Saturday, 30 November 2013

It's a dog's life...for some

We continue to have sunny days, which is lovely for this time of year, but as soon as night falls the temperatures plummet.   And within the next month or so and into the new year, we will also have rain.

It's a grim time for animals on the streets.  Many animals are fed during the summer months in tourist areas by people on holiday and by restaurants and my Monty was for the first few months of his life.  And for him and so many others, he was used as an attraction...cute puppy to bring in the tourists.  Once the season is over they are no longer of use so are dumped on the streets to fend for themselves.  Monty was one of the lucky ones, rescued by the group Animal Antics in Ovacik. He was fostered short term by one of their supporters, and would have ended up in a council shelter if it hadn't been for their intervention.  Then we collected him and he is now part of our family.
The blue object is a small spare dogbed which I put out for Poppy. She was sick in her usual bed after eating bones.  It's too small for her really, but Monty thought he would try it out for size...silly boy!

Monty and Poppy on balcony sofa, enjoying the winter sunshine

Rescue groups, mostly run by expats, in various areas of Turkey are getting themselves prepared for winter..  It's this time that the dogs and cats need our help if they are to survive.  They organise their volunteers and work out rotas for their feeding programme.  They are doing a wonderful job.

Mr A and I are working alone in this remote village to help as many animals as we can.  We have had some wonderful support from some lovely people through this blog and Facebook.  You can read more about their kindness IN THIS POST

We have had vet costs recently with Sammy's operation.  This is the second time the tumour has been removed.  It's a bone tumour, and it may grow back again.  If so, we will continue to have it removed when it prevents him from eating.

 Monty had a check up yesterday with our vet, Mehmet.  He is doing  well, very healthy apart from his skin disorder.  He had an antibiotic injection because his neck was a bit inflamed, just to make sure it doesn't become infected, and on his advice we are leaving his collar off as this may irritate him.  Mehmet supplies us with 15kg sacks of dried food at cost price, for which we are very grateful, but we get through an awful lot of it.  Our 6 rescue dogs eat twice a day and we take some with us wherever we go..Milas yesterday...and feed dogs who are looking lost and hungry...four were fed yesterday .

Just part of our supply of dog food and medication., in our kitchen. More will be stored in the secondhand cupboard we recently bought cheap, in our shed, along with towels and blankets kindly donated by people in Bodrum.

Until recently there were a fair number of stray dogs in our village and we fed them as much as we could.  Not as much as we would have liked to.  It's not easy with Mr A being out of work all winter and money is tight, but we, like many others dotted about Turkey, do the best we can.  During the past week or so most of these dogs have disappeared.  No-one would say what had happened to them, but yesterday Mr A was told that they were "removed from the village and dumped somewhere" knows (or at least they're not saying) where this is.  To attempt to find them would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Two or three dogs however are still doubt more will turn up... and Mr A takes food down every evening when he goes to the teahouse.  They are very timid and won't come close enough for Mr A to take photos, so he puts the food down at a distance and leaves them to eat.  This little guy however plucked up the courage to come a bit nearer.  Maybe he has yet to experience the cruelty of people who shoo away the dogs, kick them or throw stones at them.


When I first bowed down to advice  and installed a Paypal  button on my blog, I had an immediate response of a donation from our dear blogging friend Janice.  She made me realise that it wasn't wrong to ask for help.  I've had a few more donations since and I am so grateful for the kindness of people.

I don't want to turn this blog into one that is just about rescuing and feeding dogs, and I do try to post about other things.  But this is the most important thing in my life in this village, and the plight of these animals is constantly on my mind.

Janice commented on the post that I linked to above, as follows:

"People want to help Ayak, because they can see what a great job you are doing. I have such admiration for you. I think the donate button is a good idea, and from time to time you should do what you have done today...update people on what is happening, and remind people about the donate button. You are right of course that people often have their own "causes" that they are involved with, but many of them, who follow your blog, will know how hard things can be, and will want to help, even if only a little. I am sure every little bit helps. Good luck with it all. Jxxx"

So that's the aim of this post today.

Thankyou for reading xxx

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Health & Safety...forget it!

The electrics in this country leave an awful lot to be desired, particularly in old houses like those in our village.   Although even new apartments that we've rented over the years have had their share of electricity problems.

I remember the old house we rented in Goreme, Cappadocia, where I couldn't use more than one appliance at a time without blowing a fuse...or blowing something up.  I discovered this the hard way when I had my washing machine running and switched on the oven...and the oven literally exploded.. a huge bang and smoke coming out of it.  When I moved it away from the wall it was impossible to remove the plug  because it had melted and was firmly fixed to the socket.

And of course we have lots of power cuts.  Today the electricity went off around midday and I thought nothing of it.  So I carried on as usual doing everything I would normally do that doesn't need a power supply.  At around 4.30pm I popped out to see Mr A who was working at the back of the house and asked him if he had any idea when the power would be back on.  He phoned the Muhtar to check.   There hadn't been a power cut at all.  It was just our house that was without electricity.

Mr A phoned Aydem, the electricity supply company for this area, and reported it.  They said they would send someone out as soon as possible.

Patience is not one of Mr A's virtues, and in the meantime he phoned an "electrician" friend.  You might wonder why I have put electrician in inverted commas.  It's simply because it's difficult to find a fully qualified electrician in these parts.  There are men who call themselves electricians, but really they just dabble with electrics and have been lucky enough not to have given themselves a far.  

By the time Mr A was deep in conversation with this man it was getting dark.  Mr A asked me to shine the torch on the fusebox while he was on the phone.  He opened the box and with instructions from the other end of the phone, started prodding about with a screwdriver.   I wasn't happy about this, although I should be used to it by now, because it's not the first time he has fiddled about with electrical wiring  (he'll be calling himself an electrician before long).   I suggested he trip the switches before he did anything else just in case there was a live wire somewhere.  Not necessary he said...the "electrician" said it would be fine.   What's the number for the ambulance service, I asked, just in case I need it.

Fortunately he couldn't find the problem, so finished the phone call, closed the fusebox and set off to the teahouse to wait for the "real" electrician from Aydem.

