Lucy and Turkey’s Super Vet


Lucy and Serkan

Until I personally delivered Lucy to her new family in the UK, Lucy would accompany me on my upcoming winter adventure; cycling through Turkey’s Central and Eastern mountain ranges.  Until I sorted out a suitable dog trailer I would bring Lucy to Fethiye, a Turkish coastal town renowned for its beauty and surrounding areas of nature.

I had no experience of emigrating a street dog to the UK.  It hadn’t been on my list of things I should know for cycling around the world.  So for me it was vital to find a vet whom I trusted.

My friend Kathy Conner was helping me and introduced me to Serkan, a vet in Fethiye.  I knew he had studied veterinary medicine in Istanbul and had over 25 years of experience.  Even so, I have to admit on meeting him I watched him closely.  I was assessing every detail of his body language, his eye movements, the tone of his voice and how he spoke of the animals.  World Bike Girl turned secret agent.  He passed all my tests and there was no execution at dawn.  The next day Gareth Patten, a stranger to me who has since become a big part of Lucy being fearless of men, took myself and Cathy on a road trip to fetch her.  These three months would be a very special time for me and I sure was thankful to the UK’s animal immigration rules!


Kathy Conner with Lucy, Calis Beach 

When we first arrived at Serkan’s, I hadn’t had time yet to help Lucy adjust to not being a street dog anymore.  She would under no circumstances pass the boundary of being outside to inside.  The fact she feared men made it impossible to get her through the door and into the waiting area.  Serkan appeared and so I went to lift Lucy in but he instructed me not to.  I felt a tinge of embarrassment as I watched him sit down some distance from Lucy.  They both locked eyes with Serkan just sitting.  After a little time and much to my amazement Lucy walked in and headed straight over to him!  From that moment on Lucy trusted Serkan implicitly.  Even when he was prodding or injecting her she was calm and relaxed and he was always comforting her.


Lucy and Serkan after she had fluid taken out her neck at Xmas!

After a week of having Lucy I had concerns which I discussed with Serkan.  Lucy would at times stop eating and be very withdrawn and quiet.  She didn’t want to be touched or be around anyone.  He instructed me to bring her in as he wanted to X-ray the hip which had been broken previously.  I was waiting in the reception area when Serkan brought me the results of the X-ray.


“Ishbel what happened to Lucy?”

I looked at him in confusion, “What do you mean?  She was run over”.

He asked if I knew anything about her past.  I said no.  He took out the X-ray from behind his back and held it up.

“These are shot gun pellets”, he said pointing.


I didn’t comprehend what he was saying and asked what shot gun pellets were because what they meant in my head couldn’t possibly be what they were.  My head was correct.

“She has been shot by a shot gun”, he clarified.

I burst out crying.  I stood in his waiting room sobbing.  He did more X-rays and found a total of 31 shot gun pellets splattered throughout her body.  I looked at Lucy and thought of what a great girl she was and what she must have went through as a street dog.

Serkan explained that when Lucy gets cold or wet the metal inside her cools down and this causes her pain.  My winter expedition through Central and Eastern Turkey was cancelled in an instant as I would be cycling through temperatures of -13 degrees and below.  Now you know the reason why I dress Lucy in wool jumpers!

This was such a big day for everyone involved with Lucy.  Her paperwork arrived from Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock confirming Lucy’s blood tests met the level of Rabies antibodies required for entry into UK!

If she had failed we would have had to have started the process all over again.  With the successful blood test results Lucy was now able to enter into her 3 month quarantine period which you can read about here [button link=”” size=”mini” color=”primary”]Quarantine[/button]

Serkan is a true animal lover and dedicates his life to helping them.  I would like to personally thank him for helping Lucy and for all the animals he saves on a daily basis.  This Super Vet does not pass by an animal he can help.  He takes them in and carries out whatever treatments are necessary, then finds the animals adoptive families.  The garden of his surgery is a collection of dogs in various stages of recovery back to health and happiness thanks to Serkan.

Serkan the Vet


Klinigi Mustafa Kemal Bulv

No: 91A







Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.

10 Replies to “Lucy and Turkey’s Super Vet”

  1. What a caring vet this man is, wish all vets were like him, enjoy your travels im so jealous of you, living that way, alas im too old for day dreaming now but love reading your blogs, enjoy your trips xxx

  2. We did something similar and brought a beautiful dog back from Turkey. When we did it restrictions on entering the UK were much stricter and we stayed in France for 6 months rather than put him in quarantine. When we lived in Turkey Serkan was our vet and he was special. Not only his veterinary knowledge but his love of animals that was so obvious to see. One thing I always remember was that he needed to know Lennie’s weight and Lennie was not playing ball. So Serkan lifts Lennie in arms and stands on the scale and through simple maths we calculated he was 50kgs. On his back legs Lennie was just short of 6ft. What is even more amazing is that Serkan had a hernia operation a couple of weeks prior to doing this and still did it knowing he should not.

    Unfortunately, our story did not end happily and we could never break his street dog mentality and habits. Loved him so much we spent a small fortune on behavioural training but could not change him. He was so loving but had this evil streak.

    Sekan is one of the nicest people I have ever met and a superb vet and a true animal lover. People of Fethiye are so lucky.

    1. Gerry thank you so much for sharing your experience. Yes this is why I am still in Turkey – so Lucy can serve her quarantine time free. I am sorry your ending was not so happy. Yes Serkan is a special vet – and Turkey’s Vetinary societies could do themselves good to follow him.

  3. Ishbel – you are a force of nature and what you set your mind to you will achieve – one foot in front of the other will get you wherever you want to go. Angels walk with you xx Give Lucy a big hug from me xx And thanks for blogging and letting us all know you are well even if tired at times. xx

    1. Thanks Robyn 🙂 I don’t feel like a force of nature most of the time … only on the down hills if there is no head wind! lol xxx

  4. Ishbel i am so glad you chose Serkan to care for Lucy (i told he is THE BEST ). haha. Lucy will never ever forget you and you are wonderful hunny really you are. Give Lucy a big cuddle from me and good luck on your travels both of you. Please take care and have fun most of all stay safe and love each other xxxx Janeyfreebird xxxxx

  5. Bless you Ishbel, we have rescued so many in the past at the moment we have 3 dogs and 4 cats. Almost all of my friends have a number of rescue animals, unfortunately it’s never enough. There are so many more out there. Education is def the way forward, but that would rely on a higher being agreeing to educate the children at school. You’ve done a great job in publicising the plight of our animals.keep up the good work and enjoy your cycle. X

  6. What a wonderful story!!! I just found your blog through Turkeys for Life. I biked across southern Europe, beginning in Turkey, back in ’91 with a friend & am incredibly envious of your trip. I also have 2 rescue dogs. 1 has an unknown background and has obviously suffered some sort of torment but through love & patience has learned to trust again. What you have done for Lucy is amazing & beautiful. As you have changed her life, I am sure she has changed yours!

  7. What a lovely story but horrible to think of what poor Lucy must have been through in the past. Serkan is well known in Fethiye for all the help he gives to the street animals. Fethiye is blessed to have him around! 🙂

  8. bless you Serkan, and you Ishbell, its horrible the way they treat animals in Turkey, ive said it all along the children need educating on animal welfare, i caught 2 children holding kittens up by their tales and just dropping them on the concrete, they wer’e baerly 3 weeks old, why dont they realise they are innocent animals that dont want to hurt anyone and only want food a love, if i lived there i would probably have them all living with me. x

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