A Traditional Culture
In Turkey, Black Sea region is known for its dark sea, fish, balmy weather, enriched farmlands, hazelnut, honey, Laz people’s jokes, and most importantly, the lush plateaus.
The sea, the land, along with the weather, have cultivated the ways of living, especially for people who live in the small villages surrounding by the highlands. In the villages, people grow fruits, nuts, keeping bees, making yogurt. When it’s summer time, they take their live stocks to stay on the plateaus so the animals can enjoy the fresh grass.
A Different Type of Relationship
In many parts of Turkey, especially small towns where people live more traditionally, keeping indoor pets is still a less appreciated concept. Dogs and cats roaming around freely are more like part of the community instead. People are reminded to offer them water and food, especially on hot summer days. As a result, most of the dogs and cats are friendly towards strangers. You can easily pat a napping cat or quickly befriend a playful puppy.
Among the highlands in Black Sea, Kackar mountains are known for their high elevation and breathtaking landscape. Most of the visitors spend at least one night camping. There are two main camp sites along the route from the village Yayalar to the 3937 meters tall peak (~13,000 ft). The first camp ground, Dilberduzu, is on the plateau side before an intensive climb, and the other one is next to the Deniz lake deep in the mountains. There are more people gathered at Dilberduzu, and many tents are set up already. With more resources, most of the free roaming dogs mainly live around Dilberduzu. Among the dogs, there are a few Kangal Shepherd Dogs.
The Gentle Guardian
Kangals are originated from Turkey as working and guardian dogs. You see them frequently around the Black Sea plateau regions as protectors of the livestocks. They are extremely strong dogs that can even fight bears, but they are very sweet to people, especially great with kids. The Kangals at the campground are used to travelers, and therefore are very easy going. They know the mountains well, and an intensive 8 hour summiting hike for people, to them, is like a stroll in their backyard. The Kangals thus often accompany trekkers to explore the mountains. Sometimes for food, sometimes just for fun.
Each culture and each region has its own special way of living, and its own dynamic with the dogs and the cats. They are all different, because we are all different. However, the affectionate bondings between human and animals, are all based on love and respect towards life and nature. No matter how a society changes, no matter how the world progresses, we should never lose that special love and respect.