Tag: Turkey

Across the world people care for dogs!

This is a marvellous story from Turkey.

It is an account of how a young girl went to seek help for a dog.

It is on The Dodo website and just shows how the caring for a dog crosses all boundaries.

Yet this young girl is just one of millions, literally, who care for our precious dogs.

Here’s the story:


Little Girl Trudges Through Heavy Snow To Get Help For Her Sick Dog

By Stephen Messenger
Published on 2/26/2021

“She’d wrapped her dog up and brought him to me on her back” ❤️

The other day, Ogün Öztürk was called to a small village in Turkey to attend to a client’s cow. He hadn’t planned on staying long.

But what began as just a routine visit ended as one Ogün won’t soon forget.

Ogün Öztürk

After wrapping up the job he’d come for, Ogün was about to leave the village. Before he did, however, something in the distance caught his eye.

There, trudging toward him on a path thick with snow, was a little girl. And she was not alone.

On her back was a pup.

Ogün Öztürk

Evidently, word had gotten around that a vet was in town — and that presented an opportunity which the girl, 8-year-old Cemre Su Türköz, refused to pass up.

Cemre’s dog, named Pamuk, had fallen sick. Desperate to get him help, she decided to carry Pamuk more than a mile from her home to the spot she’d heard that Ogün would be.

“When I first saw them, I was very surprised and touched,” Ogün told The Dodo. “She’d wrapped her dog up and brought him to me on her back.”

Ogün Öztürk

Ogün, of course, couldn’t turn Cemre and Pamuk away. While the little girl looked on, concerned, Ogün performed a checkup.

Fortunately, the dog’s sickness wasn’t all too serious. Ogün found Pamuk just had some minor skin issues that were making him uncomfortable, but which could easily be treated.

“When Cemre heard that her dog would be fine, she was very happy,” Ogün said. “I applied external parasite medications to Pamuk. He is now enjoying himself again, healthy and happily.”

Ogün Öztürk

The little girl and her dog had gotten help. But they also got a friend.

Ogün has been back to the village to check in on Cemre and Pamuk, ensuring that they never need to brave the snow again to get whatever help he can provide. It’s the least he could do, considering the effort she’d put in to find him.

“It made me very happy that an 8-year-old girl behaved in this way with such a loving heart,” Ogün said.

Ogün Öztürk

Ogün didn’t charge Cemre for his services that day. Just seeing her love and devotion to Pamuk was the best payment he could ask for.

“The fact that a person at such a young age exhibits this behavior gives hope to humanity,” Ogün said. “With all that’s going on in the world, there’s still hope. Cemre showed us that the only truth in the world is love.”


Let me pick up on that last paragraph for it is so full of things that we know in our hearts are correct.

The first thing is that this eight-year-old girl, Cemre, knows what is right. To be honest, most young people of either gender more often than not know the right thing to do. Then Ogün was reported as saying: “With all that’s going on in the world …”. But there has always been so much going on. It is just that modern communications makes the world’s news to come in at us; wherever we are!

But the most important observation is that the only truth in the world is love!

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”  Victor Hugo.


Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”  Franklin P. Jones

The above two quotes are just a fraction of what may be seen if one Googles love quotes!

Dogs are amazing!

This is a short story but still endearing!

The instinct of dogs to come to the aid of us humans, friends and strangers alike, never fails to impress.

Here’s a recent story on The Dodo that endorses that in spades!


Stray Dog Interrupts Performance To Comfort Actor Pretending To Be Injured

“I was very touched. He was like an angel who wanted to help me.”
By Stephen Messenger
Published on 9/3/2020

During a recent theatrical performance in Turkey, the script called for actor Numan Ertuğrul Uzunsoy’s character to get hurt — but, of course, it was all pretend.

The adorable reaction of one furry audience member that day, however, was not.


“The character I played was injured and in great pain,” Uzunsoy told The Dodo. “He’d fallen off a horse, and was breathing hard.”

