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Dogs looking for friends

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

Simone in Istanbul 2009

Simone’s visit to the forest shelter

On Wednesday, February 18, a week later than planned, I went to Istanbul.

It was the intention returning to the Netherlands with 3 dogs.
Unfortunately, we heard just before departure that the return flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam no dogs were allowed because there are too few passengers, and therefore they decided to use a smaller plane.
Extremely annoying, but we had to deal with it.

Fortunately my trip to Istanbul was not entirely wasted.
My backpack was packed with medicines, syringes and suture and I would not be myself as I would have no food in there for the dogs.
I would also visit the forest shelter and Sefakoy. This shelter was again forced to move by the municipality.
Fortunately, all dogs are taken in by the forest shelter.

After arriving in Istanbul I was welcomed by Pinar, she is the wife of the veterinarian of the forest shelter, and Mirella. Mirella is a woman from Holland(Brabant) that has been living in Istanbul for the past 5 years and speaks fluent Turkish. Mirella is a friend of Pinar.

Once in the car we drove straight to the veterinary clinic where Murat was working. After an introduction and a cup of tea I went to Pinar and Mirella to feed the stray cats. These cats live around a car park at the beach and they know exactly when Pinar will come, as they sit neatly waiting for her.
The cats that are not there yet are being warned by Pinar through a honk from the car. They appearr from all corners.
The food usually consists out of food waste from restaurants where Pinar is going during the day.

After feeding the cats we went with Mirella to have some tea and then it was already 8 o’clock in the evening and Murat came home from work.

I stayed at the house of Pinar and Murat, who were very hospitable and attentive.

The next day we got up at 8 o’clock in the morning and went after a delicious breakfast on the way to Sefakoy. This shelter is located on muddy land of the municipality, many dogs on a small piece of land. The stench was terrible, dogs that were barking constantly, kennels that were not suitable so the dogs stood and were sleeping in the mud.
Fortunately, these dogs have only 1 day left in the mess, because they would be transferred to the forest shelter the next day.

We continued our journey to the forest asylum. Arriving there we were welcomed by a number of enthusiastic dogs.
The staff was busy with making new doghouses for the dogs of Sefakoy, making fences, feeding dogs, preparing food for the puppies, cleaning the kennels of the dogs, etc..
Murat gave me a tour and it surprised me how big the forest shelter is and the amount of work they need to do to provide these dogs with a good life.
During the tour Murat told me that the municipality had delivered 10 puppies yesterday, and stated that they were vaccinated and healthy, NOT. Most pups were clearly coughing and one puppy had mange. Also we found a puppy that was so ill that Murat had to put her to sleep.
Murat has been in contact with the veterinarian of the municipality but he obviously prepared his story full of excuses.

I was in the shelter the entire day, and helped feeding, building houses, cleaning, but I was also able to play with the dogs a lot.



Around 5 pm we went back to the veterinary clinic. Murat had to do some administration and I went together with Mirella, Murat picked me up around 20.00.

Around 21:00 we were phoned that we are allowed to take 1 dog to the Netherlands. We were very pleased with this news.
Fortunately there was a travel-ready dog in the clinic and we were able to pick up this dog the next morning at half past 5 before going to the airport.
The journey homeward went very smoothly and on arrival at Schiphol, Marja was ready to take the dog for fostering. This dog will have a future ahead of him. A much better life.

My visit was short but I have a great respect for the staff of the shelters and Pinar that are so concerned with the welfare of dogs and cats in Istanbul.

Simone Riedijk