health and well fed. She hasn't been spayed which we will need to get done asap as well as vaccinations etc.
And much as I always hate asking, I would appreciate some financial help at the moment. We are getting through a lot of dog (and cat) food now. There are always more animals to feed in winter. So if you would like to matter how small an amount... It would be so gratefully received. Thankyou xx

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Growing old gracefully..... not really for me.  In fact "graceful" is not a word that has ever described me.  But I have realised recently that I can't do as much as I used to.  In my head I am still in my 20s but my body reminds me I'm 67 years old.  I still attempt to move furniture around (one of my nocturnal habits when I can't sleep) but it's becoming more difficult.   Those of you in my age group will understand that thing when you get down on your knees to pick something up off the floor, then can't get up again without help.

My eyes are causing me problems.  Well not so much the eyes, but the eyelids.  It's genetic. Most of those on my father's side of the family had droopy upper eyelids.  I went to the hospital last Thursday.  I saw an eye doctor who didn't even examine my eyes but sent me straight to a plastic surgeon.  He wasn't in his clinic and his secretary took a photo with her phone and sent it to him.    He called back and spoke to Kaya (formerly known as Mr A in my blog but all those who follow my Facebook page now know him as Kaya). 

I wasn't concerned about him calling Kaya because I assumed he didn't speak English.  He told him that I needed to have the muscles under the lids repaired, some fat and skin removed and stitched...all under local anaesthetic.  He could book me in for two days later and it would cost 3000 lira.  

I got carried along with it and agreed.

A couple of hours later the surgeon rang me, spoke in English, to explain the procedure.   He then immediately rang Kaya to explain the same to him.  I wasn't best pleased at this typical Turkish male attitude.  Treating women as if they are idiots, ignoring them and dealing with their husbands.

I also spoke to friends who agreed that it was expensive, and that I ought to have been examined first so I started to have doubts.   Kaya also spoke to his friend (the surgeon who operated on him earlier this year) and he knows the plastic surgeon concerned and confirmed he is expensive, and that it was possible to have this done by someone just as good, for a lower price.  Unfortunately, plastic surgery is not covered by our SGK (government) insurance here in Turkey...even if it is for a medical problem and not cosmetic.   I would never consider cosmetic surgery.   That's the only part of "growing old gracefully" that I happily accept.  But this problem is affecting my vision, straining my eyes and causing headaches so  I know I need to have it done, but I will not be rushed and I will do it on my terms.

In the meantime I have changed bedrooms...Kaya's idea....the other side of the house away from the dog's area.  I am a light sleeper and the dogs prevent me from getting a complete night's sleep.  I am used to it, but it takes it's toll.  Tiredness makes my eyes worse.

Of course I got stuck in moving furniture etc and as a result have bruises, aches and pains, swollen arthritic fingers and have done my back in again.  I'm my own worst enemy.

Kaya has been working hard since his job finished.  He has re-tiled the bathroom and installed a new washbasin and toilet.  When I say bathroom, I actually mean a small cupboard pretending to be a bathroom.  One could sit on the toilet, wash one's hands in the washbasin and have a shower, all at the same time.  I'm not kidding.  We now have a smaller toilet and washbasin and we have put up a shower curtain, having had to shorten the poles to fit.  Taking a shower is actually quite funny now.  The area is so small that once you turn on the water, the curtain sticks to you and you have to fight it off to get clean.   But it's a vast improvement and looks very nice.

He has also adjusted the car port he built last winter, which was for the motorbike, but now has enough space to reverse the car in.

We continue as always with our work with the dogs.  We are lucky to have a few people feeding in the village and the sanayi, but we need to keep checks on them because you can never totally rely on others.  We do of course supply food for all the dogs, and treat them for worms, fleas, mange, eye infections, etc.   The four Bodrum pups settled well at the sanayi.  One disappeared a few days ago and someone said they thought he had been taken.  However, Kaya went there to deliver more food yesterday and the pup had returned.  

It would not be possible for us to continue this without your donations, and I am always so grateful to those of you who help in this way.   But it's a never-ending task, and there are more dogs around in winter, so donations are always welcome, no matter how small...every little helps.