As Uzunsoy lay on the ground, his pretend suffering didn’t go unnoticed. From the wings, a concerned stray dog made his entrance — interrupting the play to offer the “injured” stranger comfort.

Uzunsoy didn’t see it coming.

“I felt warmth on my face. First, I thought my costar was approaching me,” Uzunsoy said. He was wrong.

Realizing the truth, Uzunsoy couldn’t help but break character. His face gave way to a smile.

“I was very happy when I felt the dog’s kisses,” Uzunsoy said. “I was very touched. He was like an angel who wanted to help me. It was a very emotional moment for me. I was not expecting it.”

No one seemed to mind that pause in the action. Rather, the reaction to the pup’s interruption was quite the opposite.

“My castmates loved the dog, and the audience was very happy,” Uzunsoy said. “Everyone cheered.”


A crew member eventually escorted the sweet dog offstage, where he remained awhile before strolling away. Uzunsoy, however, hopes their meeting that day is just the first of many acts to come.

He wants to reunite with the pup and help him find a home — returning the favor for the kindness he’d shown Uzunsoy.

“The next day I went to the same place, looking for him. People told me he usually hangs out there. I went again today,” Uzunsoy said. “I’ll look for him until I find him. I’ve always loved animals.”


Here’s a video of the incident (but unless you understand Turkish it will be eyes only).


Dogs truly are amazing!

Not all things to do with Turkey are bad.

This is a delightful man-meets-dog story.

I was pondering that I really should return to sharing stories about dogs. After all this is a blog that is called Learning from Dogs.

Then I recently saw this story from Turkey. It’s about a stray dog and it is in Turkey and it’s from The Dodo so is republished with permission.

That did it!


Security Camera Catches Man Sharing Adorable Moment With Stray Dog

Photo Credit: Twitter/bendemistim

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Metin Can Şener was walking home along a street in Turkey when a figure emerged from the darkness in front of him.

It was a pup — his tail wagging eagerly at the sight of Şener approaching.

Şener had seen the dog before, but apparently only during the day; he often hangs out at Şener’s local coffee shop, where this random encounter at 2:51 a.m. took place.

“He comes to that street all the time,” Şener told The Dodo. “I always see him by the café.”

Photo Credit: Twitter/bendemistims

On this particular early morning, however, Şener and the dog became much better acquainted. As if compelled by the same joyful spirit upon seeing a familiar face on that empty street, the two of them reacted in the sweetest way: “We started dancing,” Şener said.

The adorable moment was captured on video.

Şener and the dog were passing strangers no longer.

“We became good friends,” Şener said. “I already have four dogs, so I couldn’t take him home.”

Fortunately, despite apparently living as a stray, the dog appears to be well-fed — perhaps having endeared himself to people in the area. Their random meeting this particular morning certainly had that effect on Şener.

Photo Credit: Twitter/bendemistims

Neither Şener nor the dog knew at the time that their heartwarming encounter had been caught on film. The owner of the café had evidently reviewed the security footage and shared it with Şener the next day.

And since posting it online, the happy scene has gone viral.

“I was surprised to see it had been caught on camera. I thought it was so much fun,” Şener said. “I always like to dance with animals like this. I love animals even more than people.”


The video on YouTube follows. But before I go let me comment about that last photograph, the one just above, because this is what having a dog in your life is all about!


Being a lover of dogs shows no constraints!

Try a pharmacist from Turkey!

I love this recent story from the Daily Dodo.

It concerns a Turkish pharmacist who is also a dog lover.

Look, here’s the story:


Pharmacist Sees Stray Dog At The Door And Realizes She’s Asking For Help”

“She was saying, ‘I trust you.'”

Say Hello to the New Year!

This was too good to ignore.


Police diver adopts dog rescued from icy lake

A puppy was saved from a frozen lake by a police diver in Turkey. The rescuer feared the worst but said it was miracle that she survived.

(Now try as I may I can’t embed the video but, please, follow the link to the page.)



It’s inspiring and beautiful what a human will do for a dog!

Last but not least Happy New Year to you.

