The man was waiting for the subway as he did every day when he noticed an unlikely passenger waiting among the other commuters. It was a dog. At first, he thought it belonged to someone, but that wasn’t the case.
The local man couldn’t sit by idly anymore. He had to find out where the dog went. When he realized what the dog was doing, he called the authorities immediately.
An Unlikely Passenger
Amir usually took his personal car to work. But since the day before it was in the workshop, so he decided to use public transport to go to work.
Amir didn’t expect to see something like this from the first day he took the subway. A dog waited patiently along with the people at the station, and jumped into the carriage as soon as it stopped. No one paid much attention to the dog except for Amir. What was going on?
Just A Stray
Amir tried to search for the dog in the subway. But before having a chance to find it, the train reached Amir’s station. He had to get down and go to work.
At first, he believed that the dog was just a stray who wandered inside the carriage aimlessly. So he tried to forget about it. But that wouldn’t be the end of their story.
More Than Once
Amir went home thinking he’ll never see the dog again. But the next day, he got the surprise of his lifetime. The dog was waiting in the same subway station again.
And it didn’t stop there. In the next few days, Amir kept seeing the pooch taking the same subway as him. He began to wonder what was going on? Was the dog a stray, and some commuter fed him? Or was it something much grimmer than that?
Driving It Away
Not all the days were the same. On one occasion, Amir saw some people push away the dog and drive it out of the carriage. He tried to stop them, but it was too late.
The train had already left the station, and the poor dog remained on the cold concrete, running in circles. People passed him by, and no one was paying attention to the dog except Amir.
Amir could see from the window that the dog was acting strange, as if it was lost. The dog was disoriented and moved chaotically among the people waiting for the next train.
Before Amir could do anything, the train left the station. The man kept thinking of a way to help the dog, but first, he had to find it again. He was set to figure out the mystery of the traveling dog.
Trying To Help
The following day, Amir took some dog treats with him when he left for work. He waited in the same subway station, and it didn’t take long before the dog appeared. It was a little dirtier than usual, but its brown fur was unmistakable.
The dog accepted the treats wagging its tail. Seeing it so happy, Amir was glad he could help the little pooch. But the young man wasn’t planning on stopping there.
Amir received a call that his car was fixed and ready to be picked up from the shop. At that moment, he decided to continue taking the subway to work until he had a chance to help the dog.
The car could wait. But who knows what kind of trouble that dog was getting into every morning. Amir had to act soon.
He decided to call the authorities, which directed him to a local animal shelter. The shelter staff was as baffled as Amir when they heard the story. At first, the team wanted to just capture the dog and try to find an adoptive family for it.
But the mystery of where it was going every day and why would not be solved that way. And that meant that someone might be waiting for the dog at home or that it was maybe taking care of some puppies. They couldn’t know for sure. So the staff went in another direction.
The animal shelter staff decided to put a tracker on the dog to see exactly where it was going. It wasn’t easy to gain the dog’s trust, but with the help of Amir, they managed to do it. Now all they could do was wait.
The tracker was finally active and on the dog. When the staff saw where the dog was going, they didn’t know how to react. They’ve never seen anything like it.
A Very Long Trip
When the staff checked the tracker after one day, they couldn’t believe it. The dog took a very long trip around town, and no one knew why.
In the days that followed, it was the same story. The dog would travel for quite a while and then, in the evening, return to its area of departure.
Someone from the animal shelter staff decided to track the dog on foot to find out where he travels to every day.
The man quickly found out that the dog’s name was Boji. He was spotted amongst the locals who started taking pictures of the dog while riding the metro, trains, and even the ferry.
It was clear that the dog was very smart. He knew all the public transport rules and gave way to the disembarking passengers, waiting for them and entering the train after it’s fully emptied.
When it came to subway and railway stations, Boji waited on the terrace if the weather was nice, and he went inside if it was cold or raining. The man has never seen a dog like him.
When checking the tracker in more detail, the staff of the animal shelter discovered that the Boji was traveling around 29 stops a day, reaching a distance of 27 to 30 kilometers.
Boji, though a stray dog, is a crossbreed of Sivas Kangal and shepherd dog and takes his name from railway terminology belonging to the Turkish language.
The canine had been thoroughly checked recently, and the examination showed that the dog had all of his health checkups done and was sterilized before. So the poor pooch had once belonged to a family but now was living the stray life.
He was traveling for so long to reach people and establishments where he could get some food. It was a daily adventure for the dog to get fed by the many people that loved and cherished him.
To top it off, many social media accounts were opened to track where Boji was last seen as passengers enjoyed his company while traveling.
The dog was a nice calming presence and brought joy to every passenger he encountered. So everyone was helping the dog find his way and gave him treats whenever they saw him. Since people began to track Boji, he has become an online sensation.
