Sunday, 2 February 2014

Getting results

Ever since I got involved in animal rescue when I first moved to this country, I have always maintained that the attitude to street animals here is mainly one of ignorance.  I have been saying for so long (and my rescue friends will back me up) that education is the key to changing how people think..

The men working on the industrial estate have watched us for weeks now as we feed the dogs every day, administer worm tablets to the puppies, and give doses of immune booster to as many as 30 dogs.  At first they are bemused and watch in silence.  Then they are curious and start to talk to us about what we are doing.  We tell them everything about how to look after these animals.  We assure them that if they are fed regularly, they will no longer have to fight each other for food and will become less aggressive as a result.   They have now been able to see this for themselves.

Some have even taken a step further.  The man who owns the estate café is now feeding them in the evening.  Another man from our village brought a big container of food for them yesterday.  We are now seeing large containers of water dotted about which are refilled every day, because we have told everyone how essential it is for animals to have water every day, not just in the hot weather, as some mistakenly think.

This morning, the dogs didn't eat all the food we put down for them...because they are no longer starving.  The man who gave his chained up dog fishbones, an onion and stale bread last week, has taken note of what we said and is now bringing more suitable leftovers.

The mum with the large litter of pups is safe in the abandoned car.  The notice that Mr A put on the car telling people not to touch the pups or mum has been heeded.  When we were about to refill her water bowl outside the car, we saw that it had already been cleaned and refilled.   Sadly, there are only 8 pups now but they all seem OK...Mr A managed to remove the dead puppies this morning.  Mum is moving about today and seems less lethargic than yesterday.  We gave her a meal of cheese, yogurt and milk today, to provide extra calcium.

Eventually we hope that we can find reliable men on the estate to take responsibility for all these dogs.  Maybe we will reach a point where we don't have to go every day, and can just provide sacks of food, and do regular checks to see if everything is OK.  It's early days yet of course, but it's heading in the right direction.   Perhaps we will then be able to concentrate on another local area and repeat the feeding (and education) programme.   We would also like to get permission from the local school to go in and talk to the children and get them on board.  We have tried this before and it hasn't been welcome, but we will try again.

I sobbed my heart out yesterday because with all these new pups, everything just seemed so hopeless.  Today my heart sings.   Finally, slowly but surely, the message is getting across.  This is more than we could have hoped to achieve in a relatively short space of time. 

You can follow my daily updates on the link at the head of this page.   A massive thankyou to  those of you who have donated, which has made all this possible.  Bless you.

24 comments:

  1. Now if you can get Milas municipality to neuter, your job will be done. Congratulations Ayak on your perseverance

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    1. Thanks BtoB. I think that will be the biggest challenge.

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  2. Great post and I am so glad to hear about this succes and thanks for your work regarding animal rescue. I love that you write that education is the answer, regarding this problem, because unfortunately some animal rescue groups tend to think: "The Turkish people don't care about animals", but I think very few people are cold towards animals that are suffering. We don't solve anything by being very negative towards any groups - we solve it by education and try to make people understand, which steps that can be taken towards the problems with stray dogs- and cats.

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    1. Hello Astrid. You are right, I don't think it's because the Turks don't care, although there is still a lot of cruelty (but this is the case everywhere in the world sadly). They are generally very open to suggestions and more than willing to help if you approach them in the right way, with respect and not patronising them. Mr A has always been fond of animals, but this love has grown over the years because he has learned from me how to look after them in a different (better) way than his fellow countryfolk. xx

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  3. I totally agree with you Ayak, education is the key. Having visited Turkey a few times I was bemused to discover how frightened people were of dogs, even the men & I couldn't understand why. It sounds like it is just ignorance of how to treat dogs & gain their trust that leads to their fear. If, as BtoB says, the local council can be persuaded to neuter all strays as well, this will be a huge step in the right direction. Well done both of you.

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    1. tricia there is still such fear of dogs here which is handed down from one generation to the next, and it's important to break the cycle, and this is what we try to do in our own small way. It's so satisfying to see it working. The council neutering will be a bit of a battle, I know, but we won't stop trying.

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  4. It's heartbreaking work...but you are seeing results.
    Fingers crossed for the schools.
    Here the government set up their own schemes in schools - but welcome volunteer intervention. Far less strays around now than when we first arrived.

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    1. The results give me hope Helen and make it all worthwhile. I don't know why schools are reluctant here to welcome volunteers. I've tried before to offer help with the children and their English, but was told that it wasn't allowed...no specific reason. The CR government clearly have the right idea.

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  5. I'm so glad you're starting to see real progress, as you must feel so encourages. BtoB is right, neutering is the essential next step, so good luck with your attempts to educate not only the people but the authorities.

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    1. It is encouraging Perpetua, but I don't take anything for granted. There's still a long way to go x

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  6. I completely agree with the issue being ignorance. A Turkish/English couple (Murat & Cath) run a bar in Turunc and have a beautiful friendly golden retriever called Bonnie. One afternoon we were in the bar when a turkish woman and her son came in, we know them as they work in the hotel we have stayed at lots of times. The son is a lovely intelligent boy of 9 but was terrified of Bonnie. When I asked why he said she had big teeth and would bite. I explained she wouldn't as her breed had 'soft' mouths (I needed Murat for a bit of translation here.) Little boy still not convinced so I called Bonnie over, opened her mouth and put my hand right inside. Said little boy almost fell off his chair. Anyway, after an hour he was feeding her crisps and hugging her around the neck with no fear at all. As you said ignorance :)

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    1. A lesson learned by one little boy Pauline. This is how the word spreads. We see lots of shocked expressions from people when we are feeding the dogs. Sometimes I have to feed some of the more timid dogs out of my hand to make sure others don't eat their food, and this always gets surprised looks from those looking on, expecting my hand to be bitten off! I believe if you are kind and gentle with a dog, you have nothing to fear.

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  7. Great news, Ayak - very heart warming that all your hard and patient work is now showing results. I do hope it continues and that the men who are now showing tolerance and kindness to these animals will spread the word. Axxx

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    1. It's all we can hope for Annie xx

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  8. A lot of Turkish people are brought up to be terrified of dogs and also think cats are vermin. Slowly, but surely due to people like you and Mr. A the attitude is changing.
    Lots of love, F.XXX

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    1. Thankfully it is Fleur, slowly but surely xx

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  9. You are doing a brilliant job not just feeding the animals but educating the people as well. There are obvious signs that you are succeeding. Well done!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  10. How lovely to know you're teaching others! I hope they in turn spread the message... Eventually maybe all 70+ million will have a different attitude to our four legged friends!

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    1. We can live in hope Deniz!

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    2. Well done both of you!!! Education really is the key - I also think, to lead by example. If people see us being kind to the street animals then they will see this as a good thing. I have an ex street dog and I am the only European living in an all Turkish apartment block, after 4 years of living here, the fear people had of my lovely dog has gone and they like him!
      They also see me feeding the street cats and leaving clean water out for all. There are now more containers of water along the road!
      PS I always carry a hard boiled egg around with me in the winter for hungry, street dogs. Cheap. When the street dogs get it - after they realise they can eat it, they now come to me when I am out, sniffing my bag for treats!

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    3. Yes you're right Happy Lady. Education really is the way forward. We have seen such a change in attitude towards the dogs on the industrial estate in a short time. It's very reassuring. I absolutely love the way the dogs come running towards our car every day when it arrives, the wagging tales and how pleased they are to see us. It really makes me very happy xx

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If you would like to help my rescue dogs and the strays (dogs and cats) of our village and local industrial estate, please email me for details at lindaikaya@hotmail.com Thankyou x