Friday, 23 May 2014

Three Days?

Yes, it's only been three days since I said I was taking a break from blogging for a while.  Thankyou for all your comments on that post.  It was nice to know I would be missed a little bit.   I have managed to spend a little less time on the internet, and caught up with some much needed sleep.  However, the garden still needs some attention.  Apart from watering it with a rapidly disintegrating hosepipe (the puppies have been chewing it) I haven't done much else with it.

I did pick a few of the green tomatoes that have appeared and made some chutney.  I also pickled some red cabbage.  Mr A came home late one night, slept, then went down to the land in the village and picked some apricots so I made some jam.  That was a bit of a disaster though, as I left the pan bubbling on the cooker.  Went off to do something else and came back to find it had boiled over.  The entire top of the cooker was a sticky mess and the jam had burnt and stuck to the pan.  I did manage to rescue enough  for three jars, so all was not lost.

All the dogs are well.   Monty, who has sensitive skin, developed a nasty sore on his neck this week.  I'm not sure how it happened.  He could have been scratched or bitten by Tommy or one of the pups, but it's more likely he has reacted to the Paraband collar so it has been removed.  I had some antibiotic cream amongst my large collection of medication for the dogs, and having used this for 4 days, it is clearing up nicely.  I will now need to get Frontline for him as I know he doesn't react to this.

My friend Gwen came over from Selcuk for the weekend, armed with chewsticks for the dogs which she had brought from England.  She took a real shine to Tommy and he adored her.  In fact he cried at the gate when she left.  Bless him.

Megan, Sammy, Blondie and Freddie are in desperate need of bathing.  The soil here is red and with the rain we had in recent weeks they have become very dirty.  This is a task which I just can't manage on my own, and will have to wait until Mr A has time.....that could be a long wait, so in the meantime I am brushing them every day, which is better than nothing.   He is working around 17 hours a day over in Gumbet, but he is earning enough to steadily  pay for the car.  If this continues, it should be paid off fairly quickly, then we will be able to save his earnings for the winter.

The puppies are growing rapidly. Every day I have to adjust their collars.  They are just adorable.  They will be having further vaccinations next week, and as they also seem to be maturing quite quickly, I will have to have Melek spayed, and Chas and Dave neutered quite soon.  I am off to see Mehmet the vet today to get a quote for all vaccinations and ops. He always gives me a good price but I think it will be between 450 and 500 lira, and there frankly is no spare money to cover this, so again I am asking for your help.  Anything you can manage will be very gratefully received (the Paypal button is at the top of my blog).    At the moment, I can't afford to supply any more sacks of food to the industrial estate and village dogs, but I know that they are being fed scraps, so will not worry too much about them until we start the feeding programme again in October.  Hopefully by then we will have managed to save some more money.

So it was only a 3 day break, but sufficient to re-charge my batteries.  Blogging becomes part of our lives doesn't it?  Impossible to stay away for too long!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Taking a break

My blog posts are becoming boring.  I lack inspiration.  Maybe it's just that time of year, but I never wanted blogging to become a chore, so unless I have anything new or interesting to talk about, I'll not be posting for a while.

In fact I am spending too much time on the internet when I could be doing other things.  I need to muster up a bit more enthusiasm for sorting out the garden, and now that my dogs are more settled, and the puppies need less of my attention, I intend to get out and about more.

But first I need to catch up with some much needed sleep.   I am up around 4.30 to 5am every day and going to sleep later than I should.  So it's taking it's toll.

See you all again soon I hope xx

Thursday, 15 May 2014

An update while I have the chance!

After the TTNet engineers came out to do something with the wires, I had connection for a while, but then the problem started up all over again.  This morning I realised it was actually 12 days of my connection cutting out constantly, and was getting pretty fed up with it all.

Mr A phoned the engineer in Milas again yesterday, and this morning I phoned TTNet in Istanbul and gave them a piece of my mind.   At around 9am the engineer turned up and replaced all the wires outside and inside the house.  I was connected to the internet.  To be sure they also checked and replaced cables leading from our house to the village (which I actually think was the cause of the problem).   Now 8 hours later, it's still working and I am trying to be optimistic about it...but who knows?