By now it was pitch black, so I lit candles and got into bed to keep warm.  I could just about read a book by candlelight and it brought back memories of when I used to stay with my grandmother in her old cottage which had no electricity, just gas mantles downstairs, and candles upstairs.  My grandparents managed very well for years without electricity.  How times change...we're lost without it these days.

Finally the electrician arrived at about 6.30pm and discovered a loose wire outside the house, possibly damaged by the storm a week ago, and within 5 minutes it was fixed and power restored.

Monday, 25 November 2013


...ok it's not a particularly interesting topic, but you know how we British love to talk about the weather.  We moan when it's cold and we moan when it's hot.  We are never satisfied.   Generally speaking though, I love the climate in this country, but my preference is for Spring and Autumn when the temperatures are up in the high 20s and it's pleasantly comfortable.  I hate the high temperatures in mid Summer.  I've never coped well with extreme heat.

I actually don't mind Winter here too much.  Winter seems to have started quite late this year and it is still quite mild.  I really don't mind the rain either, except when it leaks into the house making it damp, but hopefully the work Mr A has been doing to deal with this will work this year...fingers crossed.  The biggest problem here is drainage, or more to the point, a lack of a proper drainage system.  This means that when it rains (and it REALLY rains here) we get flooding.

I quite like storms, at least I enjoy watching them.  The storms here are terrific but sometimes terrifying, particularly the one we experienced on Friday which resulted in smoke coming from the fuse box, the modem splitter box being burnt out, my new(ish) landline phone battery being destroyed, loss of internet and phone line.  

The internet connection was restored pretty quickly, and the phone line fixed this morning.  It wasn't until this point that I realised that the phone was damaged.   Mr A thinks he can fixed it but I have my doubts, so in the meantime the old crappy phone is plugged in which is stuck together with sellotape, crackles a lot, and it's difficult, almost impossible, to hear the person on the other end of the line.  Ah well, I don't make many calls, so it will do for now.

The village was flooded on Friday but by Saturday afternoon it was possible to get out.  Sunday brought another dry day, enabling Mr A to put some more silicone around the persistant leaks in the window frames.

Today another storm arrived, not so bad, but torrential rain which has caused the bottom of the village to flood again...and more rain is due tonight and tomorrow.  There is much flooding all over the country today.  Here are some pictures:



The bottom of our village just 10 minutes after the rain started
And the following photo has nothing whatsoever to do with the weather.   This is Monty.  He has a cosy bed of his own but has decided he prefers this one.   And not to be outdone, Poppy has joined him......she's not in the picture because as soon as she spotted the camera she jumped off the bed.  Just as well the four big dogs have no interest in coming inside the house, or there would be nowhere for us to sleep!

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Dogs just love them, but not all dogs can cope with them.  The four big dogs who have spent the first year at least on the streets get very excited when Mr A manages to find bones at one of the butchers in Milas.   They have of course managed to survive on all sorts of rubbish before I rescued them, and they still manage to find all kinds of rotting parts of dead animals when they go out for a run, and insist on bringing them home.   You can take the dogs out of the streets........

I've learned from experience that Poppy loves them but her little stomach rejects them and hours after chewing a bone, she will throw up, so I'm afraid she has to miss out.  

A sunny day yesterday, and the flooding having more or less dried out at the bottom of the village, enabled Mr A to get into Milas to collect another two 15kg sacks of dried food and pay the vet's bill for Sammy's operation.   He also managed to find an old cupboard in one of the secondhand shops, very cheap, which we need to store towels, blankets and the sacks of food out in the shed to keep them dry and secure.

He called in at the butcher's shop where we occasionally manage to get bones, and came away with a huge bag full of knuckle and marrow bones.  A real treat.  At one time these would be given away or thrown out, but we now have to pay for them.  I think it's a sign of the times that nothing these days is free.  It would seem that people are desperately hard up and now buy bones for making soup.  The butcher has enough customers for them, so if we want them in future, Mr A will need to phone him to reserve some for us.

After chopping up the bones into manageable chunks,we gave one each to the four big dogs.  Sammy immediately takes his into the dogs' room, Blondie and Freddie chew theirs down by the gate, and Megan goes up to the top of the driveway with hers.  She is so lazy.  She will chew for half an hour and then give up, by which time Freddie will have demolished his bone and start on hers.

Poppy stays in the house with a chewstick, sulking because it's not a bone.  I wasn't sure how Monty would manage with a bone but decided to give it a try, and he spent a couple of hours with his on the balcony.  It's now 3am and Monty has been throwing up.  He is now fine and back to sleep ...and I'm wide awake.  No point in going back to sleep because the 4 big dogs will have me up at 5am anyway!    So no more bones for Monty I'm afraid.  It's all trial and error.

Mr A continues to feed two, sometimes three, dogs down in the village every evening.  He has persuaded the teahouse owner to keep water topped up for them in an area away from people.  And he has made a few threats too.  The men are very cruel and will kick the dogs if they come near or throw stones at them.  Mr A can be quite intimidating when he is upset, and has told the men in no uncertain terms that he will be extremely angry if he sees this happening.  They think he is crazy and ask him why he doesn't keep cows or sheep instead of dogs...they just don't get it.

Mr A has tried to take some photos of the dogs feeding, but they are so timid that he has to put the food down at a distance then retreat.  If he tries to get near them when they are eating, they run away.  It will take a while for them to trust.  

There were far more dogs around, and we still cannot find out what has happened to them.  I fear the worst, but no-one will own up to disposing of them.  However we know from experience that it won't be long before more arrive, and we will continue to feed them, and protect them, whether people like it or not.

All this costs money, and I am so grateful for the few donations I received recently which has helped tremendously, but we need more to continue to feed not only our rescues, but to make sure that any strays in the village can survive the winter.  When we have gained their trust, we will gradually arrange for them to be neutered and spayed, to keep the population under control.

You all know how hard I find it to ask, but if you want to help, please go to the Paypal button on my sidebar.  Every little amount helps.  Thankyou xx

Friday, 22 November 2013

I may be gone for some time

This is an attempt at a post before I am disconnected.

