Thursday, 31 July 2014

Update Thursday

I won't dwell on my previous post.  What a mess I made of things, but thankfully it's now sorted.

This week has been incredibly hot.  So much so, that even though I had planned a visit over to Gulluk to see a friend, the thought of waiting around for buses, not to mention the climb back up the hill, made me decide that this is not the time for being out and about.

Even going outside to water the garden, or feed the dogs, causes me to sweat buckets, and I'm taking 3 or 4 showers a day now, because we still haven't managed to get our aircon fixed.

I am still feeding the dogs in the village, although now every two days rather than every day.  I really have to try to make the food last as long as possible, and just cannot afford to feed them every day.  They are not in the centre of the village very much.  I suspect they are wary and scared of the men there, so I leave the food and fill up the water containers, so that they can come and eat when there's no-one around.  It's all I can do until such time as we can get them to the shelter.

I will be doing a post about Mr A within the next day or so, about contact with his long lost natural mother.  The heat is affecting my brain and I'm too exhausted to write much more at the moment.  So watch this space.

A change of name

I started this blog in March 2009.   I called it Turkish Delight.  Not very original.  I even put a photo of Turkish delight on the header.

Over the years I have discovered other blogs with Turkish Delight in the title.  Clearly there are others with as little imagination as me. So after a while I added my username Ayak to the title.    Recently, more blogs are arriving on the scene using Turkish delight in the blog name.

Time for a change, but just a small one.  My blog is now called Ayak's Turkish Life.

I assumed it would be fairly easy to change the name.  It was.  I also changed the URL and maybe I should have just left it, because my blog suddenly disappeared.  Well of course Ayak's Turkish Delight has disappeared, but  my blog with it's new title is still here.

I'm editing this post because I spent the best part of today tearing my hair out trying to put right the mistake I made.  I should not have changed the URL because it would mean I would lose a lot of my followers who aren't on Facebook.   I just couldn't solve this problem, so eventually called on the fantastic K (Perpetua of Perpetually in Transit blog) who is brilliant at these things, and she has changed the URL back for me.

So the URL remains the same as it was before and just the name of the blog has changed.  Panic over.  Thanks Perpetua



Nothing in life is ever straightforward is it?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Yet another failed plan

Mr A came home on Sunday evening because the Muhtar had agreed to provide a vehicle for him and Mr A to round up the dogs and get them to the safety of Milas shelter.

It will come as no surprise (it didn't to me) that the Muhtar let us down.  So another wasted journey for Mr A.

The dogs are still around but they are moving about, sometimes further away from the village.  I am still leaving food down in the centre by the school, and filling the water containers, but when Mr A set off back to work early yesterday morning, he found  them some distance from the village along the back roads. 

It's too difficult for me, without transport, to search for them every day.  They could be anywhere, so I will just continue to leave food and water in the same place.   I think it's likely that they will go there to eat in the middle of the night when there are no people around.

I worry constantly about them.  Every time a hear a gun shot my heart beats so fast...even though common sense tells me it's probably the wild boars being shot to protect the crops.

It might take some time, but we won't give up trying to get these dogs away from the village.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Update on village dogs

When I went down to the village around 7 o clock this morning, there were no dogs around at all.  Very unusual for this time of the day.  I walked off some of the side roads and other places where they hide to find them, but no sign at all.

I left food in the usual places and refilled all the water containers.  I asked the man in the village shop if he had seen the dogs, but he hadn't.

I phoned Mr A a little later to let him know and he has just called me to say that he has spoken to the Muhtar, who says the dogs are still around.....thank goodness.  I was again fearing the worst, because Mr A had mentioned that people are still talking about shooting them.   The Muhtar has organised a vehicle so that he and Mr A can round them up and take them to the shelter.  Hopefully this will happen tonight.

Of course this won't be the end of the problem.  No doubt more will arrive gradually, but it will be easier to manage a couple at a time, by either taking them to the shelter, or trying to get them neutered and adopted.

I received a couple of donations as a result of my recent plea.  I still have to pay for the two new kennels, and I am almost out of dog food.  Thankyou so much to those who have donated, and especially to those friends who are committed to giving every month.  I am so grateful to you all. 

Whatever I receive seems to go straight out again, and of course I use my own money as well.  Food and vet bills mount up, and I am aware that it's only a couple of months until October, when we will want to start the winter feeding programme again at the industrial estate, and wherever else locally it is needed.   So anything you can give will be very much appreciated.  (The Paypal button is at the top of the page).   Thankyou.