Blue Ridge Pet Food Recall

As released by Dog Food Advisor at 07:45 PST today.

Blue Ridge Beef of Eatonton, Georgia, has announced it is voluntarily recalling one lot of its raw frozen pet food due to its potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:

Blue Ridge Beef Pet Food Recall of January 2016

When one goes to that Blue Ridge web link this is what you will read:


January 17, 2017 — Blue Ridge Beef of Eatonton, Georgia, has announced it is voluntarily recalling one lot of its Turkey with Bone raw frozen product due to its potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

What’s Being Recalled?

blue-ridge-beef-turkey-with-bone-recall-jan-2017The affected product is sold in 2 pound chubs and can be identified with the following manufacturing codes:

  • Blue Ridge Beef Turkey with Bone
  • Size: 2 pound chubs
  • UPC Code 854298001887
  • Lot #103 mfdga12716

About Listeria

Listeria can affect animals eating the product.

And there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surface exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare provider.

Where Was It Distributed?

The affected products were distributed to retail stores in the following states:

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina

What Caused the Recall?

This recall was initiated as a result of an FDA inspection and sampling of the product. This recall is being made with the knowledge of the US Food and Drug Administration.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased the above lot of Blue Ridge Beef Turkey with Bone raw frozen product are urged to stop feeding the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Or dispose of the affected product immediately.

Those with questions can email the company at blueridgebeefga@yahoo.com

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.


As the email alert that came to me said; in closing:

Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners.

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food Advisor

Best wishes to you all.

Golly, there are some great persons out there!

What a wonderful sequel to yesterday’s post!

I am always amazed at how things turn out. Call it serendipity or what!

Because, as much as I love publishing a daily post in this place, not infrequently I think what on earth am I going to find to write about; or republish!

As it was yesterday morning. Not only did I have a heap of things to do around the house but also other ‘office’ work that had to come first.

Then in my email in-box there was another story from Care2. It made a perfect follow-on to yesterday’s post about how rescued dogs go on to become rescue dogs.

Enjoy! (And many thanks Miss Serendipity!)


Hero on Motorbike Delivers Food to Street Dogs and Cats

3194050-largeBy: Laura S. November 20, 2016

About Laura

Murat Şahin climbs onto his dusty motorbike and holds his breath as he turns the key, hoping the engine will start. His trip is important because he’s going to feed more than 100 dogs in the forest of Aydos in Istanbul, Turkey. Dozens of cats living along the rocky coastal walls are waiting for him too.

fullscreen-capture-11142016-55055-pm-e14792322639441Watch Murat Feed the Animals

Murat’s mission is important to him, it’s a spiritual calling in fact, and he is deeply devoted to serving the hungry animals as you will see in the uplifting video below.

Murat does take some animals to the veterinarian for spay/neuter, but it isn’t always feasible. Some of the animals are wild, and without a car, he can’t bring a trap or transport them easily. He also doesn’t have the funds to do sponsor spay/neuter on a wide scale on his own.

fullscreen-capture-11142016-55135-pm-e14792322398831“Murat has never asked for any help,” fellow volunteer Anna Efe explains. “He has always used his own money and collected food at a restaurant and a local canteen. Also, some butchers were giving him leftovers free of charge. But this year the situation has changed. The butchers stopped giving leftovers for free and, on top of that, Murat’s old motorbike was stolen. It was his only way to deliver food to the forest dogs.”

Though Murat did manage to find a very low-priced bike to replace the stolen one, the replacement bike frequently breaks down. In fact, it broke down immediately after the filming of the video on this page.

Better Days Ahead

fullscreen-capture-11142016-55807-pm-e14792322056231The Harmony Fund charity, based in the U.S., is working on a surprise for Murat. The group is attempting to raise funds to purchase a reliable, used car for Murat’s rescue work and would be shared by Murat and his fellow volunteers working together as an authorized rescue team in Turkey. The car would have several advantages over the bike including carrying larger quantities of food, transporting animals to the veterinarian and safer transportation during bad weather.


