Friday, 28 February 2014

So there was a girl after all!

Further to my post on the pups this morning, we now have another pup to add to the collection.

The man at the industrial estate who took a pup home yesterday, realised this morning that it was in fact a girl.  Shouldn't make any difference should it?  Well it wouldn't to most of us, but Turks don't want the girls.  Too much trouble.

So Mr A was right after all, there was one girl in the litter, and like him, the man clearly couldn't tell the difference when he took her home yesterday.

What happened next has really angered us.  The man brought the pup to our village this evening and just dumped her at the teahouse.  Someone phoned Mr A and he went down there immediately.  An hour ago he brought her home.   We have called her Melek (which means Angel in Turkish). 

We have fed her and reunited her with her two brothers.  There has been quite a lot of squealing, but it's now quiet.

I could swear profusely at this point, but what's the use?  I am not surprised at the behaviour of this man.  I've grown accustomed to the attitude towards animals here.  I think it's fate.  We thought he was a nice man, but he obviously is not and I'm glad he made a mistake and took the wrong dog, because he clearly shouldn't own a dog.  So we are keeping her.

We have called the two boys Chas and Dave.  The names suit them.  This morning we gave them a warm gentle wash with a mild shampoo and flea combed them.   Then later they went to see our vet Mehmet for a once-over.  He says they are very strong and healthy and seem older than 4 weeks, and he felt it was not too soon to give them their first vaccination.  They weren't the least bit fazed by the injections, and have had no adverse reaction to them.   The second vaccination will follow in a week's time.  They are greedy little boys and have eaten quite a lot today.  Their poo is normal, no sign of worms, and they are very lively for their age.   We will take Melek for a check-up tomorrow.

So now we have 9 dogs.  Are we mad?  Probably!

Do you want to see some more photos?  Here you go then............


Chas & Dave having a cuddle with Mr A after their wash


Chas with Monty in the background


Dave with Monty (he just has to be in on the action!)

Dear little Melek. Just one quick photo. More later once she's settled.

Welcome to your new home...'ve guessed it.  We have two new additions to our dog family.

We homed two of the pups two days ago in the village, because the mum had stopped feeding all of them  and lost interest.  They were starting to wander yesterday morning, so we felt we urgently needed to get them to safety,  One of the workers on the industrial estate had been gently trying encourage mum to feed them.  What a lovely man.  He said he would like to take one of the pups home with him, which he did yesterday. 

Three more people in the village had expressed an interest.  Mr A didn't think one of them was suitable but the other two seemed OK.  So we spent  most of the day to-ing and fro-ing and getting these pups settled in their new homes, as well as stocking up with puppy food.

Then we were left with two.  I thought these were a boy and girl.  Mr A had checked the sex of all of them last week, but it seems he can't tell the difference, and they were in fact all boys.  Here are some photos, there will be more to follow.

The kennel converted from chicken coop

Settling in

Monty checking them out

So cute!

Monty is fascinated

They are currently in what was the chicken coop that Mr A made, which has been converted to a kennel, and they have cosy blankets to keep them warm.  It's a bit like having babies again.  I have
 been awake all night as they have been crying on and off. And naturally Mr A has slept through it!

Mum is absolutely fine and wasn't at all bothered about the pups being taken away.  We need to get her spayed now, and Mr A attempted to talk to the Belediye vet.  He is not being helpful.  Mr A then spoke to the Belediye manager again who phoned the vet to put pressure on him to help us.  Mr A then phoned the vet's number constantly and he either didn't answer, or switched the call off.

We have therefore arranged for the mum to be spayed by our vet, Mehmet, next Wednesday.  She will receive her vaccinations at the same time, and a skin problem which she has will be treated.  We had pretty much decided that Mehmet was the best person to do this, but still feel that the Belediye vet should be taking responsibility for some of these dogs.  I am waiting on a promised donation for the mum, but we cannot afford to get all the females spayed with our vet.

As I type this, the pups are squealing at the tops of their voices.  I take this as a good sign.  I'd be more concerned if they were quiet.  I think I am in for a few more sleepless nights!

Oh, and as for names for the pups.  I invited suggestions on Facebook yesterday and was inundated with ideas and am now quite overwhelmed.  The favourites at the moment are Chas and Dave,followed closely by Ant and Dec,  Ben and Jerry, Bubble and Squeak, and Bill and Ben.  I'm sure we'll pick the right ones today.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Puppy update

The 2 puppies adopted in the village are doing fine. I've checked on them this morning and the family are looking after them well. 

 The mother has stopped feeding the remaining pups and they are starting to wander so we have spent since early this morning dashing around checking on suitable homes in the village where people have shown an interest. 

 Two boys will hopefully go to two separate homes today, and 1 boy is to be homed by a man on the industrial estate. This leaves 1 boy and 1 girl. If necessary we will bring these two home with us to look after until homes can be found. 

