From July 2010

Vanilla: an unfinished story

This is an unfinished story.

Vanilla was rescued from the infamous Bolluca forest in Istanbul.

For those who don’t know what Bolluca is, imagine this, a massive open air semi-forested extension outside of Istanbul where Municipality headed by Kadir Topbas disposes hundreds, thousands of dogs a year.

Yes… dogs.  No garbage, dogs.

As if this act was not despicable enough the dogs are disposed as puppies after having had their reproductive organs extracted by some of the worst veterinarians in the world.

There is no rehoming effort, there is no coordination of volunteer program, dogs are garbage and they are treated as such.

So this is where we found Vanilla. In the garbage, looking for a crumb of bread to eat.

Vanilla, was not alone. She was laying down next to her sister, Karamel. Karamel was gravely ill, we did all we could to save her but in the end she didn’t make it.

This short video is the story of a moment in time. A moment that marks the beginning of a new life for this incredible dog.

Vanilla is a wonderfully social dog, loving, friendly with all animals and humans (well, maybe she is a bit sceptical about cats sometimes). A pup that was dropped and was rescued just at the moment when she was about to give up.

Vanilla has been staying with us for months. It took us a while to start a search for a home as we had so many other emergencies to solve, but the day has come when Vanilla must find a home.

Please help us, adopt Vanilla or help us spreading her throughout our incredible network.

Conditions for adoption:

1. MUST have a dog right now.
2. Vanilla will live in the house with the family.. no yard, no chains, no nothing.
3. Vanilla will be fed a raw diet.

Contact me on:

Simba’s birthday: Let’s empty the gas chamber today

Today is not my birthday. Today I am giving my birthday to Simba.

Two and a half years ago we started a life changing project. Life changing because it gave us a completely new perspective on what really matters. It made us see our surroundings in a different way, opened our eyes to injustice and empowered us to do something about it.  Most importantly, it allowed us to meet some extraordinary people, people that we would have never met otherwise.  You know who you are.

Today I turn 40. Many of you have written to me and expressed your good wishes, invited me for a drink, or asked me to come around for dinner.

It is clearly impossible for me to be in all places at once, this is why I have given my birthday to the Simba Fund. So, if you were thinking of buying me a beer, pls go to the Fund and do it there… if you were thinking of inviting me for dinner, spare yourself the pain of cooking for me and visit the Fund instead. If you were thinking of getting me any kind of present, simply give it to Simba.

I’m not asking you to do it as a favour to me, but as a favour to you. Because it feels good and because whatever it is you contribute to the Fund will be put directly to use to save the lifes of those that matter to you, the animals.

Today is my Birthday and I really want to make it count. This is why today every single dollar contributed to the Simba Fund today will be handed to the rescue groups pulling dogs from the gas chambers of the Killing Shelter of Abbeville in LA (picture attached).

Abbeville’s pulling fee is 5 USD.  If you contribute 5 USD you will save one dog. If you contribute 100 USD you will save 20 dogs from death in the gas chamber.

I can’t tell you how happy I am I have given up my birthday. It feels great to know something good will come out of it.  Help me make today count. Visit the Simba Fund and together, let’s empty the gas chamber today.

Many thanks


Akmerkez / PetWorld: The Little Shop of Horrors

Akmerkez / Pet World… a Husky puppy turns in desperation inside its cage. The lights directly on top of his head make the heat unbearable. He is thirsty. There is no water.
Showing evident signs of distress the puppy eats its own excrements in plein view of the adoring public of “animal lovers”.

A few centimeters away a tiny Chihuaua barely has enough strenght to breath. His lungs are filled with infection. He will not make it through the night.

In 1993, three powerful industrial conglomerates set up to build a Shopping Mall in the Center of Istanbul. They called it Akmerkez.
180,000 square meters, a four story shopping area, 14 and 17 stories of office space and 23 stories of residential area. 41 escalators, 2 panoramic elevators, and 30 elevators.
Akmerkez was a first in Istanbul, and its design made it win prestigious awards.

Summer 2010. Seventeen years have passed since Akmerkez opened its doors to the public. The recent multi-million dollar renovation has barely improved the situation. Empty corridors leading to struggling shops barely able to pay the premium rents. At the bottom floor one shop seems to be doing exceedingly well. Pet World.

Behind its glass cages the shop exhibits its precious commodity. An assortment of puppies and kittens, imported from the neighboring countries lay on top of white sheets of paper that give a false impression of cleanliness and health. Most of those animals arrive bearing the scars of an hazardous trip from Russia, Moldova. Many of those animals are ill with distemper and Parvovirus and are sold to unsuspecting clients under the promise that if the animal dies in the first few weeks he will be inmediately replaced by a healthy one.