In my last post I talked about Mr A being let down about the job in Bodrum that he had travelled all the way back from Kas to sort out.   He returned to Kas and I assumed that would be the last I would see of him for some time.   However, on Sunday late afternoon he turned up, without warning.  He was in a pretty depressed mood and not inclined to talk so I didn't push it.  He fell asleep almost immediately and slept for 13 hours.

On Monday morning he got up and told me he was starting work in Bodrum.  I asked where and he sheepishly told me that it was for the man who had let him down last week.  I wasn't best pleased at this news, and I think this is why Mr A was reluctant to talk to me about it.  But apparently the decision that had been taken last week to employ someone else was made by the boss's partner/brother, and the boss disputed it and contacted Mr A.  He also reimbursed Mr A for the cost of his wasted journey.

It's in a kind of beauty salon as I understand it, which offers hairdressing, permanent make-up tattoos, and all sorts of other treatments (this is not my field of expertise as I never frequent such places...just get my hair cut whenever it's needed!).  Anyway it's Mr A's job to talk to customers and tell them about the services on offer and persuade them to spend their money.   He is pretty good at this sort of thing.  It's commission only....again... which means that this week he has been working from between 8 and 9am until almost midnight every day.  But the commission is on all services provided by all personnel, whether Mr A has sold them or not.  It could be quite lucrative....but we'll see.

The man at the oto galeri had agreed to sort out Mr A's motorbike insurance last week and whilst doing so lent Mr A a car to return to Kas.   Mr A still has the car.   I knew this would happen.  How do I know?  Because it happens every year.   Mr A trades in his motorbike for a car, which means that he owes money and arranges to pay the balance monthly.   He always has high expectations about what he is going to earn during the season.  Sure enough, it doesn't go according to plan, so at the end of the season, he still owes money and sells the car, pays off the debt and gets a motorbike.

I don't even get into discussions about it anymore.  I don't like owing money, but Mr A, like so many other Turks, seem perfectly happy to live this way.  I do rather hope that he does manage to pay for this car though because for a change it's a good one in excellent condition.  And I have to admit that I feel a lot happier about him driving a car than a motorbike on these dangerous roads.

He is staying in personnel accommodation, with all his meals provided, but he will come home once or twice a week.  He came home last night (or rather early hours of this morning) around 12.30.  As it happened, in spite of the dogs area at the back being as secure as Fort Knox,  both Blondie and Freddie had managed to get out, and I couldn't find them.  Thankfully when Mr A arrived they both came rushing to greet him.   Mr A secured the place where they escaped than went to sleep at 2.30am.  This morning he was up at 6.30am trimming back weeds in the garden.   I think lack of sleep and long working hours will take their toll, but I just have to let him get on with it.

So, the end of a post, and I'm still connected.  I'll press "publish" and hope for the best.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Why it's useless to make plans

Much as I love living in this country, I came to the conclusion years ago that it's a waste of time and energy to make plans or indeed to rely on other people.  Friends of course are excluded from this.  I have very good friends who are completely reliable.

We have the same problem every year when it comes to Mr A finding work for the summer season.  Lots of promises of jobs that don't materialise for one reason or another.  I've blogged about it a fair amount.

The job in Kas (300km away) was intended to be a stop gap until something came up nearer home.  At least Mr A is earning money there.  I ended my last post with a PS to say that he was on his way home.  He phoned at midnight, and I had no idea when he would be here or why.

He arrived home at midday on Thursday. Apparently he had been contacted by someone in Bodrum offering him a job.  Mr A wanted to know if this was a definite offer as the man insisted he needed to see him on Friday.  He said that he needed Mr A to sign a contract, etc, so one would have thought that it was genuine.

You may by now guess what's coming next.  On Friday morning, early, Mr A phoned the man to confirm the time for their appointment, only to be informed that the job had been given to someone else.   So all that way on the motorbike for nothing.  Thankfully Mr A had not quit the job in Kas, but had just said that he had to make a trip home to deal with a family matter.  He has learned well.  You have to keep all options open.

So he made use of the time to secure the fencing around the dogs area at the back of the house, as Blondie has been managing to get out for two nights running, which makes the others bark, and keeps me awake all night.  The motorbike insurance is due for renewal, and Mr A's friend at an oto galeri offered to sort it out for him. It takes a bit of time, and Mr A was anxious to get back to Kas, so the friend has lent him a car to use until the next time he comes home.  At least his return journey was a bit safer.