 The mum needs spaying and vaccinating as soon as possible and Mehmet the vet is awaiting our call.  She also has a skin problem which he will deal with at the same time.  I've heard no further word from the lady who  kindly offered to pay for mum to be spayed, but I don't think she has been on Facebook for a few days, so hopefully she will be in touch soon. 

We also need to raise money for flea treatments and for the first parvo virus/distemper vaccinations for all 7 pups within the next 2 weeks. We are going to continue worming them. We still have some worm tablets left which will cover the next dose and then we will re-stock.   Any donations at this time, no matter how small, will be very welcome.

It's been a very busy few hours but if we manage to home all but two pups today, then I'll be happy.  I have a feeling we might well keep the two remaining pups.   I know...I said no more...but you know what I'm like!   

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Two down...five to go

I am sharing here what I have just posted on Facebook, because there may be someone in this area who doesn't use Facebook, so I'm trying everything I can to get homes for these pups.

"Two puppies adopted by someone in our village yesterday where we can keep a close eye on them (lucky boys). 5 more need homes...4 boys and 1 girl. If anyone in Bodrum/Milas area (or further afield if you have transport) is interested in giving one of these pups a home, please let me know. They are now nearly 4 weeks old. They have been wormed, and will be vaccinated against parvo and distemper, and flea treated at 6 weeks old."
And since writing this, two more people in our village have expressed an interest, so maybe two further pups will be re-homed, once we have checked that they will care for them properly.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Time for some thankyous

It's about time I said a huge thankyou to those of you who have donated to my dog fund.  I have 5 people who are donating regular amounts each month, totalling £55.  This goes towards the food for the street dogs.  From time to time I get one off donations from others, and this is very gratefully received, also helping towards food and other costs such as worm and flea treatments, vaccinations, immune boosters etc.

On Monday I received a parcel in the post from a Facebook friend in the UK containing a large amount of  brand new dog collars and leads, and these are gradually being distributed amongst the dogs on the industrial estate.  They are certainly looking a lot smarter than most of the street dogs here!

Another Facebook friend has offered to pay for the Mum of the 7 pups to be spayed.  As the Belediye vet is dragging his heels somewhat, we will use our vet Mehmet as soon as the pups are weaned.  He has quoted an excellent price for the operation of 150 lira, and will include all vaccinations at the same time.  I've passed on this info to the lady concerned and am waiting to hear back from her.

We have now given the 7 pups their first worm treatment, which will be followed by the next one in 2 weeks time.  Another friend has kindly donated towards the cost of the worm tablets for the pups.

As I type this, Mr A is going up again to the estate along with a man from the village who is going to take two of the pups.  Of course, I would have preferred them to stay with mum for a while longer, but they are starting to become adventurous, and once they start running around outside the car, they are at great risk of being hit by traffic.  So at least these two will stand a better chance.

We will check on the two pups regularly to make sure they are being cared for.  We have given strict instructions on what to feed them and how to look after them, and we will continue to worm them.
We will also vaccinate them and the other 5 pups at 6 weeks old against parvo virus and distemper.  Mehmet, our vet, is going to give me a special price for the vaccines.

I am desperate to find homes for the remaining 5 puppies, and have shared the video on Facebook, and this has been shared by lots of others too, so fingers crossed for them.

We are still in need of regular donations to be able to continue to do our best for these dogs, so as usual I will be grateful for anything you can spare, no matter how all helps.

Thankyou so much to everyone who has donated so far.

Just a few pics of some of the dogs wearing their new collars this morning...not easy to snap photos while trying to feed and put collars on others, but this is the best we could do!

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Mr A fed 23 dogs at the industrial estate this morning.  He checked on the two girls who were spayed this week and they are both fine.  The brown one's wound was a little sore yesterday so we treated with antibacterial spray and it has healed well.

The mum and 7 pups are doing well.  Mum, in spite of being well fed by us, is quite thin, but I guess that this is normal as she is feeding 7 hungry babies constantly.  We have wormed mum and flea treated her.  Tomorrow we will worm the pups for the first time.  They are now 3 weeks old.

Mr A did a short video of the pups this morning which we posted on Facebook, and there has been some interest in them, and the possibility of homes for a couple of them.  Someone Mr A knows in the village, who has a dog of his own that is well cared for, has expressed an interest in taking two of them.

Naturally I would prefer them to stay with mum for as long as possible, or at least six weeks, but I have to consider the fact that they are now moving about and when they venture out of the car (which Mr A says they were attempting to do this morning) then they will be in grave danger of traffic.  We have already lost other pups to traffic accidents on the estate, so if  people want to give these pups homes then we will let them go.  It could mean the difference between life and death.

Someone else on Facebook has offered to pay for the cost of spaying Mum, which is wonderful, so I will be checking out costs with our vet tomorrow.  The Belediye vet is reluctant to take any more at the moment for spaying.  He is concerned about the parvo virus which was discovered in the two black pups, and doesn't want the risk of it at the shelter.  He did of course fail to diagnose the virus when Mr A took them to the shelter, just two days before they died, so I have my doubts about his capabilities.