FINALLY...FOR YOU CAT LOVERS.   I don't do much for the cats in this village.  They seem to be accepted here by the locals.   They are fed scraps, and in return they keep down the rat and mice population.  They are doing a good job in this farming village, and mostly look pretty healthy.  We have found kittens in the past and you may recall that Kaya put a box down at the teahouse for two lone kittens and fed them.  The teahouse man eventually took them home to his garden.

There is a very brave cat near us.   My dogs don't like cats and so they usually steer clear.  However this particular cat sits on our wall in full view of the dogs and they bark furiously at her (maybe a him but we haven't checked yet).   She stays as long as she wishes then gradually saunters off.

Over the past two days she has been at the side of the house (where the dogs can't see her), sitting watching Kaya work on the carport.   So we have started feeding her.  All I had that was suitable was a tin of tuna and some small dog biscuits.  I am going to buy some cat food today and we have found an old cupboard that Kaya is going to try and transform into a cat house, with enough room for four or five cats.  We will place this under the carport for shelter from the winter weather.  If this cat is female we will get her spayed, finances permitting, and if any other cats join her we will look after them.  (Photos to follow when it's all sorted)

What are we like?  As if we need even more animals to look after !!!

If you would like to join my Facebook page Ayak's Animal Welfare, you will find the link on my sidebar.

If you wish to donate to help with our work, the Paypal button can be found at the top of the sidebar.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Neglecting my blog

I feel very guilty about neglecting my blog.  The longer I leave it, the more difficult it becomes to write a post.

My Facebook group has taken over.  I post daily updates there and the blog gets forgotten.  I'm aware that many of my blog followers don't use Facebook, so I will try to keep the blog going as much as possible.

It's been a very busy summer for Mr A.  He was working 16 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and driving around 400km a day across the Bodrum peninsular, from one hotel to another and back again.  He rarely had chance to come home, and if he did it was just a flying visit of just an hour or two.

Turkish bosses demand their pound of flesh.   They expect far too much.  Mr A had a company car, and unsurprisingly with the long hours and lack of sleep, he had a couple of bumps in it.  It was only then that he discovered that full insurance was not provided...just the basic traffic cover, and he was expected to pay for repairs.

He did manage to earn good money this season though and it enabled us to pay off our debts and for him to save for a new motorbike, and also to pay for some much needed work on the house.  In almost 18 years here, it's the first time we have reached the end of the season without worrying about how we are going to survive the winter.

He finished work the last week in October, and has been working on house and garden since.  On our first Sunday together we drove over to visit our friends David and Abdu, went to their local market and had lunch together.  The motorbike was very comfortable but I'm afraid I'm getting too old to be riding pillion these days, and the following day I had aches and pains and vowed I wouldn't be doing this too often.

As a result, Mr A decided to trade in the motorbike for a car.   What a relief.   It's an ex-taxi...bright yellow.   I was surprised when I first saw it, and wondered if we might be flagged down while we were out and about by people thinking it was a taxi.  However, we've seen a lot of them about this past week.  The mileage is high but it's been well looked after.  We spent a day in Bodrum sorting out all the paperwork and insurance and spoke to the traffic police about my license.  It seems I can still use my British driving license as long as I get it translated and noterised, so this will be done soon.

In the meantime the dogs he had been looking after at his personnel accommodation needed to be dealt with.   There were still 5 puppies left.  Paşa (re-named Oscar) went off to his new owner's village and Narin remained at the accommodation with the 5 pups, to be looked after by the man staying there all winter.   Mr A planned to renovate an old building in the garden there to keep them safe but on the day he went to start on it, the pups had disappeared, along with a slightly older pup, called Miki, who had appeared a couple of weeks before.  After much searching of the area and a visit to the council shelter, there was no sign of them.

