A nice dog, named Hercules, lived in a landfill. Every time someone came to throw away his belongings, the dog ran to greet him. In his own way, he asked them to take him home.
Unfortunately, no one did it. Maybe they considered it a waste because of where it lived and how dirty it was. The intelligent dog would know which cars belonged to the people who would come to feed him and he would run joyfully, jump out the window and say hello.
Amanda Cunefare, a volunteer for Rescuers Without Borders (RWB), an organization that saves dogs in Turkey, told The Dodo: “He jumped on the windows of the car and clung to each person. He was a people’s dog.
Surprisingly, he was not the only dog living in the landfill. More than 800 other stray animals also lived there. It was a difficult life. The conditions were heartbreaking. It was cold and there was no food around. The dogs recovered as best they could, but it was obvious that they were starving.
“It’s cold, there is no drinking water and food is scarce,” Cunefare explained. “You have to fight with 800 dogs to get resources and bury yourself in piles of garbage to stay warm. It’s a horrible, horrible place where you have to survive for years.
Four years ago, a young Turkish woman, named Gocke Erdogan, began feeding the dogs in the landfill and providing them with medical care. Even repatriate dogs when possible. Last year, RWB decided to join Erdogan and help the dogs in the landfill. The team saved 47 dogs from the landfill and relocated them. For others, they continue to feed them and provide them with veterinary care.
RWB would like to be able to accommodate all the dogs but they do not have the resources. For now, they are focusing on puppies and elderly dogs who find it more difficult to survive difficult conditions.
Hercules fell into the other category. He was not a puppy and he was not a senior. He was also strong and did better than most given the place where he lived. But Hercules wanted to leave. He desperately wanted a house. He ran to the volunteers’ vehicles and tried to jump inside.
“This dog wanted to go out so much,” said Cunefare. “We could see it in his eyes.”
Cunefare had never gone to the landfill itself. She lives in Illinois but has already collected one of the dogs in the landfill, named Dudas, a 10-year-old dog who lived there for at least 5 years!
“She’s an old lady,” Cunefare said. “She weighs 143 pounds and she is a big old mom. I wanted to adopt an older one because I felt like she had fought so hard to survive.
RWB knew that Hercules would prosper with Cunefare but was afraid to ask him to do so because Dudas herself had many challenges to meet. In addition, Cunefare welcomed another senior puppy named King Artur.
“Gocke had contacted my friend,” said Cunefare. “She said she was afraid to ask me, but she wanted to know if she could send me Hercules because since Dudas had left, he was not doing very well.”
It turns out that Hercules and Dudas were in fact the best friends of the landfill and Dudas had become a kind of mother to be the bearer of Hercules. It was a difficult place, but Dudas set himself the task of monitoring Hercules. Once she left, Hercules had a broken heart.
“My heart has broken,” said Cunefare. “I said:” It’s horrible. If I had known that, they could both have come. I can only imagine how horrible it was [for him] to see her leave. So I said, “Send it absolutely.”
With the approval of Cunefare, Hercules was transported to the United States to live with Cunefare and Dudas on the 2-acre property. The reunion of Hercules and Dudas was pure magic. “They immediately recognized each other,” Cunefare said. “They ran and they played.”
Cunefare is amazed by the dogs of the landfill. Their resilience is inspiring. They are also so wise! Better behaved than his adopted from the United States! It’s almost as if they understand how much better life is now.
“They are so grateful,” said Cunefare. “They are like, ‘Oh my God. There is a bed and a blanket. I don’t need to sleep outside. Fucking shit, you give me breakfast every day. It’s incredible. I have not yet met one who is not grateful for everything I have given him.
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