Driving across the Anatolain plains, for the first time I saw the gigantic Akbash dogs at their proper job, herding a flock of forty or fifty sheep out of the way of our oncoming bus. They’ve been doing this for millenia, but the only Akbash I’ve ever actually seen before have been the two my sister has owned, first Ozzie and then Solly. Ozzie used to kill the brush wolves who came after the chickens; Solly just snoozes, mostly. No mistaking those gigantic shaggy white frames and heavy heads, though. If you were a shepherd in the fourteenth century, or the ninth, or perhaps even in the fifth century BC, one of these dogs would have been your protector against just about anything: wolves or bandits. Full grown, they weigh about a hundred and thirty five pounds; they can put their paws on the shoulders of a man six feet tall and look him straight in the eye. They’re not exactly affectionate as house dogs are, but once they’ve decided that you’re their job, they’ll protect you against just about anything.
And there were sacks and sacks of abandoned onions next to the highway.