June 2019 ended on a jolly note . . .  ARK’s very successful Pool Party held on 30 June was well-attended and a good time was had by everybody – delicious food, great entertainment . . . this sums up the month:

Dear Friends

Thank you for joining us this evening in support of Kuşadası street animals.

The two months since we last met have not been without challenges  . . .  not from the animals ARK helps (they simply give us in return unconditional love) but rather from officialdom and difficult people.  The plight of the vulnerable animals our charity assists, although sometimes heart-breaking,  is the least of our worries.

With no forewarning, in May we were suddenly informed that since ARK’s formation in April 2018, we had incurred a massive debt of 20% tax liability on veterinary treatment provided.

 Unlike European charities, Turkish charities are not tax exempt.  This month, June, we paid the tax office 13,500tl – but at least we are now aware of this surcharge, which we will of course incorporate into our budgeting.

We had planned a sponsored walk that had been given the provisional go ahead by the District Governor’s office (the Kaymakamlık), but at the 11th hour we were informed that, as the required forms had not been completed (we hadn’t even realised that forms were required)  permission was denied and to our huge disappointment the walk could not proceed. ARK supporter Beverley had worked hard organising the walk and had collected many lovely raffle prizes for that day, which will now be raffled this evening.

However, now that we are aware of hoops to be jumped through, we will willingly comply and hopefully a sponsored walk will take place on 4 October,  World Animal Day.  We plan to parade through the town, dressed as animals – and you would be all very welcome to join us.

On the same day as permission for the walk was denied, I was informed that the following week all of ARK’s five hand-written ledgers would be audited by the Kaymakamlık and Tax Authorities.  Another bolt out of the blue. 

Our very able bookkeeper Banu had only recently taken over responsibility for the accounts – but thanks to her hard work bringing our books up to date, helped by professional accountant and animal-lover Sevtap Diniz of SMMM, whose experience and expertise proved invaluable in ensuring that we comply with Turkish Accounting regulations, we have passed the audit with flying colours. We must also thank Deniz Çağlar for her assistance and Tamiko Canbaz at Öner & Uğraş law office for her expert advice,

Brenda’s second first-aid course held in a lecture room in the Ticaret Odası, the Chamber of Commerce, was successful . . . although numbers attending were rather disappointing.  Nevertheless Brenda is willing and able to hold a third course later in the year, hopefully this time widening our audience.

Three weeks ago ARK member Deniz Cağlar approached me and said that she had entered a 7.2km swimming competition (from the Greek Island of Meis to the Turkish mainland at Kaş) to be held the following Sunday – she was confident of success and that this would make a brilliant project – she suggested the catchy slogan ‘ 7 kms for 7 dogs’ – with the aim of raising money for the neutering of bitches, currently costing 600tl per dog  . . .  so she aimed to raise 4,200 tl. 

I of course gave her the go ahead – Deniz in her typical style threw herself into her campaign, appearing on local radio and approaching each one of her hundreds of contacts individually – with the result that she has to date collected over 12,000tl for her project, which will begin to be rolled out shortly. And she did so well in the race that she was presented with a medal.  What a woman!!

Our team of shelter volunteers, Trudy, Alyson, Banu, Tracy, Paula & Nurdan, continue visiting the shelter on a weekly basis, despite the often appalling conditions there, the lack of co-operation, and the heartbreak.  They work alongside Belediye workers, cleaning, feeding and comforting the animals. We’ve been going into the shelter for over a year now – progress has been slow and at times they seem to be taking two steps forward then one step back, but our stalwart team are persistent in their determination to do all they can to help the vulnerable.

I must also mention two of our supporters, Mehmet and Bora, who spend much of their spare time feeding street animals and for every hour they spend doing this unpaid voluntary work, their employer Apple makes a donation to ARK, which has been gratefully received.

Our charity shop team of volunteers works shifts at Salt Box, our 2nd hand goods recycling outlet, unpacking and organising donations and then bartering with customers, who make a monetary donation to ARK in return for clothes and household items.  Thank you Annette, Maggie, Ann, Kathy, Brenda, Tracy, Jackie, Ilke, Jemry, Monika & Berna for your work throughout the year, and not forgetting Annette’s daughters, Karen & Celine, who last week achieved a massive purge of winter clothing which is now in storage. 

The donations raised in the shop, together with those received from animal-loving supporters, enabled ARK to fund the treatment of 138 animals in the two months since our last social function.

Thank you, ARK supporters, for donating money this evening to enable our charity to fulfil its mission, which is helping injured or sick street animals of Kuşadası.

One month later, 30 July, ARK held an equally successful Sunset Cruise aboard the good ship Matador – and yet again the food (all prepared by Beverley Hinshaw, ARK’s Events Co-ordinator) was excellent and the trip (which incorporated a quiz, bingo, raffle and ‘pole-dancing’) very ‘different’.  As feed-back from participants has been encouraging, I am hopeful that Beverley will organise a repeat performance . . .

I welcomed party-goers with a very few words:

Welcome everybody to ARK’s first cruise event, on this fine ship, the Matador. 

The acronym ARK (coined by Tony Blenkinsopp) – Animal Rescue Kusadası – is of course an amusing play on words, referring to Noah’s vessel that rescued pairs of animals from devastating floods that wiped out most of humanity, taking them to the safety of Mount Ararat, an area between Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran.

I can assure you, however, that ARK’s funds have never been used to rescue pairs of animals, thereby assisting their procreation.  Quite the opposite in fact – we do of course aim to prevent street animals from reproducing!!

Throughout  July we have continued our mission of rescuing vulnerable sick or injured Kusadası street animals, that have nobody else to pay for their veterinary care. 

During this month we have treated 63 street animals.  These have included 24 neuterings, and also treatments that have ranged from extracting prickly grass seed heads from mouths, ears and eyes; ovarian cysts; gingivitis; radial paralysis; cases of herpes virus, ultra-sounds; xrays;  and more than 4 big operations that involved broken limbs.

Our July vets bills exceed 12,500tl – we are constantly working as hard as we can to raise money so that we never have to turn away an animal in distress – so thank you very much for coming this evening to support our charity.

Dinner will be served at 7.45  . . . thank you very much Beverley for your hard work in organising this event and preparing the food.

Our quiz will take place at 8.30 and then the raffle is scheduled for around 9.00 pm.  We have some lovely prizes, that include a day trip on this fine ship, the Matador – thank you Captain Ali.

At 9.30 Tony will be our call master for a game of bingo – and this will be followed by music and dancing.

Unless we get blown off course by an unpredicted storm, we aim to be back in port by 10.30.