Fortunately the area where the two pups with parvo were living is some distance away from all the other dogs, and this area has now been bleached and hosed down.  Mr A is also continuing to take precautions when up there feeding, and has discovered no other dogs who are sick, so hopefully it has been contained with no further spread of the virus.

Now I have spent hours, on and off, trying to upload a short video that Mr A took this morning, which he put on Facebook, but it just will not upload.  If you follow this link to his Facebook page you may be able to see it.   (Perhaps someone who doesn't have a Facebook account can try it out and let me know if you can see it please?  If not I'll try to upload again later)

Edited to add:  Worming the pups this morning enabled us to get close enough to them to establish that they are 6 boys and 1 girl 


Saturday, 22 February 2014

What about Mr A?

 What's he been up to lately?  Quite a lot as it happens.  He has worked very hard this winter in the garden, rebuilding walls, erecting chickenwire fences, making a driveway for the car at the side of the house, as well as being by my side, and on his own, feeding and caring for the dogs.

As you know he did 4 days casual labouring work last month, for which he wasn't paid.  He has tried to find the man who employed him and many others in this and the next village, but without success. He is owed 180 lira for 4 days work, but we feel so sorry for all these other men who had worked for a couple of months.  They are owed so much more.  It seems that the man has disappeared off the face of the earth.  No doubt he is travelling around the country doing the same thing.   Karma will catch up with him...I hope.

Mr A has been over to Mugla a couple of times with the Muhtar to push the powers that be to hurry up and get the roads done in this village.  We are assured that work will start on our stretch of road before the end of the month, but as this has been said quite often during the past 5 years, I am not holding my breath.

The state of the roads has taken a dreadful toll on our car, and the previous truck, costing us money in repairs that we can ill afford. You may recall from an earlier post that the truck was in fact stolen, and the present car was a replacement, but left Mr A owing 2,000 lira to the oto galeri, to be paid by the beginning of May.   Mr A sold his phone last month to help cover the cost of repairs, and has since been using a very old mobile with a cracked screen.

So after several weeks of to-ing and fro-ing to the oto galeri in Milas, yesterday he found a buyer for the car.   He now has a small motorbike which is less than a year old and in good condition, and the balance owed to the oto galeri has been paid.  Debt free at last.  He offered to sell the CD player in the car separately (a good move on his part as it was already in the car when he bought it!).  The new owner didn't pay cash, but exchanged his very nice, nearly new phone for the CD player, so Mr A is happy. 

He has also been looking for work, and two weeks ago he went to see the owner of a small carpet centre which is not far from the industrial estate.  He has been promised a job to start mid to end of March.  He has an interview at the airport today for another job.  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it seems that it is recording the flow of passengers, and it would be shift work.  Even though this job will pay less than the carpet centre it's an all-year job, rather than seasonal, which is more secure.

Even when jobs are offered here, you can't take them for granted.  I never believe it will happen until he actually starts work, but fingers crossed that one of them will materialise.

He went on his own to the industrial estate yesterday to feed the dogs as he was going straight to Milas afterwards to deal with the sale of the car.  More than 30 dogs turned up.  He has instructed the men working where the two pups were living to bleach and hose down the area to prevent any further spread of the parvo virus.  He also used disposable latex gloves when feeding the dogs, and washed his shoes in bleach and water on leaving the estate.

The two dogs who were spayed this week at the Belediye shelter are fine, and Mr A has explained that he can now not collect them to return them to the estate, so one of the shelter workers agreed to do this yesterday.  Mr A will now have to go alone each morning to the estate, as it's not possible to carry me and dog food on the motorbike.  I will carry on feeding the dogs in the village.  The Belediye manager did in fact speak to the vet after Mr A's phone call two days ago, and he does seem a little more accommodating.  When it is possible for more dogs to be neutered, they will attempt to arrange transport for them.

He is however reluctant to take any more immediately because of the risk of parvovirus to the shelter dogs, which is understandable, but he doesn't have time (or inclination) to try to solve this problem.  The Muhtar tells Mr A that he knows someone in one of the government departments who can source the parvo vaccine cheaper than that charged by vets.  I'm not sure if this is just talk, but Mr A will follow it through.  If that doesn't happen, the only way we can protect the dogs is to buy the vaccine from our vet.  But we are talking about a considerable number of dogs, and even if we get it cheaper, we still don't have enough money to do this at the moment. 

The regular monthly donations we receive from 5 people almost cover the cost of the sacks of dog food.  We are subsidising this and everything else, and the cost of petrol for all these journeys to the estate and the shelter.  It's a struggle and I'm not sure how long we can continue, so as usual I'm asking for help from any of you who can manage it.  Every amount helps, no matter how small. 

It's been a busy week, with highs and lows and a great deal of sadness at the plight of the dogs in this country.  I try hard to start every day with a positive attitude, but it's not always easy.  At least the sun is shining and it feels like summer is just around the corner.  The sun and clear blue skies always help lift our spirits.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Such a sad day

Do you remember the two little black pups I talk about.  They're sisters.  We have been feeding them along with the many others on the industrial estate for the last couple of months.

