When Istanbul’s temperature dropped, and a blizzard swept the town, people quickly expressed sympathy for the city’s homeless animals. Many shop owners opened doors for stray animals to hide cold and tired puppies and cats from the severe cold. A Penti store allows a few stray dogs to find shelter in the store, but many customers are still in the store. The store manager Arzu Inan reminds people, “only true love warms.” Meanwhile, a café owner named Selçuk Bayal provided shelter for twelve stray cats, not caring that the flood of cats could discourage potential customers. And customers themselves were also doing their part to help the animals.

A man, named Ali Celik, was walking past the Atrium Mall when he noticed a group of strays outside the mall. The strays were being tended to by three unnamed strangers. The pups received cardboard to lie on to protect them from the cold ground and were also given blankets to curl up under. The dogs were also provided with food. In an interview with the Dodo, Celik praised the kind strangers who’d declined to give out their names: “The people were there to help the animals, not so that others could see them helping.” Celik said. Thanks to people doing their part and showing compassion, many cold and tired animals got a well-needed rest and respite from the cold. The animals were very grateful and took the chance to sleep and relax after being let inside. It’s heartbreaking to think of these sweet furbabies alone out on the cold streets.

When temperatures drop, strays are incredibly vulnerable and the sad reality is that many of them freeze to death. The cold temperatures can also lead to the animals suffering frostbite which is very painful. These kind shop owners and shoppers surely saved many lives by opening their hearts and their doors.We can all learn from the people of Istanbul and remember to do our part for the animals. We need to protect these precious little creatures, and together we can work to improve the lives of animals all over the world.