|Ataturk. A big name for a big dog|
And so it started........
As I have already mentioned, in 2011, we would foster a dog for a few weeks , until the adopter was ready. This dog came across Europe with Ruby. It became obvious very quickly that the new home was unsuitable and the people had been economical with the truth. Would we keep Peanut?
For once, I was unsure but my husband was certain. We would and so we adopted this large Anatolian cross breed dog but changed his name from Peanut ( totally unsuitable ) to Ataturk - a big name for a big dog and ultimately Toorki.
He had been saved from shooting, in a little village , for chasing hens and had landed up in boarding kennels in Bulgaria. He is a striking dog but had and still has many problems.
He was remote from us. He made no eye contact . He was aloof and very much his own dog. I worried about him and brought in a dog trainer and got her opinion. She has a kindly, patient way with her and so we played games with a clicker and lumps of reward chicken. He loved the challenge and is a very intelligent dog but still would run off / away from us whenever he could. He hated walking on grass- a minor problem as we are surrounded by it and would tread carefully from one patio to the next. He hated having his collar held or neck touched . ( as most of our rescues do! What do they do to them? )
So it began . I have stood , my heart hammering in my chest , as I watched him mount fencing and go..........and I could see him running over fields and settling at a fence about a mile away just bordering a main road. What to do? Run for the jeep? Or hope he quickly returns. My imagination was working overtime. I eventually took Charlie, leaving our other lab and collie in our fields, and walked towards the white dot. He did return to Charlie but you are so desperate to grab him and tell hm off but , of course, you cannot, but tell him what a good boy he is for returning! I remember phoning my husband who was offshore and weeping into the phone about him whilst watching the fugitive- as though Robert could do anything. But I had to share my distress. That was only one of many " escapes"! He always came home.
So he was ours for the forever , of course, ( never, ever would we give up on a dog) so we set about fencing. Our garden - and I use that term loosely now - as it is muddy, potholed and weedy - was already fenced with five foot wooden fences but we had a contractor in to add additional wire to our horses' fences and now have an area- no kidding- which is eight acres of dog proofing at the house. ( Frodo can still escape but that's for another day) I have sweated and cried about this dog Toorki.
He is a big, sensitive soul. He brought up our young lab ( no kidding) and was his nanny enduring nips , tugs and sleeplessness from little Willie! He still lets him off with murder! Such a good dog in so many ways.
So with much, much love and patience we now have an outstanding , loveable rogue. He gets a lead walk daily. Let him loose in the field now and he sits looking into the far distance. He would be a dog who walked with sheep and guard, barking if he saw anything worrying. He barks at crows and buzzards and only yesterday I went to see what the commotion was and he was barking at a piece of plastic hanging high up in our wood. If I take him into the field with the rest he comes home and nags for his "walk"! So we oblige. He absolutely adores people. All visitors get the Toorki treatment - kisses, friendship, lying at your feet- or on you if he can! - and love.
But at one time I almost despaired of ever having anything like this and only Robert's encouragement would lift my spirits some days. "It will get better". People who see him would not believe it! But I tell you he's been hard work!!!! But so, so, so worth it!
|Toorki chatting up the girls!|
|Toorki having a laugh|
|Toorkie playing with Willie who he brought up|
|Toorki shows his heart|