Mr A discovered one of them sick two days ago, so he took both of them over to the Belediye shelter to see the vet.  The vet checked them both, said the poorly one was dehydrated and gave her an injection.  He was to keep them both there overnight.   Mr A had a phone call from him later in the day to say that as he was passing the industrial estate, he dropped them back there, saying the dog was ok and that if we were concerned to bring her over again on Thursday.

Yesterday, there wasn't much improvement, but she was no worse.  The other one seemed fine.

We chatted about these two little girls and we gave them names...Rosie and Daisy.  You know what that means don't you?  As soon as I name them, they're mine.  We agreed that we would make some adjustments in the garden, and that this morning we would take them both to OUR vet to be checked over, vaccinations given, etc, and then we would bring them home.

Mr A worked flat out yesterday, erecting another fence to cut off an area for the little ones.  Remember the chicken coop Mr A made early last year?   It was quite large, solid and waterproof, so he converted it into a kennel.  I scrubbed it out to get rid of all signs of the cats who once inhabited it...they haven't been back for months.  I sorted out blankets.  Everything was ready for them.

When we arrived at the estate this morning, we didn't see them at first.  They usually come running out the minute our car pulls up, wagging their tails.  Then we spotted Daisy, the one who WASN'T sick.  But she just sat crouched up, clearly ill.   She wouldn't move no matter how much I called her.  So I scooped her up and held her close.   We couldn't see Rosie anywhere.  In fact we searched for almost half an hour, before we found her lying in the grass.  Mr A picked her up and she was worse than Daisy.   I was amazed at how quickly they had become so sick.

We rushed off to our vet, Mehmet and  they were both diagnosed with parvovirus.  It was quite advanced.  They had deteriorated so rapidly.  Mehmet said that if they had been a little bit older and not so weak it might have been worth trying to save them, but by this stage the chances of survival were very remote.  So we had no alternative but to have them put to sleep.  Poor little Rosie and Daisy.  I so wished I had taken them home weeks ago.  But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

We are heartbroken but we are also angry.  The belediye vet should have discovered signs of this two days ago.  Mr A phoned him to tell him what had happened, and to say that the two bitches that were spayed this week and should have been collected by Mr A today to be returned to the estate, should stay at the shelter for a couple of days more.  With open wounds post-op they are likely to pick up anything.  The vet said collect tomorrow, but we insisted on two more days.  We also said we wanted to bring the mum and 7 pups there because these pups are most at risk of parvo, which is highly contagious especially amongst pups and any dogs less than a year old.  He said there was no space for them.  We cannot vaccinate them until they are 6 weeks old.  Any sooner is too risky and they would probably die. 

Mr A phoned the Belediye Manager and complained bitterly.  He explained that there is clearly an outbreak of parvo on the estate and the vet should be dealing with it.  He has promised to talk to the vet and get him to sort it out.   I won't hold my breath.  Mr A says if he gets no satisfaction then he will take it to the Governor of the Province, and further up the ladder if needs be.  He tries, but no-one seems to care.

A lady I know who volunteers with a rescue group in Uzumlu area, has been feeding animals on the streets, and one dog in particular which she has become very fond of, called Bella, was yesterday shot in the face.  This gentle girl was no trouble.  She didn't chase sheep or chickens or cause any problems.  This lady was devasted.  Bella was rushed to the vet where it was discovered that there were pellets in her brain which could not be removed.  She died this morning.  Yet another mindless act of cruelty.

My heart breaks for these animals and the harsh lives they have to endure, and makes me ashamed to be part of the human race.

Rest in peace Rosie, Daisy and Bella xxx

PS: As parvovirus is highly contagious we had to wash our hands and shoes at the vet clinic, after which the vet cleaned the floors and table.  Bleach is the only thing that works.  Then on arrival home, left our shoes at the gate, to be washed in bleach later, and all our clothes went straight into the washing machine and then we showered, after having cleaned the inside of the car with bleach and water.

Of course all my dogs have been vaccinated but there is always a slight risk.  Better safe than sorry.

We will continue to feed the dogs at the estate but will take adequate precautions to avoid spreading the virus.  We will take large containers of bleach and water to clean our shoes and anything that we touch in the car.  Towels on the seats, and I have bought a large box of disposable latex gloves.  We will also bleach and hose down the area where Rosie and Daisy lived.    We are also trying to get hold of parvovirus vaccinations. The belediye vet doesn't have them, and any vets that do have to  import them, and will attempt to vaccinate as many dogs as possible.  We will need money for this, so as usual, any help you can give will be very much appreciated.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Blogging and Me

I did my first blog post in March 2009, almost 5 years ago.  I'm not one for looking at statistics but did happen to notice that I'm heading for 1000 posts.  There have been a lot of page views, which isn't really of any importance.  What has become important to me is the number of friends I have made through blogging, and the blogs of others that I have found and continue to enjoy.

