“She just lay there licking our hands,” says the narrator. Her eyes were large and dark, and she looked up at me. I knew I had to act at that point.” Nicky Holden and her family had no idea when they scheduled their first international holiday last year that they’d be bringing along another family member.
The couple spent their first three days in Turkey lazing by the pool and swimming in the sea. On day three, however, Holden chose to go shopping with her partner, daughter, and brother-in-law in a local market in Fethiye.
“We were strolling through the market, looking at the stalls, when I noticed this black mass on the floor.”
Holden told The Dodo, “It looked like a mound of trash, but I knew it was a dog.”
She explained, “She was on the ground, and everyone was simply stepping over her.” “It was dreadful to see a living being in such a desperate situation, with hundreds of people passing by and paying no attention to her.”
“She looked up and wagged her tail as we approached,” Holden recalled. “She couldn’t even lift her head because she was so frail.”
Holden and her family bought some food and water from a nearby booth and fed the young, flat-coated retriever, whom they named Kez after a friend who had recently died of cancer. Holden added, “We sat on the floor with her, and she just lay there licking our hands.” “She was bare-knuckled and filthy, and her coat was matted to the bone. Her eyes were black, and she raised her head to look at me. At that time, I knew I had to act.” As a crowd formed around them, Holden and her colleague, Sid, were both crying. She explained, “They were laughing at us.” “They couldn’t understand why we were so attached to this ‘worthless’ street dog,” says the narrator.
Without Katz, Holden and her family ultimately returned to their motel. “At the time, there was nothing I could do,” Holden said. “I couldn’t sleep that night because I was so worried about her,” says the narrator. They sat in the hotel lobby for four hours the next morning, making phone calls and searching the internet for someone who could help Key. They were unable to discover anyone who could help them, though. They were walking down to a neighbouring village to talk to the locals when a woman handed them a brochure for a local charity fundraiser, and they dashed over. The organization connected them with Mad About Mutts, a local dog boarding school that offered to help the family if they could locate Kez.
When the couple returned to the market, they discovered that it was closed and that all of the market stalls were disappeared. “Our hearts sank,” Holden said. “We combed the entire neighborhood, looking behind dumpsters and displaying her photo to passers-by.” In an adjacent residential neighborhood, we knocked on every door. We went down to the harbor and questioned every restaurant and business owner we could find.” “I was losing hope and thinking we’d never see her again,” Holden explained, “until we went down an alleyway and there she was, lying in a doorway – we couldn’t believe it.” “She immediately recognized us, and her tail began to wag.”
The couple purchased collars and leashes from a local pet store, fitted them to Kez, and then contacted Mad About Mutts, who came to pick up the three of them shortly after. They brought Key to a neighboring vet’s office before returning her to the kennels, where she would remain for the next five months until her transportation and paperwork were arranged. Holden needed only two days to raise the $2,000 she needed to cover all of her expenses. They then sat and waited. Finally, in November 2016, Kez arrived at Holden’s residence in England as the family’s eighth dog. She’s now part of the pack, alongside collies Bean, Bear, Tri, and Tootz, as well as Jack Russell terrier Pip, dachshund Tula, lurcher Otto, kelpie Cross Dex, and bearded collie Casca.
“At first, she was really apprehensive, especially around guys,” Holden explained. “She’d scream in terror.” She’d scream at those who wore hats or rode bicycles. It took time and effort, but she is now at ease around others. She likes to socialize with other dogs, puppies, and kids. “She’s fantastic with my grandson.”
Kez treated Tri, one of Holden’s other dogs, as if she were her own when she gave birth to five puppies. Holden added, “She adored the puppies, she worshipped them.” “She’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met, and she’s really gentle.” Kez rapidly learned how to walk on a leash and play with toys after moving into his new home. Her new mother, a top agility trainer, has started her in agility training. “Many people tried to persuade me not to return for her. “They thought it was a waste of time and that we’d never find her,” Holden added. “But now, she curls up on the sofa with us and our other dogs every evening, and we know she’s safe and won’t be hungry or thirsty again.”