I love Istanbul! Even though we were only there for a few days, it was long enough for me to become completely smitten with the city, it’s citizens and especially it’s countless “homeless” animals. (Note: for those of you who don’t personally know me, I have a “thing” for animals. I have the utmost respect for creatures of all sizes, shapes and class. I find most humans to be selfish and tiresome — for me, animals are where it’s at.)
Istanbul’s relationship with it’s “homeless” animals is a very strange one. Even though the streets are literally filled with cats and dogs that appear ownerless, it quickly becomes apparent that although they don’t have homes, per say, they seem to be collectively taken care of by the people who live around them.
Istanbul’s battle with homeless animals has been going on for a very long time. In 1910 Sultan Mehmed V sent tens of thousands of dogs to a nearby island (in an attempt to “clean up” and westernize the city). Unfortunately, the dogs had no food source on the island and the residents of Istanbul could hear them howling from grief and hunger; many dogs even drowned trying to swim back to the city. In recent years there has been a push to once again relocate the dogs (this time to wooded areas outside the city limits)… once again, the same concerns are being raised.
I don’t want to dwell on the problem of “pet” overpopulation, I see it all the time in my own city and it pains me greatly. This small gallery of photos is meant to be a happy little homage to all the gentle, kind, fur-covered citizens that stole my heart while I walked Istanbul’s ancient streets. If I could, I’d bring them all back and give them a warm bed and endless bowls of food. Take care my friends!
For more on Istanbul’s homeless animal problem: http://www.dw.de/istanbuls-forgotten-dogs-struggle-for-survival/a-16997550
For a few pics of Istanbul, check out my husband’s travel blog: Istanbul, Turkey