Usually I write about fitness and nutrition but I believe that happiness is an overall concept. If you eat clean and train your body, that will energise you and make you feel good about yourself. But there is also the emotional side to it: being kind to other people and animals will not only make you a better person, but you will also get so much love in return.

Zoe and Noah always wanted to have a dog. But I told them that this was like having an other baby and that I couldn’t go to work every day and look after the puppy at the same time. I know that here in Turkey it’s a very popular thing to send dogs away for training and have your helper or driver walk him. But that doesn’t make any sense to me: If I get a dog, it’s my dog and I will train and walk him.

When I became a full time blogger and we moved to the city centre three months ago, I reconsidered the kids’ wish. We discussed the subject and I told them that we could get a dog under the following conditions: 1) We don’t go to a shop and buy a dog if there are thousands of street dogs who need a family 2) It should be a small one that I can pack in my gym bag and carry with me wherever I go 3) They should take him outside alone and collect his poop.

Zoe said that she was old enough to take care of the dog, so we googled shelters in Istanbul. Some websites were really outdated and we couldn’t find any. But when I checked Instagram the same day, I saw a post with a sweet little King Charles who was looking for a new home. I asked my boyfriend what he thought about it and he said that he fully supported me and that I was doing something very good (I love this man so much!). So I called someone named Esra. I finally never met her in person, but she must be such a wonderful woman. Esra told me that she had found a family for the dog a couple of hours earlier but promised to call me in case she found one for us. The shelter owners are apparently very well organised because the same evening two more women dialled my number. The one named Arzu said that her son had just found a little puppy the previous night and that she had to give it away since she owned four pets already. We arranged to meet on Saturday which was the very next day. Things were going so fast! I would lie if I said I didn’t panic a bit. I had never owned a dog, this one was not even potty trained. What do you need when you live with a dog??

We had agreed with Arzu that the little terrier she had found could stay with her for an other week until I had gathered some information about dogs and bought the necessary equipment. By chance I had bought a collar and a leash for my girl friend who owns a maltese dog. Since the place was very far from us in Pendik and since I know my emotional self, I took that one with me when we set out on our little expedition with my boyfriend Kerem and his daughter Yasmin. I didn’t want to take Zoe and Noah because they would have been so disappointed if for some reason we would not have taken the puppy.

You should have seen Sheila (I had hesitated between Lucy-Lu and Sheila) when Arzu opened the door: She came running out and was literally performing summersaults. Then she whizzed back to Arzu and kissed her like she was saying “Thank you Arzu, this is my new family. I am leaving!” How could I not fall in love with her? I looked at Kerem and he smiled and said: “I think she is super cute.” And of course, you get the rest of the story: We took her with us.

We stopped at a pet clinic, had Sheila washed and examined. There was something in her ear that bothered her, but she wouldn’t let the vets touch it, she was terribly scared. We bought some antibiotic cream and left, it had been enough for one day. At home, Sheila followed me on every step. And of course she peed and pooped on the floor, but I hadn’t expected anything else. I was so grateful that she didn’t do it on the kids’ carpets. She also didn’t chew any furniture or do anything else I had heard dogs do. At night time, I tried to make her sleep in her bed which was outside of my room at first. But she wouldn’t stay there. Even when I moved the bed into my room, she felt that it was too far away from me. I didn’t let her stay in my bed, but we made a compromise: She could sleep next to my bed.

The next day we went for long walks and I realised that she was very scared of some men, especially if they were carrying a big bag. Poor thing, she must have had so many bad experiences, living on the streets.

It has been one week since Sheila joined our family. She barks so much less. She even became friends with the security guys that she used to bark at a couple of days ago and when we go to the veterinary for her vaccinations, she doesn’t cry at all. She still would prefer my white omelet to her pet food, but she eats it and her fur became all shiny. Now we are working on potty training and walking on the leash without pulling it. She is such a quick learner, I bet she will do great. All my concerns are gone. I figured that all it takes to adopt a street dog is lots of love. If you are understanding and caring, you cannot possibly do anything wrong. And these dogs, know where they come from. Sheila appreciates having a family so much and it’s a joy to share her excitement and happiness.

I wish that people would understand that a dog is not a toy, it is a family member. They need your love and time. And if you are willing to grant them this, you will be rewarded with so much joy and a constantly wiggling tail.


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