Dogs of the Dream Forest
This is a documentary about the many, many hundreds of Turkish street dogs dumped into the forests outside Istanbul, and the efforts of volunteer groups to sustain and protect the dogs.
Like many countries, Turkey has been largely tolerant of ‘street dogs’. In recent years, however, some Istanbul municipalities have started removing and dumping the dogs in the forests. Many irresponsible pet owners and dog breeders abandon animals there as well.
Artist and animal rights activist Fey Rubeyi became deeply concerned over the fate of these abandoned dogs. On a visit to Istanbul in September 2014, she went out with a rescue group to document the lives of the dogs.
Fey, who was born and educated in Istanbul, shot the footage with a small Panasonic handycam and her iPhone. She now lives and works in California as a graphic artist.
The dogs have mainly been dumped in the Beykoz forest and Hayal Ormani (Dream Forest) on public owned property. In this terrain, the dogs cannot survive without human support to provide food, water, and shelter. Food sources are insufficient in the forests, and during the hot, dry months there is no drinking water. The dogs are sometimes harassed and even poisoned by hostile people. Cars and trucks are a grave threat to the dogs when they appear on roads searching for food and human contact.
Several dedicated groups of Turkish volunteers, primarily working from donations, have grown up to aid and support the dogs. Aside from providing food, medicine, water, and protection, they are sometimes able to find adoptive homes for a handful of the dogs.
Many of the dogs have frozen to death in the harsh Turkish winters, and the group ‘Grumpy Old Dog’ maintains an active dog house construction program to help keep the dogs alive in a severe environment.
The group works with the Beykoz Hayvan Rehabilitasyon Merkezi (Animal Rehabilitation Center) to help provide medical care for the legions of dogs.
The documentary narration is in English with Turkish dialogue.
The video was edited by Randy Graham in 2015.
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