He also dropped off some more dried dog food to the man at the industrial estate who is feeding the dogs, and also to the man who has the mum and pups.  They are all doing fine.

It seems likely that Mr A will remain in Kas for the summer, and I have no idea when, or if, I will see him during that time.  Unless someone who he knows, who can be trusted, actually provides a genuine job offer in Bodrum in the meantime.

I have had problems with my internet connection for a week.  Continually cutting out.  I phoned TTNet customer service in Istanbul every day, sometimes twice.  Each time it's the same story.  We will report it to the engineers and they will call you.  They never do.   Finally, on Friday evening when Mr A had arrived back in Kas, he phoned an engineer in TTNet in Milas who he knows quite well.

This man came out to the house yesterday.  Checked all the wires outside.  Cut and reconnected and replaced some of them.  Finally making a cover to protect the wires from the rain from a small empty plastic water bottle.   Isn't Turkish technology wonderful?

So far it's improved.  I've lost connection briefly only twice in 24 hours.  Apparently he will call back in a few days, check the wiring again, and also the wires in the house.

We had a lot of rain yesterday.  It's great for the garden, but today the sun is out and it looks like this recent bout of bad weather just might be at an end.  And I'm off now to sit in the sunshine with my coffee.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Forward Planning

Yesterday was a good day.  The sun was shining and I had plans for a change.   I caught the dolmus into Milas and picked up some curtains that I ordered on Saturday for our large kitchen window ( it's 330cm x 220cm).  For the past five years I have put up with curtains that are much too short so I thought it was about time I got new ones.

I found a new curtain shop in Milas and the voile material in the colour I wanted.  At this point I was just going to get a quote, because I thought they might be too expensive.  I was shocked to learn that the curtains would be made up, with the heading and the clips, for a total of 50 lira (just over £14).  I checked and double checked the price, because I didn't want to order them then discover the price was wrong.  But it was correct.

The curtains are thicker than they look. They seem transparent because the sun is shining through, but you can't see through them from the outside.

I then walked up to the main road to the new Kipa supermarket where I met my friend David, who had driven over from his village near Mumcular, with four 15kg sacks of dried dog food which he had found for a special price which has saved me some money. He also donated a 10kg sack of food for the street dogs, as well as driving me home with the dogfood and my shopping.  I rewarded him with a bacon sandwich, and we sat and chatted in the sunshine for a while.  He also had the chance to meet all my dogs.  You can always tell a dog lover, because they all accepted him without fuss.

The "triplets" yesterday.  Photo by David Beavis

As mentioned in a previous post, we have cut back on the street dog feeding programme.  Although we will still regularly supply sacks of food to the café owner who is feeding the dogs on the estate, and I will be checking the village dogs regularly to make sure they are fed.

The pups need more vaccinations at the end of this month, and within the next couple of months they will need to be neutered.  As well as this, we will continue to give worm and flea treatments to as many dogs as possible.  We are continuing to monitor the situation with the man who has the mum and 7 pups, and Mehmet, our vet, knows someone who may take two of the puppies, which is good news.  We also want to get the mum spayed, and as many other females on the estate and in the village as possible.

We intend to start up the feeding programme again in October, finances permitting.  At the present moment, I am in a negative situation as far as money is concerned.  I have a regular income of £40 per month from committed donors,  and have had a few one-off donations, but I am now spending my own money to make sure that we can continue to give as much care as possible to those dogs that need it.  If any of you would like to commit yourselves to a couple of pounds a month, this would enable us to budget for immediate needs and to plan for the future, but any one-off donations would also be more than welcome.  The Paypal button is on the top of  this page.

You all know by now how much I hate to keep asking for donations, but if I don't we may reach a point where we have to stop doing what we can for the dogs.   Thankyou.

P.S.  Mr A is on his way home.  I am naturally delighted.  He's only been away for two weeks, but it seems like ages.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cut off

Yes I do sometimes feel like I'm cut off from the rest of the world, particularly when Mr A is away.  It seems that if there are any problems to be dealt with, they always materialise when he's not here.

