Traveling Dog Becomes Global Icon

This famous canine adventurer inspires smiles and love.

Nov 9, 2021
Traveling Dog Becomes Global Icon | This famous canine adventurer inspires smiles and love.

Meet Boji. A resident of Istanbul, Boji is often spotted waiting on train platforms, boarding ferries, and riding buses around town. He takes commuting so seriously, he has become an international celebrity and a VIP for all commuters in Istanbul. This is because Boji is a much-loved stray, complete with large brown eyes, floppy ears, and golden fur.

Boji was first spotted riding the subway in August, according to Reuters. He caught people’s attention when he seemed to understand how to use the transport system. Boji is often seen waiting on the platform for the train, letting passengers disembark before hopping onto the train.

“We noticed a dog using our metros and trains and he knows where to go. He knows where to get out,” Aylin Erol from Metro Istanbul told Reuters. “It's like he has a purpose.”

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Boji visits 29 metro stations a day
The municipality’s veterinarians took Boji in for a check-up, placing a GPS tracker on him so they could record his journeys. They soon discovered that this traveling dog covers some 30 kilometers on public transport a day, using 29 metro stations and at least two ferries.

And so he was nicknamed Boji, the Turkish word for subway car. He is now a local celebrity, as tweeted on this CNN video. He is even known to enjoy a peaceful getaway on the Princes’ Islands, a short ferry ride from Istanbul.

He has since become the most loved travel companion in all of Istanbul, reported The New York Post. Like a true explorer, he loves riding the historic Kadikoy tram, a historic heritage tram much loved by tourists. 

Commuters crowd around him to offer a hug or a gentle pet on the head, and are constantly taking photos of Boji as well as  selfies with this famous adventurer. Boji has his own Instagram account with close to 88,000 followers. He is also on Twitter with 94,000 fans and counting.

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Residents of Istanbul embrace stray animals
Stray animals are a regular part of life in Istanbul. The eighth largest city in the world, Istanbul is also home to 150,000 stray dogs and cats, according to DW. As locals have been known to feed and leave water for these street animals for centuries, strays are a regular part of life for the residents of Istanbul.

Yet a commuting dog is new even for Istanbul residents, and Boji has been warmly embraced by all.  “You take the train and, suddenly, you see Boji,” Erol told Reuters. “You just smile and catch the moment, really. This is what Boji evokes for Istanbulites. He also reminds us that we can still enjoy Istanbul as we rush about.” 

This sweet, calm, and floppy-eared dog lies back on ferry decks and sits upright on subway seats watching the world go by. As he travels, he brings smiles and warmth to tired commuters daily. Word of his travels has reached across the community and around the globe as animal lovers tune into Boji sightings across Istanbul.

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Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.