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Dogs looking for friends

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

Sutculer 2009

In the hamlet Sutculer, a mountain village about 30km. away from Izmir, our volunteer Aleyda found about 25 neglected dogs cats that were unsterilized. .
Aleyda is unable to get these dogs out of her thoughts and asked me if StraydogsCampaign could help them with getting them spayed and maybe treat them for their. The home of her uncle who lives near this location, can be used as a base.
After thorough consideration, the Board decided to take the challenge, especially since she is convinced that doing the sterilizations will also help with giving information and educate the village community so they will feel more responsible for the dogs.
At this moment we are thinking about using local veterinarians or perhaps bring a possibly more experienced veterinarian from elsewhere.
The next step will be making a written plan on how to catch all animals. After that pre-and post-operative facilities have to be created and volunteers have to be found to take care of the animals.
If this is all well prepared, we will set a date.
As always your donations are more than welcome, if you do transfer money for this particular project, please mention Sutculer, if the project for some reason is unable to be carries out then you get a refund..

September 10, 2009

Plans are taking shape.

A veterinarian and assistant from the SHKD will perform the sterilizations.

The uncle of our volunteer Aleyda offered to use his garden (which can be covered) and barn (which can be heated) for pre-and postoperative care and Aleyda has already found a dozen volunteers who want to help catch the dogs, most are easy to catch and we will eventually find a solution for the ones that are too.

The veterinarian will take his own equipment and the operations will be performed in one of the rooms in the house of this relative.

Besides the costs for the sterilizations there will also be costs for vaccinations against rabies, de-worming and anti-tick treatment to be paid by StraydogsCampaign. Also, the foundation will ensure that there will be enough food available for the first few days.

The vet will also bring educational material and try to make people more involved in the welfare of the animals.

The entire operation will be happening around the end of October or early November.

Aleyda will go to Sutculer herself to help and organize some aspects of the project.

First I wrote to you in the newsletter that the money which would be donated specifically for the project in Sutculer will be refunded in case the project would not take place, today I can tell you that there is a 95% certainty that StraydogsCampaign will make this happen!


October 26th
Aleyda and Ayhan wrote:

Well, as you already know, the municipality was a bit quicker than us. Dogs were removed but they also spread poisoned meat. There are some dogs that fell for the trick and they died the most painful death.

However some dogs are smarter than you would think and they managed to keep hidden.

Also, some owners of dogs and cats indicated their wish to have their animals spayed /neutered so we will have busy days.

I have been at the home of people who have four dogs. The dogs were well fed but they need some medical care. Actually this is a common problem, the animals are well fed but they lack medical care.

We find that people are very grateful if we explain them about medical care and when we treat the animals against fleas and worms.

I would like to propose that to also vaccinate dogs with owners, so parvo and rabies. (Note Linda:this will happen).

I myself treated a horse yesterday. I ordered a worm treatment at the vet in Izmir. I’m still looking for a farrier and when he helps the horse, then she is okay too. I can not just skip this horse because it is not a dog. I will check the cows next time when I am visiting this family.

Fortunately, I know more about horses and cows than I know about the dogsJ.

The muthar [village elder] has agreed won our visit and has reported to the villagers that they can come with their animals and that the street dogs will also helped.

There is one big problem ….. the blond dog that is with me on the picture on the website is in very bad shape. She has had one litter of puppies and they ended up in a sack buried…..yes, alive. The horror stories are now being released.

This dog will not survive the winter. She almost has no fur left and is in very bad shape but still is oh so kind to us. She is first on the list to be helped. I would like her to be moved to the SHKD shelter because she really does need time to heal from the scabies etc..

My husband and I are willing to care for her and help cover the costs and then take her in our home. Is this possible? (Linda note: has been arranged).

Then there is a cat who also needs medical care. Yes, this is the cat that is hiding under the car, I had sent you the picture of this. He looks so terrible. Maybe he can also be taken into SHKD and after that be transported to the Netherlands. These
are two terrible cases, the rest of the animals are actually doing pretty good and they will survive with proper care.

But these two will not.

