Torture and Attempted Killing of a Puppy
If you were to ask me just a few months ago if I would ever adopt a dog from another country I would have been wholeheartedly against it. We had just said goodbye to our beloved senior White German Shepherd, Grace. We were heartbroken. Some time had passed and I found myself randomly scrolling on Facebook. Before I realized exactly what I was doing, I caught myself captivated by this single post from Rescuers Without Borders. The puppy in the photograph was Nisan and she was in Turkey. Nisan had been rescued after being hit by a car driven by someone who then tied her up and dragged her on the highway for miles. She was in critical condition, but she courageously fought to live. Her rescuers were able to get her the medical attention she desperately needed. After months of rehabilitation Nisan was just about ready to leave the clinic that she was staying at. Nisan’s rescuers felt that it would be in her best interest to come to the United States to ensure she would have a better life.
Seeking an American Adopter for Nisan
Her rescuers reached out to Rescuers Without Borders to assist with finding a home in New York for Nisan. I kept seeing the post appear on my page and I couldn’t just sit there. Naturally, I reached out and volunteered to foster her until a permanent home was available. I explained how we just lost Grace and didn’t think we were ready just yet to adopt but we wanted to help. My husband, Jason, and I had already talked about fostering in the future and volunteering more with Travel 2 Rescue. But Nisan’s rescuers wanted to find a family for her that was permanent not a foster due to everything she had already endured in her life. After talking to Jason, he told me to talk to Nisan’s rescuers and tell them we would like to adopt her.
We Got Good News! Then We Waited…
I reached out to her rescuers. After a lot of calls, video chats, messages, and emails I got the message we had been waiting for. My oldest son, Tyler, and my husband had just finished running The Boilermaker Road Race and I happened to look at my phone to see the message saying that Nisan was ours. It took everything in me to hold in my excitement, we wanted to keep this quiet until Nisan was home with us.
We had to wait almost another month for her to be in our arms. That month felt like an eternity. From the moment we heard that she was ours, we immediately went into concerned parent mode. Nisan’s caretaker in Turkey sent me a video of Nisan and kept in regular contact with me to keep us up-to-date with her care.
There is quite a process to bring a dog from Turkey to the United States. Rescuers Without Borders went above and beyond to facilitate getting our puppy here, including arranging the flight from Turkey to New York. Without them who knows if and when we would have got her. I’m beyond grateful that Rescuers Without Borders is such a passionate group of volunteers that know the ins and outs of the process and were there to support us each step of the way.
Meeting Nisan for the First Time, at JFK Airport
We decided immediately that we wanted to be the first people Nisan saw when she stepped on American soil. When Nisan’s caretaker sent me a picture of them at the airport in Turkey, Jason and I packed the car with the two little ones (Everleigh, 22-months-old and Maverick 10-months-old) and drove the almost 5-hour trip down to JFK Airport. We waited patiently at the gate with a volunteer from Rescuers Without Borders. Then we heard a dog barking and saw two crates on a cart pass us exiting the airport. We went to the parking area and saw her. Nisan was one of two dogs rescued that night from Turkey. A blind Golden Retriever was waiting for his new mom to arrive from Alaska to pick him up. Nisan came out of her travel crate and licked me like she has known me forever. We walked around for a little bit then put her in the back of our SUV where she went right to sleep. We stopped a few times on the way home for potty breaks and snack breaks, each time she was so calm.
The First Day—Would Nisan Get Along with Her New Family—Including a Baby, a Toddler, 2 Dogs, and Chickens?
The first 24 hours were surreal. No other words can describe it besides it was meant to be. Nisan slept all morning with the babies while they played. She was the recipient of lots of hugs and treats that first day (and every day since). We expected her to be scared or timid knowing the horror she somehow survived at such a young age, instead she was calm, gentle, and curious. Our two dogs (Cooper and Stella) weren’t too excited to see her. They weren’t mean or anything, they just weren’t as excited as we thought they would have been. That did not stop Nisan at all to fit right in with them. For not knowing English, Nisan was listening better than Cooper and Stella the first few days. It was easy to see that Nisan was loved and very well taken care of by her caretakers and rescuers in Turkey.