If anyone reading this post can find it in their hearts to make a donation, then this link on the Harmony Fund website is the place to go. You can specifically nominate that your gift goes to Murat out in Turkey. (And Jean and I have made a modest donation to Harmony to be passed to Murat.)

And Another Saturday Smile

Enjoy your weekend, and don’t miss the Harvest Moon!

Another fabulous reposting of an article that first was seen on the Care2 site.


This Man May Wear a Hard Hat, But He Sure Has a Soft Spot for Dogs

3188741-largeBy: Laura S. September 11, 2016

Max Kahrimanovic lives in his hard hat. It’s covered in the dust of three continents where he programs wind turbines, often at a dangerous height. But some may say Max’s greatest accomplishments unfold in the far less intricate scenarios down on the ground where he feeds hungry, and often very thirsty, stray dogs. This is the story of how Max won the trust of one of those dogs and the remarkable new life she is now beginning.

So close he could kiss the clouds, Max programs wind turbines internationally.

“I saw her the very first day I came to the construction site,” Max said of the shy sweetheart he encountered during his latest assignment in Turkey. “She was scared and wouldn’t approach no matter what. I would leave food and would have to walk away. Then, from the far, I would see her eating and drinking what I left for her. Slowly she started to trust me and one day she finally let me pet her on the head.”

From that day forward Karis (as Max named her) decided that she had adopted Max. She would keep watch outside his office door and she would be waiting for him when he arrived at work each morning.

Although she was once so afraid of human touch, Karis soon learned that Max was different than the others she’d encountered.
Although she was once so afraid of human touch, Karis soon learned that Max was different than the others she’d encountered.

“She can be naughty at times,” Max laughs, thinking of the occasions Karis dumped over the trash cans. “She wasn’t hungry, I know that much. I was feeding her three times a day. But I guess the leftovers smelled delicious to her and she had to check it out.”

And one day, when Max arrived, Karis had a surprise for him. Overnight, she had delivered seven puppies.

“My first thought was devastation,” Max said candidly. “I know, you’ll think how can I be devastated seeing so much cuteness. But in all these years of traveling through Europe, Morocco, New Zealand, etc. I’ve seen so much misery involving these animals, that I couldn’t feel anything else at that moment.”

At this point, Max had already found a home for Karis in the U.S. and was making arrangements to transport her there. But with seven more lives to worry about, now what?

“How are we gonna manage 7 pups too?” Max wondered. “Knowing what will happen to them after I leave was devastating. I knew they will either die under car wheels, die of starvation, diseases or they will get killed by other bigger dogs that wander around there.”

So, despite the enormity of the costs and challenging logistics, Max and his wife Neli – back in Sweden – began making arrangements to transport the entire family of dogs to the U.S. for adoption. They turned to the Harmony Fund international animal rescue charity for help with the costs of the rescue.

The whole family will be coming to the U.S. soon, and Karis already has a permanent home with one of Max’s friends who has adopted internationally before. Max has no doubt that Karis will be very good to her pups during the transition as she has always been such an excellent mother.

Karis and her pups were moved to a safe location where they await travel to the U.S.
Karis and her pups were moved to a safe location where they await travel to the U.S.

“When she had the puppies, I admired how she never went to eat their food that I gave them,” Max said. “She waited for me to get hers ready. One time I left 6 hard boiled eggs on the table for her lunch. I just stepped out to wash my hands and when I got back eggs were gone. She ate them like that, not peeled or anything.”

Max isn’t always admired for his devotion however. He said he’s known by management as “the guy who feeds strays” and that he has received warnings not to do so. But he simply can’t go against his own moral compass.

Max always makes time to offer food and water to strays like this one in Turkey.
Max always makes time to offer food and water to strays like this one in Turkey.

