This morning my coworker came to the office in tears. If you have read earlier posts, you know that Istanbul has stray dogs, packs of them in fact, all over the city. While closer to my house you’ll find more stray cats, the dogs tend overwhelm the area by my school. And unfornately as a result, my coworker’s bus was forced to hit a dog this morning. The dog was crossing the street and started to backtrack. But when it turned around, the bus was coming and if the bus went around the dog, it would hit other cars and apparently the bus didn’t have time to stop to see if the dog was alright. (Though how that’s possible, I’m not sure.) From the way my coworker described it, chances are that the dog was not ok.
Yet what seemed to upset her, and me, even more was that only one other person on her bus was visibly upset about not only hitting the dog, but leaving it on the side of the road to fend for itself. She was told by some Turkish coworkers that she should just get used to it because this is how things work here. But she absolutely refused to resign herself to that idea.
Though the dogs are strays, and often do travel in packs, they are tame. I’ve never had a problem with them. They lie next to store fronts and lazily look up at passersby. The occasional person may take a moment to pet one and the dog wags its tail before waiting for the the next person to pay attention to it. If anything, these dogs starve for attention and human contact. They see hundreds of people every day, but are often ignored.
But the silver lining to this already depressing story is that not everyone is so dismissive. You’ll see many dogs with tags in their ears. These are dogs who have been taken in by vets (for free) and treated or given shots. When my coworker came in this morning, crying because an animal was in need and no one seemed to care, she was encouraged to call a local vet. But there was no need. The one other person on her bus who was visibly upset –a Turkish woman, mind you– had called one already and they were on their way to try to find the dog.
I’m sure this was an experience my coworker will always remember, but it was nice to know that when she got upset and wanted to do something about what she thought was wrong, she was not alone.