The animals are thirsty. The animals are ill. No matter how hard they try to mask it, the scent of death floats in the air.

PetShops are, by law, forced to operate under strict health conditions and are subject to strong regulations. PetWorld does not seem to care much about those. This comes as no surprise. The prices those animals command are exhorbitant. A puppy purchased at a russian puppy mill by as little as 50 Euro is sold here for a couple of thousand. With such margings, is not surprising that all regulations and directives are disregarded.

Pet World is one of the most visible cases of animal cruelty at the hands of Pet Shops in Istanbul, and this dirty business will continue as long as turkish animal lovers don’t express their rejection to this inhuman trade.

Tell the people responsible for PETWORLD exactly what you think of these images.

Can Paksoy, Pet World’s owner: +90 (0) 532 221 59 03

Do you have any experience with PET WORLD?  Please tell us your story here. Leave a comment.

Help us save Nokta and Apricot

This week we are showing you some of the cases we are currently working on at Let’s Adopt!.

Below is a quick movie we have made about the rescue of Nokta and Apricot.

Both dogs were dumped at the forest by the Istanbul Municipality in yet one more action of criminal abandon. Both dogs contracted distemper at the Municipal shelter and were then dumped to die under the scorching son.

Nokta and Apricot are just two of the thousands of victims of the Istanbul Municipality.

Nokta is currently in our only available foster home fighting for her life. Apricot is at a clinic in quarantine.

We are doing all we can for both of them.

Both Nokta and Apricot’s treatment will be covered by the Simba Fund. Please consider taking advantage of our current Double Match Donor Program.  Let’s ensure the Simba Fund has enough resources to continue saving lives of those that have noone else but us.

Please share this post and consider contributing to the Fund HERE and don’t forget to forward your paypal receipt to  for your contribution to be double-matched!

Million thanks


Your matching gift will save MANY lives this summer. UPDATED!

In this email I’m going to make a plea for financial assistance to the Simba Fund.
If you barely have enough money to feed you and your animals, if you have no job, no home, if you are bankrupt by all means disregard this message.  Everyone else, and I mean, everyone else, please read.
Two months ago our friend Leonard Coyne threw a challenge to all Let’s Adopt! members.
He would match any amount donated to the Simba Fund up to 150 USD. That is, for every USD you donated, he would donate exactly the same amount up to a limit of 150 USD.
Today Leonard is throwing another challenge. This time he will double the amount matched. He will now match ANY amount up to 300 USD.
We are now working on arranging the flights for a number of dogs and cats. We have animals flying to Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Miami, Washington. The success Let’s Adopt global in that respect is completely unprecedented and fills me with joy and pride to be able to offer a new life to so many of our rescues.
Now I need to appeal to your generosity and to Leonard’s so that we can cover the massive expenses of all of these rescues.
You are now become accustom to read the Success Stories of Let’s Adopt, by now you have realized this is no ordinary rescue group. We are aiming to do something completely ground breaking and new. A true global rescue organization. This is something that, many of you had dreamed before, but noone had dared trying.
So… again… if you are completely penniless please accept a big kiss from me, you are excused, but if you are not, the animals of Let’s Adopt! Global are expecting your help this time (no pressure here  :-))
Our animals need you (did I say this before? ).  Please contribute to the Simba Fund HERE and send a quick email with your receipt to and your donation, regardless of the amount, will be doubled!
UPDATE!!!:  One of our members, Jennifer Brown has stepped up to the plate and offered the same deal..  A DOUBLE MATCH!!!.. That is…  for every contribution the Simba Fund up to 300 USD the Simba Fund will receive triple the amount.  This is an incredible offer… it really is, and it could only happen because over the last two years, with every single post, every single rescue, post has been built. I’m completely and absolutely elated. Now it is your turn … pls contribute to the fund and email… your contribution will be TRIPPLED!

The rescue of Ivan the dog

On the 29 of June I received this letter on my inbox.

I was on that last village on the Bosphorus cruise. I saw this sick old dog and blind kitten. I want to take them back to the U.S. with me, but I need help. I will be back in Istanbul on July 13 for one day, before I fly back. I want to use that day to find those two animals. I am willing to pay the necessary expenses, and I a willing to fly back in August or September to take the animals back with me. I just need help on July 13 to bring them from the island to Istanbul, and then to a veterinarian and a temporary foster home until they are ready to fly. I really want to save these two. I do not think either one will make it through the winter. I want to give that old dog a few good years, and I want to keep that kitten from suffering and sure death. Please help me. We share the same concerns. I need to know soon because I am trying to secure arrangements for July 13 before I return to Istanbul. Thank you. Paul.