A phone call a few days later from the man at the accommodation informed us that Narin was dead.  Poisoned.   We suspect the neighbours but it's very difficult to prove.  By coincidence the pups turned up a couple of hours later...but sadly not Miki.  All this is very suspicious.  Thank goodness we had the car, and Mr A set off with a friend late evening to rescue the pups.  Poor Narin.  Such a good mother.  She didn't deserve this and we are so upset.  May she rest in peace.

His friend decided to adopt one of the pups, and the four remaining have been moved, along with the kennel we supplied, to the sanayi (industrial estate) on the outskirts of our village, where we already have men feeding the dogs there with food supplied by us.  The two female pups and Narin were spayed thanks to friends in Bitez who paid for their  operations.  All dogs and pups were vaccinated, flea and worm treated, so those surviving stand a good chance now.

We now have three men at the sanayi who have taken responsibility for feeding, and we will continue to support them with sacks of food.

Annie, the dog with deformed  legs continues to thrive and is being well looked after, along with 4 others dogs being fed  by her owner.  Again we will continue to supply food for them.

A couple of weeks ago I found a badly injured dog on wasteground opposite our house.  His head was injured and his eyes were covered in flies and maggots.  Mr A was still working but managed to contact the Belediye shelter and they sent two men out to collect the dog (who I named Henry).  While I waited I did as much as I could to wash the maggots from his eyes and make him comfortable.   The Belediye vet treated him at the shelter.  He did as much as possible but informed us that the injury was at least a week old.  I cannot imagine how he must have suffered all that time.  I don't know if he managed to crawl to the area outside our house, or whether he was dumped there, but I will never erase the sight from my mind.  Sadly he didn't do well.  He was blind, he couldn't stand and was distressed and in pain, so the decision was made to have him put to sleep.   Poor boy.  Rest in Peace dear Henry.

Our 10 rescues are all doing well.  We have had vet visits this week for three of them, but nothing too serious.  Sammy is receiving treatment for the growth on his gums which has appeared again.  Blondie is also being treated for a small injury to her ankle which heals then opens up again...due mainly to her licking it.  She now has it bandaged up and a "bucket" on her far so good.  Fistik is due at the vet's today because she has sore and  itchy paws. She keeps licking them which makes them worse so it needs to be dealt with.

In the meantime, we finally managed to remove an old smelly carpet from our sitting room, which we put down nearly 8 years ago to cover the concrete floor.  It was all we could afford at the time, but it was desperately in need of replacement, having been subjected to dog wee, poo and sick.  You can imagine what it was like.  It has now been burnt and replaced by laminate flooring.  Much more practical with four dogs in the house.

Over the past few days Mr A has ripped up the floor tiles in the bathroom and re-tiled and is fitting a new washbasin and toilet.  Although he is making a good job of this, he is a very messy worker and there is dust all over the house.   Not to mention that I have had to resort to wee-ing in a bucket while we've been without a toilet.  It should all be finished today...hopefully!

Mr A needs a break and as soon as the bathroom is finished he is planning to go up to Ankara to visit his family.  He hasn't been for years and is looking forward to catching up with his many relatives.  Although it's doubtful he will attempt to see his father.  They are not on speaking terms.  Those of you who have followed my blog for years will understand why.

Deliveries of food have been made this week to all our feeders, which means that while Mr A is away I can concentrate on ridding the house of all the dust.  A mammoth task...wish me luck!

I'll leave you with some photos of my 10 beautiful dogs, taken by my friend Gwen when she stayed with me in September.







Freddie and Blondie





Finally, if you don't already follow my Facebook page Ayak's Animal Welfare, you will find the link on the sidebar.

If you would like to help support our feeding and care of the dogs in our village and surrounding area, you will find the Paypal button at the top of this blog.  Every little helps us to continue with our work. Thankyou.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Living with Depression

I have talked about depression a fair amount during the years I've been blogging.   It's something that I have learned to live with.

Reading back over some of the posts I've published on this blog helps me to recognise warning signs, put things into perspective, and just get on with dealing with my state of mind.

We don't talk about any kind of mental illness often enough.  There is still a stigma attached to it, so when someone asks us "How are you?", we say "Fine" and we're far from fine.

