Boji, a homeless pooch, has gained quite the following in Istanbul as he roams the city via ferries, trams, and subways. He’s become somewhat of a celebrity among locals.
A couple of months back, his misadventures were exposed and the authorities in the vicinity started keeping tabs on him. They were taken aback by his ingenuity. Avlin Erol, who happens to be the head of customer relations at Metro Istanbul, praised him by saying, “He’s aware of the places to go and escape.”
According to reports, Boji is expected to cover a distance of approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) daily, traversing numerous Metro stations and making at least two ferry crossings. Getty Images photographer, Chris McGrath, who trailed Boji around the city for a day, described him as a carefree soul with a strong affinity for transportation. Apparently, Boji can’t resist the urge to hop on any bus, van, or other means of transit he comes across, making his behavior somewhat unusual.
McGrath stumbled upon Boji on Twitter, where netizens share their snaps and pictures with this adorable cross-bred pooch. To everyone’s surprise, Boji has now become a social media sensation with an ever-growing fan base on Twitter and Instagram, with thousands of followers. McGrath happily expressed how Boji has become a popular personality known to many.
The canine has gained significant popularity amongst the locals and is now considered to be a cherished member of the community. McGrath recounted a time when two men attempted to shoo the dog away from their restaurant, but another restaurant owner defended him, exclaiming “It’s Boji! Don’t shoo him away!” It appears that the dog has become somewhat of a celebrity in the area.
Boji, the beloved stray dog in the city, is receiving special attention from the city personnel who are ensuring his well-being. Recently, they took him in for grooming and a medical check-up, along with conducting a behavioral study to assess his comfort around humans. Boji was also provided with some training and care at a special facility for a week. The city has even set up a small shelter for him at one of the Metro stations, and he is given food whenever he returns. It’s heartening to see how much the city cares for Boji’s welfare and happiness.
The city staff are keeping an eye on Boji from a distance by using a smartphone application to monitor his actions. Last week, McGrath joined the team to shadow Boji for a day. McGrath was amazed to see how Boji knew exactly where the train doors were located. He would position himself at the side of the platform, waiting for the train’s vibration. As soon as he felt it approaching, he would rush to the far end of the platform and catch the train as it slowed down; he was quite forceful in his pursuit. When Boji boards a ferry, he always chooses the side with the sun.
According to McGrath, the furry friend enjoys being near the water, as evidenced by his excited barking whenever a ferry sets sail. Interestingly, he seems to have a good sense of which ferry is headed where, checking each one before deciding to board the one bound for Besiktas. Once on the ferry, he likes to sit near the back where he can feel the vibrations from the motor. Similarly, on the subway, he prefers to sit close to the wheels, enjoying the sensation of being on top of them. It’s unclear how he knows what he likes, but it’s clear that he has a passion for certain modes of transportation.
In the subway train, there is a particular area called the bogie region, which is where Boji gets his name. Interestingly, the word bogie is translated to boji in Turkish railway terminology. Boji, however, is not fond of cats, and unfortunately, he often encounters stray cats during his travels. Istanbul is known as Catstanbul due to the large number of cats found there. According to McGrath, who has been living in Istanbul for six years, Boji chases after cats whenever he sees them. He has been observed chasing cats up trees on numerous occasions. Despite his dislike for cats, Boji is generally a friendly dog who enjoys being petted by everyone he meets.
In Istanbul, there is a significant population of stray animals which makes it easy for Boji to find food. According to McGrath, there are hidden areas near restaurants or houses where water and food dishes are available for animals. Boji is familiar with these spots, and he goes there to eat. One time, while he was on his way to the ferry, he saw a cat house and some bowls near a taxi stand. He stopped there and had a drink. There’s even a photo of him drinking on the subway, where it is known to be a place for animals to find food and drink provided by the municipality. It seems like Boji knows exactly where to go when he needs something to eat or drink.
According to McGrath, the local government plans to install information boards on the transportation system to educate people on how to interact with Boji. However, it’s important to note that Boji doesn’t follow orders from anyone. McGrath mentioned that many individuals have attempted to instruct him by saying things like “come here” or “sit here,” but he ignores them and goes where he pleases. Boji is a free spirit who enjoys exploring and doing his own thing, and he seems content with that.