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How 30 dogs from the streets of Istanbul ended up in St. Louis

“He comes all the way from Turkey and he even has his own passport," said Carla Sloss.

If someone mentions a turkey dog, you might be thinking about a healthier alternative to a hotdog, but Turkey dogs with four legs had a rough life before coming to St. Louis.

The nation of Turkey has a problem with people dumping golden retrievers when they grow up. In as many as 15 states in the U.S., dog rescue groups are going to extraordinary lengths to find homes for these street dogs, including St. Louis.

Carla and Michael Sloss of Dardenne Prairie, Missorui, adopted Augie two months ago.

“He comes all the way from Turkey and he even has his own passport," said Carla Sloss.

While some street dogs in Turkey struggled to find food to survive, Augie had the opposite problem.

“He was tied to a pole outside of a pastry store and I guess people were throwing him lots of pastries because he was 100 pounds when he came to the states,” said Sloss.

It took a trip of 5,700 miles — Istanbul to Chicago then on to St. Louis. One of the people responsible is Jan Knoche, president of Love A Golden Rescue, a volunteer-based organization that rescues golden retrievers locally. Knoche said two years ago her group followed the lead of a similar group in Atlanta and began working to transport and find new homes for Turkey’s street dogs, especially golden retrievers.

There are many homeless dogs in Turkey and not enough room in the shelters for all of them, partially the result of people buying puppies, then dumping them when they grow up said Knoche.

“Because they do not euthanize in Turkey, the shelters have so many dogs that they spay/neuter them and then they have to let them go out on the street,” said Knoche. “Since the fall of 2015, we’ve brought 30 dogs over. They come and they don’t look so good when they get here and they turn into beautiful dogs.”

Some would call this a golden opportunity. Carla Sloss once worried a dog raised in Turkey wouldn’t understand English commands.

“There was not a language barrier at all,” said Sloss. “Love is a universal language.”

For more information about Love A Golden Rescue, www.loveagolden.com.

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