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Dogs looking for friends

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

Istanbul April 2008

Last weekend I went again to Istanbul; it was a short and intense trip, I went there on Friday and flew back on Sunday.

Friday, I left my home at 08.00 h. and arrived at Schiphol at 10.00 h.

I had 3 cages for the SHKD with me and hoped I could take them with me during the flight. This turned out to be no false hope; the responsible person behind the desk asked me if the cages were intended for ActieZwerfhonden and when I answered YES he told me I could take them with me free and for nothing! I felt quite proud that the good man mentioned our name just like that.

I quickly bought a present for Murat (doctor SHKD) and his wife and rapidly went on the plane.

I was sitting next to 2 Turkish people. One of them already lived in Holland for such a long time that she had forgotten many Turkish words and so these 2 Turkish people spoke… Dutch. It became a pleasant trip during which we told each other about lots of exciting adventures.

When I arrived in Istanbul my suitcase turned out to be missing; this was a disaster because there was salami and cheese for one of the volunteers in Istanbul, special bandage for another volunteer and 10 snaptests for Leishmania which needed to be kept in between 2–7° C.
At such a moment it is inconvenient when you don’t speak Turkish. Fortunately, the man that sat next to me during the flight turned out to be a smart interpreter. His luggage also turned out to be missing.
After lots of formalities and the promise that my luggage would be there at 22.00 h. I could finally go through the customs without my luggage, where Murat was waiting for me.

We drove to Sefakoy (the ancient Atakoy).
Everywhere along the road we saw stray dogs and when we arrived in Sefakoy their number increased. The city dumps dogs in this area and Nilufer and Cemille try to give some of their limited supply of food to these dogs, which would otherwise die of hunger.
Every time Murat goes to Sefakoy he also keeps an eye on these stray dogs. This time one of them turned out to have lots of trouble to walk. We left the car in order to catch him and take him for treatment to the clinic but were unable to catch the dog. Murat and Nilufer will keep on trying.
The condition of the shelter is miserable. At least the dogs in Atakoy had enough space, but this shelter is really much too small. Furthermore, the ground consists of cement/remainders of concrete because of which the rainwater doesn’t drain away. In order to keep the feet of the dogs a bit dry, a large number of wooden pallets has been put on the ground but of course these are not very nice to walk on.
After lots of urging, the city has promised to bring a number of trucks with ground.
I agreed with Nilufer that they will hire some people to enlarge the surface of the shelter. This will be paid by AZ. There is enough space, all that needs to be done is fencing off a bigger piece of ground.
We also agreed that all dogs will be treated against flees and ticks in May, also at the expense of AZ.

After that we went to Murat’s practice.
Besides his work for the SHKD he also has a private practice, which enables him to earn his living.
In his practice he also treats and takes care of stray cats. Oh, again there were some beautiful cats and kittens.
I could take at least 3 of them with me. Because of the fact that we already have too many stray cats in Holland, I controlled myself; for sure I’ll soon find again a Dutch poor little cat that will need my help.

In the evening we first fed the 45 stray cats of which Pinar takes care daily. An acquaintance gave her an old car, which is parked somewhere. In this car she can store the food and when the weather is very bad she opens the windows, so the cats can lay in the car sheltered .

Then we went out for dinner in a typically Turkish restaurant.
Turkish people are very friendly and welcoming and they are constantly afraid you don’t eat enough . I tasted the most delicious food and had enough to eat for days.

After the dinner I called the airport but unfortunately my luggage hadn’t arrived. When you don’t have clothes to change, no toothbrush and no own pyjamas, you feel quite dirty and uncomfortable.
Luckily, Murat and Pinar had all this in their house, even in my size large and I had my medicines in my hand-luggage.
Despite their good care I barely slept that night.

In the morning, after a 3 star breakfast, during which I groaned that I couldn’t eat anymore because of the dinner of the evening before, we again went to Murat’s practice.

Upon inquiry it luckily appeared that my luggage finally had arrived!
Together with Bilge of the EHDKD I went to the airport to pick up my suitcase.


Then we went to the forest shelter. I had to select new dogs for the project “Animalfriends” and had to take a look at the dogs that I would take with me on my flight back.
I also had to select a number of new dogs for which the Foundation Resanito in Holland might find a new home.
Luka from Gülsüyu turns out to be an extremely sweet and very enthusiastic dog. Unfortunately she cannot stay in Gülsüyu but through Resanito she will for sure get a “golden” basket.

Again there were so many nice and sweet dogs! A lot of enthusiastic four-footed animals licked me off completely and almost jumped me over.
I also met Recep. Maybe you will remember our call for baby things for his child. He thanked me (and of course also the generous donors) very warmly and showed me very proudly a picture of a round baby.
Then we went to the mosque. The father of Melek, one of the volunteers, had died and would be buried.
An Islamic funeral differs from the funerals we are used to. Firstly, Muslims consider death more as a part of life, which means that a funeral is also part of the daily life. People don’t wear special clothes for the funeral and everybody can participate.

In fact the funeral itself is a men’s affair; they pray and are standing next to the coffin. The women are standing at a short distance and hardly participate in the prayer. After a short service the coffin is taken to the cemetery. In the evening there is a gathering for the next of kin at the house of the family of the dead person. A kind of porridge is being made that needs to be stirred for a very long time, which is being done by all the guests. Then a part of the porridge is being brought to the neighbors of the dead person.
Lale of the EHDKD was also at the funeral. After the service we (Bilge, Lale and me) left to talk, to confer and talk again till one o’clock in the morning.
Tired but satisfied, I went to bed and slept like a baby.
At 09.00 I had again a 3 stair breakfast and at 10.00 I went to the shelter to pick up the 5 dogs that would fly with me to Holland. 4 of them in the bottom of the plane and 1 of them as hand-luggage and in addition to this I would take a bag with 25 blood samples with me that will have to go to a German lab for the determination of Rabies titer (dogs that travel from Turkey to the EC need to have papers which show they have enough vaccine against rabies in their blood).
Once I was in the air there turned out to be a novelty for me in the plane; every passenger had a screen at his or her disposal. With the help of a board camera could be seen what the pilot was seeing from the cockpit. It was for example quite exceptional to see in real how the aeroplane was taxiing.
After a nice flight, I arrived at Schiphol at 17.00 h.
All dogs had arrived safely and Jeanneke from Resanito and Frauke from a German organization were already waiting for me. One of the dogs that was reserved for Resanito is Zeyna (see dogs are looking for friends, handicapped dogs). Thanks to Resanito, Zeyna already has been operated by an orthopedist the Tuesday after and will soon be a very healthy and happy dog!
At 21.30 h. I was finally back in my house in Zeeland.
Unfortunately, I can’t show you any pictures; my camera was with my lost luggage.