We are well received and people are open for help in terms of vaccinations and treatments against fleas and similar things. Sterilization is one step too far for them but we will do our best to help them as best as possible and educate them.

from sutculer, Aleyda and Ayhan

October 29 Aleyda wrote:

Well, the experience I had today was just really a bad one again.

For days I have been feeding the dogs and I do everything to win their confidence so it would become a little easier for the dog catcher. Today I got the reward for feeding them all the time.

A male dog, around 9 months old, came creeping near and I was able to pet him. He began to pee a little, but it is okay, I was so happy he came so close.  He lives together with a female dog, around the same age, probably pregnant. She stayed at a distance but did approach me, I could almost touch her. I ignored her a bit so she would stand next to me to eat. It took me a few days
to get them closer to the house, and it worked. Later that evening they where sleeping in the orchard when I was playing with the blond dog that is in the pictures on the website.

I wanted to go inside when she suddenly began to bark and I suddenly heard screaming in Turkish “shut up”. I immediately felt something was wrong and ran inside to get ayhan. I do not know why but I immediately thought that they would hurt her. So my husband and I stood outside the gate and kept the dog with us, I looked at the orchard and saw the dogs lying quietly.

The male got up and barked only once and suddenly a stone flew through the orchard where the 2 dogs were, the female dog was hit and went of screaming. We went to the boys immediately and then they said sorry sorry.

My husband was lecturing the boys for a while and then the boy said that the dog was attacking him.“Nonsense” my husband said, “I am standing here too and it does not do anything towards me”. He only barked as a sign of warning, he protects his female partner.

It was just an excuse because they threw the rock intentionally.  All my hard work had gone lost. Oh, I was and still am so angry.
But I kept a strange feeling in my stomach and stayed outside, I was really afraid that they would also do something to hurt the blond dog. And of course, one hour later they came running quickly and thought we were gone. I went straight to the fence where the blond dog was sleeping between the corn leaves.

The boys were surprised and I heard a bang and they ran away. I looked around and found another stone. There were no stones because I checked before to see if there were. So those bastards also wanted to throw stones at her. I followed the boys to see where they went, but I thought the were hanging around too long, so I put the dog in the yard. The family was not happy because she is scratching herself all the time, but I did not see any other solution so I took the largest cage and put her in there without the roof and put her in a corner.
Well, she is safe now, I will look for the male and female dog tomorrow, and hope they will trust me, but I am scared that they will not.



Hi Linda,

Finally some good news from our side.

The two young dogs have returned and when the male saw me coming with the car he was all happy. He was letting me pet him, although he was flat on the ground and half on his back. The male dog is going to become a very big boy, he has a lot of skin waiting for his body to grow and his paws are huge. So yes this will be a big bear, I am having doubts about his age, I guessed he was around 9 months but now I think he is just a little bit younger, maybe 5 or 6 months. But what a beautiful dog he is.

The female dog keeps her distance towards me, she will not come closer. I examined her in the best way I could but as far as I can see there are no wounds due to the stone. She is very skinny.
I will still try with her and I hope she will be coming close enough to catch her on Sunday.

I also checked the horse and the wounds have healed really beautifully. The owner had bought a new bridle but had no idea how to handle it.

Great that they come to you for advice and to ask if I want to help and if I can show how it is used.
The man really loves his animals, it is just the medical part that is not up to date.

But I have really seen a lot of changes on the animals in the last few days and he really does his utmost. This makes me very happy. I think this is also important.

Another good example is that a neighbor now throws food waste for the dogs on the streets. I feel this is another positive step.The cousins of my husband turned out to be real cat-mums. They sit outside with a few kittens hidden in their jackets, so nice to see.
I tease them sometimes and say you cuddle the cats to death. haha

Personally I think it’s really great that they deal with the animals so that they can become
more open-minded.

I also showed the movies of StraydogsCampaign of the stray dogs and ghost of the city in the Turkish. I had them on my laptop, they were very helpful. I thought this was a brilliant idea!

The downside is that the other street dogs are moving on, further away.


Aleyda and Ayhan in Sutculer

Today the weather started to turn, cold wind, and when we arrived in Sutculer there even was a storm.