Nisan Becomes Kya
After a few days, we decided that Nisan needed a new name. Although Nisan means April in Turkish, we needed something more fitting for her. We started calling her different names until one seemed to peak her interest. Kya seemed to really make her perk up. So now we have Kya instead of Nisan. We took Kya to our veterinarian within in a week of her arrival. We wanted him to examine her since she seemed to have trouble walking on her back leg. We didn’t know if she would need another surgery or not but Dr. Mike (Dr. Michael Jones, DVM Happy Valley Animal Hospital) was very impressed with her condition under the circumstances. He told us that her leg isn’t bothering her so we shouldn’t let it bother us.
A Month Later, How is Kya Doing?
It has been over a month since Kya came home, she is getting very comfortable. She is a very healthy 7-month-old who loves everyone! Our kids just adore Kya just as much as she adores them. We have learned not to let her limp fool us, she is loves to run and doesn’t let her leg get in the way of playing. Kya does very well off her leash on our property. She loves going places with us and experiencing new things. Kya loves to eat. She loves to chew on antlers and bones. She is incredibly smart and loves engaging, interactive toys to play with, her favorite is a plush log with chipmunks. Just as any puppy, she is learning not to chew on things that are not hers and that jumping on high chairs for a quick snack is not ok.
She has only had one accident in the potty-training department which is pretty amazing. We are working on learning that chickens are our friends and not toys, and that she has to be a little gentler with Stella, our Morkie (Maltese-Yorkie crossbreed). Stella thinks she is a lot bigger than 7 pounds and Kya forgets that she is 50 pounds. Cooper, our Chocolate Lab, took some time to warm up to her. Before Kya came to us, Cooper was very depressed, wasn’t eating, and was just sleeping all day which is the opposite of normal for him. He was missing Grace too. Now Kya and Cooper are two peas in a pod. Kya loves running with both Cooper and Stella in our backyard. Cooper finally has a swim buddy who loves the creek in our back yard as much as he does. If Kya isn’t laying by my feet at night you can find her snuggled up to Cooper.
Kya Healed Our Hearts—Yes to International Adoptions!
Now if you asked me today if I would adopt a dog from another country I would wholeheartedly say “yes” without a doubt. We were gifted with a wonderful experience in which we made new friends within the United States, and in other countries. Not many people can say their dog has a passport! We couldn’t have asked for a better dog to join our family. Sometimes you don’t get to choose your dog, sometimes dogs choose you to be theirs. In this case I think our Grace saw how much we were all missing her and chose Kya to be ours to help our hearts heal just a little.
Rescuers Without Borders networks dogs in the US and Turkey as well as other countries, and helps facilitate their adoption and transport to American adopters.
Travel 2 The Rescue organizes volunteer transportation in the U.S. for dogs coming to the US from other countries.
Editor’s Note: Nisan’s story is not meant to be representative of the treatment of dogs in Turkey in general. There are many animal lovers in Turkey, including those who rescued Nisan. The film Taşkafa illustrates this. The film is about Istanbul residents, shopkeepers, and street-based workers, all of whom display a strong commitment to the well-being and future of the city’s street dogs and cats— free of formal ownership but fed and cared for by numerous individuals in the communities in which they live.
Melissa is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Keller William Syracuse and Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Lincoln. She is also a part of the Education Committee of the Greater Syracuse Board of Realtors. Jason is a Welder Apprentice with UA Local 267 Plumbers & Steamfitters.
The During family has a huge passion for dogs and all other animals. They try to making volunteering a family activity and enjoy to volunteer with Travel 2 The Rescue and Rescuers Without Borders when possible.
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- From Turkey to New York: The Story of a Tortured Puppy’s Long Journey to a New Life - September 21, 2018