KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Three golden retrievers now call East Tennessee home after they were saved from the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.
Their long journey ended Sunday night at an Atlanta airport. This was the third group of golden retrievers saved by Adopt a Golden Knoxville. The organization says this rescue mission almost didn’t happen because of unrest overseas.
The group of dogs received a warm welcome after hours cooped up on a flight.
“They are all amazingly friendly,” said Dallis Howard with Adopt a Golden Knoxville.
Monday was all about making up for lost time. The dogs played and cuddled with staff at Concord Veterinary Hospital.
“Being a feral, it’s kind of hit or miss,” said Dr. Amanda Ensor.
The dogs named Neyland, Whitten and Reggie almost missed the opportunity to get to East Tennessee because of the many dangers right now in Turkey.
“We were in contact with our volunteer partners over there just to be sure they were safe,” said Howard.
The goldens are now safe and no longer like hundreds of other golden retrievers in Turkey, roaming in the forest and streets because the country does not believe in euthanasia and they’re unwanted.
“Golden retrievers in particular don’t do well on the streets. They don’t fend well for themselves. They’re not fighters,” added Howard.
Neyland, Whitten and Reggie are in surprisingly good health. They have just a few minor issues like fleas and they even came with passports in Turkish and English. Veterinarians say it’s been helpful to see their vaccine history.
“It’s been very easy to be able to navigate these passports even though they’re very unique. I can say that’s probably a first time in my clinical experience that I’ve dealt with a dog passport,” added Dr. Ensor.
With all the surprises, there’s peace of mind, too.
“They do have a place to put their head and know where their next meal will come,” said Howard.
The dogs know Turkish commands but are picking up English, and they’re on their way to foster homes.
Adopt a Golden Knoxville says the next trip to Turkey has not yet been planned. Eventually, these three goldens will be up for adoption. If you would like to apply, you can contact organizers through their website by clicking here.