Boji, a stray dog, has gained quite a reputation in Istanbul as a popular figure, effortlessly navigating the city using ferries, trams, and subway vehicles.
A few months ago, his mischievous exploits were exposed, leading local authorities to closely monitor his actions. They were astounded by his resourcefulness. Avlin Erol, the head of customer relations at Metro Istanbul, remarked, “He possesses remarkable knowledge of escape routes and knows exactly where to go.”
Boji is forecasted to cover a distance of up to 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) per day, navigating through numerous Metro stations and making a minimum of two ferry crossings.
Chris McGrath, a Getty Images photographer who shadowed Boji throughout the city, described him as an absolute embodiment of freedom. According to McGrath, Boji’s sole desire is to hop on any form of public transportation he encounters, be it a bus, van, or any other mode of transit. This peculiar behavior truly baffled McGrath.
Upon stumbling across Boji’s Twitter profile, McGrath was instantly captivated by the numerous photos and selfies featuring the adorable mixed-breed dog. Astonishingly, Boji has now garnered a significant fan base, boasting tens of thousands of followers on both Twitter and Instagram. McGrath exclaimed, “He’s become a household name, recognized and adored by all!”
The dog has become a cherished member of the community for numerous people. McGrath shared an incident where two men tried to shoo the dog away and yelled at him when he entered a restaurant. However, another restaurant owner intervened, shouting at those men, proclaiming, “It’s Boji! It’s Boji! Don’t shoo him away!” This incident clearly indicates that the dog has achieved celebrity status within the community.
Boji, the beloved city personnel, has received exceptional care and protection. In the beginning of this month, the city personnel took him for grooming and a thorough medical examination. Additionally, a behavioral study was conducted to ensure his well-being and to address any concerns regarding his comfort with human interaction and the people around him.
“He was taken to a training camp-like facility where he received tender loving care, grooming, and necessary vaccinations,” McGrath explained. “They closely monitored his interactions, fixed his tracking collar, which took approximately a week.” Additionally, the municipality went as far as setting up a small cage for him at one of their Metro stations and provided him with food whenever he desired to return.
Last week, McGrath collaborated with city personnel who remotely monitor Boji’s activities using a smartphone app, ensuring regular checks on him throughout the day.
“McGrath exclaimed that he possesses an impeccable knowledge of the train doors’ locations. He strategically positions himself by the side of the platform, and upon sensing the train’s vibrations, he swiftly moves to the farthest end of the platform. From there, he proceeds to relentlessly pursue the train, ultimately positioning himself near the doors. Remarkably, he displays a rather assertive behavior, persistently attempting to board the train while others are disembarking.”
As soon as Boji boards a ferry, he instinctively heads straight to the side illuminated by the sun.
“He has an affinity for the water,” McGrath remarked. “As soon as the ferry sets sail, he can’t help but bark at the ripples it creates.”
After inspecting one of the ferries, he noticed that people were boarding it. I’m not sure how he could tell, but that particular ferry was bound for Eminönü. The second ferry, on the other hand, was going to Beşiktaş. He examined the Eminönü ferry again and concluded that it wasn’t the right one. Without hesitation, he swiftly maneuvered under the turnstiles and headed towards the Beşiktaş ferry. I’m not sure how he can tell, but it seems like he absolutely enjoys riding the Beşiktaş ferry.
McGrath mentioned that when he boards the ferry, he prefers to occupy the rear seat near the motor due to his fondness for the vibrations. Similarly, when he rides the Metro or subway train, he intentionally chooses to sit close to the wheels, either below or on top of them. He always enjoys the sensation of being seated in those positions.
Boji derives his name from the specific area of the subway train known as the bogie region, according to railway terminology. The Turkish translation for bogie is boji. However, Boji has an aversion to cats, and unfortunately encounters numerous stray felines during his journeys.
McGrath, who has been residing in Istanbul for six years, mentioned that the city is nicknamed Catstanbul due to its abundant cat population. He observed Boji, his pet, relentlessly chasing after cats he spotted in the vicinity. This behavior occurred multiple times, as Boji would chase them up trees and other places. It is evident that he harbors a strong dislike for cats.
Aside from that, he is genuinely a fantastic dog. He simply strolls around and receives affectionate pats from everyone. His level of happiness is truly remarkable.
Boji easily finds food in Istanbul due to the abundance of stray animals. “There are water and food dishes placed inconspicuously in the corners of restaurants or houses for animals,” McGrath explained. “Thus, Boji is well aware of where to find sustenance.”
As he made his way towards the ferry, he noticed a taxi stand and a small shelter for a cat along with some bowls. Intrigued, he decided to pause for a moment and have a drink. While he was there, he noticed a photo of himself drinking on the subway, which turned out to be an establishment designated by the municipality for animals to find food and drink. It seemed that he was well aware of this place and knew exactly where to go.
McGrath mentioned that the municipality would be installing informational signs regarding Boji on the transportation system in the near future. These signs will provide guidance to individuals on how to engage with Boji. However, it is important to note that the dog is not likely to comply with any given instructions.
“McGrath remarked that he has a tendency to disregard others’ opinions and advice. Regardless of any attempts to communicate with him, he simply chooses to ignore them. Many individuals have invited him to join them or suggested specific actions, but he consistently disregards their requests and follows his own path. Undoubtedly, he possesses an independent spirit, content with venturing out and exploring the world on his own terms.”