Today we had one of the worst storms I can remember.  The thunder was so loud it seemed to shake the house and the lightening so vivid, it was like being in a war zone.  

We pulled out all the electric plugs then decided also to trip all the switches in the fuse box to be on the safe side.  One flash of lightening produced a loud bang inside the house which appeared to come from the fuse box, and we could smell burning.   Mr A checked inside the box but all seemed to be OK.

Once the storm had subsided he tripped the switches again and electricity was restored.  I plugged the wires back into the modem and switched on my laptop.  No internet connection.  We phoned TTNet but as there has been a lot of damage from the storm, all they could do was add my name to the list of problems being passed on to the engineers to deal with, and gave us no idea when this would be likely to happen.

In the meantime, I am using my dongle which I keep for such emergencies.  The problem with this is that I can just about manage to open my email box, get into Blogger, and occasionally get into Facebook.  The oddest thing with Facebook though is that I type out a status, and it just disappears on it's own without me pressing any keys.  But all this is very s l o w and it's very frustrating.

There is another problem with the dongle.  It's on a pay as you go tariff, and I have not topped it up for months so I'm pretty sure it will disconnect at any moment.  I can't log into my bank account to top it up.

About half an hour ago I checked the modem again and the wires leading to it, only to find that I had forgotten to remove the wire from the splitter box that runs into the house.  The splitter box had exploded and burnt out, clearly hit by lightening, and the plastic connector was stuck in the splitter box leaving an exposed wire.

I found a spare splitter box, and some spare plastic connectors, so it could easily be fixed.  But there's not much point because Mr A has just received a phone call from TTNet to tell us that the whole village is without internet connection and they have no idea when they will have engineers available to fix it.  

I could go into Milas tomorrow to top up my dongle....but it's highly unlikely because the village is flooded and impossible to get in and out at the moment.  More rain is due tonight, so here I am confined to the house with no connection to the outside world.

 And my dogs are completely unperturbed by all this.   The four big guys have been snuggled up in their cosy room, whilst Poppy and Monty have slept through it in their beds in the bedroom.

Well there's nothing else for me to do now but go to bed early and catch up on some of the many books I've been meaning to read.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible....I hope.

Update 6.00am.  Up early with the dogs so Mr A fixed the wires and connected to spare splitter box and...hey presto...we have internet connection.  TTNet must have resolved the problem overnight, unless we are just one of the lucky ones, being up on the hill, and those down at the bottom perhaps still don't have connection.   If that is the case it's kind of karma isn't it?  Remember when those at the bottom of the village used all the water so there was none left for us at the top?

The phone line is dead but that doesn't bother me too much and will no doubt get sorted in due course.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Sammy's operation

Sammy on his way to the vet
The dogs had me up at 4.15 this morning instead of the usual 5am.  At this rate I can see myself becoming totally nocturnal.

The positive side to this was that I could feed Sammy a little food as it was so early, and his operation wasn't due until 3.30pm.

You can read more about his problem in THIS POST

Mr A does the vet visits if there is anaesthetic to be administered.  He deals with it far better than I do.  I was fine when Freddie was neutered on our kitchen table with me assisting Mehmet, but somehow I find it upsetting in the vet clinic.

Mehmet is not convinced that this is a papilloma virus tumour because it doesn't have the usual appearance of one.  But he has seen similar growths in other patients.   He cut away the tumour from the gum and then cauterized it.   He has to have antibiotics for three days, but as he had developed fatty lumps at the injection sites on his body  last time, we have tablets to give him instead.  These lumps have disappeared by the way, which is good.

We have no idea if it will grow back again.  Mehmet says sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.  He is convinced it is nothing more sinister and that a biopsy at this stage isn't necessary.  In any case if we decided to go down this route it would mean taking Sammy to the vet hospital in Aydin, and the expense of the procedure is something we just cannot manage at the moment.  I also can't forget the traumatic events last year when Beki had cancer and was operated on several times.  She ended up at the Aydin hospital for more cutting about and she still agony, leaving us with a hefty bill.  I am  never going to put another dog through this as long as I live.

 I am trying to be optimistic and we are just taking one step at a time.  Whatever happens, we will do whatever we can for Sammy.  He has recovered well from the anaesthetic so if we have to do this every few months, then so be it.  As long as it enables him to eat properly and be comfortable, then that's all that matters.

Monty continues to settle in well and is in his element playing in the garden with the 4 "big guys".  He is very bossy and absolutely fearless.  Blondie is particularly enamoured with him and follows him everywhere.  Night times are brilliant.  Monty and Poppy settle down in their beds, side by side in our bedroom, and I don't hear a peep out of them all night.   If only the other four outside would sleep a little longer, life would be perfect!

We have another trip to the vet tomorrow to introduce Monty to Mehmet.  The treatment that was started in Ovacik and continued here for his skin disorder, is almost finished.  I don't think it has improved, but Mr A thinks it has.  In any case I'd like Mehmet to take a look to see if there is anything further we can do for him.

Mr A is feeding two stray dogs in the village every evening.  I know there were more strays about.  I'm now concerned that they have been "disposed of" but no-one is saying anything.  There will no doubt be more, there always are.  One of the dogs being fed is pregnant, so we will have to keep an eye on her.

Finally, I have put Mr A on a strict diet.  This is day 2 and it's going well.  Only time will tell if he can stick with it.

Edited to add that I have just received an email from Mehmet informing me that what Sammy has is a
 "epulis granulomatosa tumour".  He says that he has completely removed it and at this stage doesn't feel the need to do a biopsy.  This is an article about this condition, which seems to be quite common in dogs

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A little more scandal from the village

Following on from a previous post about murder and mayhem which you can read HERE I'm gradually accumulating more snippets about the activities here.

It seems to be all about the women.  The men of course are mostly too busy getting drunk, or languishing in the teahouses.  But occasionally something happens which gets them out of their chairs.

I've known for a while that there are prostitutes in the village because Mr A told me.  Occasionally when driving up the lanes to our house, he would point out one of the ladies of the night and I'd be quite surprised because I'd never have guessed.   I don't know what I expect them to look like.  They are hardly going to be tottering up these uneven lanes in mini-skirts and stilettos are they?  I should try to stop myself thinking of stereotypes.

