A year has passed since our last entry. So much has happened since the shelter opened. The Mayor has embraced the facility & taken on more & more responsibility for the dogs. The municipality sign hangs proudly from the entrance gate while our name is in the clinic we provided & on the perimeter fence.
Nilufer is the shelter worker employed by the mayor along with other staff & does a first class job of caring for the dogs & donkeys with food support from us & clinical assistance when we are able to provide it.
Sadly donations have dipped significantly due to the cost of living crisis leaving us unsure of our future here. However, with the mayor showing more & more interest we are hoping that he will be able to fully commit to his obligations here leaving us free to replicate this wonderful place of healing & safety for dogs in need.
It has been an absolute honour to be part of this wonderful project. Dog Desk Animal Action has contributed more than £100,000 to the day to day running of the shelter & clinic so far & are incredibly proud of what has been achieved.
It is our hope that there will be another Mayor, NGO & animal advocate willing to take the time & care to follow the example given here so that other vulnerable dogs in Turkey will benefit from similar efforts.
11 security cameras are installed.
Apologies for the gap in diary entires, the last two weeks have been extremely hectic as the last details come together to get the shelter operational.
Our electric is now on & we have water. We don’t have unlimited taps around the compound, which covers a large area, so Nilufer has installed a nifty series of hose pipes around the compound to deliver a good supply of water to fill the drinking troughs & for cleaning the accomodation blocks.
Our lovely friends Duke & Jackie walked 1,000 miles for us in March & raised enough sponsorship to buy 20 food & water troughs for us. We are absolutely bowled over by the kindness they have shown the dogs. Until now our dogs have been eating out of old cooking pots. These troughs are brilliant. they are made from stainless steel & tilt for easy cleaning. Good shelter hygiene is absolutely vital to reduce disease & infection risk. 10 of them have adjustable legs which make life so much easier for our disabled dogs.
The troughs were delivered yesterday & I am waiting for pictures from Nilufer. She has worked until at least 10pm most nights, sometimes later as emergencies come in, so please be patient with us. I am at the very end of a very long queue with many dogs in front of me!
The moment we have all been waiting for happened this week. The dogs began moving in!
It was an emotional moment when Nilufer sent me this video. Three months ago the genocide in Turkey came to my attention, less than a month later I knew that I needed to do something more than awareness raising. I have to pinch myself today when I look at where we are now.
I am going to close this diary with a wonderful image of one of the dogs at risk from poisoning. An older lady who I have sponsored & called Annie. This is such a significant moment in our journey. The culmination of hard work, dedication & love given by so many people all over the world. Annie was the very first dog to choose a kennel. The first dog to lay claim on the shelter & call it home.
A million thanks to everyone who has supported us & the dogs. I won’t post again on this page. It’s time to close this chapter of the story & begin another.
The carpenter has done a fine job of the cabinets & wall cupboards in the clinic & kindly given us a very reasonable price too. It is wonderful to see it coming together so quickly.
Nilufer got in touch this morning & sent me some pictures of the first dogs to move in to the shelter. I have to say it was quite an emotional moment seeing dogs in the shelter after all the effort that has gone in to making it a good place for them to be. It has been a very hectic few days with the dogs moving in, the building work, the carpenter & several emergencies which have had us talking until very late some days agreeing on best ways forward for each case.
The final kennel delivery arrived this morning. We will need more kennels as new dogs arrive, but for now we have enough to open with.
The mayor has kindly provided 50 kennels which arrive next week. We have 72 dogs coming soon, our second intake, they have no kennels as yet. The 50 provided by the mayor will help to accommodate the new dogs.
The workmen have finished & gone, the carpenter is still working in the clinic on the cabinets & wall cupboards’
The dogs begin to move in tomorrow!
We had the carpenter in to the clinic yesterday to quote for the cabinets & wall cupboards. We are converting two small rooms in to one larger room which will be the operating theatre. The wall has been taken down & the painters are ready to go in. This space is about to be transformed in to something quite wonderful.
Nilufer had a very sweet surprise waiting for her yesterday morning when she arrived at the shelter. Despite being in a remote location unknown to most people a tiny puppy came bounding up to Nilufer as she got out of her car.
