THKD did not have a shelter until 2000. The Society’s clinic, recovery and rehabilitation units in Şişli-Istanbul had been totally demolished and rebuilt to plans by a specialist British arcitect in 1998. However, these units which formed part of our headquarters could not be a place for long-term care. THKD needed a space where animals not fit to be released because of their disabilities could live for the rest of their lives not in cages, but freely and safely.

We searched for a plot of land in Istanbul and its outer suburbs for this purpose, but it was not possible to find a suitable place in this urban environment. At the time THKD was a partner in the LIBEARTY project, and in its coordinating work for the project we were frequently visiting the bear sanctuary established in Karacabey, in the province of Bursa. This sanctuary provided a very natural habitat for the bears. One day on our way to the sanctuary we saw a sign by the side of the road: Land For Sale. We stopped and walked around the land; it was a flat, rectangular plot of nearly two acres right on the main road. It had some derelict buildings which had been used as stables, sheep pens and a hen house. The land had water supply through a well, a few sheep were grazing on the lush green vegetation on the land. It looked ideal. We were constantly travelling to the bear sanctuary in any case so we could set up our shelter on this plot of land. We bought the land in May 2000.

THKD could now have its shelter. It was going to be a home for dogs that had suffered abuse, hunger, loss of limbs; here they could roam freely but securely, looked after with affection and respect and never go hungry again. The cats would have a warm house, sleep in comfort, birds that could not fly would have a safe enclosure with plenty of bird-feed, horses and donkeys which had been cruelly abandoned because they were no longer strong enough to be of any use to their owners could have their bales of straw and fresh clover served to them and never be expected to carry impossible loads. This was our dream, and it became a reality.

With new buildings to meet our requirements we established a shelter we are proud of. It has become an exemplary facility. For the last 18 years it has provided a safe haven for all these animals, with the unexpected addition of tortoises and hedgehogs.

The weather conditions have had their effect on the outside of our buildings and they need renovation, but none of this can affect the happiness and well-being of our animals or shake the bonds of affection between them and us.


Salacak Mahallesi, Tunusbağı Caddesi No.69 /A Üsküdar-İstanbul 34668

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