Here are some of my posts on Depression, which may just be of use to those of you in the same boat.

The first one posted in 2009:

Depression (1)

Depression (2)

Psychosomatic Disorder

The third one did make me wonder about  my current back pain.

There are more posts on this topic but I think that's enough for now.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

And another couple of weeks.....

....pass without me doing a blog post.  I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for blogging.  I think my group on Facebook has replaced it up to a point, but I used to be able to rattle off a post in 10 minutes.  Now I sit staring at the empty page with little inspiration.

The longer I leave it, the more I forget things that have happened that I could write about.

There is an overwhelming sadness in this country at the moment.

We have so many refugees arriving every day. Desperate people fleeing a country being destroyed by war.  Babies and children being washed up on the shores of Bodrum because the people trafficers charge them a high price to cram them into inflatable rafts without life jackets.  Rafts that have little chance of staying afloat.   Some have been duped into paying for fake lifejackets.  There are always evil people out there ready to cash in on others misery.

Turkish soldiers have died in recent days and most towns and cities are in mourning.  The troubles on the Syrian border continue and there seems to be no end in sight.

The Turkish lira is very weak at the moment.  There is much uncertainty about the future.  Another election will be held in November  and I'm wondering at the outcome and how it will affect life here. The leader of this country seems more concerned with his own personal power than dealing with the crises here.

To give the government some credit, at least they have allowed around 2 million refugees into the country and have built camps to accommodate some of them but there are still so many living on the streets.   Groups of expats and Turks all over the country are donating goods to distribute to the refugees.  They are doing a fantastic job.

The racism, xenophobia and sheer hatred for the refugees that I am seeing on Facebook from the people of the UK, make me ashamed to be British.   Where is the compassion?  When did people stop caring about others?  Many seem to live in their own little bubble, ignorant of what's happening elsewhere.  The NIMBY attitude is certainly alive and kicking.

It might seem inappropriate to talk about dogs when people are suffering.  But Mr A and I continue to do what we can for the dogs in our area.  They are still living beings, no more/no less important than human beings in our opinion.

Mr A has been fantastic with the two dogs and 8 puppies at his personnel accommodation.  They are thriving and it is anticipated that homes will be found for all of them.

They have been wormed, flea/tick treated, and Paşa recently had vet treatment for a chest infection which we feared was a nasty virus which is spreading around Bodrum.  Luckily he has recovered well.  Narin continues to be a very good mother to her pups.  She and the female pups will be spayed in October thanks to my group of friends in Bitez who have offered to cover the cost.  We will endeavour to vaccinate all of them, depending on whether we have sufficient funds to  do so.

We are still supplying food to Annie and the sanayi dogs.  As is normal in summer there aren't quite so many dogs around here.  But we know that as winter approaches they will return, along with many others.  In this respect I have started buying as many 15kg sacks of food as possible, shopping around for the best prices.   We want to be prepared.   Mr A's job will finish for the winter some time in October.  Thankfully he will only be out of work for four months and will start work again with the same company on 1st March.   During the winter months we will be out feeding the dogs every day.  Winters can be cold and wet here so we need to keep them well fed.

As always I am very grateful for  the donations I receive but funds dry up very quickly.  If you would like to give something, no matter how small, it will be very gratefully received.

And some brighter news.  I am off to the UK in the early hours of Friday morning, for 10 days.  I have a family wedding to attend on Saturday and it is my daughter's birthday the following Saturday.  And of course I will have chance to spend some time with my lovely grandsons.  I miss them all so much and I think this trip will do a lot to lift my spirits.

Friday, 21 August 2015

APOLOGIES..... all my blog followers.  I have just realised that I haven't produced a blog post since 1st August.  Three weeks.  This is the longest I have ever gone without blogging.

I'm afraid I have been using my group on Facebook more and more, and of course not all of you have Facebook accounts.  So I will now fill you in on what has happened since my last post, mostly copying my Facebook updates.

4th August 2015.  

Narin gave birth to 10 pups.

