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Dogs looking for friends

IBAN NL62INGB0004011891 BIC / SWIFT-Code: INGBNL2A ING Bank-Amsterdam. ActieZwerfhonden Zonnemaire The Netherlands

How it came to be

The story on how Suza ended up in Holland and the foundation of StraydogsCampaign
(by Linda Taal, founder of StraydogsCampaign)


In 1995 my husband and me wanted to have a dog. We couldn’t find a dog in the Dutch shelters that suited our family-situation. And then we heard about Kanjer, a six months old male. Kanjer was found tied with wire on a factory-site in Katar (Arabia).

A Dutchman who worked at the factory secretly took the dog home with him. He kept him there for a week, and decided that he was able to be a great family pet. He put him on a plane, after careful examination, and send him to his wife in the Netherlands to find a good home for the dog. We took Kanjer on trial for a weekend and…he never left.

Kanjer is 100% trustworthy, affectionate, quite a big fellow (65 cm), good with our daughter and with our cats and can be taken anywhere without any problems; to put it briefly it is amazing that he is so well-behaved considering he once was a stray and suffered so much.

Five years later we wanted another dog.
Again we visited all the shelters and ran into the same problem; all dogs had something that made them unsuited to live with our family. At last we found the website of “Stichting AAI” and there we saw Lulu; a beautiful creature (we thought) of 6 months old ( must be a magic age for us!).

She was found in a forest in Istanbul as a very young puppy together with her brother and sister but without her mother. She grew up in the shelters’ office, so was already used to people.

We asked the volunteers of the shelter if they could find out if she could get along with children and cats and if she didn’t mind traveling by car. Everything went fine.
Lulu’s brother and sister had already been re-homed in the Netherlands, but Lulu had been ill and as a result developed digestive problems, which made it more difficult to re-home her.
We visited Lulu’s sister Bubbles; she was a wonderful dog and that made us feel confident about taking Lulu into our home.

We then had to wait for an opportunity to have Lulu (we had renamed her Luca) shipped to the Netherlands. When would there be somebody traveling from Istanbul to the Netherlands who would be willing to take Luca along with them on their ticket? (this is how the dogs are usually transported. In this way the shelter only has to pay cargo per kilogram dog. The person who takes the dog along doesn’t pay extra and has no extra work(see more info about this with fosterpet-transportation)).

And yes, in June 2002 a Dutch tourist was willing to take a dog with her on her way home. When the big day came, we were waiting for the arrival of our “child” as nervous dog-parents to be.
Finally, the crates arrived.

Luca was a bit frightened to come out of the crate and a little drowsy (the dogs get a sedative to make the journey less stressful).
She was skinny and weak because of her digestive problems, but oh so beautiful and sweet.


To make a long story short: we had 3 fabulous months with a dog that adapted amazingly quickly to family life (she had her peculiarities like unfamiliarity with staircases, windows and doors) and got along fine with other dogs.
To see Kanjer and Luca play together was a real joy and her digestive problems where soon cleared up with a good Dutch diet food.
At the end of October, Luca’s health deteriorated. She had some kind of seizures and after many tests, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Most dogs can live to an old age with the proper medication, but Luca had 30 seizures a day.

We searched everywhere for a possible cure, blood tests, brain scans, x-rays and consulted a specialist on epileptic problems with dogs. But in the end there was no quality of life for Luca, she had to take a lot of medication and still so many seizures that we had to decide to have her euthanized.

We still grieve for her and miss her, but we had already decided we would get another dog. During the time we had Luca we developed an interest in the straydog problem in Southern Europe and it was clear from the start we wanted to adopt another stray.

We started looking again on the internet and saw many puppies and nearly fell for their endearing looks. At last we found Uzum, that later became Suza.
She was found with her sister Incir in a citypark and seemed to be a perfect match for our family. Again we had to wait for someone who could take her to the Netherlands.

At this time the war in Iraq had started and not many people wanted to go that way. Next to that the SHKD started their major rescue-operation(there were 1200 ex-straydogs in the shelter. An intolerable situation so SHKD decided to re-home more dogs in foreign countries). Because of the mayor transportantion there was a small chance that Suza would be coming this way soon.
I was still in contact with the person who brought Luca with her and she told us she would be going that way again. So there we were again at Schiphol airport, not so nervous this time, we had become veterans.


As weak and small as Luca was, Suza seemed to be a bear of a dog, taking a better look it turned out to be more fur than flesh. She was in perfect health and soon became a sturdy lady. Incredibly, Suza also adapted perfectly to our household and became buddies with Kanjer.

Also with cats it is going great; Luca was more like a mother for them, Suza is more of a playmate for them, they climb up her legs and in her tail.
Luca had problems with stairs and windows, Suza did not have this, she knew how it all worked after one time only…..she saw us eating from a plate, she wanted it too, so when I entered the room one time, I found her eating of a plate, but with four legs on the top of the table!

After just a short period is seems like she had lived with us forever.
We have to be a little careful when taking her out for a walk though, because she approaches other dogs with too much enthusiasm. If the other dog squeals, Kanjer seems to think he needs to get involved and this frightens the other dog. But this has nothing to do with Suza being a foreign dog, or has it? Perhaps the Dutch dogs don’t understand her when she barks “Let’s play!” I think it’s just because she is young and very energetic.

When Luca was ill and later when we were looking for a new dog, I got to know Doruk, a volunteer in the SHKD shelter in Istanbul.
When she told me about the problems they were having I began to wonder what more I could do to help the dogs there.

Of course, we had taken Suza into our home, but I wondered if somehow funds could be raised to help more dogs. Doruk and I came up with the idea of selling T-shirts. We started out with selling 60 t-shirts and by now it has grown into StraydogsCampaign, with Suza as our mascot, and by now we have been able to send ten thousands of Euros to Turkey.
But more money is needed to take care of all the dogs, to finance neutering campaigns for the remaining strays and to educate the authorities and the people of Turkey.

The more I got into the straydog problem, the more I found there was an awful lot of help needed. Not just the S.H.K.D. needs our support but also other persons and organizations desperately need our help.