Chris McGrath, a Getty Images photographer, first learned of Boji from Twitter. Netizens began posting selfies with the dog, and now he even has his own Instagram and Twitter accounts with thousands of followers.
Chris decided to go to Istanbul to see the dog for himself. He followed Boji around for a day to see where he went and photograph his adventures. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Everyone Knew Him
“He knows where to go. He knows where to get out,” Avlin Erol, the head of customer relations at Metro Istanbul, explained.
“It was a really interesting pattern, it was like he knows where to go and he has a purpose.” And for many, Boji has become a much-loved member of the community. Everyone knew him.
Chris followed Boji around and couldn’t believe the stories were true. “He’s such a free spirit. All he wants to do is ride on transportation. Every time he goes past a bus or van or any form of transport, he just wants to get on it. It’s really quite bizarre,” he told CNN News.
Chris not only confirmed that Boji does indeed travel up to 20 miles a day on public transport – he discovered something else that was even more unbelievable.
A Weekend Trip
Boji has even been spotted taking a weekend trip to Princes’ Island! To get there and back, Boji would have to have taken an hour-long ferry ride.
When he gets on the ferry, he knows where to go – he makes a beeline for the side with the sun. “He loves the water,” Chris explained, “When the ferry starts going, he starts barking at the waves.” But that wasn’t all Chris discovered. Boji knew exactly which ferry to choose.
Choosing Between Two Ferries
“He checked one, and people were getting on. I don’t know how he knows, but that one was going to Eminön. And the other one was going to Beşiktaş,” Chris said, laughing.
“So he checked the Eminön one and went no, that’s not the right one. And then he ducked under the turnstiles and went on to the Beşiktaş one. I don’t know how he knows, but he seems to like riding the Beşiktaş ferry.” Chris also discovered another quirky habit of Boji’s…
Chris was told by the municipal workers that Boji seems to enjoy the different engines of the various vehicles he rides.
“At the ferry, he’ll sit at the back where the engine is because of the vibration, he likes it,” Chris explained. “And when he’s on the Metro, he sits where the wheels are – like right underneath on top of the wheels. He always likes this feeling of sitting on those.” Indeed, that’s how Boji got his name.
Boji got his name from the area of the subway right above the wheels – it’s known as the bogie area in railway terminology. In Turkish, bogie translates to boji.
But how is a street dog able to find enough food to survive on the streets of Istanbul? Being a stray on the streets is dangerous for any animal, so what makes Istanbul different?
Stray Animals In Istanbul
Istanbul is known as Catistan for a reason – there are so many stray dogs and cats wandering around on the streets. But being a stray dog in Istanbul is different from being a stray anywhere else in the world.
The city of Istanbul has a program that protects the vast numbers of strays that roam the streets. Food is provided by the city, and there are spay-and-neuter programs and emergency care services for all the stray animals. It’s not hard for Boji to find enough food.
Food For Strays Everywhere
“There’ll be water and a food bowl out for animals hidden away in the corners of restaurants or houses,” Chris explains. “So Boji knows where to go.”
The municipality is even considering putting up flyers about Boji on the transit system to give people guidance on how to interact with him. But how do the people of Istanbul react to Boji?
Protective Of Their Mascot
“He went into one restaurant and two men sort of shooed him away, yelled at him,” Chris said. “And then you hear someone else, another restaurant owner, yelling at those guys going: ‘It’s Boji! It’s Boji! Don’t shoo him away! So he’s definitely got celebrity status now.”
And it’s not just the community members of Istanbul who protect their beloved mascot. Avlin Erol and the other municipal workers have quite a soft spot for the traveling dog…
Looking After Him
Since Boji became so well-known, municipal workers started bringing him in for regular check-ups at the vet.
They also took it upon themselves to do a bahevioral study to see if the dog was okay and that his interactions with humans wouldn’t be a problem for him and the people he meets every day.
Making Sure He Was Okay
“They took him to a training camp sort of thing and gave him some TLC, some grooming, some shots,” Chris told CNN News.
“They watched him interact, fixed his tracking collar, and that took about a week.” Once they were sure Boji was healthy, they released him again – but not without creating a small kennel for him at one of the Metro stations.
Since people learned of Boji and his strange train-hopping habits, he’s become a global internet sensation. He boasts more than 79,000 followers across his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Many of his followers are the commuters of Istanbul who know him personally. “You take the train and, suddenly, you see Boji,” said Aylin Erol of Metro Istanbul. “You just smile and catch the moment, really.”
A Permanent Shelter
The municipal staff also feed Boji whenever he decides to come back to his kennel. But he doesn’t like to stay in one place for too long. He chooses to keep moving.
The workers also keep tabs on him from afar, using a mobile tracker to see where he goes and make sure he is safe.