Board Member Stories: Paula van Dun

Table of Contents

Why I joined ARK

I joined ARK (Animal Rescue Kusadasi) because I love animals. Not only are they cute and lovable but they are also the best friends. They never judge or critisize, they are loyal and they love you no matter what. Life for many street animals is not very good, especially not in winter. My husband and I want to reach out to these poor creatures that have no voice of their  own to call out for help.

I have been surrounded by animals all my adult life. Not only dogs and cats but also birds fallen out of the nest and hedge hogs.

Prior to moving to Turkey we were without pets for several months and I missed them dearly. On of the first things we did once we had a car in Turkey, is driving to the dog shelter in Didim and get ourselves a dog again. It is the one you see on the picture and we named him Lobbes (a Dutch name meaning “big softy”). Why Didim and not Kusadasi you ask?  Well at that time the dog shelter management was very poorly as opposed to the one in Didim. Since our intention was to take the dog with us on vacations to Holland we simply did not want to take the risk of the dog dying after all,  after  making a lot of expenses for all the paperwork needed to be able to fly with him.  Allthough my heart always goes out to the most miserable ones.

So in the beginning we went to the vet a lot with Lobbes for vacinations etc. to be able to take him with us on an airplane. On several occasions at DOST vet there were injured kittens and young cats that needed a home. I could not say no and neither could my husband Jan. Lobbes was not familiar with cats but as you can see on the picture he became friends with them real fast.

Our neighbourhood is OK for animals. In summer several residents and tourists put out food and water for the street cats (there are no stray dogs in our sitesi). However in winter there are few people present and than many cats find to our garden for food. We try to get familiar enough with them to be able to catch them later for neutering/spaying. Nevertheless new kittens are born every year because we can’t catch them all; some will always remain afraid of people.

When we came here in Kusadasi 4 years ago we already joined another animal charity because we wanted to do more than just feeding the cats in our sitesi. So we offered help for transport etc. but were never called upon that. Which was frustrating since we wanted to do something useful and fulfilling. So when I learned that ARK was about to launch, my husband and I joined this new charity too hoping to be able to do more for the street animals.

And we could! I volunteered to create this website and the open Facebook group, something I feel more comforatable doing than baking cakes and cookies. What we both love about ARK is that the founders were willing to let the members take responsability; they ask for help and  delegate tasks to members that are willing to help. They are also very open for suggestions and ideas. So far we helped manning the stand at the Karvan Saray’s Turizm haftasi, drove out to check on injured/sick animals and took over medical care and feeding dogs of another ARK member temporary. Jan manufactures cat food dispensers to sell to benefit the street animals. As I write this we are on vacation in Holland and we really miss the volunteer work and the ARK people.

Meanwhile my husband and I proudly joined the board and we are looking forward to resume our ARK activities again in August; luckily I can update the website anywhere in the world where there is internet but yet I miss the animals and the ARK team. So if you also love animals and want to meet an amazing group of likeminded people I suggest you join us asap, there is a large variety of task you can help with. You are very welcome and you won’t be sorry!