Fingers crossed that tonight's rescue mission happens and I have something positive to report tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Angry and relieved

The relatives were due to arrive today around 6.30pm.   Mr A told me he would be home around 4.30pm with the meat for the barbeque.

On Thursday I went into Milas and bought the cheese that was requested, which cost me nearly 30 lira...more than a 10kg sack of dogfood, which I'd rather have spent the money on.  I also bought, as requested, 2 kilos each of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onions. 

Yesterday, David took me into Milas to do shopping and  I bought a barbeque...it wasn't expensive, but it wasn't something we need at the moment, plus some charcoal, also two pillows for our guests, as I had used the spare ones for the dogs kennels.  Along with various other odds and ends.

I was pretty hot and bothered by the time I got home.  I cut my finger quite badly trying to fix something.  I was also up all night with an upset stomach.  This morning I broke up a fight between Chas and Dave, bruising a finger on my other hand in the process.

However, using rubber gloves I managed to make a huge dish of potato salad, and baked a cake. It seemed even hotter today and I still didn't feel particularly well so was unable to eat all day.

4.30pm came and went, and no sign of Mr A, which isn't unusual...he's always late.  Finally he phoned before 5.30pm to tell me that the cousin and husband were on their way and had just phoned him.  It seems they were bringing their two children with them.  No-one mentioned children!  As I said in my previous post, I had only met this couple once before...briefly...some years ago and I didn't recall them having children.  Mr A told them that he wasn't happy about the children coming as we have 9 dogs, and was worried about their safety.   It seems that they have rented a house in Torba (just outside Bodrum) for a holiday and only intended to visit us and stay for one night.  So they decided not to visit us but go straight to Torba.

A bit later on I asked Mr A if he was aware they had children and he said he was but they normally don't take them if they are travelling any distance.  But why the hell couldn't he have asked when they first invited themselves?  Or why could they not have mentioned it? 

I was so angry that I had wasted my time and money on these people.  Mr A didn't come home, deciding that it wasn't worth spending money on petrol.  Thankfully, the cousin had phoned Mr A before he had bought the meat, which was something at least.

I have told Mr A that if in future his relatives want to visit, that's fine with me, but that he will have to be here, and I will go away for the duration.  I've had enough of these haphazard plans, over which I have no control.

BUT...now that I've calmed down, I am relieved of course....even though I will be living on cheese, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers for the foreseeable future.



Thursday, 24 July 2014

Time for a bit of a moan

I haven't posted since last Sunday and thought it about time I wrote something.   .

Mr A hasn't been able to get home this week because he simply can't afford it.  He isn't getting many customers and as he only gets paid commission, it isn't good, and he is quite depressed about it.

He does however have to attempt to get home this weekend because...joy of joys...we have members of his family visiting.  I think by now you all know what that means.  They invite themselves.  They turn up whenever they feel like it, and stay for as long as they like.  This time it's a cousin and her husband.  I have met them before, briefly, but don't really know them.   With Mr A working I guess it will be left to me to entertain them, and I'm really not looking forward to it.

I have been given a shopping list.   I'm not really happy about this either, because I budget very carefully when I'm on my own, but when guests are here naturally one has to provide adequate meals.  Mr A says they will bring food.  This is pretty normal, although it's difficult to do shopping when you don't know what they are bringing, and on previous occasions we have ended up with too much of the same things in the fridge.  Apparently, there is a particular kind of cheese they like for breakfast.   There is only one place I know in Milas that sells it, so I went to get it today.  It cost me nearly 30 lira.  Far more than I would normally spend on cheese.

Thankfully my dear friend David is going to take me into Milas tomorrow to get my shopping.  Otherwise I'm not really sure how I would manage.

Mr A says the relatives will ring him when they are on their way, and he will come home.  We will then do a barbeque.  Mr A is going to borrow money from his boss to buy meat.  At this point in time we don't actually know whether they will arrive on Saturday or Sunday evening. 

All I can hope for is that my dogs barking all night will deter them from staying too long.   OK I hold my hands up...I'm antisocial...there I've admitted it.  I like to choose my friends.  I like to invite people to stay with me.  I don't like the way Turkish families all treat each others homes as if they are their own.  Of course I like guests to feel "at home" but this is not the same.  They move in and they take over, and I don't like it.