A friendly, bold little chap he made himself at home very quickly checking out all of the kennels, the buildings & the workers before he eventually ran out of energy & had a snooze.
Nilufer made me chuckle when she said that he was making sure his scent was everywhere. He might be one of our smallest residents but he is making sure that 500 other dogs catch a whiff of his scent & know right away that he is the boss as soon as they move in.
We called him Dominic in honour of animal advocate Dominic Dyer who stood up for the dogs of Turkey when other influencers & celebrities wouldn’t. We hope that Dominic the puppy will be very happy living with us.
He is 100% heallthy aside from the expected parasites with an added dose of mange which Nilufer is dealing with.
The last batch of kennels have been made & three truck deliveries booked to bring them to the shelter. Two trucks arrive this week & another next week.
Our second intake of dogs will arrive before the end of the month. 72 dogs will be coming to us, we don’t have kennels for them but the mayor has promised to buy 50 kennels which will cover the majority of the dogs. Given that some of the smaller bonded dogs & the puppies like to bunk in together we are crossing fingers that it will work out.
The name plaques for the kennels were delivered today along with the sign for the clinic. It’s so nice to see each step taking us closer to the realisation of what was just a dream literally a few months ago. Once the kennels are all painted the signs will be hung & we will wait to see which dog chooses to make the kennel their home.
It’s been non stop action at the shelter today.
The mayor arranged for contractors to repair faults in the walkways & the septic tank. The vans arrived this morning & the work has been going on all day & expected to conclude end of next week weather permitting.
Another truck full of kennels were delivered this morning, it’s always exciting watching them arrive. They make quite the statement loaded on to a huge truck stacked two high. Our carpenter has increased the price by £4 a kennel as timber prices have risen, Turkey has had a timber shortage for some time now so the increase hasn’t surprised us. The cost of fuel has also increased so we are trying to get everything in place as quickly as possible now to avoid further increases.
Today also saw the arrival of the painter who has been busy sanding, sealing & painting the kennels. They need to be sealed to make them weatherproof, the Turkish winters are hard even in the more temperate areas of Turkey. Maintaining them for the dogs will be ongoing. The name plaques have been ordered & are due in next week. They are weatherproof & have the name of the person who bought the kennel on them.
Tomorrow a wall in the clinic will come down changing two smaller rooms in to one large room. The space will be measured for cabinets, a vet sink & the vaccine fridge.
We are getting ever closer to being fully operational. Nilufer & I are full of high emotion, stress mixed with joy is a strange combination & I am happy to report that each of us is very good at steadying the other despite the language barrier.
We had a pleasant evening looking at nail clippers, brushes & combs, shampoo. it’s hard to comprehend that our dogs will never have had a bath or been brushed. We will need a good number of slip leads for when the dogs are needed to be moved from a to b.
We also discussed the need for some of the disabled dogs to have better quality drag bags & wheels. I am keen to get them assessed as soon as possible, how soon that will be remains to be seen as we are dependant on Dr V.
We are starting the week on a sombre note with regard to news coming out of Ukraine. It is heart breaking to say the least to hear that civilians are now targets in this murderous invasion. We find it incredulous that the Russian propaganda machine continues to justify Putin’s actions while making veiled threats to those who oppose his regime of horror. We are very glad that we opted for CIC status rather than charity when we discussed legal form with our solicitor. If we had chosen charity status we would have been gagged. I understand why charities are not allowed to have certain opinions but it is not in my nature to stand by & watch a bully destroy life & say nothing.
We watch from the sidelines as our peers bravely attempt deliveries of food & collect animals to bring to safety. Watching with huge pride as they deliver aid for humans too, drawing no lines between human & non-human life & risking their safety to do whatever they can to preserve all life. We could not be prouder of them.
The picture above shows our clinic supplies arriving. I had a peep at the clinic over the weekend & felt incredibly humbled. The clinic makes me acutely aware of the community spirit that exists among dog lovers all over the world who have come together to create this beautiful space. We are having a wall taken down this week to turn two smaller rooms into one big one & need to buy a couple of items of surgery furniture & a vet sink.
We now have the keys to the shelter!