I called into the vet's at the beginning of the week  to collect a booster vaccination for Tommy. I have given injections to the dogs before so am used to it.  However, Mr A has been doing them recently and is quite an expert.  When I attempted to inject Tommy, at the last moment he jumped.  The needle didn't go in, and the vaccine shot out all over the place.  So another trip to Milas was made on Wednesday to collect more vaccine.

 The weather has been pretty awful all week.  A couple of storms, rain, wind.  I caught the bus in between showers and hoped I could get there and back without getting wet.  Big mistake.  As I came out of the vet's there was a flash of lightening, a huge clap of thunder which almost knocked me off my feet, then torrential rain and hailstones.  My umbrella was a total waste of time.  

The roads flooded rapidly and I was up to my ankles in water.  Traffic passing was going way too fast so I was soon drenched from head to foot.  I struggled onto the dolmus, and sat dripping water all the way home, leaving a huge puddle on the bus when I got off.

I decided to leave the vaccine in the fridge until next Wednesday, as my friend David  is coming over and I thought it wise to get someone to hold Tommy  and avoid another wasted effort.  He phoned to say he had found some sacks of dog food at Tansas at a good price so is kindly bringing over 4 sacks for me. 

On Saturday it was very windy here, reaching gale force as the day went on, interspersed with a few showers.  Lots of plant pots were blown over, garden furniture had to be tied down, and worst of all I lost my internet connection.  It may not seem the end of the world to most people, but for me it's a lifeline when I'm here on my own.   I reported it to TTNet early yesterday morning and they said an engineer would phone me.  No-one phoned and I reported it again 7 hours later.  I managed about 2 minutes of connection every couple of hours, but finally gave up on it last night.   Mr A phoned some friends in the village and it seems everyone has been affected, and even though it is back on this morning, it's likely to be off again some time today when the engineers will be in the village to sort it out.

I did realise late yesterday afternoon, that even though I'm isolated, I can get help if I need it.   Mr A erected a shelter over the pups kennels, but the strong wind had ripped through one side and it was about to fly away.  Mr A phoned two friends in the village and within 10 minutes they were here, and fixed it the best they could, although it's a temporary measure, and will be sorted out later.  They also placed some very heavy planks of wood over the top to stop the cover moving.  However half an hour after they left, a huge gust of wind actually blew the wood off.  Thank goodness the pups were inside their kennel, or they could have been hurt, or worse.

Around 6pm I heard a car pull up outside.  I went out to find Mehmet the vet.  He knew I was on my own and decided to drop off two sacks of dogfood in case I ran out.  He also did Tommy's vaccination and then off he went.   This is out of his way, and he is such a busy man, that I was touched by his thoughtfulness.  With this food, and the 4 sacks David is bringing on Wednesday, I should be OK for the time being.

It's nice to know that people care, and are so thoughtful while my husband is away.   I later received a visit from my neighbour Sevke's granddaughter with a plate of Lokma (Turkish doughnuts) still warm and covered in syrup.   They were delicious with a cup of good filter coffee, sent to me from England by the lovely Janice.  Thankyou xxx

The weather is calm this morning, just a shower, which has now stopped.  Now for the big clean up in the garden.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Aims, Achievements, Objectives and Thanks

When I started rescuing dogs from the streets I never really thought about how things would turn out.

It started in a small way of course after Beki died when I just had Poppy.  We took in Megan, after feeding her outside for a few weeks.  She was accompanied every day by Sammy, who at that time belonged to the shepherdess down the lane, who clearly wasn't looking after him.  So we took him in as well.  Then Blondie appeared, like a skeleton, and in she came.  We felt we should stop, but then Freddie appeared.  I tried to ignore him, but it was no use and eventually he joined the others.

Then I read about Monty on the Facebook page of one of the rescue groups and we drove down to Gokova to collect him.  He was the ideal companion for Poppy, because she needed someone nearer her own size, and they got on so well.  A few months later Poppy died, and Monty seemed quite lost without her.  We then discovered Tommy, through another rescue group, who needed a home, and he came to join us.   He and Monty spend the day squabbling, but at night when they settle down in our bedroom, they cuddle up together, the best of friends.

Six dogs should be quite enough, and the whole winter has been spent adjusting the garden and the old house, to create areas for the big dogs and a room for them to sleep in.  Mr A has rebuilt walls, added chickenwire and made the garden safe for the dogs.   We now have only one area at the front which is dog-free, but it's sufficient for us!

