Most days, when I’m traveling to different wine regions around the world, I try to go out for a run in the early morning. It’s led to an unplanned series of pictures and tweets in the “View from This Morning’s Run” category that I really enjoy – from Florence to Friuli to Napa and New Zealand.
This week I visited a winery on the Aegean coast of Turkey, near Suvla Bay. Over dinner I asked my host if it would be safe to run the following morning, and could he recommend a route. Normally he lives in Istanbul, so he asked the workers who live locally all the time. The cook reminded him to warn me about the dogs.
In this part of Turkey there are still shepherds, and there are dogs who protect the herds. Especially overnight, when the sheep are sleeping, the dogs become very aggressive to anyone who comes near the herd. So I may not even be aware that I’m running by a dog who’s protecting a flock, I was warned. But if I did, it would challenge and chase me and likely attack.
So that morning I drove to the coastline and ran along a paved path there. I did encounter a dog, but it was a town dog and not a herd dog. It ran toward me and then alongside me awhile, but not in an “attack” way, just in a “Hey, you’re running! Me too! Let’s go!” way.
Dogs have become one of the strongest impressions I’ll take away from the properties I’ve visited in Turkey. They’re incredibly friendly at the wineries, and well trained, and not threatening at all. They live outside and organize themselves by temperament and personality – loners, pairs, packs.
I see the dogs in Istanbul also, and in the smaller towns. They seem to be stray dogs in those places, and they roam free and fend for themselves. Cats too. One morning, running along a main street near the coast, I saw a black and white cat lying dead and with its neck broken, near a dumpster.