Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tugba Dursun: My Luka's "Temporary" Mom!

Dear readers,

I can't believe it has been a little over two years (May 10, 2011) since my Maltese bundle of joy Luka entered my life! He was about 7 months old, his name was Pamuk (which means cotton or fluffy in slang) then and I "adopted" him from a family that had purchased him from a local pet shop, but realized they couldn't take care of him! The minute we laid eyes on each other at his previous home, we knew we would be spending the rest of our lives together because it was love at first sight and he jumped into my eyes with such affection and warmth - although my sister and brother-in-law were standing right next to me. He too knew that I would be his new mom! With his papers and vaccination card in hand, he bid farewell to his old family and didn't even look back!

Luka at 7 months on May 10, 2011
To be quite honest, it wasn't easy in the beginning and our first week together was quite difficult and I was wondering what I had gotten myself into! After the initial hiccups, the next major problem was 'potty training' him because unfortunately it was obvious that his previous family let him "relieve" himself wherever he wanted inside the house! But, he was a good little doggie and after one month, he learned that this was not appropriate behavior and that problem was solved thank god! Our next problem - and the one that took the longest - was getting him to eat his dog food! My darling Luka preferred "people" food and once again I realized he wasn't trained to eat properly either! We finally solved this problem in December 2012 after he stayed at his aunt's house and she was tougher on him than me, so life is much easier now and I no longer have to "cook" for Luka!

I only took on getting a dog because I work from my home and freelance. If I still had an office job, it wouldn't be fair to any dog to take on this responsibility because they do need lots of attention and care and need to be walked at certain times of the day. My Luka is a wonderful dog - doesn't bark needlessly and doesn't have a problem staying at home when I go out for several hours at a time and gets along great with other dogs and humans alike! Most importantly, he doesn't "harm" anything when left alone, but does get jealous when company comes over and has on occasion chewed on my shoe straps and one time chewed my expensive I-phone headphones which I had to replace!

One of my favorite pastimes is travelling and it's not possible to take him everywhere with me although I would like. The main problem is that most hotels are not "animal friendly". So, I initially solved this problem when I traveled abroad by having him stay at his aunt's house. When I traveled to the south of Turkey, I did find a hotel that is animal friendly, so he travels me during the summer.

Then... last year in August Luka became a dad and had two daughters and my sister decided to take one of the girls and Chloe has been a member of our family since October 2012!

Chloe (left), Luka (right)

After a vacation my sister took in late December, we realized that it was difficult for either one of us to watch two dogs and "dog sit" for each other and had to come up with an alternative plan! 

One of the problems in Istanbul is that there aren't too many "doggie" hotels and some vets do take them on, but in most cases, they are kept in large cages and taken out for their walks, etc and I didn't want to put Luka through this experience because I knew it would affect him.

So, I was so happy when one day I ran into my friend Aslan - who also has a dog and asked him if he knew anyone who did this type of work and to my luck he did and to boot she lived right in my neighborhood in Levent! 

So, that's how Tuğba Dursun became Luka's "temporary" mom!

Now, here's the thing! Tuğba doesn't run a "dog hotel" - she is a certified dog trainer, but does take on dogs once in a while in her home. But her main expertise is training all types of dogs. You can visit her website for details and her credentials are quite impressive! The website is currently only available in Turkish, but you can get the general idea and Tuğba speaks English and knows some German.

So, when my sister and I went on vacation at the end of March, we first "interviewed" Tuğba at my sister's house and knew we found the right person and with no reservations, we decided to leave Chloe and Luka with Tuğba.

Like I said, Tuğba lives in a private house with a huge garden in Levent...

So, she has lots of room to train the dogs that come to her home (she also goes to the dog's home if requested) and the high wired gated garden is a great place for the dogs staying with her to roam!

The most important thing for me is that Luka (or any other dog she takes on), lives in the house with her! They are not caged and have free run of the house except for her bedroom and kitchen...

So, the doggies staying with her hang out together.... eat together and have a truly great experience!

The other thing I love is that throughout our vacation, Tuğba sent me pictures on a daily basis with updates on my Luka! 

Luka has already stayed with Tuğba twice since we "discovered" this fantastic animal lover/certified dog trainer. In fact, Luka will be going to Tuğba's this weekend once again as I am travelling once again!

Luka is a very important part of my life and his well-being is of utmost importance to me and I'm so lucky that I can travel with a clear conscious knowing that he is being well cared for!

Tuğba's prices for lodging are higher than what you might pay for at other facilities around town, but every penny is worth it! On top of it, she is a dog trainer so if you need special training for your dog - and I believe everyone does - she's the person to go too!

I want to sign off with one final picture... this is my Luka with his little friend Kirpik.. who Luka met on his first stay and this picture was from his second stay several weeks ago! Since they spend lots of time in the yard, be prepared to pick up a dog that needs a good long bath afterwards - or do what I'm doing this time - I've asked her to bring a groomer that she knows and who is said to be very good to her house to wash and cut Luka the day before I pick him up!

Luka (left), Kirpik (right)

Tuğba Dursun
GSM: (0532) 611 41 31

Stay well,

Note: Although I have set up a blog for Luka, unfortunately I haven't had any time in the last year to prepare posts for his blog and thought it more suitable to post in my "main" blog - this too is about "life in Istanbul"!

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