I would have loved to have reported that the dogs in the village have been rounded up and safely delivered to the shelter, but sadly this is not the case.  I am not surprised in the least.  Again the belediye make promises they don't keep.  This morning I spotted another puppy that I hadn't seen before, so that's 4 pups who need to be rescued, as well as half a dozen older dogs.   One old boy is very battered and scarred but such a gentle soul.  He follows me to the bus and sits and waits till the bus leaves.

My dog fund is running low again and I need to buy more food soon to keep feeding these dogs.  I have no idea when Mr A can arrange to get them to the shelter, and it's possible he may have to hire a man and a van to do so in one go.  This will probably be cheaper than him having to make several journeys here and take two or three at a time.   I also have the two puppy kennels to pay for, so I am getting quite desperate.  I would really welcome donations at this time, no matter how small, every penny helps. 

Enough moaning.  I must try to put on my "happy welcoming" face before the relatives arrive at the weekend.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The perfect end to a difficult week

 Mr A's efforts on Wednesday night, accompanied by the Muhtar, resulted in them managing to round up three of the puppies in the village and deliver them to safety at Milas shelter.

The Muhtar promised to attempt to capture more dogs on Thursday.  When Mr A spoke to the Muhtar on Friday, he was informed that this mission was unsuccessful.  The Muhtar said it was impossible to get hold of the dogs because they tried to bite him.  I find it difficult to believe this to be honest.  These dogs are scared and pretty submissive.  I think it was more to do with the Muhtar's handling of the dogs than anything else.  He clearly doesn't have Mr A's touch.

I went down to the village as usual on Friday to feed the dogs and there were none there.  I searched for some time but could not find one dog.  I left food and water in the usual places, but I feared the worst.  Maybe they had been disposed of.

I returned again on Saturday morning.  Still no dogs, but the food was gone.  Although this didn't necessarily mean it had been eaten by the dogs.  It could have been swept away by the men in the teahouse.  Who knows?

Also on Saturday, two new kennels arrived for my three youngest, Chas, Dave and Melek.  We had already bought one, which all three used when they first arrived....so tiny they took up a small space in the corner.  They have of course grown at a rapid rate and one kennel is only suitable for one dog. The wooden kennel (formerly a chicken coop which Mr A made) is also not big enough for the three pups, and because it's wood they have been chewing it and it is almost demolished!

So I ordered two more plastic kennels from Mehmet the vet.  He delivered them to me late yesterday afternoon.  He is only charging me what it cost him, he is making no profit, and not even allowing the expense of driving out to the village to deliver them.  He is also prepared to wait for payment, as we actually can't afford to pay for them at the moment.  If anyone would like to donate towards the cost, it would be very much appreciated.  They cost 220 lira each, which is around £60 each.  Needless to say, the dogs are delighted with them....and they are pretty much chew-proof!

The 3 kennels, sheltered from the sun

Chas, Melek and Dave

Dave, Chas and Melek (with Monty in the background)


This morning I went to catch the bus into Milas at 10.30.  Again I took more food and this time was relieved to find two of the pups and three larger dogs waiting in the village.  I fed and watered them, then got on the bus.  Two of the dogs sat next to the bus and watched me until the bus left...bless them...they know I'm their friend.  

I had a phone call from Mr A this evening to say that even though the Muhtar had failed to capture any more dogs, he (and also Mr A) had both spoken to the Belediye manager, who has promised to arrange for workers from the shelter to come out and capture the remaining dogs within the next few days.   I really hope this happens, but I won't hold my breath.   If they don't, Mr A has promised he will get home as soon as he possibly can to resume rounding them up.  In the meantime, although I got the usual glares from the men in the teahouse while I was feeding the dogs, I'm hopeful that they won't harm them now that they are aware the problem is being dealt with.

Today I had plans to meet up with a friend from Kusadasi.  Fleur and I have communicated for quite a while, first through a Kusadasi forum, then on Facebook, as well as a few phone calls and emails, and she is one my loyal blog followers.   We have been planning to meet for ages, and at last we did it today.  We agreed to meet outside Kipa supermarket which is easy to find, and as a new Kahve Dunyasi coffee shop has just opened next door, we had drinks and some lunch and stayed there for a couple of hours.  As I have now run out of filter coffee, I managed to get the girls to sell me a 500g bag of the filter coffee they use in the shop, which I am delighted about.