We regularly receive many letters from tourists concerned about an animal they have seen during their holiday but very rarely those tourists are willing to do something about it. They usually ask us to rescue the animals whilst they continue their holiday or go back to their country. Very seldom they want to really do something about it (although it happens sometimes).
Paul’s letter was different. I could read between the lines and I could see genuine concern here. I also could see real commitment in his offer to fly back to Turkey and collect the animals later.
I replied immediately and told Paul not to worry, the animals would be rescued and he would be able to take them with him to Texas.
Paul asked me a few questions about logistics and I just told him not to worry and enjoy the rest of his holiday (he was on his way to the Far East).
On July 13 early morning I received a phonecall from Paul. He was back in Istanbul ready to go find the dog and the kitten.
Paul came to Sariyer and from here we boarded the ferry to Anadolu Kavagi. We arrived there past midday. The heat was intense. All stray dogs were hiding from the sun. We started the search.

We immediately found the kitten, as it turned out there was not only one but four of them!. Two of them were completely blind. The other two already lost one eye but could recover the other with appropriate treatment.

We put all the kittens and their mother in a cage and continued the search for the old dog.
After one hour we decided we weren’t going to find him that day. I gave Paul my word that I would return to the location later and that I would make sure the dog would be rescued.
We agreed to it and order a beer whilst waiting for the Ferry back.
Then, all of a sudden, we saw him. Coming from the other side of the square we could see that tired old dog approaching us with the confidence of those who have seen it all.
We rushed to him, and I could not but smile at the thought of what was going to happen to him.

Here is a little video of the events that followed.

We named him Ivan after me.. :-)

Paul flew that evening with Ivan the dog and with two little kittens we had nursed back to health, Hairy Steak and Cheeta. He left behind a little orange kitten he had rescued and entrusted to some people to care for. We took this kitten home and named him Pumpkin. I will publish his pictures soon, he is amazing.

Thank you Paul for doing what so few people would do. Our love to all of you.

Latte and Bitter are dead

UPDATE:   Bitter is DEAD .

It was a frantic afternoon. In a space of few hours we found a good home for Bitter in the USA and we secured a safe location for her in Istanbul. Then, as we were going to move Bitter to her new foster home we were informed by the same people that were caring for her sister that she died in yesterday “accident”. Apparently they didn’t want to tell us not to upset us even further.
We are absolutely devastated by this, this proves once again how essential is to develop a strong network of foster homes in Turkey.
This is, from today, Let’s Adopt! main priority.
I swear to myself that the death of those two puppies will mark a before and an after. To begin with all rescue operations are immediately halted. We will only rescue as we ad new foster homes to the network. If there is no foster home there will be no rescue.
I am also going to rely on YOU to increase the reach our Turkish network and populate it with exceptional people.
I am not interested in your usual “animal lover”..  I want to create a network of active animal rescuers, adoptants and fosters, and this network will function only as long as the composition of the community is balanced.
So… Bitter is also dead, and again, this death is to be blamed on the lack of foster homes in Turkey.  Everyone seems to have a excuse, they have a dog already, their husbands don’t let them foster, what will happen if the dog pees on the carpet… None of those excuses are acceptable to me. The price for inaction is death. Look at Latte and Bitter’s faces. They didn’t have to die in pain. They could have been sleeping peacefully each on different foster home. One of them in your living room.

Latte is dead.

We need to find a home for her sister Bitter. She has been left alone in the same location where her sister died.

We don’t have a foster home for her.  The whole situation is absolutely pathetic and embarrassing, the complete failure of our Turkish network.

We need an amazing home for this puppy. Our conditions for adoption, as ever:

1. MUST have another animal, preferably a dog.

2.  Bitter will leave at home with the rest of the family. Absolutely no garden dogs.

3. Bitter will eat a biologically appropriate diet, a RAW diet (


Little Lucky, the blind kitten

“My name is Little Lucky. My life started in a dark and dirty basement. I got sick and my eyes became infected, so I never could see.

I could hear my brothers and mom around me. One day I went out and got lost. I never felt my warm mom again. I was wаndering around for a long while, didn’t know where I was, scared, hungry and with no stregth to cry. I weighed 150g, sick and blind. I lied down and stayed there.

Then Something Large came and picked me up. It didn’t eat me! It fed me, cleaned me, and I fell asleep in fluffy softness. Suddenly I was snatched up, placed into something, and taken someplace where they touched my eyes, poked me with sharp things and gently pulled me in all directions.

