People have been warning me. There will be dogs right after Ünye, they say. They live around there because there’s a trash dump, they say. But I’m still not prepared for what I see after a bend of the road.
First it’s half a dozen dogs that appear out of nowhere. I say hi and pet some of them. They become a dozen. The dozen dogs follow me down the road and we run into another dozen or so. Then there’s another pack. All in all it must be about fifty dogs, and they all bark at the Caboose and me and at the road and the cars that pass by sometimes.
They aren’t dangerous, though. They’re just trying to tell me that the trash dump isn’t mine, it’s theirs. Well, okay, I say to them, have your trash, we’re just passing through!
And then, as I continue walking and the dozens upon dozens of dogs are slowly falling behind, I realize that I have gotten myself my own pack. A crew. A gang.
First there is Little Shit, a small white dog that loves to chase cars and bark at cows. Little Shit is very feisty, but only when his friends are around.
Then there’s Nice Ass, who has a very muscular physique and whimpers when he wants to be petted. And he wants to be petted a lot (that is when he’s not busy helping Little Shit bark at cows).
Brownie is a bit bigger than Nice Ass, and he has the booming voice of a big dog. But he has never learned to pee with one leg up, and so he crouches. Like a girl.
And finally there’s Blackie. She looks like she’s pretty old, with her bleary eyes and the rashes all over her body. But she walks quietly with us, never leaving, never making a sound.
After about six or seven kilometers I sit down for some tea. Blackie stays with me, while the others get bored and run off. A while later I run into Brownie and Little Shit again, but Nice Ass is nowhere to be seen. I do, however, find a bunch of feathers and some blood on the road, so I can imagine what happened.
It takes about ten more kilometers for Brownie to leave. I stop for some soup at a roadside restaurant, and when I come back outside he and his booming voice are gone. Blackie and Little Shit are still there.
We walk into Terme together. It’s only eight in the evening, but the town looks as if it’s already asleep. Now that Little Shit’s two strong friends are not around anymore, he has gotten a lot less feisty, and after a while I turn around and realize that he has left us, too.
So when I get to a large roadside rest area that also has a motel, only Blackie is still there. She looks at me with her droopy eyes. I put down the Caboose and go to a kebab stand to buy some meat for her.
“Why?” asks the kebab vendor, pointing at Blackie in all of her scruffiness.
This dog, I tell him, has been following me for 25 kilometers.
I go to a dark corner and put the meat on the ground. Then I tell Blackie to have it, and she eats it the same way she has been all day: quietly, not making a sound.