Tuesday, 30 September 2014

8 months

On this day exactly 8 months ago on our morning trip to the industrial estate to feed the many dogs there, we discovered a mum with 12 pups, born during the previous night, living in the shell of an old car.  We cleaned out all the broken glass and rubbish from the car, put down towels, fed the mum extra food, and watched carefully over the coming days.

Only 7 of the pups survived.  We found homes for four of them, having treated them for worms and fleas, and given initial vaccinations, and the other three pups came to live with us at just 4 weeks old,  to join the rest of my rescued family...making a total of 9 dogs.

They have since received all their vaccinations and their pet passports, and  like all my rescues, have been neutered.

And now these gorgeous dogs, Chas & Dave and Melek, are 8 months old.  They are a real handful and quite naughty, but so lovable.  I wouldn't be without them for the world.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Super fleas

Firstly, I am now back on proper internet as of yesterday.  5 days without connection and lots of phone calls to TTNet, which didn't help at all.  The excuses this time were, "it's your modem",    "the engineers were updating the system", "there's a problem in your area, the engineers are working on it, please wait".  Just take your pick.  TTNet customer service never have a clue what's going on, so they make it up as they go along.

 Being disconnected also makes me realise how isolated I am, and how I have come to rely on the internet for social interaction.   I really do need to get more of a real life.

Thankyou for comments on my previous posts, and apologies for not replying to them.  I have a lot of catching up to do, so forgive me, and I will get back to normal as soon as possible.

The village dogs:  There are still 5 dogs in the village.  Either the others were taken by the Belediye to the shelter, or removed or worse.  I have no idea because no-one is talking.  The dogs that remain have certainly not been to the shelter and neutered as they have no ear tags.  I am continuing to feed them and hoping to find a solution as soon as Mr A finishes work in a couple of weeks.

So...fleas.   All of my 9 dogs have them.   Lots of them.  There seems to be a new type of flea this year.  A super flea which is indestructible.  I have used sprays, spot on solutions, shampoos, paraband collars, etc etc.  Nothing seems to be working.

I had a long conversation with my vet last night to see if there was any other way to deal with this problem.  He has recommended another spot on treatment which is more effective.  I am getting 15 doses of this because Monty and Tommy will only need half a dose, so I will have enough to do the village dogs.   I'm also getting two kinds of liquid which have to be mixed with water and sprayed inside the house and in the garden.

I am collecting all this stuff from the clinic this morning.  At this point in time I have no idea what it will all cost, but it's a problem that needs immediate action.

My fund is more or less depleted.  I recently bought up the last of some 15kg sacks of dog food in Tansas which were on offer at 39.99 lira a sack.  It was too good an opportunity to miss and I have enough to hopefully last for the next couple of months.

Thankyou again everyone who has donated.  Without your help it would be impossible to continue.  If anyone else would like to help, you will find the Paypal button at the top of this page.  Anything you can manage, no matter how small, will be so gratefully received.   Thankyou.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A quick post

In fact a very quick post.  I still have no internet connection.  This is day 3 and I have no idea when it will be restored.  I m currently using an old dongle which I reactivated.  It was very complicated and I lost 35 lira within 5 minutes of use, then loaded another 35 lira.  It's pretty useless and my connection is intermittent.  Even when I am connected it will just disconnect quickly, usually when I'm in the middle of something.  It may happen with this post of course.

I'm still feeding dogs in the village although have only seen 4 in the last few days.  I'm still not certain whether any of the others were taken to the Belediye shelter, but no doubt I will find out soon.

Thankyou to those who have left comments and apologies for not replying to them, but I did make several attempts and was disconnected.

I hope to be back to normal soon.....fingers crossed.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


I have had no internet connection since yesterday (Friday) afternoon.  TTNet as usual cannot tell me when the problem will be fixed.

Mr A was supposed to be having a rare day off on Sunday, but decided to take yesterday instead.  He had received a phone call from the doctor who visits the village once a week with a message from the devlet hospital, saying that I needed to go there with proof of rabies vaccination for the dog that bit me on 13th.  If I didn't turn up, the the police would come to get me.

We visited the hospital, had the paperwork checked, and established that I didn't need to continue with the rabies vaccinations.  However, I was informed that the belediye (council) vet would be visiting our house to check out the dog.  If only they could show this amount of concern for the street dogs, who are not vaccinated, rather than my dogs who are.

