There are days in our lives that live long in the memory. All we can hope is they are good days. I've recently had one of those good days.
It all started with trying to catch Tinker to take her to the vet to be spayed and have her ear tag put in. It must have been like watching the keystone cops running around. She proved to be more agile, faster, and stronger than all of us. The entertainment ended when Mine made the perfect open-side flanker move and lay on top of her whilst the rest of us tried to get the lead over her head. It would be easier to steal the ball from the Saracens' back row, but persistence paid off, and we got her in the car. She was joined by one of our newer strays who'd been involved in a scrap and needed some attention to his ear, as well as also needing the snip.
The vet looked after both of them for a few days whilst we successfully found a forever home for our, so far, nameless new stray. We collected him on Wednesday morning to take him to his new home. It also gave me an excuse to see Tinker. She ignored me for a moment, but couldn't resist a cuddle for long. She even started licking my face and snuggling into me. She isn't enjoying her time in the kennel, but she's warm and safe, so she's getting an extra couple of days' recovery before we collect her.
We left Tinker to recuperate and lifted the other stray into the back of the car. He was nervous and a little frightened for the first few minutes, but soon settled down and passed the time either curled up on the boot floor, or looking out of the window at a whole new world.
Our journey was due to take a little over an hour. It would have done had we not stopped every time we saw an underfed stray and given it food and water. It's amazing how friendly all the strays were, considering they'd been abandoned and underfed. It was heartbreaking to see some of them, but uplifting to see how happy our small amount of help made them.
We were on the beach road between Didim and Akkoy when we decided to think of a name for our stray. it was easy really. Hello Sebastien. Why? He was enjoying the car journey and my friend who was driving lives most of the year in Germany. Driver, German, Red Bull, Ferrari, of course we named him after Mr. Vettel.
Our journey was interrupted as we passed through Soke. It's not a beach holiday tourist town, but if you've ever in the area, I would recommend a visit to see a typical Turkish town filled with friendly people. As you can tell, I like the place a lot.
Suddenly, the newly christened Sebastien stood up and let out two little barks. We pulled over to see what was wrong. We lifted him out of the car and he wandered up on the verge. He'd barked to let us know he needed the loo! A truly amazing dog, although when he decided to lie down in the sun rather than get back in the car, it tried my patience a tad.
We were back underway soon enough, trying to follow satnav directions whilst stopping frequently to feed more strays. We muddled around until the final 500 metres. The map showed a road. Reality was, at best, a dirt track. This is where I recommend a Dacia Duster. It would have given a Land Rover a run for its money as it took everything in its stride.
The sight that greeted me blew me away. Imagine a 5 star holiday village. This was it and it was all for the dogs. There were over 20 of them surrounded by olive trees and kennels dotted around. It was doggy paradise.
We parked the car under some olive trees and walked Sebastien into his new home. The compound is split into three parts. The largest is for the resident dogs, the other two are areas to allow new dogs to settle in.
You can guess my first stop. I was led straight in to meet the resident dogs. I'm used to large groups of dogs, but 20 plus is a lot. They were all lovely. There were lots of cuddles and love. The largest, oldest one gave a quick growl to ask if I was friend or foe. A biscuit taken gently from my hand proved I was the former. Even I was shocked at how well the dogs were interacting. I didn't see a cross word in all the time I was there. Humans could learn so much.
Sebastien found himself a place in the sun and fell asleep whilst I kept warm next to the BBQ and campfire. There will be running water and electric when finances allow, so it helped we'd taken plenty of bottled water to increase supplies and save the owners having to take another trip into town. I was intrigued by them making panini on the BBQ. Top work!
Our time came to leave, having made new friends and seen a concept for looking after stray dogs that truly moved me. You can see more by visiting www.animalsheaventr.com. I'm sure they'd be grateful for donations. I'll be going back to chill out with the dogs regularly. There's good reason to. This isn't a charity. It doesn't get funding from anyone other than the family who owns it and those who donate food and water. The whole thing is done purely for the love of the dogs. Words can't describe how amazing it all felt. Suffice to say, I know Sebastien is going to be very happy and is one of the lucky ones.
I also have to say a huge thank you to everyone at Didim Dog Pound. When we turned up to collect Sebastien, there were a dozen cars in the car park. All were people who had volunteered to walk the dogs. Most were British expats, which probably proves the old adage "Mad Dogs and Englishmen".
Don't forget to visit www.animalsheaventr.com. It proves there are some amazing people in the world.
See you soon,
MaxS and The Strays
PS. Turkiye has been hit hard by the recent earthquake. Many of my friends have family in the affected areas. It is incredibly tough on them. I've seen how amazingly the community has reacted. A list of items to donate was posted online and collection points set up. It's happened all over the country and the sheer amount of donations is overwhelming. It really is a country where everyone comes together in times of crisis.