This was a while ago. Now i recognise the Large Something, I am not afraid of it and I love it. It is called Aunty Vaniya. There are others like me at Auty Vaniya’s but they are big and don’t like me. My eyes don’t hurt so much anymore, I am stronger, I run and purr! I follow Aunty Vaniya around, I use the cat litter and know where my water is. I play and chase balls. I am not sure what is what, but I find my way around perfectly!

One day my eye started hurting again so they took me to some otherplace, where I was lonely, I was poked again, and I was locked in a small place; there was lots of barking and meowing around. Later they brought me back to Aunty Vaniya, then took me to the otherplace again. Most of all I want to be at Aunty Vaniya’s but the big ones like me chase me, so she takes me to the otherplace. I am sad in the otherplace, because I am alone.

I am not handsome, I am not even cute. But I am special. And I am looking for a home where I can have something to eat, be safe and have fluffy softness to sleep in. Oh, and where they will hug me!

Little Lucky.”

Little Lucky‘s story was given to us by Vaniya Kotarova. She found the skinny kitten lying by the side of the road, half-dead, with horrifically infected eyes. She did not get scared and did not shy away. Quite the contrary – she took the frightening-looking kitty and did everything in her power to save him. Against all odds Lucky survived. He is currently in the care of Animal Rescue Sofia, and goes back to Vaniya’s home from time to time, where unfortunately her tom-cats do not approve of him. Lucky is almost blind. In the hope of saving one of his eyes, an operation was performed, sadly with no effect. Despite only seeing shapes Lucky finds his way around perfectly – he follows Vaniya, plays with his toys, uses the cat litter. Please share Lucky‘s story. We are searching for an amazing person, who must:

– Have AT LEAST ONE OTHER ANIMAL at present. We want to make sure the responsibility of having an animal is understood.
– Lucky will be an indoor cat. Access to garden is a plus, of course.
– Lucky will be fed a raw diet (

Please contact Viktor,

The death of a puppy

I’m writing this at 5 in the morning.

This post is going to be one of those where I point fingers, so if you are going to take offense please feel free not to continue reading. Actually, if you are going to take offense please feel free to leave Let’s Adopt! right now.. and don’t come back.

Here it goes…

This group performs miracles, every single day. The amount of animals we save, the way we save them, the lenght we go to make sure they get a second chance is something completely unheard of in the turkish (and dare I say) international animal rescue networks. After every success story, I make a point of thanking everyone involved, including each and every single member of our community.

But the truth is, most of you don’t desserve my thanks.

The reach of this group and the way it engages its members is unprecedented and exciting. A group open by nature, where everyone has the same opportunities to get involved, by networking, by fostering, by adopting, by donating to the fund that pays for most of the rescues and medical treatments.  Still, the passivity of most of our members is only comparable with how demanding those members become when they need our help.

The most painful reflection of this passivity is the fact that as of today, we don’t have a single good foster home in our homebase, Turkey. Not one.

What happens when we don’t have foster homes? Animals die.

Today we have a little puppy, Latte, fighting for survival in our clinic. This puppy was not supposed to die, but if he does, it will be entire your fault.

Latte was rescued in Bolluca, treated from infection and mange, stayed at our clinic for weeks whilst on treatment. Unfortunately we coudn’t keep him there forever, we had to make space for another injured animal, so we had to move him somewhere whilst we put in motion our adoption mechanisms. Latte was moved to an inadequate location purely because there was no other place to put him. Today, in that foster location, Latte has been attacked by older dogs, and has suffered terrible injuries on his hip, spine and internal organs.

We do not know the full extend of the damage but Latte’s condition is critical.

Most of our turkish members have one animal, they could easily open their home to another one, even temporarily, with that single act of generosity they could save more, many more. Had we had any available foster homes Latte would not be fighting for survival right now.

I need to be completely honest. When I started this group two years ago I was driven by the hope that turkish animal lovers would rise to the occasion, that guided and empowered by a different kind of community, they would start acting in a more responsible way. But instead we ended up creating a community of dependents, a community where hundreds of people write daily messages to us with incredible demands and expectations, and most of the time, offer nothing in return.  A community of helpless, selfish individuals who, with very few exceptions, won’t move a finger to help anyone other than themselves. A community that will sit and watch when puppies like Latte die because of lack of foster homes.

Let’s Adopt! was supposed to be a community of animal rescuers. Something that all of us should be truly proud of. Instead, tonight whilst I listen to the faint breathing of a dying puppy and I feel nothing but disgust and contempt towards the useless monstruosity I have created and I am truly sorry to have wasted my time helping so many of you.

Let’s Adopt! will not be able to rescue any more animals unless our Turkish members start opening their homes as foster homes. From today very single new request for help will simply receive this blog post as a reply.

Do you want us to continue save animals?  Start by opening your home and foster.

Viktor Larkhill