9th August 2015

Sadly two of Narin's pups have died. It's hard to keep them cool in this heat and finding somewhere suitable for them. My husband also thinks people may have been handling the pups even though he had put up a sign saying not to do so.

He popped home at 6 this morning and collected one of our kennels which he hopes will provide shelter from the heat. 

8th August 2015.

Narin and her remaining 8 pups are doing OK so far. Since the birth her protector Paşa has stayed away from the house during the day, mostly because Narin is very protective of her pups and growls when he goes near them. But he is safe and happy. The guy who is adopting him works in the beach area and Paşa is spending every day with him.

11th August 2015

Mr A discovered that all the pups had ticks and fleas and as they are so young he needed to get advice about whether there was a suitable product to treat them.  Fortunately he was able to get treatment from a reputable vet in Bodrum and all pups were treated.  The ticks dropped off and were burnt.  He also collected further tick and flea treatment for Narin.  

And here they are enjoying "breakfast"

16th August 2015

I noticed over the past couple of days that the dog owned by the shepherd who passes our house twice a day is looking a bit thin. The shepherd has a couple of dogs but they are very poor people and I doubt they can afford more than scraps for the dogs. He treats them well otherwise. They are never chained up, like so many others here.
So imagine his absolute delight when I gave him a 15kg sack of dog food just now. So many thankyous and a happy smile.

As a result of this post on Facebook I received a donation from someone who wished to remain anonymous who wanted to pay for the shepherds dogs food for the foreseeable future.

Thankyou for this  very kind gesture and a huge thankyou to all of you who have donated.  Without your support we would find it hard to keep doing what we do.

20th August 2015

The pups are now two weeks old and Mr A collected worm tablets from the Bodrum vet for them.  They will be wormed again in 2 weeks time.  Then every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, every month until 6 months, and then every 3 months as for adult dogs.  (We will supply the new owners with sufficient tablets to keep them going for a few months)

Since Mr A took on the responsibility for these dogs he has been attempting to find homes for them all once the season ends.  Paşa has his new owner.  Narin also has hers.  She may go with a few of the pups, but other colleagues have expressed an interest in taking one pup each.  Hopefully this will work out well.

My main concern was to get Narin spayed as soon as possible.  Yesterday I still hadn't any idea how many boys and how many girls were in the litter.  I would have liked to have had any girls spayed too but thought that the season would end before we had chance to do this.

There was some discussion on my Facebook group yesterday about this.  I have read lots of articles about pups being spayed as early as 8 weeks.  Everyone has different opinions on this issue and I have usually had mine spayed at around 5 months.  

However, circumstances here are different.   The earlier we can get a pup spayed the better chance they have of being re-homed, and at least no chance of them reproducing even more unwanted pups.

I have had an offer of help from a group of friends in Bitez.  They happen to know that the Bodrum vet has successfully spayed pups at 8 weeks old.  And these friends have offered to help cover the cost of spaying Narin and the female pups.

Last night Mr A checked and there are 4 girls and 4 boys.

We will get the 4 girls and Narin spayed at the beginning of October.  Thankyou so much to my Bitez friends.  This is such a marvellous offer and I am so relieved that we can give these pups the best start possible.

Further updates in due course.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

My husband the animal magnet

Those of you who have followed my blog for sometime will know that my husband is a bit of an animal magnet.  Dogs in particular seem to seek him out.

Wherever he happens to be working for the summer season, he always manages to find a couple of dogs, and sometimes cats, to look after. Each year he has managed to find homes for them at the end of the season.

Because of the long hours of work, he is mostly staying in personnel accommodation this year in Bodrum, and has "adopted" two dogs.  One male and one female and they are staying there with him.

He has already managed to find homes for them when the season finishes, amongst some of his work colleagues.  The male will stay locally and the female will be going to another area, to a village, with one of his colleagues.

The boy is called Paşa and the girl is called Narin.  Mr A has now discovered that Narin is pregnant.  He has spoken to a vet in Bodrum and it would seem that she is too far advanced for the feotuses to be aborted.  This is not a problem as the guy who is going to take Narin is happy to take her puppies too.