Bloggers come and go.  Some announce that they've had enough and let you know with their final post.  Some take a break from blogging and return refreshed.  Others just stop and disappear.

From time to time we stop following some of the blogs on our reading lists because they no longer hold our interest, but at the same time we find new ones to follow.   Our followers come and go for the same reasons.   It's all part of the blogging way of life.

In the early days of blogging I had no expectations.  I was encouraged by friends to start a blog because they thought my life would be interesting to others.  Reluctantly I began, but for me it was to replace a diary that I first started when I moved to Turkey nearly 16 years ago.  These daily thoughts were kept in a fair number of exercise books, which I sadly lost during one of our many house moves over the years.   I couldn't replace them or recall everything I wrote about, but blogging seemed a good way of continuing to record my life and sharing my thoughts.

It has been very therapeutic for me.  During many bouts of depression, I find it easier to express my feelings with the written word than to talk to someone face to face.  During these times I have had so much support from my blogging friends, that it has helped me more than being dosed up with anti-depressants.

I've shared my joy over the births of my darling grandsons, and my anger and hurt at how I have been treated by my father-in-law.  My frustration at how my husband works so hard but is not appreciated, and often not paid, for his efforts.

I've received awards from other bloggers, and recognition from various organisations, being named one of the top bloggers in Turkey.  None of these things are  important but they are flattering.  I appreciate them and they do give a huge boost to my confidence, which I'm afraid is, more often than not, lacking.

And then there are the dogs.   I sometimes talked about my beloved dogs Beki and Poppy.  I touched briefly at times about the early days of my life here when I rescued dogs and cats from the streets and found them homes.  Losing Beki to cancer in 2012 and then Poppy last year, seemed to spur me on.  I rescued 4 more dogs from the village streets, had them neutered, vaccinated, etc, and then they were joined by 2 more from other rescue groups, resulting in my family of 6.

Somehow though it wasn't quite enough so my husband and I started feeding more street dogs, and it has escalated beyond what we envisaged.

Because of this, my blog has been somewhat taken over by the dogs.  OK I've tried to intersperse dog posts with different topics.  I felt that my blog was becoming all about dogs.  So I started another page to try to keep it separate, so that those of you who don't want to keep reading about dogs, can avoid it.

However, things happen and I want to write about them.   I started to notice that dog posts were getting very few, sometimes no comments.  I think this is for two reasons.  1) some people just don't have the same feelings as I do about stray dogs, and that's fair enough, and 2) asking for donations can become tedious.  There is no obligation to give, and we all have reasons for not doing so, and we can get a bit fed up with being asked, and this is also fair enough.  I understand perfectly why some of you can't find anything to say.  As I mentioned above, sometimes a blog no longer holds any interest for us, so we drift away and find others that do.

It has left me feeling that with my blog I am trying to avoid boring people, and perhaps trying too hard to produce something that they will find interesting.  But it did make me stop and take stock, and return to my original reason for starting to blog.   The blog is for me, to write about my life. I never anticipated followers or comments...they have just been a pleasant bonus.   The dogs are my life and I shouldn't feel guilty that I talk about them so much. 

So I will continue to blog about my dogs and not feel guilty.  Of course I will blog about other things but I don't want to feel that I have to keep finding other topics, because then it becomes a chore rather than an enjoyable pastime.

There is no need to feel you have to comment on this post.  Writing it has put things into perspective for me.  Like I said before, it helps me when I write things down, and it's also a heads-up for you that there will no doubt be many more dog posts to come, so if you need to stop reading and drift away, I understand and will not be offended in the least!

Edit:  Today's update on two dogs awaiting neutering at the shelter, and more about the two black pups on the Street Dogs Feeding page. (See top of this page)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Today is D Day

Today we made a start on our neutering programme.  It's a mammoth task and without my husband and his love and concern for these dogs, I don't know how I would manage.  He will never know just how much I appreciate him.

We set off as usual to the industrial estate and fed a total of 23 dogs.

The black pups are doing well and are absolutely gorgeous.   They are a couple of months old and are sisters, and if anyone in the Bodrum/Milas area is interested in adopting them, please let me know.

These were taken
last week.

Mum and the 7 surviving pups are also doing well.  More about what will happen to them further on in this post.

Without having to use sedatives, but with a great deal of struggling between the two of us, we managed to get two females into the back of the car to take to the Belediye vet for spaying.  The brown dog, who is a pitbull type, we think has had more than one litter.  When we first started feeding at the estate she had only one pup with her.  Sadly this pup was killed along with another pup, when they tried to get into the old car which houses Mum and 7 pups.  It was a tragic incident which we only learned about several days later.  The Mum, trying to protect her babies, attacked and killed them.

Brown mum a few weeks ago with her pup before it was killed

On the back seat of the car.  Not easy to take photos when my right hand was stroking the other dog on the floor!

