In June 2003 appeared
on the homepage of the organization ‘Tierhilfe Grenzenlos’ a picture of a
4-5 month old Kangal pet, including the annotation ‘Natalie is looking for
2003 Shiras journey to Germany
Shira in June 2003
I was immediately touched by this picture, but because of our
already four dogs we decided not to take ‘Natalie’ to Germany. Not yet.Some
weeks later, Leika died and after the appearance of further fotos in the internet,
that revealed the bad condition of the young dog, we finally agreed on offering
‘Natalie’ a new home.
Once a new, better fitting name was found (‘Shira’), I decided
to make the trip to Istanbul with my eldest son in a VW-Bus T3 (‘Bulli’),
so we could drive and sleep alternating, in order to shorten the driving time.
Since my son was still attending school, the only possible time were the
autumn holidays. I announced our plan to the officials of the turkish dog
station, packed the vehicle and set the 16.10. as the day of departure
Our transport vehicle
On the eve of that very day occurred an almost neck-breaking
problem: My son got ill and refused to start the perhaps nerve-wrecking trip
in this condition Because of the unusual driverposition in the VW-Bus – one
sit above and not behind the front wheels – I didn’t want to take a ‘normal’
driver with me, so my last hope was the ‘Bulli-Forum’ in the internet. Finally,
I wrote this article:
‘Hello fellows! As I told you, at this time I wanted to be southerly
to the Alps. But unexpectetly it came different, my co-driver has got ill
and it’s not possible for him to join the tour. Nevertheless, I’m still
willing to drive to Istanbul, but surely not alone! Is there anybody who
would like to come with me? Only preconditions: Driver licence, passport and
fun to drive hasteless. Not costs for you! The purpose of this short journey
is neither smuggling nor holiday, but to deliver equipment to a dog station
and to bring a creature back.I would be pleased if someone contacted me and
safed my plan from failing! Contact eithe through this forum or even better
by calling me directly: 0170/947…’
Some hours later, a person living in Düsseldorf promised to join forces
with me , and after having arranged some formalities eventually agreed.
Once a co-driver was found, I left Bierbergen on Friday afternoon. I was
of course curious about my new partner and extremely happy as a sympathic,
almost same-ageed man opened the door of his appartement and invited me to
a cup of coffee. At 4 o’clock p.m. we finally started from Düsseldorf
to face the adventures that might come!
|Hohenhameln – Istanbul
||Travel with Jürgen and bagage
|on the road
Driving and sleeping alternating, Jürgen and I passed the
Alps after 1200 km (apprx. 750 miles) and made the first break in Austria.
We were both dog- and Bulliowners and perhaps because of this understood
one another well.
During the next day we passed Slowenia, Kroatia, Serbia and Bulgaria without
any problems. On Sunday, after having crossed the Turkish border, we reached
Istanbul at about 3 o’clock p.m..
Now it became quite thrilling, we had to find the domicile of our host
Berrin, the boss of the dog station, on the basisof a rough drawing I had
made after a description given by phone some days before.
We fortunately succeeded in reaching our aiming point on the shortest and
directest way and were at 4 o’clock welcomed by Berrin, and her husband.
After having taken a bath, we enjoied the splending food Berrin offered.
Driving instructions for
Next morning I was shocked by the terrible condition in which
I found the dog station, being situated 20 km off the centre. First of all
we unloaded the car, where we had transported food, blankets and various kinds
During a first tour through the area, it became clear that the financial
possibilities were – and surely still are – extremely limited: Only some
dogs had a sheltered place, some of them were ill and the few people working
there were totally exhausted and overtaxed. Better not think about the situation
in summer- or wintertime, when it’s either hot and stinking or cold and always
isn´t there, a tanktruck must be enough
|Cleaning of the covers
||Dogs, everywhere arround.
Once I had seen Shira, lying in a small room on a wooden pallet,
looking at me with a heartbreaking expression, I decided to leave this place
Frequently we made
short breaks, to care for the dog and to stretch one’s legs.
However, Berrin was quite disappointed, she had expected us to stay in
Istanbul for some days, but fortunately all official papers had been organized
and we were able to say good bye and took up the journey home.
At the border, I was again surprised about the Bulgarian an Turkish ripe-for-the-scrap-heap-cars,
transporting all kinds of goods from Turkey to Bulgaria and the other way
Anyhow, we were not controlled at all and Shira kept on sleeping during
|Shira surviced the journey sleeping
want to go out
knows what I want.
you don´t have to carry me!
Sometime we heard strange noises coming from the car’s engine:
The Bulli’s exhaust had loosened and was at this moment impossible for us
to fix it. Anyway, we put the broken part on the luggage rack and went on,
passing the following borders in low speed range to prevent striking sounds.
Fortunately we crossed the borders unexpectedly smooth, even the Austrian
guards let us pass by, perhaps because of Jürgen’s and my peacefull look
and Shira’s extreme smell!
Finally it happened: On Tuesday, about 100 km behind Graz, the warning
lights both for the battery and for the water temperature startet flashing
and I succeeded in stopping the car 30 m before a tunnel entrance. Having
found no reason for the problem myself, I immediately called the Austrian
motor club (ÖAMTC), whose crew decided to bring the Bulli to the next
VW-wokshop, which would open next morning.
Jürgen, Shira an I agreed about spending the following night in the
That evening we dined in a little restaurant, whose chef generously gave
bits of meat for the dog.
During the night, Shira reveald from time to time her sheperds dog roots,
when barking and growling at anyone who approached the vehicle.
While we were taking a breakfast next morning, workshop crew looked for
the car and came to the conclusion, that hot exhaust fumes had melted parts
of an electricity-box, situated in the engine compartment – a result of
the broken exhaust pipe.
Once the box was patched up and heat protected with aluminumpaper, we continued
the home trip. At about 8 o’clock p.m. I droped Jürgen in Düsseldorf
and last reached Bierbergen at midnight. After the 6150-km-tour Mirja was
lucky to see me and Shira healthy and alive.
Next day we presented the new family member the rest of our brood. Following
to some astonished growls, they eventually accepted each other! Before attending the vet on one of the
next days, to get the dog checked from head to food, we had to wash her three
(!) times in order to get rid of the stink evaporating from her fur.
|Shira after the bath
twiggy, the leg is used carefully