Bodrum’s ‘Golden Gang’
MUĞLA – Anadolu AgencyŞenol Özbakan, a former deck-man who adopts abandoned golden retriever dogs in the western province of Muğla’s Bodrum district, has thousands of followers on his social media accounts thanks to his “Golden Gang.”
The 56-year-old Özbakan, who lives with his 13 dogs in his old minibus parked in Bodrum’s industrial site, draws attention for his life.
Özbakan, who has been living with dogs for a long time because of his love for animals and adopts animals abandoned on the streets, takes care of his dogs by himself.
While strolling the streets with his 13 dogs attached to each other with leashes and swimming with them at Bodrum Beach, Özbakan draws great interest from local and foreign tourists, who want to take photograph with his dogs.
He said that he found his golden retrievers on the streets at various times, adding he had five last year but this number increased to 13 this year. “They were abandoned on the streets. I adopted them and take care of all of them,” he said.
Özbakan said that with the help of his daughter, they formed a group named “Golden Çetesi” (Golden Gang) on social media and animal lovers showed great interest in the page.
Özbakan also produces bead jewelry and sell them through these accounts.
“We have some 13,000 followers right now. Lots of people came here from countries like Canada, England, the U.S., France and Saudi Arabia to see the dogs. People from all parts of Turkey are interested in the dogs, too. Thanks to these sales, we got a bigger car and more comfort. We earn a living. People on the streets provide lots of support, too. People are really mindful,” he said.
Özbakan said he regularly went to the beach with his dogs every day, adding, “We get out of our car at noon and swim in the sea. Then we go to the marina; there are people waiting for us there and we talk to them for two hours. In the evening hours, we go back to our car. This is how we spend our 24 hours.”
Özbakn said that living with animals made him very happy, and explained:
“You live a happier life as long as you are away from people. I don’t even mention people’s cruelty in the world. Animals do not want anything; only love is necessary for them. I condemn those who abandon dogs on the streets. People help us from every part of the country.”
He also noted that he invested money in the bank for his dogs and met their food needs with this money during the winter months.