Istanbul’s street cats have become an iconic part of the city, but the many wandering stray dogs are also vying for some attention and love. With this in mind, the Boğaziçi University Paws Dog Sanctuary was established to give a loving home to dogs who have had a rather rough life on the streets.
Established in 2015, the Boğaziçi University Paws Dog Sanctuary began its life giving hope to more than 60 dogs that had been abandoned in an unused section of the university campus. Program Coordinator Defne Arsoy began to dedicate a large part of her time and financial resources to build a better and more organized shelter. Together with Assistant Coordinator Ahmet Çolak, the dogs were rehabilitated after carefully observing their behavior and figuring out their individual needs. Home-cooked meals were prepared to give the once starving dogs their energy, with around 45 kilos still consumed every day. By the end of a few months, the dogs started trusting their new caretakers, and the project grew.
Supported by the Boğaziçi University Foundation, which is one of Turkey’s most important philanthropic programs, the dogs became part of the campus after being vaccinated and neutered. The sanctuary is open to visitors, encouraging people to come and volunteer in order to support the infrastructure and help it grow. Future plans include turning the shelter into a facility where families can come for lunch and interact with the dogs, harboring a positive relationship between people and animals. BUPaws is also hoping to inspire people to take care of the street animals that wander around their own neighborhoods so that the sense of philanthropy stretches from the sanctuary to all corners of Istanbul.
If you are a dog lover, there are several ways of supporting BUPaws and their four-legged companions. The sanctuary is always looking for volunteers who will help with the workload, including grooming, refreshing the drinking water, cleaning the kennels, and interacting with the dogs who love attention. If you want to take care of a dog without taking it home, the Foster Family Program is a great option by which dog lovers can donate 200 TL per month to help maintain the shelter and in return can choose a dog to foster. Foster parents can come by anytime to take their dog out on long walks or to learn how to take care of a dog properly in case they ever decide to take one home.
Another great way of helping out is to simply donate household goods such as towels, mats, rugs, sheets, brooms, carpets, and old furniture that the sanctuary can use. Other items that are always in need are shampoo and soaps, flashlights, leashes, and grooming brushes. If you visit the shelter and end up falling in love with one of the canines (which is highly likely), you can also choose to adopt, which will help decrease animal homelessness. All of BUPaws dogs are registered, micro-chipped, vaccinated against rabies, treated for internal and external parasites, and have been issued health passports.
For more information about BUPaws and how to help out their lovely dogs, check out their official website.