Seeing a dog on the subway or bus is not unusual, but normally they’re pets traveling with their humans.
Commuters in Istanbul, Turkey, have gotten used to a different sight in their metro areas. The pup’s name is Boji, which translates to “subway car.” He’s an Anatolian shepherd mix who spends his days exploring one of Europe’s largest cities — all by himself!
People first noticed Boji in early 2021, and he’s now a bit of a celebrity both around Istanbul and online. He has his own Instagram and Twitter pages, and when he’s spotted out and about, people frequently take selfies with him and tag him on social media.
You never know where Boji might pop up! He’s been spotted on buses, trains, subways, trams, and even ferries.
When city officials heard about Boji, they took an unusual approach to handling the stray dog. Since he’s incredibly polite and doesn’t pose a safety issue, they decided to capture him and take him to a veterinarian to make sure he is healthy.
During his checkup, vets discovered that Boji was already neutered but had no microchip to track a potential owner. They gave him a thorough exam and made sure he got all of his vaccinations, tagging his ear with a blue marker to let people know he’s had all his shots. Then they gave him a microchip with a tracking device so they can use GPS to monitor exactly where he travels each day. The data they uncovered was surprising, to say the least.
“He knows where to go, he knows how to get out, so it was quite interesting and we started to follow him,” said Aylin Erol, the head of customer relations at Metro Istanbul. “It was a really interesting pattern, it was like he knows where to go and he has a purpose.”
Boji’s tracking data showed that he seldom stops moving during an average day. He navigates up to 29 metro stations, sometimes traveling 20 miles a day!
He was even spotted on Princes’ Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Turkey that requires an hour-long ferry ride to get there and back.
Biraz vapur biraz martı⚓ pic.twitter.com/lULfkJPWWt— Boji (@boji_ist) October 2, 2021
Aylin said Boji is a welcome addition to their passenger list, and they have no plans to kick him off the metro lines. After all, he brightens the day of just about everyone he meets, so where’s the harm?
“He obeys the rules, you know? When the door is open, you have to let the people out first, he knows that rule very well,” she explained. “There are yellow lines at the entrance of our train doors, so he waits out of the lines just like the other passengers, and then after everyone gets out, he gets in the train and he has a special place.”
What a smart dog! We can’t imagine having a pet this self-sufficient, but he is definitely a welcome addition to any commute.
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