So first the brown dog was put into the car, and then we searched for the next dog.

The second dog ready for spaying

We  believe that this lovely girl has also had previous litter(s) and sadly she is around 2 weeks pregnant at the moment.  She is having the foetuses aborted and being spayed.  This may sound harsh to you animal lovers out there, and I can assure you it breaks my heart, but if any of you are aware of the enormous problem here, you will understand that this decision is the best one.  I can't bear to think of anymore pups being born here just to have a slow lingering death from starvation, or to be hit by cars, or worse by the cruelty inflicted by people here.

 The journey to the Milas shelter was further than we anticipated.  It some distance from Milas, and we had never been there before.  We didn't really know what to expect.  I have to say I was expecting the worst, because many council shelters are dreadful places. 

I was very pleasantly surprised..  It is out in the countryside.  It is spotlessly clean and well maintained.  Dogs are separated in large pens according to size and temperament, which lead off to good sized sleeping cages.  There are others areas outside too with wooden kennels.   The surgery and all areas inside the building are also sterile.   There were two male workers there who showed us around.  They seemed to have a good rapport with the dogs, and were proud of how well they look after them and their surroundings. It's almost full of course, but all the dogs seemed well fed and healthy.  We wanted to take photos but the vet explained that we weren't allowed to because it is a government building...shame because I would have liked you to have seen it.

The vet, although previously a little unhelpful when Mr A spoke to him last week in Milas, was in fact quite a pleasant chap.  He is clearly very busy, and he is finding it difficult to cope with the numbers of neutering operations he has to do.  However, he allowed us to leave the two dogs together in a large sleeping cage and he will fit in their operations during the next couple of days, then telephone us to come and collect them. 

Contrary to what we first understood, we won't be able to take 2 dogs every day to be spayed, but the vet will fit in as many as he can over the coming days and weeks, and we will fit in with him.

We told him about the Mum and 7 surviving pups and the conditions in which they are living, and he says he will find a space for them in the shelter.  He says we shouldn't try to move them at the moment but wait a further 4 weeks when the Mum will hopefully have finished weaning them, and then we can take them there.   It's good advice.   As you will see from the photo, the towels and blankets that the pups are sleeping on are really dirty but I cannot get near them to put fresh ones down because the Mum is so protective.  She is fine with us outside the car, but will not allow us inside.

I am delighted that eventually she and her babies will be safe.  Again, it would be lovely to find homes for these pups eventually, as well as the two girls we took to the shelter today. If anyone is interested in giving a home to any of these dogs, let me know.

We are thankful for the generosity of readers of my blog, and Facebook friends who have donated to help us with all this.   As someone who once hated to ask for help,  I have managed to overcome this because without the kindness of others, it would be impossible to do what we do.

We will continue to go to the estate every day to feed and give treatments to the dogs, and crack on with the neutering programme. Each round trip to the estate is 10km, and to the shelter is 40km from home, and it's costing us a lot in petrol. 

I have 5 people who are currently donating a monthly amount via Paypal, and this helps me to budget for food etc.  But we do need more.  If anyone is able to commit to a couple of pounds a month, this would be a tremendous help.  One off donations, no matter how small, are also very welcome.   Thankyou xx

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Family members I can trust

I should have had a colonoscopy yesterday.  I cancelled the procedure on Thursday.  I didn't chicken out, because I had one 7 years ago and knew what to expect, but I took advice from my sister-in-law.

I saw a doctor at the hospital last week because I was experiencing pains in my stomach and back.   BEFORE he examined me, he told me to book a colonoscopy.  I then had blood and urine tests and an ultrasound.   I was expecting it to show an infection, which I have had a couple of times before, which have been cleared up within days with antibiotics, but the tests all came back clear.  No problems anywhere.  My ovaries were also checked and nothing untoward there either.

However, the doctor still told me to book the colonoscopy.  I just went along with it, but something was nagging in the back of my mind.  I wondered if it was really necessary.

My sister-in-law, E, is an orthopaedic surgeon and head of her department.  If Mr A or I have had to see a doctor at any time, we usually phone her afterwards and send her copies of any test results and prescriptions for medication.  Those of you who live in Turkey will know that doctors here have a tendency to over-prescribe on medication, and it is often more to do with what they are paid by the drugs companies than anything else.  E has always told us to be wary of this.   I'm not a great believer in pumping too many drugs into my body, so E will always tell me what is necessary and what is not.

We phoned her on Wednesday, read out the test results and she was concerned that a colonoscopy was suggested before any examination and results of tests were to hand, and looking at these she felt that the procedure was unnecessary. She said that too many quick and easy procedures are performed these's all about money again.

