Dog named 'Wafer' spearheads the animal adoption movement in Turkey

Photos of a dog named "Wafer," who was found near-death in a shelter in Aydın and recuperated by a family in Istanbul, have helped to spur a new trend of adopting animals in Turkey.

Duvar English

A black terrier named “Wafer” was near-death and covered in scabies when volunteers found him in a shelter in the Aegean province of Aydın. Now, photos of Wafer living recovered with his adopted family in Istanbul have helped to spur a new animal adoption movement in Turkey, Demirören news agency reported on Dec. 23. 

A team of volunteers in Aydın have been working for months to rescue dogs there subjected to neglect and abuse. The team, called “Patistoryy,” has rescued over 200 animals so far. When they found Wafer, he was covered in scabies and was close to dying as a result of blood parasites. They took him out of a shelter and placed him with a family in Istanbul, who brought him back to health. His healthy, happy image has spurred a trend of adoptive owners posting before-and-afters of their adopted pets on social media. 

Wafer’s owner, Serkan Tahmaz, said he wanted to get the dog for his 12-year-old son, who loves being in nature and feeding street animals. They didn’t want to buy a dog from a pet store, though, saying that they had seen so many people buy these animals “then get bored.” 

When the family first adopted Wafer a year and a half ago after his initial treatment in Aydın, they say he didn’t bark for three months.

“We thought that his vocal cords were damaged by disease,” Tahmaz said. “However, we realized that it was caused by his fear of disease and living on the street. One day, after 3 months, an order came to the door and he barked at the delivery person.”

Now, Wafer runs to greet Tahmaz when he comes home and has been integrated fully into the family. 

“He is so loving and he brought great color to our lives,” Tahmaz said, “He is definitely the most loved member of the house right now.”

Tahmaz, speaking to Demirören news agency, called on others in Turkey to continue this trend of adoption. Özlem Yalçınkaya Özhan, one of the stray animal protection volunteers who found Wafer in Aydın, echoed this call.

“As a volunteer, I can treat and heal an animal, but it is the people who open their homes to the dog that save it,” she said. "If we had not been able to find a home [for Wafer], he would have ended up in the shelter, forest or street again.”

She said that many people looking to adopt as a result of this trend are still discriminating based on dog breed or the age of the dog. She called for an end to this.

“We should open our homes to all breeds and neutering should be widespread,” she said. “There should be no discrimination based on race or age.”