If you’ve ever visited Istanbul, your vacation pictures might’ve featured photobombs from a variety of four-legged creatures, including some of the more than 100,000 stray dogs (and cats) who roam the streets of the Turkish city.
Although many of the dogs are feral or strays, an increasingly large percentage of the animals are purebreds or former family pets who have been abandoned as a result of the economic downturn in Europe, according to CBC News.
After seeing the hundreds of Golden Retrievers that filled some of Istanbul’s shelters, a Canadian Golden Retriever rescue organization was prompted to act, and has since paid to bring more than 20 of the dogs back to Ontario.
“Goldens […] were having the most trouble on the streets,” Viive Tamm of Golden Rescue told CBC. “They’re the ones who are used to sleeping in their owners’ beds.”
Tamm and her colleagues visited Istanbul in December and formed a partnership with two shelters, which each currently house more than 8,000 dogs. (Shelters in Turkey reportedly do not euthanize any animals). On that first trip, Tamm brought four Goldens back to Canada, with 18 more arriving in January and another eight landing at the airport earlier this week.
She says that the not-for-profit organization hopes to bring between 16 to 20 dogs back to Canada every month, at an average cost of $1,750 per dog. Golden Rescue plans to cover the expense through donations and a $500 adoption fee for each dog (and every dog that has arrived so far has been adopted before his or her paws even touched Canadian soil).
What can we say but “welcome home”?