Photos by Šarune. @rozalibam
You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal. – Betty White
As many of you know, streets of Turkey can be crowded. On every corner there are numerous bazaars, teahouses, and people relaxing or rushing somewhere. But what is peculiar, and different than European cities that I’ve visited, is that streets of Turkey are crowded with animals as well. Mostly cats and dogs, stray ones. Usually, having a lot of stray animals in the streets means poverty, dirt, common animal abuse, not taking enough care. Well, here, I am a witness of a totally different story.
I heard a quote by Betty White that can simplify human behavior. It goes like this: You can always tell about somebody by the way they put their hands on an animal.
I can swear by everything in life that it’s true. I have seen and heard of incidents of animal abuse done by ruthless, evil people. People who are already of questionable morals and ethics. I haven’t seen a single person who is loving and caring towards animals to treat a person the opposite way. And vice-versa.
Similar can be applied to societies. Yes, Europeans are more forward, developed, organized and generally their streets aren’t chaotic like in here. In European cities, there aren’t so many stray animals on the streets. Whether it’s because they have plenty of shelters, or because they did a ‘cleanse’, it depends on the country.
Turkey, on the other hand, doesn’t have many shelters, and more importantly, there are no brutal cleanses. The streets are crowded with animals because they are treated with LOVE and CARE. Dog and cat food is everywhere – left on the pavement, on small walls, in the parks, along with pots of water. In the cold times, dozens of mini houses appear, made from cart box and taped to protect it from the rain. I have never seen such care anywhere else.
They treat animals like humans, like individuals that need help, and they are there to provide it. The animals usually aren’t skinny and sick (yes, they are dirty, but they are always lying on the streets so it’s logical) and they have a perfect little coexistence with people of Izmir.
I see the same behavior towards humans. Turks in Izmir are caring, warm, would put themselves out to help you. The society and culture don’t allow treating each other in a harmful way (mostly, at least).
European cities, on the contrary, are cold, unhelpful, and for them the world cannot stand still to go and feed a cat (I am speaking generally). In Croatia, animal abuse is common, and cats are frightened and shooed away.
I discover Turkey’s beauty every day, in the little things like this. While petting a fat dog next to my house or provoking a nervous cat by the store, playing with my luck and testing my reflexes.
What does it worth to have wealth and modernity, if you don’t stop and help a creature that needs it, or worse, do it harm?
I’m going to end with another quote, and it’s even more powerful. The only animal in the world to fear, is man.