Moonscape rock formations, simultaneously fluid and jagged, rose from the earth. Endless cave houses, carved into the moutains, added personality to the volcanic landscape. Arriving in Cappadocia was to step into a dream. I had cycled to another planet.
For days I explored the mystical lonely valleys. I sat in windows of caves, watching birds navigate the fairy chimneys. I saw the rocks change their colours to celebrate the movement of the sun. I sat on the dusty ground as hot air balloons filled the sky.
Captured by Cappadocia’s beauty, I had moved to Lucky Horse Ranch, a stables hiding in a corner of the valley. The ranch is home to 13 majestic Arabian horses, eight puppies and Erfan, a real life Turkish cowboy with a dotted neckerchief, checked shirt and waistcoat. My work on the ranch was simple. I watched the horses galloping in the paddock, fed them Barley and played with the huge guard dogs. The rest of my time was spent with the puppies.
Erfan did not care so much for them. “They are half stray”, he told me, “No one wants a stray”. To me it was incomprehensible how no one would fall immediately in love with eight bundles of wet kisses and soft eyes.
I spent hours sitting in the dark barn, the puppies snuggled into my neck, so close you could smell their young age. My heart swelled.
I had been at the ranch for one week when my headcount result one morning was seven. I scoured the barn, worried the missing puppy was trapped in the precarious walls. I found him lying motionless in a corner, alone. I knew he had gone their to die.
He let out a feeble cry as I picked up his limp body. I cleaned him. I tried to give him water through a syringe. I frantically googled how to care for a sick puppy. I whispered to him gently. I let him rest. I cried. I wished for him to live.
It was early evening when I tried to give him water again. I took his motionless body into my arms. He heaved suddenly. Three breathless jolts in attempt to hold onto life. And then he died.
”No, no, no”, I sobbed. Something so small and helpless, and I couldn’t make him better. The thought that all living things must die was of little comfort to me as I attempted to control my breath and stop the constant flow of tears.
I tried to save this puppy, I did, but I failed. For that I will always be sorry.