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Duman's travel across Turkey (above, going east to west)
Duman's travel from Turkey to the U.S. (east to west again)
The story of Ormanüstü Duman's journey does not start with Duman. It starts with wonderful friends, and jumps from connection to connection, many people becoming like family, jumping from American soil to South African soil to Turkish soil and back to American soil. The longer story includes a trip to South Africa and four trips to Turkey. (See photo album.) The story that culminates in Duman's journey here, was preceded by one export to South Africa and three imports from Turkey that currently live and work at Shepherds Rest Farm. THIS is about the Duman journey!
For many months, a Turkish friend was on the lookout for a particular type of male çoban kopeği for me. He traveled 12 hours (each way!) to an area he knew of in the East Black Sea mountains. The first trip he brought home 2 possible dogs for me, after declining many others that he did not like for various reasons. It turned out that one dog was very old, even though he had a youthful, agile body. The other dog was a youngster about 2 years old (click here to see pictures). However, despite what looked like good movement and good conformation in this youngster, it was discovered by x-ray that he had been shot in the upper leg, blowing the bone apart! In the previous link above, you can see the light spot is the bullet still embedded inside his bone! With NO LIMP! Incredible recovery for a working dog! So my friend did another trip, again 12 hours each way, for 2 more dogs, driving in dangerous icy conditions in the mountains. This is where Duman, himself, enters the story
Duman was raised the first two years of his life in Ormanüstü, near Maçka in the Trabzon region of Turkey (far right on the Turkey map). He guarded a sheep flock in this mountainous area. The photos above show the terrain of this area.
On December 12, 2008, Duman began his journey. First he traveled by truck westward from Ormanüstü, with a brief overnight stay in Görele in the Giresun region, shown above arriving by truck. Now my first friend did not have a vehicle for transporting dogs, so his friend (with whose family I have stayed before) drove all the way (12 hours each way) to meet him and bring the dogs back!
From Görele, Duman proceeded on to Ağdacı Köyü in the Bartin region on December 13, 2008, staying at this location for 6 weeks with a sheep flock. He is shown above enjoying less snow than at his original home, and enjoying meeting the other life on this farm, including puppies. At the end of Duman's 6 weeks in the Bartin area, he was loaded into a truck again. This time in an airline kennel under a tarp (see picture below). Amazingly enough, he jumped right in with no problem! Duman is one eager dog! He has such an excitement about life, with an eagerness to experience the moment, which is never subdued. You can just see in his eyes, "Ahhhh! Road trip again! Woohoo! Take me with you!" Little did he know how LONG that road trip would be, nor that it would include air travel!
On January 24, 2009, Duman continued his journey west by truck, resting a couple of days in Darıca in the Kocaeli region, about an hour's drive from İstanbul. He met a couple of Kangals at that home and was described by the owner of the home as very obedient, sitting when asked. And what a view, overlooking the lake! This travel stop can be seen in the pics below.
On January 26, 2009, Duman spent the day in downtown İstanbul at the Department of Agriculture prior to flying out of Atatürk Havalimanı, the international airport in İstanbul, the following day. While waiting to see the vet at the Dept. of Ag, there was a very small dog also waiting outside to see the vet. The small dog puffed himself up as big as he could and took quite a-barking-and-a-growling at Duman, who basically saw him as no threat whatsoever. The handlers let the small dog come all the way up to Duman, who let the dog smell him and touch him, not getting the least bit riled about it. Everyone standing around was laughing. When Duman saw the vet, he continued to be very easy-going, letting the vet give him a rabies shot with no complaint or anxiety. Duman was also very laid-back while riding in the back of a small hatch-back around İstanbul (yes, that's it in the pictures below!) when we were required to go get lots more paperwork for the Dept. of Ag. Actually, I should say we were required to redo all the previous paperwork in order to get the travel papers. It was all about certain words that should and should not be used! It was about one man being a dictator yet knowing nothing about what he was supposed to be doing! Oh, and this whole Dept. of Ag. process was very much a group effort because the owner of the home where Duman was staying did not have a vehicle, so his wife's friend from work drove us! For most of the driving around, Duman was as silent as an empty car, but all the sudden there was a sudden eruption of barking. Seems he did not like the man walking down the street pulling a giant garbage bag on wheels! Since the Dept. of Ag. people did not give us the paperwork we needed after our long day there, we had to return the next day (would I make my flight?)! Again my friend had to find transport. His father-in-law's friend, a taxi-driver on his day off, willingly helped me! All-in-all, there were 5 people who assisted with the Dept. of Ag. process! FINALLY at the airport, after passing through customs, I had to take Duman out of the kennel and hold him up so the official could see his underside. I was told VERY sternly, in English with a strong Turkish accent, "You must maintain control of your dog at all times!" Must've surprised him, Ďcause Duman came out happy and obedient and had no problem with me lifting his front paws above my head. He didn't even so much as resist. And he went right back in the kennel as if he knew that was what he needed to do. Whew!
Duman crossed the North Atlantic Ocean to the United States and arrived at JFK Airport in New York about 12 hours later (day turns into day on the return trip). Since it was such a looooong trip, Duman rested for a day in NY before continuing his journey west. He devoured a whole raw chicken that evening, which prompted the staff on location to warn me that raw meat and bones were dangerous to dogs! Lol. He is seen below in the loading dock of the boarding facility in NY with a Turkish friend. And Duman went into his airline kennel AGAIN with no resistance prior to travel back to the airport. He proceeded on by plane to Portland, Oregon (another 2 hours at the airport prior to take-off and another 6 hours in the air), with an hour's ride in the back of a Suburban to Newberg, Oregon, where he would find the strange phenomenon of pastures with FENCES!
Finally, very late on January 28, 2009 (my birthday!), Duman arrived at his new home! He completely forgot about the trip, most likely, as he was greeted by a female in heat, and seemed very happy to give her his mostly-undivided attention. However, no breeding took place, as we had just missed the female's receptive time (Murphy's Law!), but the goat kidding season followed immediately and Duman has been busy with his guard duty ever since. Judging by his attitude and behavior, he is very happy to be here, and we are enormously thankful to all the people who helped with the logistics! Duman is a dream come true. Please consider stopping by to meet him! When introduced to my Dad (in his 80's), he was playful but careful not to knock Dad off balance. What a boy! And at the time of this writing, he has now adjusted fine to fences!
Note: The logistics for Duman's import is far more complicated than described above, and the number of people helping was much greater than relayed here in this story. Lest anyone think it simple or easy to import good shepherd dogs from Turkey, let me be the first to say, "IT IS NOT!" This kind of thing would NEVER happen without close-knit friends and their connections. These kinds of relationships are rare and far more valuable than gold! I am still in awe about what my friends have done for me, and I will always be indebted to them, and forever grateful and amazed! And for the record, no Turk, no shepherd will EVER give up a good dog, unless it is to a friend!
THANK YOU to all my Turkish friends for their friendships, their hospitality, their help, their time, for sharing their families and homes with me, and for allowing me to use their photos here (the ones prior to my arrival in Turkey for Duman), including the use of the cell phone to take pics of Duman in the hatch-back at the Dept. of Agriculture!
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