I'm not criticising the system.  It's good that they are trying to prevent the spread of rabies, but surely the priority should be to vaccinate the street dogs who are most at risk.

And the village dogs...who the Muhtar said had been collected by the Belediye?  Well it seems he was lying.  I have been awake most of the night because some of the village dogs have been running up and down past our house.  So they are still here.  My feeling is that the Muhtar wanted to stop Mr A complaining.  By saying they had gone, he assumed I would stop putting down food for them, and that they would just go away.  Well they haven't...and I will continue to feed them until we are able to solve the problem.  How we will do that, I have no idea at the moment.

In spite of regular flea treatments, Monty and Tommy have fleas...lots of them.  I showered and shampood them yesterday, flea combed, and applied more treatment.  This morning I will do the same with the three pups.  Monty has been scratching his ear all night and it's very sore.  I have cleaned it and applied ear drops.  He has sensitive skin so perhaps this was caused by the shampoo.  If it doesn't clear up, we'll see the vet.

Because Mr A has been here since yesterday, I have been able to connect my laptop to his mobile phone to use the internet.  That in itself wasn't easy...very frustrating, because neither of us are particularly computer literate, and with much trial and error we did it.   But he will be back to work in an hour or so, and then I will be disconnected again.  TTNet are useless.  I phoned three times yesterday, and they know nothing.  They tell you nothing.  They just say they have reported it to the engineers...thanks for calling....have a nice day....aaargh!

Just to top it all, frustration and tiredness have as usual made me clumsy.  I tripped up the balcony step and bruised my leg, dropped my mobile phone twice (luckily no damage), and spilt a whole cup of coffee on the cream coloured carpet in the sitting room.   Oh and I discovered the chicken I bought in Milas yesterday for dinner was off, so we ended up with just roasted vegetables.

Maybe today will be certainly can't get much worse.

See you soon....I hope!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Never give up

No sooner do I do a blog post today saying I have nothing to write about, than I get some news.

Those of you who follow my blog regularly will know that Mr A has been persistently badgering the manager of Milas council concerning the dogs in our village.  For months Mr A has put pressure on the manager to push the council vet to do the job he is supposed to do, and that is to implement the TNR programme (trap, neuter and release).  We were getting nowhere with this vet.  Our village has become the responsibility of Milas council since the beginning of the year, and we did manage to get two female dogs from the industrial estate spayed with the council vet at the end of last winter.  The vet had promised to neuter one dog a week, but he didn't honour his promise.

Since then we have taken several dogs that were most vulnerable to the Milas shelter ourselves.  In the meantime, I continued to feed the dogs in the village, and Mr A continued to apply pressure on the one point even taking the problem to the Governor of Mugla Province.

This week as usual I have been going down into the village every other morning to feed the dogs.  During the school holidays they were to be found in the school playground.  However, the children started back at school this week, so the dogs had been chased away at the end of last week.  Last weekend was the last time I saw all the dogs.  They were on waste ground opposite the school.   When I went down on Tuesday morning, there was just one dog.  I fed her, and left the remaining food for the others should they appear later.

This morning there were no dogs at all.  I left the food in the usual place.  Mr A has been trying to ring the Muhtar to find out where the dogs are.  It seems the Muhtar has also been trying to contact him, but they keep missing each other.

Finally this evening Mr A came home and spoke to the Muhtar.  The dogs were all collected this week by Milas council and taken to the shelter.  We have been informed that they will all be neutered and vaccinated and at some point returned to the village.

I can't quite believe this has happened.  It's what we had hoped for, and I guess I won't really believe it until the dogs reappear with their eartags to indicate they have been neutered.  If/when we reach that point, we will continue to feed them regularly (every day throughout the winter) and keep them healthy.

Meanwhile, we will be looking out for any other dogs that arrive in the village.  It's not unusual to find them dumped here.  When that happens we will take them to the Milas shelter ourselves if we can.

The next challenge will be to get the Milas vet to neuter as many of the industrial estate dogs as possible.

This work is never-ending.  Sometimes we despair and feel that no-one is listening.   But today we have proved that we should never give up fighting for these dogs.

