Kyler Huffert is shown with Luna, and Dianne Langona is seen with Duncan, who is originally from Turkey.
(Michelle Fountain Photo)
By Michelle Fountain, Standard Correspondent
When Dianne Langona decided she wanted to rescue a golden retriever, she had no idea how far that dog would travel. Now at home in Woodstock, “Duncan” originally hails from Istanbul, Turkey.
“I was approved to get a dog from Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue,” Langona says about her initial process. She looked on their website for available dogs and noticed a pattern; the younger dogs were all from Turkey. “I did some research because I was so intrigued.”
According to www.goldenrescue.com out of Atlanta, where the rescue operation started, golden retrievers were considered status symbols for the wealthy in Turkey. However, when they became more common, they lost some of their allure and many were released onto the streets. With few shelters and a no-kill policy, dogs were left to wander the streets or become prey to feral dogs in the forests.
Golden Rescue created a system to get the dogs the healthcare and certification needed and then to fly them to the U.S. to be adopted. They have rescued 249 goldens in the last two years.
“They (Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue) said that some of the dogs are very skinny (a note on one dog says that his coat is still growing back from his ‘not-so-fun time in Turkey’) and others are very fat,” Langona says. Apparently people throw bread out on the streets for the dogs, which helps some get fat without any real nutrition.
According to Duncan’s passport, it looks like he arrived at the shelter in Turkey
on February 28, 2017. He was there until the end of April before being flown to the U.S. Langona and her family got him the beginning of June.
Langona chose Duncan from among a number of “Turkey Dogs” as they are called, on the Yankee Golden Retriever Website. “I liked that he was young but wasn’t a puppy,” she says of two-year old Duncan. She was looking for a companion for her one-year old golden retriever, Luna.
However, Langona’s sons, Kyler Huffert and Reid Langona were not as optimistic as their mother about adopting a dog from Turkey. Huffert says they were “hesitant” but Duncan quickly won them over. “The first day we got him we had a big BBQ and he just went over to a group of people and lay down,” he recalls.
“I was optimistic,” Langona says of the idea of the dog from Turkey, “I said it’s going to be fine.”
Apparently she was right. “I can’t believe how sweet this one is,” Langona says of Duncan. Noting that he is completely potty-trained and seems socialized she surmises, “he could have lived in a home.” Possibly the owners decided they could not care for him anymore and put him on the streets.
They were warned that street dogs often hoard or protect their food, but Duncan has never done that despite being placed
in a household with energetic Luna.
However, there have been a few minor challenges with Duncan. “He didn’t understand stairs,” Langona said noting they had to teach him using treats to go up and down stairs. “He’s learning English,” she adds noting they initially used sign language for “sit” but he is beginning to respond to the oral command now.
It also appears that Duncan has no familiarity with walking on a leash, as he pulls in multiple directions when they try to walk him but they figure he can learn.
“It’s wonderful to think you’re saving this poor thing from a life on the streets,” Langona says as Duncan nuzzles into her.
This article first appeared in the June 22 edition of the Vermont Standard.