“This is much stronger than me,” Max explains. “I can’t eat my lunch knowing there is a being, not far from me, starving and hasn’t had a piece of bread for days…. We usually work in small villages far from civilization or any bigger cities. If it is possible to buy it, then I always have one or two huge bags of dry food and some cans in the trunk of my car. And on my way from the site to my hotel, I stop and feed strays that I see. If it isn’t possible to buy dog food, then I improvise with our food by either taking extra breakfast from the hotel or just by buying extra food when I go shopping for myself. I know I can’t save them all. But for that day or that time when I meet that dog I can feed him at least and give him some water.”


I am so pleased to promote what Max Kahrimanovic is doing and to thank Laura for writing this up in the first place.

Max’s admission in that last paragraph uses words that I have heard Jean using when I first met her back in December, 2006 when she was living in Mexico and rescuing so many street dogs and finding loving homes for them in the USA.

Hugs for all concerned.

A most fabulous story of rescuing dogs.

Seen recently over on Mother Nature Network and shamelessly republished in full!


36 golden retrievers rescued from streets of Turkey

Rescuers in Atlanta shower the lucky pups with love, medical attention and playtime.
By: Mary Jo DiLonardo
Tue, May 12, 2015 at 04:00 PM

Golden retrievers are packed into an animal shelter in Turkey before being rescued and flown to Atlanta. (Photo: Adopt a Golden Atlanta/Facebook)
Golden retrievers are packed into an animal shelter in Turkey before being rescued and flown to Atlanta. (Photo: Adopt a Golden Atlanta/Facebook)

Three dozen abandoned golden retrievers made the long trek from the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, to an Atlanta suburb this week thanks to the efforts of an animal rescue group.

The dogs were discovered by an American living in Turkey, who said she saw them living on the streets and taking over shelters. The breed was once considered a status symbol, but as the dogs became more prolific, their popularity waned and the pets were quick to be discarded. On the harsh streets of Istanbul, the gentle dogs didn’t fare well against vicious feral dogs.

Adopt a Golden Atlanta arranged for 36 of the dogs to be flown to the U.S. where they’re now housed at the Pet Lodge Pet Resort in Alpharetta, an Atlanta suburb. They’ve been given medical attention, baths and lots of playtime. Although they don’t yet understand English commands, volunteers say they seem happy with all the attention — wagging tails all around.

[See footnote]

The goldens made a 12-hour flight and seven-hour layover to get to their new home. They range in age from 6 months to 10 years.

The pups should be available for adoption in a few weeks, and they already have names, says Adopt a Golden founder Lauren Genkinger, who spearheaded the rescue effort.

“They’re the freedom dogs and all of them have been given names, Freedom, Patriot, Liberty, Glory…” Genkinger told WXIA TV in the video above. “It wasn’t easy coming up with 36 patriotic names. The only thing missing from this story … is someone to call America in from the yard … to dinner.”


A golden retriever is examined in Atlanta after arriving from Turkey. (Photo: Adopt a Golden Atlanta)
A golden retriever is examined in Atlanta after arriving from Turkey. (Photo: Adopt a Golden Atlanta)



There is a two-minute video in the MNN version that I was unable to transport over to here.  It may be watched here.

The book! Chapter Ten.

Steadily working towards the climax in Philip’s life.

Tomorrow in Chapter Eleven, Philip’s life comes apart, in spades.  Thus today’s chapter produces the contrast of a sweet life, running smoothly to create the appropriate backdrop to tomorrow.

Having been very unhappy with my feelings about this ‘write a novel in a month’ as expressed on Tuesday in my introduction to Chapter Nine, today I’m much more contented.  The thick end of 34,000 words are now down on ‘paper’ and yet another pep talk from an experienced, published author really spoke to me.  In fact, I’m going to repost that talk here:

Dear Novelist,

Okay, here we are: more than halfway through, right in the thick of it. Probably at this point the last thing you want is a big lecture on Writing and How You’re Supposed to Do It. So I’m not even going to talk about writing.

Instead I’m going to talk about a metaphor for writing. Better, right?

Let’s say you’re not a writer hard at work on your first novel. Let’s say you’re a Tribute who’s just been selected for the Hunger Games. You’re freaking out because you’re facing almost certain death in the Arena. And instead of a published author, I’m going to be that drunk guy who’s supposed to be telling you how to survive.