The dogs were lying between the trees, fairly well protected and we saw a lot of them again.

I hope they will still be there tomorrow morning. We made our food-round, and we moved same branches to protect the dogs against the wind even better.

The blonde dog came out when she heard my whistle and was shivering with cold, I had never seen a dog that was chattering teeth before. She did not have a lot of fur, so that is why the cold got to her directly.

So what do we do? Well back to Izmir and take her to the balcony of my mother in law. Balconies in Turkey are almost like small closed verandas. So dog in the car and drive. She was sweet and went to lay down very quiet.

When we arrived in Izmir we had to think of a plan to get the dog inside without being seen by the neighbors. Otherwise we
are would be in trouble again, and we did not want this to happen. My husband drove the car to back of the building and I went inside through the front, opened the back door and checked if nobody was around. When I lifted the dog out of the car and my husband looked if it was safe, he opened the door of the elevator, I managed to get the dog in and believe me, that dog
is skinny. But if you have to run with a fragile hanging dog than the dog suddenly weighs an extra 20 kilo.

My mother was on the lookout and I quickly ran inside toward the balcony where a lovely blanket and a bucket of water and a bowl full of chicken was waiting for her.

Well, you can imagine, she tucked into the chicken and is now sleeping warm and cozy. No more chattering teeth unless the teeth think about the wonderful chicken.

We are still deliberating how to take her for a walk, because I do not see myself repeating the same action. Perhaps we will use the newspapers then. The good thing is that the vet will be able to check on her tomorrow in all calmness.

She enjoyed the car ride a lot.

from the action heroes in Sutculer

1 novembre 2009

Concerning the cat, I am not sure yet, tomorrow I will go inside the Necdet with the cat and examine him thoroughly, that means I will leave this up to Necdet. From there I will make a plan, we already given him antibiotics.

Currently we neutered 5 females and 1 male. We sterilized one female cat, and one other was already under anesthesia but we found out it was a male cat and too young to operate. Its balls were too small and this can cause complications.

There are also another 8 dogs with owners that were vaccinated against rabies and had flea-treatment, one of these female dogs will be back tomorrow for sterilization.

We know there are still many dogs around here, but the bad weather keeps them hidden. Tomorrow my husband and Zeki have to speed things up a little, there will still be working harder by my husband and Zeki, although the more places I knew where
they were then they used their eyes.

My husband and zeki returned without dogs, I went with a cousin for a walk, whistle a few times and their they are, all dogs come out of their shelters.

So I have sent them out again and said that they also had to look under containers and under shelves hahaha

6 dogs is not bad considering the bad day in terms of rain.

But the dogs were really hard to catch and if they were forced to use a tranquilizer gun the dogs still would not sleep. Tough skin or tough cookies.

But they are all better fed as you compare it to before, also because of me boiling pounds of macaroni and bread and chicken. In the coming time I do not like any more macaroni hahaha

Tomorrow morning we will have an early start and get back to work. Hopefully we will have more dogs than today.

from Sutculer

2 novembre 2009

Hi Linda, Today it is the second day of the sterilization project in Sutculer.

The sun wasshining and everyone was in a good mood. Yes, today was the day we might be able to find more dogs.

Well, unfortunately we found 2 females, actually 4, but two of them had a litter and when this is the situation they are simply not sterilized. Okay, I have to accept it and hope for a next project.

But the day really started with a big surprise

We arrived in the village and I suggested my husband to introduce the vet to the village

I thought if we approach it a little more official then they will hopefully be friendlier. Well what happened next surprised us all, attached to the building of the Muthar and next to the mosque they created a space where the vet could operate.

Also there would be aired a message through the local broadcaster(read big speaker) with the message that anyone who had a dog could bring it for sterilization and vaccination against rabies and parvo.

Ayhan and Zeki (dog catcher) went there again with the car while I was staying with Necdet and Omer to help getting the room prepared.

Of course my uncle joined the party also and this soon ended in hilarious jokes between me,
Necdet and Omer.

Well, there we were, the three musketeers, waiting for something that did not come. Believe me, I thought that this was a waste of time.