Mr A is a bit of a prude really and although he hasn't exactly led a sheltered life, he is easily shocked and disgusted by things.  It makes me smile when he tells me something that he considers to be shocking and I don't bat an eyelid. 

When I first moved here and started getting the dolmus into town, the ladies of the village would chat to me on the bus, asking me the usual questions about where I came from, what was my name, how long I'd been married, how many children, etc.  One lady in particular who lives in the centre of the village was very nice.  She realised my Turkish wasn't very good and always spoke very slowly so that I could grasp what she was saying.   I'm afraid I don't remember her name, which is bad of me, because she  always remembers mine.  Every time I see her she says Merhaba Linda, and usually sits next to me on the bus.  I'll call her Melek for the purposes of this post (although the meaning of the name.... "angel" is probably slightly inappropriate.

Anyway, I like her. 

One evening, a couple of weeks ago, Mr A was at the teahouse as usual chatting with his friends and playing Okey and cards.  Melek went into the shop next to the teahouse and one of the men called out something to her.  Mr A wouldn't tell me what he said, but he was at that point informed by one of his friends that Melek was one of the village prostitutes.   She retaliated by asking the man where his wife was, and what she was up to, insinuating that she was following a similar occupation to hers.

The man rose from his chair and threw a glass at her, which fortunately missed.  There was much shouting and waving of arms and Melek stormed off saying that she would fetch her "boyfriend" to sort him out.  The man also left the teahouse.  Melek returned with three men.  The man returned with about a dozen men.   A fight broke out.  Even men in the teahouse who had nothing to do with the incident got caught up in the fighting, including Mr A.   Bloody Turkish they love a good fight.  I guess it relieves the boredom.

The jandarma were called and they were all carted off to Milas (including Mr A).  The incident was explained and all but those directly involved in the incident were released.

I don't know if anyone was charged, but Mr A has informed me that I should have nothing to do with Melek and should ignore her if she speaks to me, as she is a troublemaker.  I suggested that perhaps the man who called something out to her was the troublemaker.  I also told him that no-one tells me who I should or should not talk to.  I make those decisions for myself.  I don't just stop talking to someone who has caused me no harm, and has been nothing but kind to me since I came to live here.  Her occupation is none of my business and it doesn't make her a bad person....far from it.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Vets, Doctors and a delivery

 I have dithered about Sammy and the tumour in his mouth for some time now.   Mehmet the vet removed it, but it grew back again.  He said it  would now have to be surgically removed.   I decided that unless it was causing him discomfort, or preventing him from eating, that it would be best to leave well alone.  It is a round smooth growth which starts on the gum over his front tooth and almost covers the tooth. 

It seemed to have stopped growing so I wasn't too concerned.   However at the beginning of last week he was starting to eat more slowly and it was bothering him, so an appointment was made for last Friday for him to go to the surgery to have it removed under anaesthetic.   On Thursday he was back to eating normally again.  I checked the lump and it hadn't grown anymore, so I cancelled the operation.   Mehmet had hoped to call in last week and check it, but as usual he was very busy.

I checked again this morning, and it has grown bigger, and he now has a problem with eating again.
He is now booked in for Wednesday.  It will be removed, and we have no idea if it will grow back again.  I hope this is the end of it.  Poor Sammy.

Mr A is a large man.  He is overweight.  He likes his food.  He smokes far too many cigarettes and apart from the recent work our in the garden, he takes very little exercise.  I have been nagging advising him for years, to stop eating bread and sugar, to cut down on the smoking and to walk every day.  He doesn't listen.  For the past couple of weeks he has complained that his fingers feel numb when he wakes up in the morning.  I keep telling him to see a doctor.  He takes no notice.  However, this morning he agreed with me and set off for the hospital.

He had full blood tests, and a thorough examination and then had to return this afternoon for the results.   The numbness is nothing to worry about, it seems that it's more to do with the recent strenuous activity in the garden and he has medication to help with this.  He also said that he was told he had "too much blood" in his body and had to have some removed.  This all sounded a little odd to me.  He said it was a condition which began with "P", a long word, but couldn't remember what it was.  So we searched on the internet, and he recognised it as being the following:

"There are some cases where you can have too many blood cells (polycythaemia) in the body and your doctor might recommend removing a unit of blood to treat the condition. This is not really due to having too much blood but rather, too much of a component of blood ie red cells or iron which is easiest to remove by removing red cells
Polycythaemia can cause strokes as the blood becomes very thick"

He was then sent to see a dietician who told him ...yes you've guessed lose weight.  To cut out bread and sugar, cut down on the smoking and to walk every day.  Why does it take a doctor to convince him of something I've been telling him for years?  Well, the doctor was a man of course...and they know best!

Finally, Annie arrived in the village today with blankets, quilts and towels etc for the dogs, along with a donation from a lady called Liz to buy some dogfood.  Anna had driven from Bodrum to Guvercinlik with the items, handed them over to Annie, who brought them here.  Liz had also sent a zip wire contraption which can be fixed to posts in the garden and then to a dog's collar.  This is used primarily for exercising dogs, allowing them to move about whilst keeping them confined to a specific area.  I am going to try using it on the dogs who refuse to walk on a lead.  I think it might help them to get used to being on a lead if they can move about freely.  It's certainly worth a try.

Thankyou to those kind people in Bodrum who have put themselves out to help me and the dogs.  I am so grateful.

Mr A has been feeding some strays in the village for the past few days.   There are only two or three turning up at the moment, but I have no doubt that the numbers will increase as soon as word gets around.

Mr A has heard that at some point next year a new Belediye (council) vet will be appointed in Milas, and we are hoping to approach him to try to get the village strays spayed and neutered.  At the moment the village doesn't come within Milas Belediye control, but this apparently is set to change.   Watch this space. 

In the meantime I am going  to provide them with worm and flea treatments to make them a little more comfortable, and if funds permit, we will try to get some of them neutered by our vet Mehmet.  If you would like to help us feed and care for these dogs and my 6 rescues, please donate by using the Paypal button at the top of my sidebar.   Thankyou xxx

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Saturday's random photos

Mr A is battling away with the demolition and rebuilding of walls around the house and the dogs are keeping me busy!

