You will have read in last month’s edition of the Ege Eye that in January 2020 ARK volunteers had moved Bella and her pups from Long Beach, where they were in danger of catching distemper, to the safer location of Kuştur Beach. The pups contracted Parvo, but five of them survived, and Bambi, Barney, Betty, Billy and Bertie, were happy in their safe haven.

When Covid arrived, Brown-nosed Barney was adopted by Ann & Alan and ARK volunteers were able to continue their care and feeding of this family, even when lockdowns and curfews were upon us. We were granted special travel permits and so were able to visit the family daily. The pups were very happy in this area and one bonus of the Covid restrictions was that there was very little traffic or people – the pups had their little house and the freedom of the beach.

However, unfortunately at the beginning of June everything started to change, they lost the use of the derelict building so they spent most of their time on the beach and surrounding area, lockdowns and curfews were lifted, people were coming to the beach and, the most dangerous of all, was the busy traffic – chasing cars was the sport of the day.

ARK put out pleas for homes for the family, but no one came forward. To our distress Bambi disappeared – we have never found her, and our only hope is that someone decided to offer this sweet girl a warm home.

We realised that the family was no longer safe in this area, so it was decided to move them back to Long Beach, where they had been months before, the risk of distemper gone and not near a main road. The puppies were about 6 months old by now so they were neutered/sterilised before they started the new chapter of their lives on Long Beach. ARK volunteers still continued their daily feeding rota, providing dried and fresh food and plenty of water.

Then three days after their move, Billy was missing . . . naturally, once again everyone was upset, again hoping desperately that he had been adopted. This left just Bella (mum), Betty and Bertie. For the next two and a half months life for them was good, they enjoyed the beach life, especially Bella who had become a firm favourite with the Jet Ski guys.

They were fussed over by holiday makers on the beach and from the nearby Batihan Hotel, and they made friends with the other homeless dogs on the beach. However, this happy interlude was short-lived . . . disaster soon struck again.

As usual, ARK volunteers who had gone out to feed the brood realised, to their horror, that Bella, Betty and Bertie, along with two of their doggy friends, had disappeared, nowhere to be found. ‘’Missing’’ pleas were published on the local animal social media sites as well as the ARK Facebook page . . . our spirits were low . . .

Then miraculously, a few days later, we received a phone call from an ARK member who had gone for breakfast at a small village about 10km outside of Kusadasi and had noticed a pack of five dogs. She recognised them from the photographs we had posted. She contacted ARK and we rushed out there in two cars to investigate, hoping against hope that this wasn’t a case of mistaken identity – but sure enough, our five dogs were there, Bella, Betty and Bertie and their two friends. As we had nowhere else to take them, we returned them all to Long Beach and hoped and prayed that whoever had taken them and dumped them would not try it again. They must have been so very surprised to see them back!! We made sure that they all had collars with a contact telephone number written on, in case it happened again . . . and about 10 days later, unfortunately, it did . . . but this time only Bella was missing.

Just as we realised she had disappeared, we had a phone call from the manager of a cement factory located in the industrial site the other side of Soke, about 20km from Kusadasi, to say that Bella was there and he was ringing the number on her collar. How could she have travelled so far?? Jane and her friend Moya set out to collect her but; it did take quite some time to locate the factory, as Google Maps was far from clear!!! As soon as Jane arrived and opened the car door, Bella jumped in like a bullet out of a gun. Once again she was returned to Long Beach – obviously we were very reluctant to do this, but her family was there and ultimately she was happy there . . . . and there was nowhere else to take her.

We waited with bated breath for the next chapter in the life of Sweet Bella.

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