We then drove out to the village. Fleur met the dogs, and we chatted some more before she set off back to Kusadasi.  She kindly brought a 15kg sack of food for the dogs and a bottle of wine for me.  Thankyou so much Fleur.   She was just as lovely as I knew she would be.  We share the same concerns for the street dogs, and she has rescued many too.  She currently has six at her home.  She is great company, and we plan to communicate more, and meet up again.

So a happy Sunday, and not a bad end to a difficult week.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Update on the village dogs

Mr A heard nothing further from the Governor of Mugla province, which comes as no surprise really.  He did however come home last night and spent some time discussing the problem with the Muhtar.

Although the Muhtar is pretty useless at doing his job, he does seem able to respond if he's pushed.  And Mr A is pretty good at pushing.  It would seem that the Muhtar doesn't have a problem with the dogs being here from a personal point of view, but he is having pressure put upon him from others in the village.  He isn't sure how to keep everyone happy, and was prepared to listen to advice from Mr A.

They both agreed that the dogs are at risk if they stay here.  The Muhtar has also heard the rumours about people being prepared to "dispose" of them, and has made it known that he will not tolerate this.  (Although what he would actually do about it, I don't know).

Our main concern is the safety of the dogs and it was decided that as many as possible should go to the Milas council shelter.  Most of you know what I think about shelters here.  Some are pretty awful, but thankfully the Milas one is fairly new.  It's clean.  Well maintained, and the dogs looked after.  There is little point in waiting for the Belediye to take action on this, because clearly it won't happen anytime soon, if at all, and in the meantime the dogs are at risk.

So last night around 11.00pm Mr A and the Muhtar set off to round up and capture some of the dogs.

It was by no means an easy task, trying to get hold of dogs that are obviously scared, but after an hour or so they managed to get three of the six puppies, and then drove them over to the Milas shelter, where they are now safe.

For Mr A to drive over from Gumbet to the village, then to the Milas shelter on the far outskirts of the town,  back to the village and then to Gumbet again early in the morning, is costing him a lot in petrol.  We just cannot afford for him to do this too often, and frankly he has also had little sleep, which affects him being able to cope with his 16 hour a day job.

He will try to get home once or twice a week, but in the meantime the Muhtar has promised to go out again this evening, with help, and capture some more dogs to take to the shelter.  He has agreed to do this for as long as it takes to get all the dogs to safety.  We have to take him at his word...what else can we do?   Mr A will keep in touch with him by phone to make sure this is happening.

I have no doubt that this is going to be a problem that won't just disappear.  More dogs are bound to arrive, and each time they do, we will have to get them to safety.  In the meantime, I am continuing to feed the dogs while they are here.  I am avoiding any discussion or conversation with anyone in the village while I'm doing this.  Just keeping my head down and getting on with it...for as long as it takes.

Fingers crossed the Muhtar sticks to his promises.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

And so the battle continues

I had hoped by now to have something positive to report concerning the recent batch of dogs in the village.  But things don't get any better.

Mr A came home again on Monday evening with the intention of trying to round up some of the dogs, at least the six puppies anyway, put them in the car and take them to a shelter.  We just want them to be safe.  The shelters are by no means ideal, but Mr A has been talking to people in the village and there have been threats.  People don't want the dogs here and I'm afraid they are just as likely to shoot them than try to find somewhere else for them to go.

He spent a couple of hours trying to coax the dogs and to capture them, but to no avail.  He spoke to the Muhtar and told him that he should contact the Belediye manager and get the Milas shelter to agree to take them.  To be honest, Mr A wasn't hopeful that the Milas shelter would agree, even though by law it is their responsibility, and if he had managed to get hold of some of the dogs he would have taken them out of the area to any shelter that would have taken them.

Yesterday he contacted the Belediye manager in Milas, who was very unhelpful.  He then spoke to the Governor of the Province in Mugla who promised to do something about it and contact Mr A today (Wednesday).  At the time of writing this he has heard nothing, and will ring back himself by the end of the day.

This morning I went down to the village to catch the 8.30am bus into Milas.  I took some more dogfood.  There were only two dogs in the school playground where they seem to be gathering in recent days.  I put down the food, and filled up several water containers.  As I was doing this I saw the Muhtar approach.  He was standing on the other side of the fence to the schoolyard, and was joined by 4 other men.  They all stood and watched me, and I refused to allow any eye contact but just carried on with the task at hand.

