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The Move

A therapeutic look back at the humorous tale of me moving to Turkey with my bulldog, Buddy


By Bernadette Miller

Everyone has a story to tell about ‘moving day’; whether it is moving down the block, to a new city or a new country. Moving is a part of life that we all have to go through at one point; and really, how hard can it be (I say with a chuckle)? I have been told that it is therapeutic to look back at moments that have caused distress, and laugh if possible.


Over three years ago, my husband and I had an ‘opportunity’ to move to Ankara, Turkey for his career. I don’t have any children; however, I do have an extremely lazy and overly friendly English Bulldog named Buddy, who is the love of my life. Naturally, my husband left for his new job in Ankara three months prior, leaving me with the responsibilities of selling the house, organizing the packing and movers, and preparing the dog for export and importation into Turkey all while working my full-time job as a Petroleum Engineer overseeing an important project for the company. Now as an engineer, I am accustomed to multi-tasking and due to my laid-back attitude, I knew I could handle everything this entailed…at least I thought so.


The house sold, the dog’s paperwork was approved, the movers were organized and my team drilled a record well saving the company millions. Everything was going great. Then came the day that Buddy and I would start a new life in Turkey; which, all began with a little plane ride. Just imagine me with two large suitcases, one carry-on, my oversized handbag, and a huge dog crate with a scared 25 kg dog inside. 


Because this was Buddy’s first plane ride and I believe he is a human with four legs, I felt it was best to do an overnight stay in New York City. After all, who doesn’t just love a night in the "Big Apple"? We had a lovely dinner, a fabulous walk in Central Park and a late-night movie in bed. Perfect.


The following day, Buddy on a good shot of puppy-pot (an herbal supplement that is meant to relax your pet during stressful times), we headed to the airport, JFK, for our flight to Turkey. The airport was chaotic of course, and I was continuously scolded for having my dog in the building and not in his crate. So, Buddy and I hung out with the smokers and made new friends. When it was time to send Buddy off in the crate, I swear my heart hurt. He was shaking; I was in tears and pleading with the rather large, mean-looking man (actually he was a very kind and understanding man…remember the therapy of reflection) taking my boy away to me yelling “be good to him.”


Once I boarded, the flight attendant came over and asked if I was okay as my eyes swelled and tears ran down my cheeks. We were flying Turkish Airlines; and thankfully, Turks understand emotions. I was a wreck the entire flight! I don’t think I slept and probably cried most of the time. 'That’s my boy’ I kept thinking. I should have taken some puppy-pot too.


We finally arrived in Ankara, Turkey. Since we had a stop in Istanbul before proceeding to Ankara, Buddy had already gone through customs; however, I and my luggage had not. In Turkey, you pass through passport control in Istanbul; but, customs is done at your final destination. I was telling the ground personnel in really bad Turkish that the dog must go to the International Terminal. A lovely man (although I didn’t think so at the time) informed me that he would take me to the domestic arrivals to pick up my dog once I pick up my luggage and pass through customs control. So there I was chewing on my nails and tapping my foot waiting for the luggage carousel to move. I finally get my luggage and head to the door. My husband was there to meet me. The poor man didn’t get a “hello”, a “hey”, and definitely not a “how are you”. My husband was greeted with “they have my dog, we have to go!”. 


When we arrived at the International Terminal and were escorted into the holding area, we found Buddy calmly waiting for us inside his crate. I open the door expecting his frantic exit. Instead I was greeted with a yawn. After a minute, he finally exited the crate, and proceeded to stretch his front legs and then his back. He looked around, licked his lips, and started walking through the airport with his head held high as if he owned the place. My husband calmly looked at me and asked, “are you sure you weren’t in the crate? He looks great, you on the other hand…”

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