The Well Behaved Pets of Turkey

I have loved all of my animals but some have been a bit of a trial – Oscar the Great Dane ate a sofa, a whole one.  Jazz the golden retriever was so thick he regularly ran straight into road signs and was often to be seen bouncing off the village name sign back home in Wales.  Coke, the chocolate Labrador was so highly sexed you picked his sticky blanket up with tongs and boil washed it.  He specialised in passionately making love to his blanket whenever anyone visited.  Kimi the Maine Coon was less embarrassing apart from when she was in season at which point she would writhe wantonly on her back in front of any male in the house – totally grossed out my daughter who was 11 at the time. 

So, despite being well loved, all my pets have produced more their fair share of trouble and bad behaviour in addition to the usual accidental deposits of assorted bodily fluids and lumps.  So when I decided to adopt a dog in Turkey I expected the usual problems.  And got less than I expected.  Shadow arrived as a year old adolescent fresh from scrounging a living on the streets of Bodrum – she has never messed in the house, she generally comes when called, the worst thing she has ever done is dig up the flower border. 

I thought I was just lucky with her and it was down to her sweet nature and so when we decided to take in Vinnie our coyote like street dog I expected the worst as he had never even been in a house.  Not a single problem!  Never an accident, comes when called, guards the house and distinguishes known friend from unknown person approaching, never steals food, never chews anything….a perfectly well behaved house dog who spent his entire life up until last year living under a trailer!

Next to arrive was Evils, the cat, who despite living up to his name in terms of demeanour behaves perfectly in the house.  No mess, no accidents, no climbing of curtains, no scratching of furniture – he even walks over to the logs by the side of the soba if he needs to prepare his claws for his next random attack on me.  I mean how polite is that?

And it’s not just my pets.  A friend and I were talking the other day, she used to breed cats and dogs in the UK and has more experience of raising animals than you can shake a stick at and she can’t understand why Turkish animals behave so well compared to their highly bred, well cared for equivalents in the UK who generally manage to throw into chaos even the most organised of households when they first arrive.

Is it gratitude?  I didn’t think animals felt gratitude, that it was too complex an emotion for them, but when I watch Vinnie dance towards a chewstick in the funny falling forward way he has of moving because of all his old injuries and then curl up on his cushion for a few hours of peaceful sleep I guess maybe there is gratitude there and Turkish animals know this is the good life, because they have experienced the alternative.  And so they don’t bite the hand that feeds them or crap on the carpet that is warm and soft under them! 

Adopting a couple of Turkish street dogs turned out to be the easiest dog adoption I have ever had.

posted 08-06-2010