Until suddenly the speaker produced sound and the long-awaited message was being told.

Within seconds owners with their dogs came from everywhere.

It was surely a nice feeling. Unfortunately, some owners just came for the rabies vaccination and the sterilization was not an option. It is a pity, but at least something was done.

So I said that we should talk to the people about sterilization because otherwise wewould not get anywhere. Well again I
was too quick with my conclusions cause suddenly a man showed up that I talked to before and had convinced to get his bitch spayed.

She was sleeping quickly and on the operation table. Then suddenly there was another owner of a bitch. This was already pregnant but fortunately it was not so far. I’ve put her in a cage quickly cause she was a bit of a vicious little thing and tried to bite a little.

When the first female dog was closed after operation Omer started on giving the second female anesthesia. That was not going very easy so Necdet said in a very cool way: “Aleyda will help you”.

I thought that he was playing it smart, she will now bite me hahaha, but I’m quite resourceful and quickly grabbed a blanket.

Omer understood immediately what I did and threw the blanket on the dog and injectedit and within seconds it happened.

Ayhan and Zeki came back with a street dog, a vicious bitch that really tried to bite.

At last the dog street was sleeping. Suddenly a Turkish woman with a skinny little bitch came to let her be sterilized. The funny thing was that the female almost rushed into the cage and went to sleep nice and safe. The dog must have thought: “yes please help me, I do not want to have children anymore”. Really a cute dog but thin and full of fleas, but it was great that the lady came with her dog.

Ayhan and Zeki left to find more dogs that are suddenly nowhere to be found. Would there be a special newspaper among dogs that reported:”get the hell out of here, they will remove our testicles and ovulary!!!”?

My cousin came along and I asked her to come in and asked Necdet to tell her what he was doing. He did like my niece and she was totally absorbed by his story hahaha.

She was really interested and, it is a shame that this girl will not go to school to study but is doomed to marry and stay home.

Meanwhile it was busy with dogs that were brought for vaccinations but then another female came in for sterilization, brought by a boy and his father. I was delighted.

After the fourth sterilization we took a lunch break because it is something that needs to happen too, and when we came back there were already people waiting in front of the door.

A boy with a puppy of 2 months, what a cutie, it got a puppy vaccination, de-worming and an anti-flea treatment.

There were also some young dogs for rabies vaccination.

Ayhan and Zeki came back with a street dog …. a German shepherd bitch. And it was a beautiful shepherd.

Another guy with a bitch that needed vaccination. Necdet already talked to the boy before and persuaded him to neuter the dog. The boy did agree because his parents would kill the puppies anyway.

I was extremely happy.

The best thing was that people were suddenly realizing what was happening and started asking questions. People asked whether the government could not do this more often. Necdet said this project is not done by the government, but by a foundation called StraydogsCampaign from the Netherlands, that they finance all this. When someone asked how to be in contact with that foundation, Necdet told they could call Murat or Ayhan, who may be able to put them in contact with Linda Taal from StraydogsCampaign.

I was suddenly approached by groups of children and thought that I could talk anyway while we were there, Necdet could translate.

I told them very clearly that if a dog barks you do not need to respond, but walk away or walk around it with staying at a distance, but do not hit, kick or throw stones. Animals have feelings just like us. Do not mistreat them! Just leave them alone.

There was an old man who had brought his female dog and thanked us from the bottom of his heart for everything we did.

Today was really a great day. In terms of information and sterilization but also when it comes to the interest people showed.

If it had been up to me I would have put every dog that came along today on the table, but the people did not want to hear anything about it, they don’t mind burying pups alive and being honest about it too.

Hopefully we get another chance to continue working here with the locals and talk more detailed about this and educating the elderly more.

Oh and of course I can not forget the goat, yes a goat.

Well as I said before, I treated a horse and cows so why not a goat. The goat had an abscess, so we had to cut it open, pus out, disinfect and problem solved.

Omer went with me to see the horse and was really proud of me. The horse was perfectly cured, Zeki said: “Aleyda is almost a veterinarian”:).