Wall rebuilt at the side of the house next to driveway

Driveway for the truck, which has now been cemented but no photo as its now covered with a pile of sand


The back of house..normally the dogs' area but wall now being demolished and rebuilt

The dogs will be pleased when it's finished..and so will I!

This is what my dogs eat twice a day

Monty and Poppy...time for bed

Jimi and Billy...future rock stars? 

Friday, 15 November 2013

My faith in human nature.... something that never really leaves me.  OK there are times when things happen that make you dislike, or even hate, human beings, particularly cruelty to children and animals.  This really gets to me, but I have to tell myself that these are very disturbed individuals, and that most people have a good side to them.

I have recently been overwhelmed by how people want to help.  Even people I don't know.  Joanna, who volunteered to drive halfway with Monty for us to collect from Gokova, with a couple of big bags of towels and sheets, given by supporters of the Ovacik rescue group.   Meeting Sonia who runs the Gokova rescue group, who kindly donated worm tablets and a 15kg sack of food, some dog collars and leads, and a few treats.

I am in desperate need of blankets for the dogs, and I posted on a Bodrum "for sale or swop" Facebook page to see if anyone in the Bodrum area had anything they would be happy to give.  I asked that if anyone was coming to the airport or to Milas, that we could collect, or that at some point we would make a trip over to Bodrum to collect.

Immediately, it was picked up by someone called Anna who lives in Bodrum, who not only had items to donate, but also posted it on her own page.  People responded, and Anna has kindly been collecting and receiving items and storing them.  Someone has also offered to pay for a sack of food for the dogs.

In the meantime, our lovely Annie from BacktoBodrum blog, noticed Anna's post, and offered to bring stuff over from Bodrum to my house. It's possible that there may be too much stuff to fit in to Annie's car, so we thought we would do a trip over in the truck.   However, we have problems with it at the moment.  Even though the gas cylinder was fixed on our way to collect Monty, it is still jamming on and off.   The starter motor is doing the same.  I blame these awful roads, so bumpy that old vehicles like ours don't stand a chance.  

We're not in a position to pay out to fix it at the moment, so Anna is going to transport as much as she can in her car on Monday, meet Annie in Guvercinlik which is about half way to our village, and Annie will bring it over to us. 

I have also received a couple of donations since I put the Paypal button on my blog, and I am just so grateful.  We have bought some more sacks of food, and have started feeding some of the strays in the village.  I'm hoping that we can continue to do this, and in this respect have completely swallowed the pride I had before about not wanting to ask for anything.   It would seem that if the above is anything to go by, people really do like to help.

If you want to donate a little something, the dogs and I will be very grateful.  Don't feel obliged however.  I know that some of my followers already support good causes closer to their own homes, and others simply can't afford it.   And that's fine.

A big thankyou to everyone who has helped me so far.   You are amazing xxx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Off to England for New Year

Monty is settling in well.  He is happy to play outside with all the dogs and when he's tired, he and Poppy sleep on the balcony sofa.
Chilling out on the balcony, admiring the scenery

 Feeding time is fun a bit of a nightmare.   The four big dogs get me up around 5am.  They go out up the hill for a run, and then return for breakfast, sometimes one or two at a time, and sometimes all together.  I have to separate them...two in the garden, and two on the balcony to avoid squabbles.   It was easy to give Poppy her food in the house at the same time.  She doesn't always eat it straightaway, often picking at it later.

Monty loves his food, and gobbles it up very quickly.   I can't feed him in the same room as Poppy because he will eat hers as soon as he's finished his.  So he eats in the kitchen and Poppy in the bedroom.  Believe it or not, I have now resorted to putting Poppy's dish on the bed because Monty can't jump up with his little short legs, but Poppy can.  This is the solution now until I think of another one!

Back in the summer I told you about my daughter's cancer scare.  After her 3-year routine smear test, high grade cells were discovered.  She had the colposcopy procedure carried out in hospital, and at the same time the cells were removed.   She now has to have 6-monthly checks for the foreseeable future, and if more cells appear she will receive treatment.

I really wanted to be there with her at the time, but I simply couldn't afford it.  She works as a registered childminder and if she takes time off she doesn't get paid.  She took just one day off, then continued to work. She was feeling very ill and I honestly don't know how she managed to get through it.

She hasn't had a good year.  She is now separated from her husband, and life is a struggle at times.  I try to get to England twice a year...always in April for the birthdays of my two grandsons, and then either October time, or Christmas.  My last trip was in October.

I've collected Turkish Airlines airmiles for years.  If you accumulate enough, you can get free flights or upgrades.  To date I've never actually achieved either of these.   There are never available flights in the scheme on the dates I want to travel.  So every time I fly I ask for an upgrade, and there are never any available seats.   And then, after a certain amount of time, a number of airmiles expire, so I was beginning to feel that the scheme is pretty useless.

My daughter's next check-up is on 6th January.  Naturally we are hoping that she gets the all-clear, but should she require treatment, I really need to be there.  She needs to take a week off work, and I want to make sure she does and that I am there to help with my grandsons.

At this point in time I have just enough airmiles for a free return flight.  I checked online for available dates, hoping to travel around 4th January and stay for about 10 days.  As usual...nothing.  When I checked the normal prices for flights, they were ridiculously high and way out of my reach.

Then at last I found a flight for 30th December, returning on 11th January.  I couldn't believe my luck.  I didn't intend to go before New Year, but without hesitation I snapped it up.  I have to pay the taxes of course, so the ticket isn't really free but it has saved me an awful lot of money.

My daughter is delighted.  I will be able to go to her hospital appointment with her, and look after her should she need treatment.  If she doesn't we will enjoy the time together.   I am just so happy!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

And then there were 6

Mr A always like to set off early when we are going anywhere.  He worries about breaking down or getting lost.  Our truck is a little unreliable so I can understand his concern.