Our winter feeding programme will commence in earnest at the end of October, and if we are to continue to feed as many strays as possible, we need your help.   If you would like to donate something (no matter how small) please go to the Paypal button at the top of this page.  Thankyou so much to everyone who has donated so far.  I am sure you are as happy as I am to know that we are gradually making progress.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Figs and allergies

It's a week since I last posted and I am finding it so difficult to think of things to write about at the moment.  I do feel though that I have to make an effort or I will give up altogether.

Our fig tree is producing lots of fruit now, but I'm unable to use as much of it as I'd like to.  I am allergic to fig leaves.  If my skin touches them I come out in an itchy rash.  I've tried wearing long sleeves and latex gloves, but somehow my skin reacts and I still get a rash.

I picked as many as I could last week and made several pots of fig jam.  I have also had to cut back some of the branches because Melek is climbing up and grabbing the fruit.  She is also trying to jump over the chicken wire into the top garden.   Chas and Dave are watching and attempting to copy her.

Mr A did manage to get here one night this week, very tired, and went straight to sleep.  . He was up at 6.30am and was about to pick some more figs, when we noticed Melek again trying to climb over the fence.  So he spent the next two hours cutting back bigger branches off the fig tree, and fixing chickenwire on  higher posts to stop Melek escaping.

He threw the branches over the fence into the top garden to sort out later.  It wasn't until he had set off for work that I discovered he hadn't secured the gate to the top garden and the three pups and Monty had pushed it open where  I found them an hour later, all tucking into figs.   Needless to say they all had upset stomachs within the next 24 hours!

The weather is still quite hot but noticeably cooler than the past few weeks which is a relief.  It will soon be the end of the season and Mr A will return home.  We don't really know what he will do next.  We have a few ideas but nothing definite.

In the meantime, there is a chance that he will have a whole day off on Sunday.  He did suggest a boat trip from Bodrum, but I really don't like the tourist boat trips, which often consist of loud music and people getting drunk.  If it's still hot we may go to Gulluk and swim.  We'll see.  I'm not making plans because nothing is definite until it actually happens.

So back to allergies.  I've been allergic to penicillin for as long as I can remember, but that's not an unusual allergy.

Is anyone else allergic to fig leaves?    I also get a similar, but milder,  to geranium leaves.  Do you have any  unusual allergies?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A dog bite and Rabies jabs

Those of you on Facebook may have noticed my status last night.  I was bitten quite badly on my finger by Melek.   It was quite by accident and not her fault.  I was giving the pups a snack around 8.30pm.  I forget how big they are getting and Melek jumped to grab the snack from my hand and got my finger instead.

I had an x-ray at the hospital, a tetanus jab and the first in a course of Rabies jabs.  It's this that is really the purpose of this post.  To make it clear what should happen in Turkey if you get bitten by a dog or cat.

Mr A came over from Bodrum and took me to the small private hospital A&E in Milas centre.   The doctor there said that I must have a rabies jab.  We explained that I was bitten by my dog who, along with all my dogs, has had rabies vaccination.

He said it didn't matter, that latest Government legislation insists we have the rabies jabs anyway, but that they have to be done at the devlet (government) hospitals.  So we set off to the devlet hospital outside Milas.

We also told the doctor there that our dog had been vaccinated.  He said as we had no proof, then I would be given the first jab.  I was given a form with the dates for the remainder of the course, which he said should be done at the devlet hospital outpatients clinic.  However, he did say that if I took the dog's kimlik (pet passport) to the clinic to show proof of vaccination, then I wouldn't have to have the remaining jabs

So I am assuming by all this that if I had thought to take the dog's kimlik with me, then I wouldn't have had to have the 1st jab.  (Although it does slightly contradict what the doctor at the private hospital said).

As usual, nothing in Turkey is completely straightforward, but I would advise anyone who is bitten by a cat or dog and the skin is broken, to get it checked out and if it is an unvaccinated animal, then get the course of rabies jabs.  Apart from the rabies risk, there is always a chance of infection, and tetanus jabs should be done every 10 years.

 If you are bitten by a vaccinated animal, take the kimlik with you to the hospital, and you may avoid the rabies jabs altogether.

Many of you may already know all this, but just in case you don't, I thought it worth mentioning.

My bite wasn't stitched by the way.  The doctor said fingers heal faster without stitches.  I hope this is true, because it actually looks a lot worse today.  I have found a few steristrips in my first aid box, which I am currently using to keep the wound together.   Fingers crossed (excuse the pun) that this does the trick!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ignorant village mentality

This was my status on Facebook early yesterday morning, posted in anger as you can probably tell.