Oh well, I try my best. Veterinarian without the papers hahaha

The cat stays in Sutculer, after a good conversation with Necdet and a cream for the cat’s nose that will have to be applied by one of our cousins during one week, the cat will have a better life in Sutculer than when he would go on a trip to Istanbul and then back to the Netherlands. It is an old cat and the stress of the journey might be too much.

The sterilized female dogs of the first projectday are doing very well. The male already wiggled himself out of the cage and is now running around again.

The young bitch is here with us and is doing pretty well, still shy and scared but her stool is looking good and her pee too. She can really relax and strengthen, she just wants to eat, I have to feed her gradually because she is really thin, but she will survive. The male dog is amazing, what a cutie. He sneakily slept with Ayhan last night, he had crawled under the blanked without us noticing it.

All in all, this were two good days and I learned a lot, a lot of decisions to take, but wehad, despite of all the misery, a lot of fun too.

Yes you were right, you will get to love Necdet, Omer and Zeki, what a bunch.


3 novembre 2009

Dear Linda, Just a quick email from me.

The education booklets have been distributed in the school of a cousin of mine, together with a box full of t-shirts of the SHKD.We were up very early this morning and started working in Bornova.

Now, I do not know how you will respond to this, but I noticed that there were many dogs in Bornova indeed, but they had all been sterilized by the municipality already and have been released.

In my opinion this is quite a positive thing because they really are working together on this in Bornova and they actually listen to what is discussed in the world as it comes to animal cruelty in Turkey.

Zeki, Omer and Necdet were overwhelmingly satisfied because the dogs looked really healthy and well fed. People just did not understand that when they were tagged that they are sterilized and now they do. Even cats were marked when they were neutered.

I am aware of the fact that there are many negative reports coming in by mail but Bornova is really trying their best to handle it the right way.

I have put Aleyda to bed now, because you must know that she has been up and running for the past 3 days with a fever and flu for the stray dogs.

This morning she could barely get out of bed and when I told her to stay in bed she did not listen at all. The animals have her priority and she wanted us to go to work, stubborn little lady.

Necdet said maybe we had been better off staying in Sutculer, but this always comes afterwards.

We really have two very good days and 12 females and 1 male and 1 female sterilization and gecastereerd.

We have vaccinated over 35 dogs but I am not really sure about this number, it can be more. Aleyda has to count from the pictures to determine the final number.

They also vaccinated the dog of my friend and I was really happy with this, because he had helped us really well with making his land available and putting a fence around it so the female dogs from Sutculer were able to recover there and cared

This afternoon Aleyda wants to return to Sutculer to check on all owned neutered female dogs and feed the stray dogs, and put down bowls where people can leave their food waste in order to feed the stray dogs. She also wants a word with Muthar and the Imam and talk about the work of StraydogsCampaign and make more contacts.

Omer has given her some medication for the cat, he is sure that she has more than enough qualifications to give the correct dosage.

I hope they have found it to be as nice to work with us as we thought about working with them.

A great experience and we learned a lot and I can not wait for another project Linda, this has given me a great feeling, but also my wife was in high feathers.

Thank you for your confidence in us to make this into a successful project.

With kind

Ayhan Dizkara

4 novembre 2009

Hi Linda,

Yesterday we went to the dogs in Sutculer. They are doing well.

We have filled the food-bowls and made the rounds through the village and what I saw was unimaginable.

There were street dogs walking around again, street dogs I already had seen in the village when I was feeding.

So I asked Ayhan: “why didn’t these dogs go for sterilization?”  My husband replied that according to Zeki these dogs have owners? So I asked: “How does he know that then? “” Yes, because they look better ” my husband said.

Sorry but now I had to laugh very hard, I said “and what about that German shepherd you brought, which still looked 10x better and that other bitch who wanted to bite which was just really chubby”.

There were at least 7 dogs walking which I think were just stray dogs.

I said: “Fortunately there is a sequel to this sterilization project”.  “Yes” my husband says “but you’re still not sure whether these
are street dogs?” I say: “No problem, I will solve this problem right away”.

We went to the Muthar, went in and before I could say something we were thanked for everything we had done for the people.

In this conversation I told the Muthar the vision of StraydogsCampaign.