So we left home yesterday at 8.30am to make the journey to Gokova to collect Monty, even though were weren't due to meet up with Joanna and Sonia until 11.30 am.  Just as well, because having passed through Milas, we stopped to fill up with LP Gas, and the entry point to the gas cylinder was jammed, so wouldn't take the gas.  I blame our dreadful village roads for this.  They are in a disgraceful state so I'm surprised the truck hasn't completely fallen apart with all the bumps and potholes.

We drove back into Milas to a workshop and 20 minutes later it was fixed.

It was a good journey.  The weather was glorious and it is so rare for Mr A and I to go anywhere together other than shopping, so it was a real day out for us.   We took Poppy with us because I thought it would be good for her to meet Monty out of the home environment...give them a chance to get to know each other before we brought Monty home.

We made a couple of water and toilet stops for Poppy and arrived at the meeting point at about 10.30am.  To pass the time we strolled along this pathway surrounded by beautiful trees.  A bit later once we had all met and sat having coffee opposite this pathway, a fire broke out which quickly became out of control and destroyed some of these protected trees...such a shame, but typically there were a few people watching and doing nothing.  Eventually the police arrived, then a fire truck and the fire was put out.

Joanna arrived, with her friend Kirsty and Monty emerged from the car.   He and Poppy hit it off immediately!   Sonia arrived shortly after, and when we had finished coffee, we followed her into Gokova to have lunch at her favourite lokanta. 

5 minutes after meeting

getting to know his new dad

getting to know each other

getting closer



At around 1pm we left for the journey home, the back of the truck laden with towels, bedding, a sack of food, and other essentials and goodies, courtesy of the Ovacik rescue group and Sonia, who runs the Gokova Animal Group.  I am so grateful to all of these lovely people who care as much about the welfare of the street animals as I do.

We stopped on the way back at a supermarket for me to pick up a little shopping, and when I came out, Mr A had found an area of grass, had Poppy and Monty on their leads, he lying flat on his back with both the dogs jumping all over him.  I wish I had a photo of this one!

Considering our truck is a two-seater, I was a little concerned about how I would manage the two dogs.  I had visions of them leaping all over the place.  I needn't have worried.  They were as good as gold.  Monty asleep on a blanket at my feet, and Poppy asleep on my lap.

Lots of barking from Sammy, Megan, Blondie and Freddie when we arrived home with the new addition to the family, but within half an hour, and after a lot of bum sniffing, he was well and truly accepted.

Sniffing of bums and private parts is the best way to make friends!
And here they are...altogether...just half an hour after we arrived home.  I couldn't have wished for more!
Monty is absolutely delightful.  He is most definitely going to be Poppy's best friend.  He had one wee on the sitting room carpet, which is to be expected, but other than that he settled down well last night in his bed next to Poppy's and slept all night.  

That is, until Freddie had us up as usual at 5am.  And so another day begins!

Monday, 11 November 2013

This week

Mr A continues to work his way through the very long list of jobs to do outside the house.  He has more or less finished the area at the side of the house, cemented and ready to be used to park the truck.  There is still a bit of the wall to rebuild but it's looking good.  He usually takes photos but he was flat out today and didn't get time. 

We are lucky that, apart from two days of rain last week, the weather is still quite good, so he is trying to do as much as possible while it lasts.  He is about to start on the back of the house next.

However, tomorrow he has a day off because we are going to collect Monty.  I have heard from his foster home that he is doing well after his neutering op and vaccinations.  As he is an albino, he has had a few problems with his pale skin.  He is part way through a course of antibiotics and antihistamines and this will continue when he comes to us. Apart from that I was told today that he's full of beans.  Can't wait to meet the dear little chap.

A kind lady has volunteered to drive from Ovacik to Akyaka with Monty, and we will drive to meet her there.  She is bringing some blankets and towels donated by Animal Antics at Ovacik, which will be useful not only for my dogs, but hopefully for the village strays when we have established where they are sleeping at night.  This would probably be in some of the deserted dilapidated houses dotted about the village.

Another lady who runs the nearby Gokova Animal Rescue charity, is also meeting us at Akyaka and bringing some more essentials and goodies for the dogs.  There really are some wonderful people involved in animal rescue in this country. 

We are taking Poppy with us so naturally there will be photos of her meeting Monty.

We have to be back home by mid-afternoon as Mehmet the vet is going to try to call in to check on Sammy.   A couple of months ago he had what Mehmet thought was a papilloma virus tumour in his mouth.  It was growing from the gum over his front teeth.  Mehmet removed it by tying it with suture thread, close to the gum, and within a few days it dropped off, leaving the skin clear, as if it had never been there. Unfortunately it has grown back again. Mehmet is pretty sure now that it isn't papilloma virus.  In fact having looked at photos on the internet, I'm sure it isn't.  They usually appear cauliflower-shaped, and Sammy's lump is smooth. 

He has a multi-vitamin tablet every day, and last week we also started to give him extra Vitamin C.   We are trying to make him as healthy as possible and help to build his immune system.   He also had a course of antibiotic injections last week in case of/or to prevent any infection. 

Until yesterday it didn't seem to affect him eating, but now he is finding it a little difficult.  Today I also discovered two fatty lumps on his body, but these are the sites where the injections were administered so Mehmet thinks it's a reaction to those.   He will pop into check on him tomorrow, but we have an appointment booked for Friday for Mehmet to surgically remove the lump in Sammy's mouth.  By then hopefully the lumps on his body will have disappeared, otherwise these will need to be checked further.   I'm just hoping that it's nothing more serious.

Megan has arthritis in her legs.   Most of the time she is fine, but occasionally she limps and we put her on a course of anti-inflammatories for 7 days and that helps.   Touch wood, Blondie and Freddie are in perfect health.   Poppy has had a few problems over the years, but they have all been treatable and she is fine. 

When you take in dogs who have spent at least the first year of their lives on the streets, it's inevitable that some of them will come with health problems.  You only have to look at the rescue charity Facebook pages to see the sorry state of many of the dogs and cats that are being rescued, receiving veterinary treatment, and lots of TLC, to make them healthy, and finally...hopefully...rehome them.

