Passerby Ali Celik posted on Facebook Saturday that he was walking by a mall when he noticed that someone had created makeshift beds out of cardboard and blankets for stray dogs inside a passageway.
Celik told The Huffington Post that this was the first time he had seen people helping dogs like this, but later learned they had been doing it for some time.
The mystery dog lovers weren’t the only people in the Turkish city offering a warm place for stray animals during the blizzard, which began Friday evening.
Arzu Inan, manager at the clothing store Penti, told HuffPost that she welcomed dogs inside her shop to get them out of the cold. On Monday, she posted several photos showing dogs contentedly snoozing on the floor.
The Dodo reported that Selcuk Bayal, who owns a stationery shop and cafe in Istanbul, opened his store to around a dozen cats for as long as the cold lasts.
“We are human, and these creatures are entrusted to us by God,” Bayal told The Dodo. “We are responsible for looking after them.”
The stray cats and dogs in Istanbul are beloved by many residents, and visitors to the city often note that the animals seem exceptionally well cared for. That said, some residents of the city have criticized Western media for presenting an idealized view of the city’s stray animals.