Mr A had fed a few dogs in the village for quite some time, and continued to do so throughout last winter, but a lot of them had disappeared and we learned that they had been dumped on the industrial estate out on the main road.  We investigated and found more than 20 dogs there in desperate need of food.   So we started to feed them every day.   We also managed to give worm tablets, flea treatments and immune boosters to many of these dogs.

Then we found the mum and her litter of 12 pups in the shell of an old car on the estate.  We fed her as well but added extras like yogurt, cheese and milk.  Only seven of the pups survived.  We found homes for four, and brought three of them, Chas & Dave and Melek, home at 4 weeks old.  They are now 13 weeks old, and having purchased a kennel (which they are outgrowing at a rapid rate) we've adapted the old chicken coop as extra sleeping space.  A shelter has been erected over the two kennels to protect from the recent rain, and the sun which will be here pretty soon.

The aim really was to find people who were willing to take on a bit of the responsibility for the stray dogs in this area.   To a large extent, and to our pleasant surprise, we have achieved this.   The café owner on the industrial estate, who adopted one of the puppies, has been feeding the estate dogs with scraps from the café, supplemented by sacks of dried food which we have supplied.

We also wormed, flea treated, and provided vaccinations for not only his pup, but the 3 others re-homed and our 3 of course.

In recent weeks we discovered a mum and 7 pups on the outskirts of the village.  We have provided worm tablets, flea treated the mum, and supplied a large sack of dried food.  Mr A also helped him build a shelter for them all.  We will try to find homes for the pups, but the mum needs to be spayed.  If we can get the Belediye vet to do this it is the ideal solution, but it's proving difficult, so we may need to get her done with our vet.

So at this point decisions have to be made.   Our priority was to care for as many dogs as possible throughout the winter months when life on the streets is at it's harshest, and this we have achieved.  We took two bitches on the estate to be spayed, and attempted to do the same with the mum of our pups, but she had disappeared.  At the moment she remains elusive, coming and going, so it's difficult to arrange, particularly with Mr A being away.  But hopefully we can get it done in the near future.

Now we are into May, life on the streets is not so difficult for these dogs.  In tourist areas, the rescue groups stop feeding because there is more food available for them from cafes and restaurants.  The café owner on our industrial estate is busier now, and he has more scraps, so he will now not need as many sacks of food from us.   People in our village are now feeding scraps to the 6 or 7 dogs that are here, and again, we don't need to supply any dried food. 

It is, and always was, about education and encouraging people not to be afraid of the dogs, and helping them to learn that if they feed them, they will be grateful and will do them no harm.  Slowly, but surely, it seems to be working.

If it hadn't been for the donations we've received since the beginning of November, none of this would have been possible.   I can't even begin to express my gratitude to all you lovely people that have helped us with this.   A friend who gave the very first donation, and has continued to pay a regular amount each month, along with three more people, who have also committed themselves to monthly contributions.  This gives me £40 a month which enables me to budget for food.  The Facebook friend who held a raffle amongst her friends and donated the proceeds.  All  other donations have also helped buy food as well as worm tablets, flea treatments, vaccinations, immune boosters, etc.  Some people have donated several times.

 I am grateful to the group of expats in Bodrum who rallied round to collect blankets and towels at the start which have been so useful, along with a donation for the first two sacks of food.   A large quantity of pasta donated by another group in the Fethiye/Marmaris area, which was brought up to Milas by the husband of a Facebook friend.  Another kind lady who posted a large quantity of dog collars and leads to me from England, which we used for our dogs and the street dogs, with some left over, which were sold by the person who runs the Gokova rescue group, to help raise more funds.  This lovely lady does so much for the animals in her area, but also helps others, and she has already supplied me with worm tablets and a sack of food when we went to collect Monty. 

(I haven't mentioned individual names because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but you all know who you are and how much you have helped these grateful dogs)

So with the pressure being lifted somewhat as far as the feeding programme is concerned, I am now planning for the future.  The three pups will need further vaccinations, they will also have to be neutered in a few months time.  

Any further donations will be used for this, and also if possible to spay other dogs in the village and on the estate.   We will also be saving as much as possible for the start of next winter, when the feeding programme will begin all over again.

A HUGE THANKYOU to all of you from me, Mr A, and of course the dogs.