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Dog Who Hid From Rescuers For Months Can't Believe How Good Life Is Now

“She has a chance to be a normal dog ... and she seems to be absolutely loving every moment of it.”

Everyone knew Goat the dog desperately needed to be rescued — but Goat wasn’t so sure that was a good idea.

This past January, Goat was living in a landfill in Corum, Turkey, along with about 800 other dogs. Life is tough for the dogs at the dump — they have to search for scraps of thrown-away food, and bury themselves in the garbage to stay warm. Many of the dogs end up dying from starvation or disease before rescuers can help them.

Dog living in garbage dump
Goat when she was living at the garbage dump | Rescuers Without Borders

For the last four years, a woman named Gokce Erdogan has been visiting the dump to feed the dogs and treat their injuries, and last year, a group of American women formed Rescuers Without Borders to help Erdogan with her efforts. They also started pulling dogs from the dump to rehome them in the U.S.

When the team first saw Goat, who was walking around with a severe ear injury, they knew they had to help her.

People feeing stray dogs at Turkish landfill
Rescuers feeding the stray dogs at the landfill in Corum | Rescuers Without Borders

“We noticed in one of the pictures that her ear was bleeding,” Crystal Carson, cofounder of Rescuers Without Borders, told The Dodo. “We were like, ‘OK. We definitely need to get her out of there and get her some vet treatment and see what’s going on.’”

But Goat was hard to catch. She was terrified of people, and hid anytime someone came close to her. When the team finally caught her, they delivered her to the local vet, who stitched up her ear.

Dog hiding in landfill
Rescuers Without Borders

After this, Goat was meant to go Patim Pet Pansiyon ve Pet Nakil, a boarding facility in Istanbul. However, the journey would take over seven hours, and the rescue team couldn’t immediately get a pet taxi to drive her there. So Goat temporarily went to a different boarding facility in Corum.

Goat spent about two weeks there before she escaped — she chewed right through the plastic coating of her enclosure’s wire frame, then bent the wire enough to wriggle past it.

Dog being driven away from landfill
Goat being driven away from the dump the first time | Rescuers Without Borders

To everyone’s great surprise, Goat appeared back at the dump a few days later. The boarding facility had been a half hour’s drive away, so everyone was amazed and bewildered that she’d found her way back.

“A lot of these dogs are born there,” Carson said. “It’s the only place that they know, so they must feel secure and safe.”

Dog being driven away from landfill
Rescuers Without Borders

The team actually wondered if Goat had a secret litter of puppies, so they watched her carefully for the next few days. But they never found any puppies, and they’d later learn that Goat had been spayed as part of a local effort to sterilize and vaccinate street dogs.

They tried again — they caught Goat and took her back to the Corum boarding facility, and tried to expedite a pet taxi to Istanbul. But before the pet taxi arrived, she escaped a second time.

Stray dog looking at boxes of food
Rescuers Without Borders

“She was missing for about two weeks,” Carson said. “We were really, really nervous.”

Eventually, Goat turned up at the landfill again, but this time, she was in terrible physical shape. So the rescue team made one last attempt to help her. When they caught her this time, they didn’t take her to the Corum boarding place, but had a pet taxi waiting to take her directly to Istanbul.

“Once we got her to the inside boarding, and she was eight hours away from the dump, she started to get more comfortable,” Carson said. “She knew some of the dogs who were there, because they also came from the dump, so I think that helped her transition.”

A few weeks later, Goat flew to the U.S. to start a new life. A couple from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Lanie and John Zane, had asked to foster her.

Closeup of little white dog
Rescuers Without Borders

“Immediately, she took to their dog, Deuce,” Carson said. “She started flourishing and coming out of her shell.”

The Zanes ended up falling in love with Goat, and realized they didn’t want to let her go.

Two dogs lying on bed together
Goat with her new dog brother, Deuce | Rescuers Without Borders

“They ended up messaging me and saying that they’d love to give her a forever home,” Carson said.

With the Zanes, Goat has transformed into a happy, confident dog.

White dogs walking around yard together
Rescuers Without Borders

“She’s definitely more outgoing,” Carson said. “She plays with toys. She loves going on walks. She’s great on a leash. She loves Lanie, her new mom, and she follows Lanie wherever she goes.”

White dog sitting on grass
Rescuers Without Borders

“It’s because of them that she’s flourished into who she is right now,” Carson added. “She has a chance to be a normal dog, and to go on walks and have toys and a comfy bed, and she seems to be absolutely loving every moment of it.”

To help rescue more dogs living at the Turkish landfill, you can make a donation to Rescuers Without Borders.