We are running very slightly behind target with regard to moving the dogs in due to bank delays which could not have been anticipated. Some transfers are very fast while others take more time to process due to the random checks which keep us all safe when we move money around.
Our operating table arrived yesterday with the rest of the clinic equipment due tomorrow.
We had another truck of kennels delivered today.
Sanding, sealing & painting the kennels was proving to be more time consuming than we had hoped so we have found a pair of hands to help Nilufer who has ordered the kennel name plaques for you today as well as our clinic sign.
Apologies for the gap between diary entries, Putin’s attack on the Ukraine has disrupted normal routine here at Dog Desk Animal Action.
For several days we have had our shoulders to the wheel supporting our friends in the Ukraine with dog & cat food supplies. A tricky mission, attempted in collaboration with other interested parties, it has taken us away from the office, social media & normal life. For those interested in our efforts, they are still on-going & likely to be so until Putin sees sense & stands down. An important note to add is that we have not used Dog Desk Animal Funds in any way to assist dogs & cats & their families in the Ukraine. All involved have given their goods & services without charge, including us.
Good news regarding the clinic in Turkey. Supplies are due to be delivered on 4th March. More updates on that as it happens.
Our Meet The Dogs page is ready to go live shortly. We were forced to re-build our website due to the volume of images which will eventually sit on the system. We have tried to keep everything in the same kind of format for you, we hope you approve.
While getting the meet the dogs page ready & trawling through the volume of pictures Nilufer sent I was reminded of exactly why we were compelled to help in Turkey. The abandoned dogs of Turkey have so little. Rescue as we know it does not exist. Homeless dogs are treated like vermin with few kind people willing to help them. Just this weekend we had a dog in who had been shot from behind while running away. The x-rays were heart breaking, the amount of lead peppering his rump & sitting shy of spinal cord is shocking. He actually came to us because he had been in a road traffic accident. He is being treated. Another little dog arrived suffering from cannabis disease. We have no idea if this was intentional or an accident. Without shelters like ours these dogs would remain targets on the streets suffering from their ailments & injuries until death took them.
The shelter project is absolutely vital, we cannot fail them.
We spoke to our vet Dr V yesterday, he will be coming to the clinic regularly to care for our dogs, he will also be tasked with the spay & neuter in our clinic. Dr V has been working with Nilufer for a considerable length of time & is well known as a good vet who has considerable care for the plight of homeless dogs. Not all vets in Turkey feel this way, some will not treat them, so we are very fortunate to have a vet as commited to them as Dr V is.
While we feel blessed to have secured this shelter collaboration which will give security to so many dogs, I want to be as proactive as I can in dealing with companion animal homelessness in Turkey. Those of you who know me will know how much I support spay & neuter beside education as a way to reduce suffering. Rescue is absolutely vital but without sterilisation & education it is no more efficient at dealing with the problem than a plaster is at stemming the flow of an arterial bleed.
Dr V & I will be creating a roadmap to spay & neuter & outreach & hope that you will support our ambitions to tackle the root cause of the suffering. Please watch out for updates on this programme & it’s launch.
Nilufer took the first delivery of kennels today. After concerns from our carpenter that he would miss the first deadline 100 kennels were delivered to the shelter today.
Nilufer will begin sealing them & painting them while I spend the weekend shopping for name plaques to get engraved & sent over to her. Many of the kennels will have the name of the person or dog whose donation paid for them.
Funds will be sent to our carpenter again on Monday so that he can deliver the next 100.
Payments to Turkey are not always smooth or fast, we are learning to aquire the patience of saints or as close as we can get to it & Nilufer is a blessing.
We are absolutely delighted to have hit target on the clinic fundraiser. We have enough funding to do a basic clinic kit out. The dogs will be sterilised by our visiting vet & minor injuries & illnesses will be able to be treated onsite.
We will have the invoice from the vet supplies warehouse sent over the weekend for payment on Monday.
Thank you so very much to everyone who has supported this. The clinic is a vital start up component & a promise we made in exchange for the opportunity to use the shelter premises.
While we appreciate that pregnant mum’s will arrive it is absolutely vital that no hanky panky occurs at the shelter.
We were tagged in a post needing urgent care for this at risk dog.
