Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Keeping strays...or How a Dog from Istanbul Entered our Lives.

Gina from Istanbul
Good morning, dog lover!
Meet Gina.
This beauty came to us from Istanbul, Turkey, 8 years ago.

After our old Dutch Partridge Dog (Drentsche Patrijshond) had died from bowel cancer at 15 years old, we decided that we didn't want another dog. We both work, the kids were busy with school and hobbies, you know the drill.


The story starts when my Mum wanted a dog. She was 78 at the time, so we thought to get her a docile stray which wouldn't need too many walkies. So we took her to the local pound, which was full of huge machos and little ankle biters, none of which tickled her fancy. We had almost given up on the idea, but then our local newspaper featured a story about a woman in the village of Rockanje who devoted her life (and a substantial chunk of her salary) to adopting strays in Istanbul (of all places. People never cease to amaze me). She funded a pound in an abandoned school building there, and once every three months paid for a bunch of dogs to be flown over to our country. They were injected, checked, chipped; in fact ready to go.


So, we took Mum to a farm in Rockanje, which was running with dogs from Istanbul. Most of them were of a similar doggie type: floppy but smallish ears, all colours, long bushy tails, course hair. And most were not very pretty. But they all seemed happy to have moved from a hot chaotic street life to a cold damp quiet country life.
Whilst Mum was getting acquainted with a smallish 3 month old bitch who immediately sized her up and thought her a push-over (she is), we had a casual look around at the other dogs. They were enthusiastic, but nothing more. Until...
In the only ray of sunlight slanting down from an overcast November sky, there stood another pup, quietly watching us. She was a gorgeous fox colour. She watched us, I watched her. She kept her distance, so did I.
Then, when Mum had decided she was taking that feisty bitch home, I suddenly felt a wet nose in the palm of my hand. I looked down, and that lovely reddish-brown dog had snuck up to me and was looking up at me. Again, I thought she was gorgeous. But WE weren't adopting a dog, we were there for Mum. Right?
Now, that day, November 18th, happened to be the day we had put our old dog Freya to sleep 2 years previously. And when I watched that Turkish dog looking up at me, suddenly Freya was in my head, urging me to take her home.

Our Turkish lady

Long story short, we went back the next day to pick Gina up. She turned out to be terrified of men, all men, but especially men in leather coats. She came inside, hid under our dining room table and didn't come out from under there for days. She cringed and fled when my husband said a word. She cringed and fled for all sudden noises. She was afraid of water. She didn't want to drink from a bowl, only from the pond behind our house, or puddles. Which made drinking stressful, for she was afraid of the pond and the puddles. She hates the car with a passion, and throws up each and every time she gets in it.
But slowly, very slowly, she thawed. She became affectionate, but only in moments when it suited her. For instance, this dog doesn't acknowledge you when you come into a room. (This was a first for me, I'm used to being jumped at by all dogs everywhere).
And she's not very friendly to other dogs. Or other people. In fact, she is very effective in keeping people out of our garden. Hence the chain, but we've now put a new fence around the garden, so the chain is in the past.
The woman who runs the dog obedience school (we got our two certificates, oh yeah we did!) called her a traumatised Turkish lady. But she is our lady.