It’s a good fit. Like Woody Harrelson, I am short and bald. And I like a drink. I may be drunk right now, who knows? But more important, I’ve done this before and lived. So I’m here to tell you: it is survivable.

Writing Requires Nerve

Which brings me to my first point. Writing a novel belongs to that category of thing—like surviving the Hunger Games, and eating an entire large pizza by yourself—that appears to be impossible but actually isn’t. I’ve written four of them, with another coming out next year, and every time around halfway through, I get to a point where I say to myself: let’s admit it, this just isn’t going to happen. Given the number of words I have written, and the number of words I have left to write, and the rate at which I am currently producing words, and the crappiness of said words, it is mathematically and physically impossible that I will ever finish this book. It’s like the arrow in Zeno’s paradox: it’ll never get there.

But the thing is, the books do get there. It astounds me every time, but the books get done. How? It’s not about having some triumphant breakthrough moment. Being a novelist is a matter of keeping at it, day after day, just putting words after other words. It’s a war of inches, where the hardest part is keeping your nerve. The number one reason why people who want to write novels don’t is that they lose their nerve and quit.

So heads up: once you get in that Arena, Tributes are going to be biting the dust to the left and right of you, and it’ll be because they’ve lost their nerve. But that won’t happen to you. You’re going to keep your nerve. If talent exists, that is talent.

Writing Comes with Doubt

So, you are a Tribute for the Hunger Games but you don’t feel confident. You feel like crap. Like you have no idea what you’re doing. Sometimes you pick up your bow and arrow or your throwing knives and you’re like, I don’t even remember how these damn things work. Why? Why are you different? What is wrong with you?

So this is point number two: nothing is wrong with you. You’re not different. Everybody feels as bad as you do: this is just what writing a novel feels like. To write a novel is to come in contact with raw, primal feelings, hopes and longings and psychic wounds, and try to make a big public word-sculpture out of them, and that is a crazy hard thing to do. When you look at other people’s published novels, they seem gleaming and perfect, like the authors knew what they wanted to do from the start and just did it. But trust me: they didn’t know.

What you’re feeling is not only normal: it’s a good sign. A writer—someone once said—is a person for whom writing is difficult. That resistance you’re feeling is proof that you’re digging deep. To write a novel is to lose your way and find it over, and over, and over again.

A lousy draft proves nothing. Rough drafts are rough—everybody’s are. Being a writer isn’t like being a musician. You don’t have to get it right every day. The wonderful thing about being a writer is, you only have to get it right once. That’s all anyone will ever see. The only bad draft is the one that doesn’t get finished.

So get back at it. Let the others lose heart and give up. You stay out there in the woods. The weapons of a writer, James Joyce once wrote, are silence, exile, and cunning, and probably he wasn’t thinking of the Hunger Games when he wrote that—probably—but it fits the metaphor. While Tributes are falling left and right, you will fashion man-traps from ninja stars, steal weapons from the fallen, and bide your time, and when you’re ready you will come out of those woods like an avenging angel of death.

Forget that stuff about the odds being ever in your favor. What does that even mean? Screw the odds. There are no odds. You’re a writer, and writers make their own odds.

I’ll see you in the Victors’ Village.


Lev Grossman is the author of the bestselling novels The Magicians and The Magician King

So to Chapter Ten.


Learning from Dogs

Chapter Ten

Well, as is the way of things, 2005 came to an end, moved on to 2006 and before Philip could really get his head around it, the end of January was in sight. It was a New Year but in so many other ways nothing really seemed to change, either locally or internationally.  Philip was disgusted with the state of the world at so many levels; the tragedy of the conflict in Iraq being just one example of a political system that seemed broken beyond repair.  Locally, house prices were still ramping upwards and there was a sense that inflation rates were starting to rise.  But, hey ho, most people seemed to be enjoying the party.

