The international travels of three unlikely companions, that takes them from Turkey to France, and on to their new home in San Francisco.
The word ‘globetrotter’ usually conjures up an image of a seasoned traveller, passport in hand, armed with little more than a carefully-packed roll-aboard, flitting from one international location to another.
Those referred to in the title of this recently-published book, however, are none other than three rescued dogs – each of somewhat dubious parentage – who undertook a journey half-way around the world with Gilly Lloyd, one of the contributors to our Arts & Culture pages. This isn’t their only link to the Riviera, however, for these three dogs had the good fortune to spend nearly two years on the Côte d’Azur during their journey from Southern Turkey to San Francisco. Lucky dogs, one might say!
The Globetrotters’ story begins with Dexter – who was rescued from the RSPCA Animal Shelter in Brighton in the UK – and who travelled with Gilly to Marmaris, on the Turkish Riviera, ostensibly to do some sailing. Things didn’t quite work out as planned, though, so the pair found themselves in a delightful little studio near the marina in Marmaris, while they decided what to do next. Returning to the UK wasn’t an option, because of the rabies regulations then in place, but they subsequently discovered that relocating to France would be perfectly feasible, and since they’d lived there for a short while a few years previously, they were delighted at the prospect of returning.
Gilly, who happens to be passionate about animal welfare as well as the performing arts, decided to offer her services as a volunteer at the local dog pound in Marmaris until she and Dexter were able to leave Turkey – and, inevitably, it wasn’t long before a tiny puppy – who had been born with a spinal injury and was unable to walk – and her rather pathetic little mother, caught her attention. In a short space of time, these two found themselves in the lap of (comparative) luxury of the studio as well – and Gilly was faced with the problem of either trying to rehome them in Marmaris (laughable, really, considering the number of street dogs there) or taking them to France to find homes for them there.
As time went by, of course, the thought of rehoming the two Turkish dogs became less and less appealing, and ultimately totally unthinkable, so the little family set out on a journey that would take them by ferry to Italy, by road to Nice, and then to Cannes, where they settled extremely happily until circumstances took them onwards to San Francisco.
To say that the journey was fraught with challenges is something of an understatement, but the family eventually made it to the Riviera – and Gilly still looks back on their time on the Côte d’Azur as one the happiest experiences of her life. The departure from Nice – bound for San Francisco – presented even more hurdles, but since they’d made it to the Riviera, they could also make it to the other side of the world!
The book has plenty of photographs of the three canine travellers, making the most of their nomadic lifestyle, and when asked why she’d written it, Gilly says that there were two main reasons. The Turkish dogs are a little odd-looking, to say the least, and not a day goes by that someone doesn’t stop and ask what breed they are. When they hear of their origins and how far the dogs have travelled, the usual response is: “You should write a book!”. The other reason, Gilly explains, is that so often one reads in the press of holidaymakers taking pity on street dogs and stray cats in countries where animal welfare isn’t of the standard that most of us take for granted, and she wanted to show that it’s perfectly possible to do more than simply wring your hands and move on.
The Most Unlikely Globetrotters is available in either print or Kindle version from Amazon, in all countries in which Amazon operates, and a percentage of sales will go to each of the charities from which the dogs originally came.
All images courtesy Gilly Lloyd