They go to dog prison!

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Murat Bekhan the veterinarian has been doing a wonderful job since 2007. As part of the voluntary project he himself developed, he has been travelling both inside and outside İstanbul, educating students belonging to every age group, about stray dogs. I had the privilege to attend one of those meetings last Wednesday.

With his one man stand-up performance, Murat catches the attention of even the naughtiest, the most hyperactive, or the least interested student. He invents games so creative that 7 or 8 year old kids shout out: “I wanna be a dog too!”. Children are being shown, through slide shows, how to approach stray animals, how to behave if they come upon an aggressive dog, what tags on dogs’ ears mean. Murat wants to teach them empathy: kids close their eyes, lean back on their chair and work their brains out to be able to understand how a hungry, thirsty, kicked-around dog hiding in a garbage can would feel.

With the age group going up, games disappear, short movies are displayed, the essential and obligatory quality of spay/neuter operations are emphasized, the measures to be taken against the ever increasing number of stray animals are discussed.  It is up to students to find and decide on the most accurate solution.

At the end of the seminar, a SHKD book about stray dogs, a summary of what has been told during the seminar is distributed. Murat tells me he reached 14.000 students this way. But what lingers most in my head is the answer of a student, who, on being asked what happens to abandoned animals, employs an unwilling metaphor for shelters and shouts:  “They go to dog prison!

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8 Comments

  1. Grace Waszkiewicz

    This is a great idea. Starting with educating children is the most promising way to end up with responsible, sensitive and caring adults. Congratulations!

    Grace

  2. Aida

    ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! No animal deserves to be left to die a painful and solitary death in ANY type of prison. The ones who SHOULD be placed in prison are the “people”, “decision-makers”, and politicians who turn a blind eye to this horrendous abuse and allow it to go unchecked. THESE death, blind and stupid Humans belong in prison for the rest of their lives.

    Thank You, Murat Bekhan for your caring, dedication and for lighting the way!

    Aida

  3. julia clowes

    I invited him to our school and he came this week. What an impression he makes. The kids really listen and by getting them to join in , he captivates them all. Education is the biggest need here in Turkey..and what a good way to start them.
    We shall take a trip with the kids to his shelter as well.
    Great show :)

  4. Coco

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH MURAT BEKHAN! what a beautiful thing you are doing!

  5. Bob

    bravo et merci à Murat !14

  6. wonderful! Bravo Murat.
    Kids are born compassionate and curious – it’s our responsibility to nurture that trait.
    You’re doing a beautiful job.

  7. I’ve had the pleasure of participating with Murat at two schools with my performing dog and parrot. Murat does a super job, and is so charismatic that kids really understand his message. We did practices on how to approach dogs, and how to recognize dog body language (friendly or unfriendly), and also put on a trick performance. But the most important part is the slide/video show, followed by questions and answers. One of my favorites was when a boy asked: “If we allow dogs to be neutered, doesn’t that mean that there will be enforced neutering of humans next?” :-) Murat–to his credit–didn’t laugh, and gave a great answer to the question. Murat is a wonderful person, and I’m sure his influence will trickle down and we’ll soon have a much more pet-friendly generation.

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