The Dogs of Istanbul
Although far less conspicuous than the omnipresent cat, there are actually quite a few stray dogs in Istanbul. They all seem to be large, rangy things who spend their entire lives asleep.
They quite contentedly fall asleep all over the place, including on busy pedestrian thoroughfares.
Natural selection seems to have favoured larger dogs, which makes sense, but interestingly they also seem to be quite placid in nature. When you have to spend your life bumming scraps of kebab from people a friendly disposition would definitely work in your favour. Presumably any dog that’s partial to biting children on the face would have been dealt with by the authorities.
Most of the dogs of Istanbul appear to be in pretty good nick. I told a mate I had seen one with an ear tag, and presumed it actually belonged to someone. He informed me that the ear tag is to show that the stray has been screened for disease by a vet.
I have been walking my mate’s dog, an 18 month old retriever pup, around the streets and parks where I’m staying. The locals react to her with either nervous attraction or mild terror. They are definitely less comfortable with dogs than cats, and generally keep the strays at arm’s length.
Still, along with vet checks, the strays do get fed, so Istanbul’s residents clearly have a soft spot for them.
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