On Thursday David and I went shopping in Milas and called into to see Mehmet the vet.  Thanks to recent donations I collected 10 more spot-on flea and tick treatments and also some for Timmy, who had a reaction to the Paraband collar.  After careful consideration and on the advice of others, I decided against parabands for the street dogs as these could possibly be removed.

I also bought some more sacks of food, and we dropped a further two sacks to Fikret at the sanayi who feeds the dogs for us there.  (Thankyou David for always being so helpful with transport)

As mentioned earlier this week, Annie now has a stock of food, and also more eye drops for her eye infection which flares up from time to time.

Sadly I have to report that the two dogs that disappeared from near the old man's house, have not returned.  Also the other dogs that visited him daily for food also seem to have disappeared.  He still has two dogs at his house and he takes food with him whenever he goes into the village in case there are dogs in need.  We will continue to provide him with food for the dogs.

We are used to dogs disappearing during the summer months, but many re-appear at the beginning of of course more new ones.   We are now into August so I am thinking ahead and making sure I budget for stocks of winter food.

Mr A popped home briefly on Thursday evening and I gave him flea treatments and worm tablets to take back  for Narin and Paşa, and also a sack of food.  We are hoping to have Narin spayed after she has her pups, finances permitting, and if possible will also get Paşa neutered.

Thankyou  once again to those who continue to donate on a regular basis, and others who donated recently in response to my appeal.  Without your support we would find it almost impossible to continue.  If you would like to donate (any amount, no matter how small) you will find the Paypal button at the top of this page.

Thankyou xxx



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

It's a very British habit..... talk about the weather.  We like to complain if it's too hot, or too cold, or too wet.

The Turks don't seem to talk about it much.  They just get on with it.  They are used to the drastic climate changes and don't feel the need to discuss it.  But we have to talk about it endlessly.

Sometimes when I am out in the village and pass someone I say hello and how are you.  They respond accordingly.  I might add something like "It's very hot" or "It's very cold" and they just look at me as if I'm mad.  They nod and smile.  They humour me.   In winter we say "roll on summer".  In summer we say "roll on winter".   We never seem to be satisfied.'s hot here at the moment.  Extremely hot and unbearable and I am finding it difficult to cope.  We have one air conditioning unit that is broken.  Two attempts have been made to fix it with no success.  I am stuck in a very hot house with a ceiling fan in the bedroom which just circulates the hot air.  I get up very early to clean out the dogs areas and half-heartedly do some housework, but by 7.30am I am hot and exhausted.  

I have tried sitting outside in the evening or early morning but over the past couple of days I have been bitten unmercifully by mosquitoes, so it's back inside the hothouse.  If I had a swimming pool (or  even a large paddling pool) I probably wouldn't feel so bad tempered.  

I envy those on holiday here who can sit by a pool, relax with a  cold drink, and take a dip to cool off.  It's very different living here.

So there we have it.   A whole blog post about the weather.   Roll on winter.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I did some posts a couple of years ago about scandal in villages...well this village in particular..and I thought about them again on Saturday when reading an article in the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet

BLİND SPOT. The secret sex life of Turks

The murder of this little boy was shocking but I found it almost impossible to believe that the concern from those around seemed to be more about the fact that people were having sex in Ramazan during daylight hours.

The article says a lot about things that go on behind closed doors in the less educated parts of Turkey and it's very disturbing.  Even after living here for so long, some things still shock me.

Having mentioned my posts about scandal in our village, although of course not as shocking as the article above, I'll give you the links to them here, for those of you who are new to my blog.  My long term followers will no doubt remember them



Interestingly, I caught the dolmuş into Milas yesterday.  It was hot and stuffy and when I got on there was only one seat left, next to the lady mentioned in the above post.  The dolmuş was filling up fast as it was market day in Milas, but even though several people got on before me, no-one sat next to this lady, so I did.

She greeted me as usual by name and we had a chat on the way to Milas.  All the while I was receiving "looks" from the other doubt wondering whether I follow the same profession.    The prejudice and narrow-mindedness of village people really irritates me.  Sod the lot of them!