The Muthar seemed to understand it, but be aware, the inhabitants of this village come mainly from eastern Turkey and a large part come from Ezurum. In Ezurum they don’t care about animals at all and animal suffering in Turkey is the worst in that area.

We have discussed when we come back to help the remaining dogs and possible also help new arrivals and any dog with an owner that change their mind meanwhile and will accept our help by then.

The month of April appears to be the best month because then the puppies that were born now, if they are still alive, are old enough by then for surgery.

I also Muthar asked to arrange that one months before we come back and visit they will pay attention to the sterilization campaign. Ayhan can support them with doing this by mail and telephone.

I also stated that any dog that is on the street will be taken to be sterilized, if these dogs do have owners, the owners can take their dogs of the streets and if not then the dogs will be ours.

The Imam agreed on this and the Muthar thought this was a clear proposal, when there should be someone who can not keep his in but he does not want us to help the dog, that person should mention this at the Muthar and join us when we go catch the dogs.

We have also spoken about giving information to the older villagers in the hope that they
will let their dogs help.

Next to all this we will continue to approach the school in Sutculer and ask the municipality for permission to let Murat do its information campaign about responsible pet ownership and how to deal with stray dogs.

And finally we talked about shelters for the dogs where they can hide. This will not be realized quickly, but they are open for it. There is a welder living in the village who has made something like this before, not to be used by the dogs but they do use it, maybe this man would help us.

It has been a successful project but we are not finished, this is just a start, but I am hopeful and it already looks much better.

Of course I am not crazy and know that things can be changing back to the way it was before, but I am hopeful.

My cousins will keep counting any new dogs, street dogs and litters. My husband proposed to go back himself in March and go and count himself and remind the Muthar again. What do you think about April? (Linda note: We will doo this of course!)




25 novembrec2009

The stray dogs in Sutculer are doing well. They are being fed two times a day. Two new skinny dogs arrived, the first new customers for the sterilization campaign in April.

If you wish to help the dogs by supporting them with the costs of food or with the upcoming sterilization campaign, please sign up as a friend of Sutculer


30 novembre  2009

This is really something to be feeling desperate about, but we will continue!

The municipality of Sutculer did its utmost, in response to my announcement of our sterilization campaign, to kill as much dogs as possible before our arrival, now a month after our campaign, I get the message that it seems they did another attempt.

I assume that, same as last time, most of the dogs just ran off and were not killed, but this does not really cheer us up.

One litter pups that was found(who came away unscathed) by someone threw them in front of the door of the mosque.

The second week of December one of our own volunteers will visit Sutculer to check the situation.

Decembre 2009

Aleyda and Ayhan visited Sutculer again on the 16th of December; mostly to check if the story was true that the spayed dogs had been either killed or collected by the city council. Thankfully, the story turned out not to be true.

They had a fruitful conversation with the Muhtar, who had claimed earlier that the dogs had not been killed or picked up. His story checked out. Later that same day Aleyda and Ayhan saw the dogs in question and they looked healthy and well fed. Our feeding plan was successful!

This is 1 of the feeding locations and a new dog walking around. The feeding spots are located at significant distance from the road in order to avoid nuisance

It was decided that the spay and neuter campaign will be dealt with on a larger scale than previously planned. The dogs travel between villages and therefore all the dogs in the surrounding villages must be spayed and neutered.

The Muhtar of Sutculer has been asked to organize this with the Muhtars in the other villages. Also he will make sure there are enough venues where the operations can take place.

A number of new dogs have found their way to Sutculer.

After a long and exhausting car journey, combined with an accident and major damage to their car, Ayhan and Aleyda finally arrived in Turkey. Angry and let down they wrote to me that of the 25 dogs that were there in March, 23 had been killed and the remaining two dogs are in bad shape and have not even been spayed.

What to do… I chose to go to Sutculer, to take care of the two dogs (and five cats), to have them spayed and to have a good talk with the Imam. We need to show that we will stick to the deal and that we truly care about each and every animal.

The team will travel to Mordigan afterwards, where all dogs are still alive, for now.

For more pictures see our Dutch website