I despair at this country at times, at the way this government simply ignores the problem,  leaving it to the minority of animal lovers to voluntarily take responsibility.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A peaceful village? Don't you believe it!

Now into our fifth year in this village, I'm learning more about it's people and their families and history every day.  It isn't like your typical English country village...all thatched cottages and roses around the door.

It isn't so long ago that polygamy was still practised in this village.  Sevke, who is in her late 60s once told me that her father had two wives, and so did many other men in the village.  That seems to have died out...although I don't know for certain. 

I've talked a fair bit about experiences with various people here.  I've touched on my dislike of village weddings because alcohol and guns don't mix well.   And that's one of the first problems really.  Alcohol.  This village is well known for being full of heavy drinkers.  It's against their religion of course, but then the mosque is usually almost empty, except when someone dies.  And I'm afraid a lot of the men die from alcohol related illnesses.  As I've said several times before, there are a fair number of elderly widows who have lost their husbands to the results of alcohol abuse.

Not only death from alcohol though.  I have also learned from Mr A in recent days that there have been murders here in the past.  Maybe there still are, but Mr A doesn't tell me much about these things unless I push him, and in a way I don't really want to know.

It would seem that a female neighbour (I won't mention her name, I'll leave it up to you to guess as it is someone I talk about from time to time) has committed two murders.  She allegedly killed her first husband over a dispute about some land she owned.  She was convicted and served 12 years in prison.  A few years later, after her release, she allegedly killed her cousin's husband...again in a dispute over land.  (Notice I keep saying "allegedly".   I found it a little hard to take in, but Mr assures me he has this story on good authority).   Again, she served time in prison.  On her release she married again.  A few years later her husband died...apparently from natural causes...but who knows?

A couple of years ago this woman sold a run-down house on a piece of land, quite near us, to another cousin's daughter.  They were originally from the village but moved away, so wanted to buy something in the village to use for holidays and to catch up with family and friends.  They have done some renovation, and also built a gazebo type thing at the bottom of their garden.  

Another thing I discovered is that the majority of houses in this village do not have a tapu (deeds) but the "owners" still sell them on for a very low price, and this is what happened when the woman sold the house to her cousin's daughter.  (Our house does have a tapu by the way.  Father-in-law has his head screwed on right and wouldn't have bought it if everything wasn't legally in order). 

The last time the cousin's daughter and husband were here, there was a big row going on between them and the woman, who has now decided she wants the house back.  She is also complaining that they have built their gazebo on land which is still hers and not part of their garden.  The house is close enough to our house for us to hear that the row became very heated and there was a lot of shouting and cursing on both sides.

I think the cousin and her husband are tempting fate.  If I were them I'd give the house back and run for the hills, or they might end up dead in their bed!

(And just to be on the safe side, I will in future bite my tongue if I am ever tempted to argue with the woman.  Although Mr A tells me I have nothing to fear as she likes me, and she is quite old and frail these days so he says I am quite safe!)

Friday, 8 November 2013


Well as you can probably imagine, this post will mostly be about my dogs, so if you're getting fed up with my obsession with this, please feel free to read no further.

I will just mention though that Mr A continues to work very hard outside, knocking down walls and rebuilding them, and doing everything possible to stop the rain coming in.

And talking of rain, we have had two days of it, making it impossible to do anything further.  But this morning I have woken up to brilliant sunshine, so onwards and upwards.  Although I did wake up in the middle of the night with vomiting and diarrhoea...probably something I ate.  This is surely one of the times when you recognise true love.   Mr A was wonderful and his kindness, not to mention cleaning up the mess, actually made me cry.

So the dogs.   I did mention that the growth in Sammy's mouth had returned.  It doesn't appear to have grown anymore and as he is eating fine, and his usual lively self, Mehmet the vet and I have decided to leave well alone for the time being.  I don't want him to keep having to be cut about unless it's absolutely necessary.

The other dogs are all fine.  They spent most of the time in their cosy room while it was raining, but when they popped out from time to time, they did of course take quite a lot of mud back in with them.  Mr A decided to retrieve the old sofa that had been demolished by Freddie and attempt a repair.  He restuffed it and covered with a thick rug and spent hours sewing it to the sofa.  We then moved it back into the dog room.   Within 10 minutes Freddie had destroyed all the good work.

Mr A measured up and went off to get a piece of formica covered wood which fits perfectly on the seating area of the sofa.  It's now made softer with a folded blanket.   OK, Freddie may well chew the blanket, but it's easier to deal with that than piles of sofa stuffing.

I heard from the charity at Ovacik that my new addition to the family, Monty, had his neutering operation yesterday and is recovering well.  The vet will check him again today and give him his vaccinations.  The lady who runs the charity will also worm him.  He should be ready to travel in a couple of days.  We may have transport for part of the journey, otherwise we will go over to collect in the truck.  We can't wait to meet him and am sure Poppy will be delighted with her new companion.

I don't know how I've ended up with 6 rescue dogs, but I am so happy that I have.  When the first couple turned up at the gate earlier this year, I recall one of my followers Kelloggs Ville saying that I ought to seek donations.  I dismissed the idea immediately because I don't like to beg for money and I feel this is my responsibility.

A very dear friend of mine died last year from cancer.  She was the first friend I made when I came to live in Turkey.  During her time here she rescued many dogs and cats, and when she moved back to England she took two of the dogs with her (in those days having to pay for 6 months quarantine for them both), after re-homing all the others.

She left me £2,000 in her will.  I wanted to do something to recognise the good work she had done, so I donated some to a few charities.  I did use some for my trip to England last Christmas, to be able to buy presents for my family that I normally wouldn't be able to afford, but the rest was set aside to be put to good use.   It has since helped me to pay for the four dogs that I took in this year.  Their operations, vaccinations, parasite treatment, vets bills, food etc.  But it doesn't last forever.

I have tried other means of raising a little extra cash with sponsorship or guest posts on my blog, but this doesn't really seem to be working.   Rest assured we do manage to feed and care for our dogs. They always come first with Mr A and I...that will never change.

Winter is coming.  We need more blankets for our dogs.  We are lucky that our vet charges us the bare minimum for treatment, and supplies the sacks of dog food at a very low price.   I also want to do more for the other stray dogs in the village.  Winter is so difficult for them and I would love to be able to at least provide them with some food.

