A Fowl Tale with a Happy Ending

“Sad Girl’s in trouble,” observed Steve as I came into the kitchen one morning.

I joined him at the window to see our neighbour, Hüseyin, walking down the road towards one of the nearby restaurants.

Trotting beside him, at the end of a length of string, was a chunky, honey-coloured dog – a bit like a Labrador but with more fur and shorter legs. Sad Girl, as we’d christened her, had appeared a few weeks earlier – a victim of the most recent round-up and redistribution of street animals by the local belediye, or council. (Don’t get me started. The general treatment of cats and dogs here is one of the few things I actively dislike about life in Turkey.)

She had a mournful face – hence the name – and seemed a bit bewildered, but settled quickly. With food forthcoming from two restaurants at one end of the road and a family from Istanbul near the other, she certainly wasn’t going hungry – as her bulky frame showed. She had places to shelter from the rain, enjoyed meeting people who walked by, and – although clearly not a young dog – had a playful nature and plenty of energy. The only thing lacking was love and attention, so she was welcomed into our garden whenever she cared to come. She never stayed long – lots of pats, a tummy rub and a bit of fuss, and she was off again.

It seemed, though, that things might be about to change.

“She was in the field over the road, digging,” explained Steve. “Hüseyin and his wife came along and watched for a bit, then Hüseyin went over and pulled a dead chicken out of the hole in the ground.”

Oh dear. But there was more…

“Then he walked to a patch of dug-up ground on the other side of the tree and pulled out another one. I think he’s taking her down to the restaurants because he thinks one of them has adopted her.”

An hour later, I looked out of the window to see Sad Girl trotting back up the road towards us. The string hung loosely from her neck….and in her mouth she carried another dead chicken.

It might sound amusing, but we were worried for her. In a village like ours, livestock is a precious commodity. If our dog killed a neighbour’s chicken, we’d be expected to pay them 80 lira (around £14.50 at time of writing) in recompense. We know a couple who opened the door one night to be confronted by a Jandarma officer and an angry farmer demanding 1,200 lira (around £218) for a goat that went missing after one of their dogs chased his flock.

We didn’t see Sad Girl the next day, or for the few days after that. It seemed she’d been killing chickens on a regular basis – not for food, just for the fun of it – and people had had enough.

We feared she’d been quietly got rid of and that would be the end of it. But then, driving along the road one evening, Steve spotted her – on a lead, accompanying a member of the Istanbul family as she fed a local pod of street cats, a daily task.

Sad Girl, it seems, has found a permanent home. She’s one of the luckier street animals…and the village chickens can breathe a cluck of relief.



“It’s ok, we’re safe to walk the streets again. Tell the rest of the girls.”


7 thoughts on “A Fowl Tale with a Happy Ending

  1. Jane Gundogan

    I understand your concern for Sad Girl. Strays come and go here and Daughter has taken it upon herself to feed and love as many of them as she can. But God forbid if they kill any livestock though. My BIL’s dog Hercules grabbed a chook the other day, carried it home and deposited it in his kennel. The Turk was furious thinking he had killed it but no Hercules just wanted a playmate. The chicken squawked, Hercules bounced around happy as a lark and finally The Turk caught the chicken and took it home. Still copped a mouthful from the chook’s owner but I had a good laugh all the same.

    1. theparsleys Post author

      I know, I completely understand that they can’t be allowed to kill livestock…I just hate how every so often we get a fresh batch of confused and abandoned animals who have been rounded up and dumped in the village by the belediye – some of which have already had reasonably happy existences on the streets in other areas.
      One good thing about this is that at least everyone knows it wasn’t our boy killing the chickens. Even though he’s not allowed to roam and is kept in the garden, even though we always walk him on a lead – because he’s a German Shepherd, he’s regarded as an evil killer dog by most of the locals.

      1. Jane Gundogan

        No doubt he is a killer. It is the same here with Hercules, a rottie but the biggest dopiest dog you would ever have the pleasure to meet. Of course he is Cujo as far as the neighbours are concerned …

    1. theparsleys Post author

      I don’t think she gets the opportunity to indulge her naughty side now. She’s kept secure at her new home, or taken out on a lead. I’m glad she has somewhere safe to live, she’s an old girl and really sweet-natured (unless you’re a chicken, obviously!).


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