"Just trying to feed a hungry street dog outside my house and the neighbour Sevke comes out and starts throwing stones at it. I hate these f***ing people. I then picked up a stone and made it clear if she threw another one, then I would throw one at her.
Then she proceeds to go on and on about my dogs barking last night. Firstly, it was the noise from her loud guests that caused them to bark, and secondly she should be thankful my dogs act as a deterrent to foxes and other predators, and so protect her chickens.
I hate having to deal with all this on my own. These so-called religious people (and she is one) who pray five times a day are bloody hypocrites.
........and breathe!"

There were a lot of angry words exchanged...mine mostly English swear words...which even though she doesn't understand, actually makes me feel a whole lot better.

This dog is a very placid soul.  He is the only one out of the village dogs who actually approaches me when I go to feed them.  He is not scared of me at all.   He is very trusting and perhaps this is his problem.  It makes him an easy target, and I fear for his safety.   He tries to follow me home every time I go to the village but I gently shoo him away.

Yesterday though he made his own way up to the house and sat waiting patiently for me to appear.  I went down to throw some food over the fence at the front of the garden for him,  resulting in the altercation with Sevke.  Her daughter came out and eventually they both went back into their house.

The dog stayed outside all day.  He was no trouble at all.  I made a couple of attempts to bring him into the garden.  I managed to brush him, apply flea treatment and gave him worm tablets, but it was clear that he and the other dogs would not get on, so he was anxious to go outside again.  He lay in the shade of the wall.  Chickens passed him from time to time and he didn't bat an eyelid.  Quite unusual for a street dog as they normally chase chickens.

The biggest problem was when he moved.  This set all 9 of my dogs barking.   This would clearly cause more of a problem with the neighbours so something needed to be done.   I fed him again in the afternoon at the same time as my dogs.   

Mr A planned to come home last night, and then the car broke down.  Fortunately he got a friend to fix it and arrived home around 8.30 pm.  While I was in the shower around 6.30pm I heard all the dogs barking.  I ran to the window and noticed an old lady from up the hill walking down and the dog running away.  I think it's possible she threw stones at him too.

Mr A went to talk to Sevke.  He remained calm, but said that we were not prepared to tolerate her behaviour towards animals.  I think he tried to educate her rather than have a go at her, which resulted in an apology, so obviously this method seems to do the trick.   We'll see...I don't entirely trust her.

He then set off down to the village to search for the dog.  He found him but it seems the dog is afraid of men and Mr A couldn't get near him.  He phoned me and I went down.   I spent half an hour gently stroking him and coaxing him, and managed to get a lead on him.  Then I lifted him into the car.

Mr A then took him to Milas shelter.  Of course it's not ideal.  I would have liked to have kept him, but it just wasn't possible.  At least now he is safer than being in the village.

I shed a lot of tears yesterday.  I don't like confrontation.   I hate the attitude here towards these dogs and I feel so sad and overwhelmed by it all.  But today's another day, and I have to try to get past the bad experiences and move on.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The chicken war

It was inevitable that the chickens in this village would cause trouble.

There are just far too many of them. 

Dursune, the neighbour to my left is completely over-run with chickens.  The hens have chicks.  The chicks grow up and they have chicks, and so on.  She doesn't eat any of them or dispose of them, and they just run riot.

They are in and out of her garden all day, up and down the hill past our gate, which sets our dogs barking.  She attempts to gather them all up in the afternoon and put them away safely, but some get left behind.  They wander past the gate during the night...which makes the dogs bark...which keeps me awake.

Sevke, to my right, didn't have chickens until her daughter and granddaughter moved in with her last year, and they brought their chickens with them.   The hens have had chicks...they grew up...had chicks...and so on.   The chicks can squeeze through the chickenwire surrounding our garden.   They eat tomato plants, melons, flowers, in fact anything that's edible.   The dogs see them at the top of the garden, and they bark at them.   I have to encourage the chicks back into their own garden for fear that they will come too close to my dogs and the result will be a bloodbath.

There is a woman just down the hill past Dursune's house who also has chickens, who have chicks, who have chicks...well you know the story by now.

This afternoon there was utter confusion down the hill.  This woman's chickens and Dursune's chickens all got together for a bit of socialising.