Since Kellogg Ville first mentioned asking for donations, it has also been suggested by others  as well. 

I really don't want to make a big thing of this, and I don't want it to come across as a begging letter.  We will always continue to give our dogs the best life possible.  But if anyone does feel that they would like to contribute a little something, then I am now no longer too proud to refuse.  It can be done by Paypal to   Go to the Paypal link at the top of my sidebar.

BUT, and this is a big but...please do not feel obliged!!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I am a member of several animal rescue charity pages on Facebook, and I am sure my friends get sick of me sharing all the stories of dogs that need loving homes.

There are groups consisting of mainly expats, but also many very kind Turks, who do so much to help the dreadful plight of the street dogs in this country.   Sometimes the stories are sad, but sometimes there are happy endings when a dog is found it's forever home. (There is a list of Facebook pages for some of these rescue charities on my sidebar, together with pet transport and vets)

I have criticised Facebook often, but this sharing of information can be so helpful in providing a wonderful future for these desperate animals.

I've been following the story of a little white dog called Monty in Ovacik (Aydin Province) for about a month.   Monty is now 7 months old.  Like so many others, he was taken off the streets as a pup and used as entertainment by a restaurant, to attract customers.   And also like so many others, once the season ends he is of no use so is dumped back out on the streets.  Thankfully he was found by one of the members of a rescue charity in Ovacik.  She took him home and has cared for him, whilst trying to rehome him, because she already had plans to return to the UK.

The time is imminent so it is now very urgent that he finds a home.  The alternative will be that he will end up in the  council shelter.  These are really not nice places, although there is a team of dedicated volunteers who do what they can to give extra love, food and care, and try to find homes for the dogs there.

Monty is now house-trained and apparently a very friendly little chap.  He's not very big and I don't think he would do at all well in the shelter.

This morning, after a lengthy discussion with Mr A, I made a phone call to one of the charity organisers, and we are going to adopt Monty.   The charity have arranged for him to be neutered by their vet tomorrow and to receive his vaccinations, then we will have him early next week.  It is possible that a pet courier may bring him as far as Mugla for us to collect, but if not we will drive the 83km to Ovacik to collect him.

Why another dog when we already have five?   It's easy to answer that (apart from the fact that this little guy urgently needs a home).   Megan and Sammy are best friends.  Blondie and Freddie are best friends.  All four live in their outside house (now furnished with carpet, sofa and sofabed).  They get on well with Poppy of course, but she lives in the house and the others are a bit big for her to play with.  She also needs a friend and we think Monty will be perfect.   We can't wait to meet him!  Here he is:

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Knowing when to say no.

I find myself getting rather angry today.  I'm angry because Mr A cannot say no when he really needs to and as a result people take advantage of him.  Well, one person in particular...Dursune.

He has always helped her whenever he is here.  Repairing leaky pipes, replacing tiles on her roof.  He even made a new chicken coop for her before he started work this summer.  But there are some times when he has to learn to say no.

During the past couple of weeks, he has been so busy trying to deal with all the problems around the outside of the house.  The leaky roof, the damp seeping through the walls, which has necessitated the knocking down and rebuilding of walls, digging and levelling the side of the house ready for him to lay cement.  It is simply hard labour.  The rocks that have to be dug up are so heavy and he is struggling.   There is still so much to do before the rain comes, and the forecast is for rain on Tuesday for three days.  He really is racing against the clock.

Dursune constantly calls out to him to do something for her, distracting him from the job in hand.  I have watched this for nearly two weeks and I am getting annoyed, because she just expects him to drop everything to do little jobs that are not in any way urgent.  And of course she never thanks him...just takes it for granted.

For the last three days she has been out in the road adding stones to her wall, which is directly opposite where Mr A is working.  She then decides to place some kind of wooden frame on the wall and into her yard, which she says is going to be another chicken coop.   She keeps calling out to him..."can you help put these pieces of wood straight?"   "Can you hammer some nails into it?" and on and on.   And of course he obliges.

I don't want to change his kind nature, but I also hate to see him being taken advantage of.  Dursune has family living in Milas...two strapping sons and a grandson.  They visit fairly regularly so I don't know why she doesn't ask them to do these jobs for her.

We've reached a point where we might have to scrape together enough money to pay someone to help Mr A with the heavy work, so that we can get it done in time.  Perhaps this wouldn't have been necessary if  Dursune didn't make so many demands...and Mr A could just learn to say no.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Getting ready for winter

Every winter since we moved here four and a half years ago we face problems in the house and garden, due to heavy rain.

You may recall the wall around the entire front garden that collapsed a couple of years ago when the flooding was particularly bad.   It was a dry stone wall but it had never been cemented together, so Mr A demolished the entire wall and rebuilt it properly.

He is currently working on the side of the house.  Rebuilding the dry stone wall and making a cemented area where he can park the truck.  The roads are so bad that if he doesn't do this before the rain starts, the truck will most likely get stuck in the mud.  As you can see there is still much to be done here.
The wall is lovely

...and this is where the truck will be parked...eventually!

The wall will also have to be built up again behind the house where there is a steep hill.  When it rains water pours down through the existing wall as far as the back of the house, causing it to seep through the walls and make the bedrooms damp.  A drainage channel will also need to be dug out here.

We have a flat roof and there are leaks through the ceiling in the sitting room and kitchen.  When we were in Milas on Tuesday we bought some liquid to protect the roof from the rain.  It is sold in 20kg containers costing 120 lira.  We really needed two to cover the entire roof, but we have budgeted for all the essential work and simply can't afford it at the moment.  So Mr A has covered the leaky area with one container, which we hope will do the trick.  If we can afford it, we will get another one later.

We also bought enough whitewash, which is very cheap, to paint the entire outside of the house, and the kitchen.  The kitchen ceiling in particular is bad as this is where most of the rain leaks through.

There is a huge amount of work to be done and Mr A is now racing against the clock to get it finished before the rain starts.   Thankfully the weather is still very good and fingers crossed it continues for a few weeks more.