She can of course access my medical records through her hospital computer so this is what she did yesterday and phoned last night.  Weighing it all up, she feels it is all connected to the IBS, and that these cramp like pains are often brought on by stress, or in previous instances by an infection and are easily dealt with.  As there was no indication of infection this time, and the fact that the symptoms have now completely disappeared, stress was probably the cause this time.  Another factor is my diet.  I have to own up to having eaten so much unhealthy rubbish in recent months, and this has to change.   She has suggested some medication to take when I get another flare-up, which incidentally is the same as that previously suggested by my trusted eczane in Milas, whose wife suffers from the same condition.  She says that if I take these tablets and it doesn't solve the problem,  only then should I have a colonoscopy.

I don't have a particularly close relationship with Mr A's family.  I'm thankful for this when it comes to my father-in-law, but others in the family are lovely.  Unfortunately they all live so far away that we rarely see them.  My brother-in-law is an expert on computers, and if I have a problem, he will deal with it over the phone,  take control of it and fix it.  Mr A has cousins who are teachers, a dentist who did some work on Mr A's teeth a few years ago when he was working in the area where he lives, a solicitor,  and of course his sister, E.    They are always there on the other end of the phone to give advice when we need it.

 E and my brother-in-law in particular, always consider me as family and will do anything to help.  As my father-in-law has always treated me as an outsider, it's reassuring to know I am accepted by other family members that I can trust.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day...

...or as Mr A calls it "Love Day".   For me it's just another day that has become commercialised, an opportunity for people to spend their money on something frivolous and often expensive.  We don't celebrate it.  In any case Mr A is very rarely in work in February, so we couldn't afford it even if we wanted to.   Sometimes if he remembers which day it is he might pick some wild flowers (or from someone's garden) but that's it really.

So I hadn't intended to do a post about today, except that Stella, my daughter sent me some photos of Billy and Jimi making some valentine gifts, and they are so sweet I thought I'd share them:

And the end results

Some good news at last

We have been trying for a couple of weeks to track down the Milas council vet to try to get some action regarding the dogs on the industrial estate.

The man from the local political party that Mr A spoke to some days ago only managed a brief conversation with the vet, so it was up to us to take it further.

A meeting was finally arranged in Milas this afternoon, and I decided not to go but to allow the Muhtar and Mr A to attend.  I get rather impatient with Turkish men as they tend to chat for ages about all sorts of irrelevant subjects, drinking endless tea, before getting down to the matter in hand.  In any case I trusted Mr A to do his best for these dogs.

The vet has agreed to spay two bitches each day starting next Monday. It is his responsibility to do this, so there will be no charge for the operations.   Mr A has enlisted the help of one of the estate workers to help him transport the dogs to Milas.  The vet will operate on them, keep them overnight and the following day.  Mr A will take two more dogs the following morning and collect the previous two in the afternoon and  return them to the estate, and so on.

It is essential that we have sedative injections to be able to catch the dogs and put them in the car, but unfortunately the vet will not provide these.  It's an impossible task without them.  So we will have to buy them from our vet, Mehmet.   We may also have to buy antibiotics for some of the dogs post-op to help with the healing process.   It's also going to cost us a fair bit in petrol with all these journeys, and if anyone would like to help with the cost of this and the injections, any amount, no matter how small, will be very much appreciated.

I am delighted we have managed to get this neutering programme underway.  The village females will be next in line, then hopefully we can start on the males.  Fingers crossed everyone that it all works out as planned.

Edited to add:  After much discussion with Mr A last night we have decided that it would be preferable to take just one dog each day to the vet to be spayed.  This way we may  be able to avoid sedating some of the dogs.  Much easier to get one into a car than two, and it now seems the estate worker who was to help  cannot do so each day, which is fair enough.  We will put collars on designated dogs this weekend which will make it easier to handle them, and will get a muzzle from our vet.   We also understand that the council vet doesn't put the plastic bucket collars on them post-op (he says they are too expensive) so we will get some from our vet.

Overall, although we are delighted to be getting these dogs spayed, I am not happy with the attitude of this vet.  Clearly he is only prepared to do the minimum amount possible...the rest will be up to us.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Random village photos

Browsing through my photos and our village Facebook page I came across some which I think will give you a "feel" for what life is like here. Some of them are recent, but others are older, some I have posted previously.  There are also one or two taken by Mr A.

Mr A helped to deliver this calf


Mr A...the labourer

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Out of control

This morning Mr A went up to the industrial estate on his own to feed the dogs.  He phoned me shortly after he arrived, almost in a state of shock, as more than 50 dogs were there.

I can only imagine that word has got around that we are feeding the dogs and people are dumping them there.   He had our large plastic box which contains about 5kg of dried food and fortunately another 10kg sack in the boot of the car.   He used it all.

The mum with the remaining 7 pups are all doing well, as are the two black puppies.  Sadly the person who had said they would adopt one of the black pups, or possibly both, has changed their mind, so we are back to square one on that.

It's all quite overwhelming.  We will have to cut back on what we are feeding the dogs because we simply don't have the money.

On his return to the village he came across a man who was canvassing for votes for his party in the upcoming local elections.  He is in opposition to the party that seems to be the favourite of members of our village.  (You will note here that I am not going to name particular parties, because of the recent news that there will be even more censorship on the internet than we already have, so I don't want to get into any political stuff on here, or I may risk my blog being blocked).