Philip was enjoying this period of his life as well; immensely so.  There was just the right balance of mentoring to offer both a regular income and a variety of interesting engagements.  His relationship with Pharaoh was fulfilling to an extent that he could never have before imagined. Plus the sessions over at Angela’s place were clearly stimulating for Pharaoh, and a joy for Philip because of this unanticipated aspect of owning a teaching dog.  He had been undertaking some coaching for a youth opportunities organisation in Plymouth, a real and pragmatic effort to reduce the high levels of youth unemployment that had been a hallmark of the city of Plymouth for some time now.  Last, but by no means least, he and Maggie seemed to be much more settled in their relationship.

Thus the weeks became months and Winter gave way to Spring, possibly the most delightful time of the year for South Devon, especially for those who lived in this part of England.

It was on such a beautiful Spring day in May, in fact the Monday of the late Spring Bank Holiday in May, with he and Maggie having an afternoon tea by the raised flower beds directly in front of the house, when he heard his office telephone ringing. Ever the salesman who could never let a phone ring unanswered, Paul stepped the ten paces inside to his office room and picked up the receiver.


“Philip, is that you, it’s Jonathan.”

“Hallo, Jonathan, this is a nice surprise, how are you?”

“Good thanks.  In fact very good. Because last Friday was the end of my relationship with Cowdrays.”

Philip could hear the excitement in Jonathan’s voice.

“I know I shouldn’t have called you on a Bank Holiday but didn’t want to wait until tomorrow and find you were away from your desk.”

“Jonathan, it’s not a problem at all.  One of the things that all of us find out, those who run their own businesses, and find out pretty quickly, is that the concept of nine-to-five is dead and buried.  Are you ready for us to get together?”

“Yes, any time over the next couple of weeks, your place or mine.”

“Great. Just hang on a moment while I look at my diary.  What I will say is that while you had indicated preferring that we worked over at your place, the first few sessions will be easier on me over here.  That’s because I will have close-to-hand reference materials that almost certainly will be relevant to you.”

There was a pause as Philip looked at his diary.

“How about the morning of the fifth of June, in other words a week from today?  Say ten o’clock?”

There was a return pause before Jonathan replied by saying that it was perfect.

Philip asked, “Jonathan, how are you with dogs? Because Pharaoh is usually free to be around the house and just loves being in my office when I am chatting to someone.”

“Not a problem at all, I’m very fond of dogs and especially German Shepherd dogs,” came Jonathan’s reply.

“Fantastic,” and Philip went to add, “In fact he will have just turned three-years-old; his birthday is June 3rd.  See you in a week’s time. Take care.”

That first meeting with Jonathan came upon Philip almost before he could breath.  He wasn’t sure if it was an age thing but the days, in particular, and time in general just seemed to fly past now.

As Philip had expected, working with Jonathan was quite unlike any of his previous mentoring engagements.  Because previously whoever he was working with was involved in a business that was dealing with a tangible product or service.  Thus even back to the days when he endeavoured to assist an accountant, rather poorly if he recalled, at least the product, while not something you could hold in your hand, was something that didn’t touch on people’s sensitivities.  Philip smiled at that recollection thinking there might be some humour around the idea of whether or not accountants upset people. No, back to his main line of thought.

What Jonathan was presenting to his potential customers, was entirely concerned with the delicate and complex issue of human relationships; nothing more, nothing less.

Slowly over their next four meetings, what became clearer and clearer to Philip was that the route to finding new clients for Jonathan, the way to develop his business on his own account, was to direct a really appropriate open question, and salesmen do so love open questions, to the prospective client, to the professional person, along the lines of, ‘when you reflect on the relationships around you within your business life, what strengths and weaknesses come to mind?’

It all seemed to be in line with Jonathan’s ambitions and Philip’s only regret was that between his and Jonathan’s commitments elsewhere, their meetings frequently were interspaced by a couple of weeks, at times more.