He was dumped at the roadside with his kennel wearing this harness & had been whimpering & calling for the person who dumped him there.
I reached out to our partner Nilufer to see if there was a possibilty that we could take him despite the shelter not being ready yet.
Of course she said yes.
Our Turkish animal defender friends texted for transport which was secured & arranged that same day.
The dog (no name yet, sorry) arrived safely with Nilufer this morning & has settled well & quickly.
The pack have accepted him without any drama. He has played a bit, explored, eaten a meal & settled down for a long sleep.
Our kennel delivery has been delayed. Nilufer had a conversation with our extremely apologetic carpenter.
We did think that building so many kennels in such a short space of time was perhaps being too optimistic, so the delay hasn’t surprised us at all.
Nilufer has been keeping an eye on the build for us & is very happy with the size & quality of the kennels. When our original carpenter let us down it created an epic bump in the road especially because we had such a difficult time finding a replacement carpenter. But, actually we are a lot happier with these kennels. So everything has turned out well.
Dogs Poisoned In Bilecik /Golpazari
Dogs are being illegally hit with poison darts during the night in this municipality. We hope to take dogs in if there are any still alive.
In our town, municipality is collecting our dogs illegally. That are using anesthesia without Veteriner! Here is Bilecik/Gölpazari! They are shooting without medical license. This is illegal. We cannot stay on the streets in the night every night. Major @hayrisuer stop it!!! pic.twitter.com/XqxnQo2MGh— Bağımsız Patiler Derneği-Official (@BagimsizPatiler) February 10, 2022
We had an interesting question today on social media. We were asked why we weren’t setting up a free roaming sanctuary.
In an ideal world we would love to be in a position to do that but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world, these dogs are living in a country whose leaders don’t want them there.
Since Christmas day we are getting regular reports of dogs being drugged & buried alive, poisoned, shot, beaten to death & abandoned in forests & rubbish tips to starve to death.
I have had death threats & threats of physical harm for raising awareness in the early days & also for helping the dogs & animal advocates in Turkey.
Rescue is not welcome, rescuers are not welcome & dogs are not welcome.
Just yesterday we were told that a mayor instructed that a van full of dogs to be thrown off the edge of a cliff.
We are operating in a very difficult environment & are totally grateful that we have found a mayor willing to accept our support.
The focus of our work right now is to keep as many dogs alive as we can. Just now our rescuer was called to the pit bull in the pictures. She has a broken forearm, mutliple lacerations & a fractured skull. He is safe with our vet. Nobody will be prosecuted & if it were not for us the dog would have nowhere to go. He would lie where he was found & die a slow & painful death.
She is not an isolated incident, abuse & brutality are a daily occurence at the moment. Two days ago Nilufer took in a female dog in a very poor way, she has been the victim of a violent sexual assault. I will not share images as they are too distressing.
Nilufer will paint the kennels in bright cheerful colours & I am to arrange the plaques for them as each one will have the name of the person who bought it attached to it. I have to reach out to folks individually for consent to get the plaques engraved & off to Turkey because of GDPR rules & will be doing that starting next week.
Nilufer has promised us pics & videos which I am extremely grateful for because I know how busy she is.
Yesterday we met with our first bump in the road.
As explained in my previous entry we had a gentlemans agreement for a carpenter to make 600 kennels for us at £22 each & deliver them to Lapseki at the end of February. To our horror the carpenter bailed leaving us with no kennels & a clock ticking very loudly.
Nilufer & I spent most of the day being turned away by every carpenter we approached for all the reasons mentioned in my previous post. Just when it was looking completely hopeless we found somebody who could provide us with good quality kennels within our timeframe.
Unfortunately they are a little bit more expensive than our previous carpenter had quoted but we are stuck with it. If we can’t get kennels in to the shelter within the time frame the project fails, we don’t open & the dogs do not get the help they need.
The kennel fundraiser has closed as it reached it’s target, we will not ask you to contribute any more to the kennel campaign than we agreed with you when we set the kennel fundraiser up. We hope to make the shortfall up through trading. One of the big high street brands has donated a quantity of dog beds to us & others have come forward today with offers of help which has felt like divine intervention.
