Caught on camera: One woman’s small act of kindness has touched hearts worldwide

CCTV footage of Turkish woman looking down at stray dog dog-happy
© Boran Karahan – Facebook

As if to exemplify the turnaround of Turkey's attitude towards stray animals, one woman donates her scarf to a tired and cold stray dog. And the gentle act goes viral.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 13/12/2019, 18:00, Updated on the 26/12/2019, 11:31


It was not too long ago that the Turkish government had one destiny for its cities’ stray cats and dogs: death. But in 2004 it bowed to pressure from activists and veterinarians who argued that the method of extermination of the animals was inhumane.

Today, in all of Turkey's cities, stray dogs and cats are more easily tolerated, and although the country still struggles to re-home animals fast enough, strays are sheltered, fed and sterilized.

Caught on CCTV

The selfless generosity seen of one young woman from Zonguldak, Turkey last year may thus be seen as an indication of the nation's burgeoning tolerance of stray animals.

In 2018 Duygu Elma’s random act of kindness went viral. Caught on CCTV, we see Ms Elma walk out of a coffee shop before noticing a stray dog lying on the ground in the doorway. With no other means to keep it warm, Elma offers the dog her scarf.

Elma never expected to receive so much attention for donating her scarf to a stray dog.

Speaking to The Dodo at the time she said, “I couldn’t imagine that my actions would receive this attention. I’m very surprised about it. The weather was so cold. I just couldn’t take it when I saw him shivering.”

Stray dogs still to be rehomed

In Istanbul alone, writes the New York Times, there are an estimated 130,000 stray dogs and 125,000 cats. As well as providing designated dog and cat hostelries, the government attempts to capture and neuter any stray they find in an attempt to bring down the population.

Time will tell whether the programme of neutering will work. In the meantime Turkey now leads the way in its care of stray animals.