Back in March, dog-lover Ayberk Ayer snapped a photograph of a Golden Retriever when he was in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey. In the photograph, you can see a sweet and dirty dog with a tiny piece of bread in her mouth. Locals told Ayer that someone dumped the dog weeks ago. They see her all the time, they said, carrying her little piece of bread in case she gets hungry.
Ayer posted the sweet photograph on his Instagram.
RESCUERS WITHOUT BORDERS
Social media is awesome. A full 6,000 miles away, Tracy Behnke, the intake director for Rescuers Without Borders, saw the photograph. She knew right away that she needed to get to work.
“We knew that she would end up starving or getting hurt really bad,” said Behnke. “Golden Retrievers just can’t fight as well as the other bigger dogs. I was just taken with her, and I thought, ‘We need to do something for her.'”
The team at Rescuers Without Borders asked a few volunteers to find the beautiful girl and pull her off the streets. When they went back to where she was last seen, however, the gorgeous girl had disappeared.
“They went around looking for her, and people were saying that there was a man who had a Golden and he was driving around trying to sell her,” said Behnke.
When the team heard this news, they feared the worst. They figured the man was trying to see her to a breeder, or worse.
“He probably drove around with her, asking people if they wanted to buy her for breeding, and then took her home with him,” Behnke said.
The volunteers never gave up, however, and they kept searching for the girl. Luckily, their persistence paid off.
“With the help of other villagers, they were able to locate her in a kind of run-down shed,” said Behnke. “It was dark and there were no windows, and she had no food or water.”
They had finally found the sweet girl, and they named her Harper. In the video captured by Ayer posted below, you can see the moment when a volunteer brought Harper out of the dank shed. She holds onto her rescuer in a hug, and you can see that she realizes she is rescued and simply relaxes into the volunteer’s arms.
In the video, the volunteer is speaking Turkish. She said:
“You’re safe, you’re safe now. No bad man.”
As soon as they put her in the car and she realized she was safe, Harper relaxed right away.
“They said she was so sweet,” said Behnke. “She was giving kisses, which is kind of unusual for a Turkish dog. I think she definitely knew she was going to safety again.”
A LONG ROAD
Harper had a long road ahead of her, though, because it’s quite far to get where she was going – The United States of America.
But, luckily for Harper, things moved quickly. As soon as all her medical checks were complete, she was put on a flight to San Francisco.
Behnke and her husband traveled from Oregon so they could meet the adorable girl at the airport.
“She’s a sweetheart,” said Behnke. “Everyone who has met her so far is in awe of how sweet a dog can be coming from that situation.”
It was pretty clear, though, to Behnke that Harper was living on the streets for quite some time. She was very timid and hesitant to take food.
“We offer her food, and she almost looks like she’s not sure if she can,” said Behnke. “My husband actually ended up hand-feeding her to get her to eat. It was like she was thinking, ‘I don’t want to get in trouble.'”
The poor darling is also having a hard time getting into a deep sleep. On the streets, she probably had to do this to stay safe.
“She kind of slept or dozed with her head up, and then finally would fall down,” Behnke explained. “She’d nap for maybe 15 minutes, and then she was back up and watching.”
Right now, Harper is with a foster family in Washington state. She’s adjusting well to her new life, and she’s especially fond of running in the grass.
“She came out of her shell and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great,'” explained Behnke. “She was playing and running like it was the most amazing thing.”
Harper is definitely up for adoption, and the organization is looking for the perfect forever home for this special girl.
“She’s an absolute doll and we want to find her the best home,” said Behnke.
Once again, thanks to selfless people like Rescuers Without Borders and social media, another doggo is well on her way to the second chance of a lifetime.
Have a rescue story you would like to share? Tell me all about it in the comments.