These party members are anxious to get votes, so they will go out of their way to offer any assistance to the locals which might persuade them to vote for them.   This same man was in the village a few days ago and was walking around examining the state of the roads.  He reached the bottom of our road, which we had been informed recently would not be repaired.  Mr A went out to talk to him and it seems his party will pay for our stretch of road, and a few others, to be resurfaced.  Naturally, Mr A has given him the impression that he will vote for his party (he won't!).

So Mr A approached him today and told him about the problem with the dogs on the industrial estate and that we need the Milas Belediye to take some responsibility.  The man has promised to talk to the Belediye tomorrow.  We are also intending to visit there tomorrow because we want some sort of agreement from them.

We are hoping that with our help, they may agree to round up all the female dogs from the estate and take them to the nearest belediye shelter, because this seems to be the only way there is a chance of them being spayed and kept reasonably safe.   Obviously it would be good if all the dogs could be neutered but the females are the most urgent.  If the numbers keep increasing, then maybe more of them will have to go to the shelter.  It's not ideal (these shelters aren't the best of places), but it is impossible for us to look after so many.  I also fear for the safety of these dogs if too many settle on the industrial estate.   People will get fed up with them and may well decide to dispose of them.

My heart breaks for these dogs, but I am also angry.   There are just so many of them, moving around from one place to another, scavenging and fighting each other for food, sick and lonely, suffering because no-one wants them and those with any authority in this bloody country don't care enough to tackle the problem head-on.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

This week (with photos)

The weather has been excellent this week and has enabled Mr A to do a lot of work on the dog's area behind the house.  The wall is finished and chicken wire fixed around the top.  He's made a really good job of it.  The old outside toilet which we once used as a temporary shelter for the dogs, which they didn't use, has been demolished.   Today he will be clearing the area of debris and generally tidying it up so by tomorrow the dogs will be back to using it.

We spent 5 hours at the hospital on Wednesday as I have been suffering with back and stomach pains.  I've had this problem for years.  It comes and goes.  I was diagnosed with IBS 7 years ago and since then have had a couple of bowel infections which have cleared up with antibiotics.  However, the past week or so has been particularly uncomfortable so I thought it was time to check things out again.

I had an ultrasound, blood and urine tests, and there were no signs of infection, so I am booked in for a colonoscopy next Friday...the 14th...Valentines Day.  Not the best day to have a long rod pushed up my backside...not very romantic!

Our 6 dogs are all well.  Daily doses of Glucosamine given to Sammy and Megan seem to be working on their arthritic legs.  I'm sure the warmer weather also helps.  The two newest boys, Monty and Tommy, have settled in very well.  In fact tiny Tommy seems to have taken over as leader of the pack.  I wonder why these small dogs are so brave and bossy?

We are continuing to feed village and industrial estate dogs, and you can see my daily updates on the page link at the top of the blog. (See also photos at the end of this post).   The mum with the huge litter of 12 pups is doing very well, although only 7 pups have survived.  We have made them as comfortable as possible in the old abandoned car on the estate, with blankets, and we are supplementing the dry food with yogurt, cheese and milk for the mum.  We have also given her daily doses of immune booster.

Some dogs have disappeared and others have arrived.  The 3 black and white pups and the small brown pup have now all gone.  2 pups were hit by a car, but we have no idea what has happened to the others.  The 2 black pups are really thriving, and we think we may have found homes for them in the village.  Mr A will confirm this over the next few days.

Some of the estate workers have taken an interest in what we are doing and are also feeding some of the dogs and putting out clean water for them.  As I suspected, this is spasmodic, and I think we will have to continue to go every day for the foreseeable future. 

We are feeding in excess of 20 dogs most days, and thanks to regular monthly donations from 5 people we are able to keep buying sacks of food.   It isn't quite enough though, and if anyone is able to set up a Paypal arrangement to pay a couple of pounds a month, this would be so helpful.  I'm really not good at asking for money, as you know, but we have committed ourselves to caring for these dogs,  and we will continue to do so whether we receive donations or not, for as long as we can.

We  have plans to have the mum spayed as soon as the pups are weaned, and  other females as and when we can.  We will also try to find homes for the pups eventually, although this will probably be very difficult.   We want to continue to give worm and flea treatments to as many dogs as possible.  All this costs money, so anything you can spare, no matter how small, will really help.  Thankyou again to all those of you who have donated so far.

These are just a few of the industrial estate dogs who didn't run off at the sight of a camera!

The abandoned wreck...home to mum and pups...

7 out of the litter of 12 have survived

The 2 black pups which are hopefully to be homed soon

Male black pup

Female black pup

2 black pups with an older puppy
The sick dog we saw 2 days ago.  He has seen vet, been on serum, and had injections and is now eating well.

One of the 6 or 7 village dogs currently being fed

Have a good weekend xx