When it came to both women calling their chickens home, all hell broke loose.  I could hear the raised voices and screaming, and I went down to the front garden to see what was happening.   They were each  accusing the other of trying to steal their chickens.  One would call the chickens whilst the other insisted that they were not hers, and vice versa.

I have no idea how either of them could tell which chickens were theirs...they all look the same to me.

This went on for about 10 minutes, and the chickens, clearly confused by what was happening, all set off in the opposite direction into the garden of a derelict house, which was very overgrown.   Which meant that both Dursune and the other woman had to wade through the weeds and brambles to find them.

That was an hour ago.  I've heard nothing further since......

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The end of the season... just around the corner.  The tourist season that is.  The season lasts longer in
some areas but generally it can be anytime between the end of September and the end of October.

The last time I mentioned Mr A and work on here, he was in Kas, having been back and forth between there and Gumbet.  I find it hard to keep up with his movements so you are forgiven if you don't!

Every summer for the past few years has been the same.  He only manages to secure jobs which  just pay commission, which means having to work 16 or 17 hours a day, 7 days week with little or no time off.

At least when he is in Gumbet he tries to get home once a week, but when he goes further afield it's impossible.

Also every year without fail he exchanges his motorbike for a car, which leaves him having to pay the difference over several months.  And also each year until now, by the time the season finishes, he hasn't earned quite enough, so the car is returned or sold and replaced with a motorbike.

Having returned to Kas, he stayed there for just two weeks, returning home last Friday evening.  After a few hours sleep he was back in Gumbet.  The to-ing and fro-ing seems ridiculous, but in one way he has just followed the money.  Finally, on his return home, he managed to pay the last of the money for the car.   So for once we won't have to drive on a motorbike into Milas, in the pouring rain in winter, and then struggle back with several bags of shopping.

So now he has between 20 and 30 days left to work in Gumbet before finishing for the winter. I doubt he will earn a huge amount of money during this time, but it will leave us in a much better position than previous winters.   He also plans to go to Istanbul to work for a couple of months when I return from my trip to England on 2nd November.  He wants to earn money for work that has to be done in the garden to make it more dog friendly.  Areas have to be cemented and a strong fence erected.

After this, his aim is to get out of tourism altogether.  If only his father would sign the tapu (deeds) of the house and land in the village over to us, then we could sell the land and set up a small business, which would give us some security for the future.  This is not going to happen...we have tried everything to persuade my father-in-law, but he won't be moved.  As always he has to be in control.

Mr A has a few ideas about how we could start a business which wouldn't involve a huge cash outlay, but these are just ideas at the moment, and it may mean that he needs to work for the whole winter in Istanbul to earn enough to make this possible.

The weather is slightly cooler at the moment, but humidity is still high, so it's uncomfortable.  There was some rain in Bodrum last night apparently, but unfortunately it missed us here.

A few days ago when I made my regular trip down to the village to feed the dogs, there were none around.  I spent nearly an hour searching for them without success.  I left food in different places hoping they would find it, but I was concerned and feared the worst.

Thankfully, wherever the dogs had disappeared to, they have returned.  This morning they were in the school playground as usual.  I am conscious of the fact that the children go back to school soon, and the dogs will be chased away....and this could well mean them having stones thrown at them, or worse, so this morning I spent time encouraging them out of the playground.   Gradually they came out and I put the food down away from the school.   This is quite a breakthrough, because the dogs are now beginning to trust me. 

I am currently getting through almost 20kg of dried dog food each week for my 9 rescues and the village dogs, together with around 4 kg of pasta, and 4 tins of wet food.  And I use olive oil in the food which I have discovered does wonders for dogs with skin disorders.  When Monty came to us, he had been on medication for his skin was very red, sore and itchy.  The medication didn't work, but since he has had olive oil in his food every day, his skin is now completely clear.

I also have vet bills to pay for flea treatments, worm tablets, and other things that crop up.   I am as always thankful for the donations I receive which enable me to continue to help as many dogs as possible.  I hope to start feeding the dogs on the industrial estate again in October, so of course any donations will be gratefully received.   Thankyou.

PS  I am having problems with commenting on other blogs at the moment.  Sometimes it's possible, and sometimes it's not.  Just letting my blogging friends know that I am still following your blogs, even though I don't always comment.