Our new carpenter can deliver 100 kennels a week to the shelter & is happy to work with us on an on-going basis. Nilufer has checked out the size & quality of the kennels & is very pleased with them, they are considerably bigger & better than the kennels we had first agreed on. Our dogs are mostly large & extra large breeds so it is important that the kennels are a good size.
We had the final price for the clinic set up this morning & an itemised account of equipment & drugs needed which comes in at considerably more than expected. We are working on reducing the costs over the next few days. Again we won’t ask you to contribute a penny more than we asked when we set the clinic fundraiser up. We will find the shortfall.
Thank you for all your lovely messages & helpful suggestions, it has been really nice reading them & gives us the encouragement that we need to keep on battling away against the odds for these poor, innocent dogs tossed away like rubbish. If you would like to help us create a planning team for future fundraisers or income streams to support the dogs we would be absolutely delighted to hear from you. We can also find a job for someone who is happy to go hunting around the internet sourcing goods & services & if you can speak Turkish that would be a massive bonus.
Turkeys War On Dogs
We were among the first to learn that the Turkish President had made a speech which would see hundreds of thousands of homeless dogs across Turkey persecuted in what has been described as dog genocide.
Two owned dogs attacked & seriously injured a child, her life hung in the balance. The President ordered dogs to be taken from the streets & moved to municipal shelters. Unfortunately municipal shelters are few & far between & those that do exist have a dreadful reputation for abuse.
Having watched with horror videos of drugged dogs being buried alive, dogs shot, beaten, posioned & abandoned in remote forests & rubbish tips we couldn’t sit by & do nothing.
It was clear that dogs removed from the streets & abandoned in remote areas needed food & that NGO’s who had taken in as many dogs as they could needed help with increased food costs so we set up a food donation programme to help the NGO’s cope with the crisis.
As we became familiar with the rescuers we noticed how little the dogs had. One thing that stood out was the lack of kenneling. Many shelters had cobbled together huts as best they could from pallet wood covered with waterproof material.
A fundraiser was set up to raise funds to replace the makeshift shelters with kennels robust & fit for purpose to keep the dogs warm & dry.
Just a few days later, one of the rescuers we were supporting made us aware of a possible way to make a lasting impact for some of the dogs living in such terrible circumstances. A municipal shelter had been built & never used. A vast space with several buildings including one that could be used for a vet clinic. You can see that shelter in the video below.
This presented so many possibilities. Space to offer vulnerable dogs refuge. A place where they could be sterilised & receive medical care. Somewhere they could be safe from people who wanted to hurt them. After a great deal of back & forth & much deliberation it was decided that we would play a major role in turning this beautiful but empty space in to a place of sanctuary for as many of the dogs as we could.
The mayor was extremely helpful, our rescuer is an amazing lady who works hard, she is diligent & has unquestionable integrity & passion.
We are aware that while this project is very much needed & has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of dogs, it is a massive responsibility.
Getting the shelter up & running as of 8/02 requires 2 key elements.
We need to get the clinic up & running so that the dogs can be sterilised, vaccinated, treated for parasites & receive medical care. This is our second hurdle & the focus of our attention now.
Costs for a project such as this are vast.
Start up kennel costs are £13,200 (which has been raised but is insufficient, read on)
Initial clinic costs have been quoted at £9,312 (this is for a very basic set up which will need more investment, the final quote was horribly more than the estimate)
The dogs also have long term care plans which we will explore in greater detail down the track.
I hope that the brief explanation brings everyone up to speed on events.
We will be updating regularly here & welcome your questions which you can email to email@example.com
Today we had the kennel maker bail on us which was a major blow after having a genetlemans agreement for the supply of 600 kennels at £22 each delivered by the end of February which is a mere three weeks away. Without kennels the project can’t get off the ground, so you can imagine what a worry it was when every carpenter told us that they were either having supply problems, couldn’t manufacture in our timeframe, were priced completely out of budget or didn’t want to take on such a big job.
Thankfully we found a solution after a very fraught day.
Tomorrow will bring the itemised clinic kit out costs.
I do hope I have answered any questions you may have. Please get in touch if I haven’t & thank you so much for being the lovely, kind, supportive people you are.