A canine wanderer named Boji has gained popularity in Istanbul for his habit of hopping on ferries, trams, and subway cars to explore the urban landscape.
A couple of months ago, his adventures were exposed, and the authorities started monitoring his movements. They were amazed by his creativity. The customer relations head at Metro Istanbul, Avlin Erol, commented that “he’s aware of the perfect places to seek refuge and exit.”
Boji is expected to cover a distance of approximately 30 kilometers in a day, which is equivalent to 18.6 miles. During his journey, he will pass through numerous Metro stations and take two ferry crossings at the very least. As per Chris McGrath, a Getty Images photographer who spent a day following Boji around the city, he is a carefree soul who loves travelling on different modes of transportation. Whenever he comes across a bus or van or any other means of transit, he can’t resist the urge to hop on it, which is quite unusual.
McGrath came across Boji on Twitter, where numerous individuals shared selfies and pictures with the adorable mixed-breed dog. As of now, Boji has garnered a massive following on both Twitter and Instagram platforms with tens of thousands of fans. McGrath remarked that Boji has become quite popular, and people recognize him everywhere.
The dog has become an integral part of the community, making many people fall in love with it. According to McGrath, Boji was once shooed away by two men at a restaurant who yelled at him. However, things quickly turned around when another restaurant owner recognized Boji’s celebrity status and scolded those men for their behavior.
The officials of the city have shown a great deal of concern towards Boji, and they have been taking care of him. Recently, they took him for grooming and medical check-up. Additionally, they conducted a behavioral study to ensure that he is in good condition and that his interaction with humans is not problematic. The officials brought him to a kind of training center where he received proper attention and care. They also fixed his tracking collar and kept an eye on his behavior for about a week. Moreover, the city authorities have set up a small cage for him at one of their Metro stations, where they regularly feed him whenever he returns.
The city officials keep track of Boji’s movements from a distance, using a smartphone application. McGrath teamed up with them last week to observe Boji for a day. According to McGrath, Boji is well aware of the train doors’ locations and positions himself accordingly on the platform. As soon as he senses the train’s vibrations, he rushes to the end of the platform and boards the train from the doors he knows well. He can be pushy, attempting to board the train when people are exiting. When it comes to taking the ferry, Boji always heads to the sunny side of the boat.
According to McGrath, the dog has a fondness for water. Whenever he hears the ferry starting to move, he barks at the waves. The dog seems to have an uncanny ability to decipher which ferry is heading towards Eminönü or Besiktas. Upon inspecting the ferries, he chose to board the one headed towards Besiktas and even made his way to the back where the motor is located. Similarly, when riding the subway train, he enjoys sitting where he can feel the vibration of the wheels. It’s clear that this adventurous canine has a passion for transportation and the unique sensations they provide.
The section of the subway train where Boji got his name is called the bogie area. This term is used in railway language, and it translates to “boji” in Turkish. Boji is not a fan of cats and often encounters stray cats during his travels. Istanbul is referred to as Catstanbul because of the large number of cats present in the city. McGrath, who has been based in Istanbul for six years, noted that Boji chases after cats whenever he spots one. Despite this, Boji is an excellent dog who walks around and enjoys being petted by everyone he meets.
Due to the high population of stray animals in Istanbul, Boji can easily find food without much effort. According to McGrath, there are hidden food and water dishes placed in the corners of restaurants or homes specifically for animals. Boji is familiar with these locations, and he knows where to go to find them. For instance, while on his way to the ferry, he once stopped by a taxi stand where a small shelter and some bowls were provided for cats like him. Similarly, he was caught on camera drinking from a watering hole in the subway, which was designated as a feeding and drinking spot for animals maintained by the municipality. Boji seems to know all the right places to quench his thirst and satiate his hunger.
According to McGrath, the local government is planning to install information signs regarding Boji on the transportation system. These signs will provide guidance to people on how they can interact with the dog. However, it should be noted that Boji is not obedient and does not follow instructions. Even if someone tries to give him commands, he simply ignores them and goes wherever he wants to go. It seems that Boji has a free-spirited personality and enjoys wandering around independently, and he is content with his current lifestyle.