I came out of the yard just as the bus was arriving.  I started to get on the bus and the Muhtar tapped me on the shoulder and started to ramble on about the dogs, the Belediye, etc.  He was speaking so fast (and loudly) that I didn't entirely grasp what he said.  But I was angry that he did this in front of a bus full of people, and I just told him to talk to my husband.

I phoned Mr A who phoned the Muhtar.   Mr A then told me that the Muhtar said that he (Mr A) should come home tonight and catch the dogs and remove them.  Who the hell does he think he is?  Well, of course, he's the head of the village, voted in at the last election, but he clearly is not doing his job.  Why is he not getting the Belediye shelter to take the dogs?  Why should Mr A have to keep buying petrol to come here and try to deal with the problem?

And why the hell should it be a problem anyway?  We are feeding the dogs.  I have already told the Muhtar that we will try to spay all the females over time, to stop the increase in population.  I don't know what else we can do.   If Mr A decides to come home to catch some of the dogs (which I suspect he will) then he can't do it without help and proper equipment.  He will need tranquillisers, strong choke leads to catch and restrain them, and help in getting them to the shelter.

Why can't these ignorant people see that the dogs are no threat as long as they are looked after, which we are prepared to do?

It's a real dilemma and I have no idea how to resolve it.  I'm just hoping that my next blog will be one where I will have some answers and something positive to report.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

One step forward and three back

My attempts to make the street dogs lives a little better is an uphill struggle.  Obstruction at every turn.

People in this village don't want them here, and they are making it difficult for me.

I have put 8 containers for water down in the village since last Sunday, and they either disappear or are broken.  

When I put food down for the dogs I get looks that could kill from the men in the teahouse.  I have tried to make people understand by posting on the village Facebook page that these dogs pose no threat.  They just need to be fed and given water.  I get approval from some, but those are the educated ones who have moved away from the village.  There is still so much ignorance amongst these people.

I am going down earlier each day to avoid people.  This morning at 5.15am before it was quite light.  The dogs are in the school playground, and this morning there was just one empty water container, which I filled.  The six puppies were there and 4 older dogs.  They are afraid of people and run and hide when anyone approaches.  I am starting to gain their trust.  I move very slowly, and put down the food and gradually they come out.

Even though it was early I was passed by two farmers on tractors setting off to work.  They both glared at me, but I held my head high and carried on feeding the dogs.  Mr A is not happy about my going down into the village so early.  He says people can't be trusted and he is concerned for my safety.  I have to admit that I do feel intimidated, and I will go down later tomorrow when there are more people about.  The dogs won't appear then of course, but I'll leave food and water, and they can come out when they feel safe.

Before the local elections Mr A was talking to the Belediye manager who had mentioned the possibility of a shelter being built on the other side of the hill behind our house, well away from the village.  It could of course have been pre-election talk, but when Mr A has time (which is rare) he is going to try to contact the Governor of Mugla Province to see whether this is a possibility.  It would certainly solve a lot of problems.

Closer to home, Chas and Dave were both neutered on Friday evening.  Mr A collected me and the pups at 8.30pm.  He dropped me off at a supermarket to get shopping and took the pups to Mehmet's clinic for their ops.  He also collected 4 more sacks of dog food, and picked me up at the supermarket. 

I put the boys on the balcony to recover, and their sister Melek was so anxious to see them that I let her on to the balcony too.  She was very gentle with them so I decided to leave the balcony gate open so that she could come and go throughout the night.  I slept on the sofa next to the balcony window.  Although I should say, attempted to sleep, because I constantly got up to check on them.

At around 2.30am I went out on the balcony to see how they were, to find Melek on the sofa, and the two boys down in the driveway playing.  A remarkable recovery.  They ate breakfast in the morning and are absolutely back to normal now.

The three pups have outgrown their Paraband collars so I will have to get more on Monday from Mehmet, and settle up the bill for the two operations and food.   I will also be collecting booster vaccinations for Freddie, which are now due.   Thanks to recent donations, I don't have the usual worry about how I can find the money to pay for all this.  I am so grateful to all those who have helped, and anyone who wishes to help me continue with my work will find the Paypal button at the top of this page.