Thus it was at the end of their meeting on the 16th August when sharing diaries, looking for the next mutually convenient date, Philip had to say to Jonathan, “I’m afraid September is going to be a challenge as Maggie and I have decided to take a holiday.  Somewhere in the Mediterranean; possibly Turkey.”

Jonathan looked up from scanning the pages of his diary in anticipation of Philip’s next sentence.

“Can’t be sure of the dates just now, because we haven’t booked kennel space for Pharaoh, but within the next week that should all be settled and flight tickets arranged.”

Jonathan replied, “Give me a ring when you know your dates and we’ll pencil in our next session to suit us both.”

That was agreed.

Philip and Maggie’s vacation dates were soon arranged, Pharaoh’s kennel space booked, and before they knew it, they were winging their way to a two-week vacation in the coastal town of Kaş, in Turkey.

It was a beautiful holiday.  Philip mused that in ways that were beyond his grasp the holiday was more relaxing, more intimate and more bonding than anything he and Maggie had ever done since they had married back in the year 2000.  Philip was conscious that the relationship between him and Maggie had had its ups and downs.  For a start there was a big age gap; he was eighteen years Maggie’s elder.  Then something about their backgrounds exacerbated that age gap at times. Almost as though Maggie was young for her age and Philip the reverse.  Perhaps that was the result of them both having very different backgrounds.  He losing his father suddenly when he had just turned twelve-years-old and not long after that trauma his mother remarrying.  Whereas Maggie having, indeed still having, a very strong family relationship with her parents who obviously put close family ties above all else.  Philip also found it slightly odd that there was a smaller age gap between him and Maggie’s father and mother, David and Gwen, than between him and Maggie.

Maggie and he had first met when he had been speaking at an engagement arranged by the South Devon Business Advisory Council back in 1998. The event was promoting the benefits of running one’s own business and Philip had been talking about sales and marketing for the budding entrepreneur.

During the next session break, Maggie had come up to him, offered some flattering words about how much she had learnt, and then asked if she could meet him later on to get some feedback on her own business ideas.

Philip had arranged to visit her at her small home, where she lived alone, Maggie being divorced from her first husband.  Her two-up, two-down terraced home was in the coastal town of Exmouth, not so far South-East of Exeter.  One meeting became two meetings became a dinner out and, inevitably, became him staying the night.  It all lead to them wanting to live together with, subsequently, them choosing to purchase the converted stone barn in Harberton. Maggie’s financial situation meant that it was Philip who financed the purchase initially with the agreement between them being that later on, when Maggie wanted to buy into the property, her name would be added to the deed.

So their cultural, age and background differences, including financial differences had offered their challenges but Maggie let him more-or-less run his life as he wanted to and she could be very attentive to him especially between the sheets.  They had married on the 14th February, Valentine’s Day, in the year 2000 and that had been that.

That’s what made their Turkish holiday so outstanding.  Maggie’s attentiveness towards him harked back to those days of flirting and love-making back in 1998 and 1999. By the time they were boarding the coach for the three-hour return to Dalaman Airport and their flight back to Gatwick Airport in England, Philip sensed that his disquiet that Maggie had married him for his money had evaporated and that this was a genuinely loving relationship that just happened to be between two persons with an unusually large age gap.

Back to Devon and life quickly picked up its regular patterns and routines.  September closed and led in a very blustery October, well certainly a very blustery start to the month.  Jonathan and he resumed their meetings, still over at Harberton, and October ushered in a cold but clear start to November.

They were meeting on November 20th and during their session, there was a pause. Jonathan was looking intently at Philip, who seemed to have slipped away somewhere in his mind, and quietly spoke, “Philip, are you OK? You and I have spent quite a few hours together now and, well, how can I put this, you are not in your usual place today.”

Philip started back with a bit of a shock.  “Oh, sorry, don’t know why, but all of a sudden it struck me that exactly one month from today, the 20th December, it will be the fiftieth anniversary of my father’s death, on December 20th, 1956.”

There was a silence between them.

“Sorry, Jonathan, let’s get back to what we were discussing.”

1,817 words. Copyright © 2013 Paul Handover