Dogs and cats, symbols of arguments and fights, can lead a very peaceful existence together for a long time. Meet Kara and Cuki, pronounce the latter as Djuki. Kara was short for Karabash and Cuki was for Boncuk.
Kara was a puppy when Jan and Elif picked her from the local pound. Her looks, with a dark head and nose, reminded me of a typical dog in Turkey called Karabash. A short while after we got her, I left for Turkey for a sabbatical. A little later, Jan seriously burned her hands, and Kara did not get much training for quite some time. When Jan’s hands were feeling better, she and Elif came to join me in Turkey. Jan’s folks stayed at our house to take care of Kara. Actually, to treat her like royalty by taking her out for drive-in dinners and letting her do anything she wanted at home and in the yard.
Well, after we returned, Kara was a handful and a sizeable dog. I thought she was a Belgian Tervuren, but Jan called her a shepherd-collie. Very good-looking indeed, regardless of the breed. One day, when she was not behaving well, Kara and I took a walk around the block. When we returned, she was a different dog. I did not do anything drastic other than not letting her pull me and go in any direction she wanted. She quickly realized that it was better for her to behave. If you don’t believe this one walk changing a dog, ask Jan. From there on, she would obey any command we gave her. She would even sing on demand, wooo-aaoooeeww …
She continued to be a wonderful and very much-loved dog, not only in our house but all around the neighborhood. Our late neighbor, Dom would sit on his deck and feed Kara beer from his palm. Slurp, slurp, slurp, … One thing Kara was not allowed to do was to go upstairs to the bedroom because she used to shed like dropping pillows. Her long hair would fall as she walked. With her friendly charm, she convinced my hesitant mother to love and pet her. She would go and lay down at her feet, then put her head on her lap. The next thing you know, Mom was petting Kara!
Missing our previous pet, Pamuk the cat who had passed away a while back, Jan and Elif went for a cat hunt at the local pound and returned with a typical kitten, gray and black fur, beady eyes, a typical skinny tiger. Those beady eyes became his namesake, Boncuk, meaning bead in Turkish. His name would soon be abbreviated to Cuki. When Cuki arrived, Kara was a full-grown young dog, and we were concerned that they may fight like cats and dogs, even her harming the kitten. Oh, how wrong we were!
They soon became good friends with an enormous implicit trust. They would run around, Cuki in the front, Kara chasing one moment, and the direction would abruptly change, Cuki chasing Kara. I have seen Cuki jumping on Kara’s neck and claw into her thick furs like a necklace many times, and Kara would run around the house with Cuki dangling from her neck! They would roll on the floor like equal size animals. More than once, we all saw Cuki’s head fully inside Kara’s mouth and Cuki clamping on Kara’s nose. There are a couple of photos showing this friendly but dangerous-looking play. No one was hurt!
One day, I photographed them playing around. This was a long time ago, done on film. I scanned the negatives recently and decided the share the friendship Kara and Cuki shared, well at least until Cuki became a full-size Maine Coon cat with a great mane around his neck, long and full hair even from his ears and under his paws. He weighed about 16 pounds, about 7.25 kg. They never fought, but Cuki became less playful with Kara except on some occasions. They lived in total peace, never harming each other.
I just wanted to share these two loving and good-natured animals. Humans can learn much from Kara and Cuki, and many others like them.