Mert Akkök has transformed his farm into an animal shelter near Istanbul, Turkey. His shelter welcomes all animals that need care and love, and not just cats and dogs. Mert has also welcomed goats, donkeys, seagulls and other species that he meets on his path. He takes care of them every day, including sick or disabled animals or simply those who do not have a home. “I have 23 dogs in my shelter, and most of them are elderly or disabled. I rescued them from woods, backyards and rural areas outside the city. I try to find them a home, but many stay with me forever, “he says.
This happens above all for the old people or the sick that nobody wants to adopt. “I also have forty-six disabled seagulls, a blind horse, three geese, three cats and a small donkey.” For Mert, taking care of animals is something natural, also because in Turkey the government is not allowed to kill stray animals or put them in lifelong shelters. It is the government that takes care of them and does the vaccinations and then put them back on the street. These animals are everywhere in the cities and suburbs, where it is more difficult to survive.
Mert always hopes to find a home for them, but if he doesn’t, he keeps looking after them. “Taking care of these animals is not my main job, I have a consulting company that deals with health services – he says -. But I use my free time for them ». In the past he lived in the city and went to the suburbs to help animals. Then he started adopting a few, and as the number gradually increased, he decided to buy a farm.
“I adopted a blind mare who is now three years old, and then came the gulls who no longer fly but walk.” On the farm there are people who work for him, and every expense is his responsibility. Mert’s day starts very early: first he takes the dogs for a walk in the woods, then he gives food to all the guests on his farm and then he goes to work in the city. Sometimes, returning home, he stops to feed the stray dogs he meets on the street. And when necessary, it happens that you also accompany them to the vet.