Photo left. The Thai way of adopting dogs. A street dog is “adopted” by the local motorcycle taxi station and get the daily leftovers of all motorcycle taxi drivers.
Photo middle. The owner of a modest apartment building in Banglampu, Bangkok, gave the local pregnant street dog shelter and food.
Photo right. 4 former puppy dogs dogs in my current ruralish neighborhood that have been adopted by the local Thai people.
I have seen it one time in Bangkok city and one time in Udon Thani, a provincial city near the border of Laos.
A cardboard box with a litter of puppies was seemingly dumped in a vacant lot.
Now that sounds cruel, eh. On closer examination though, it turned out that somebody daily did feed the weaned puppies. And the box with puppies hadn’t been “dumped” randomly, the location on both occasions was an empty spacious lot with bushes and grass, ideal for the young dogs to play, what they did, AND very visibly for the neighborhood people.
On both cases, the puppy dogs were soon adopted by the local people.
One time me and the wife were walking in Bangkok. And there, on the pavement was this small black kitten all alone! Abandoned, how cruel people can be!!! Me, I don’t like cats, but what could I do? I took the little black hissing kitten home and named her Jenny.
A year or so later me and the wife were chatting about the time when we did find “Jenny” on the street. “How can somebody just leave a kitten all alone on the sidewalk??”. My wife nonchalantly replied “Oh, that kitten was not abandoned, that old woman on the corner probably was the owner.” In short, according to my wife, an old neighborhood woman was simply trying to get rid of an unwanted litter of kittens by putting them one by one on the sidewalk until somebody would take them. She would watch over the “abandoned” kitten from a distant, and take it home again if nobody would adopt it.
If all else fails, Thai people simply give their dog’s unwanted offspring away to friends and family. Thai people are easy, nobody refuses.
Photo left: Somewhere on the sidewalk in Bangkok somebody puts leftover food for the local street cat.
Photo right. Our neighbors in Sukhumvit, ordinary Thai people, feed the local street cats, a dozen or so, every night.
“Thai People Take Responsibility Without Ownership”
The Thai way of dealing with street dogs is worthy of knowing.
While in western countries street dogs are absolutely not tolerated in street life, and are caught by people and put in small cages in animal shelters, and even “euthanized” (as the argument goes, it is all for their own good!!!), not by people who hate dogs but actually by well meaning animal lovers who love dogs, in Thailand street dogs are simply accepted and respected as a normal participant of street life. More than that, Thai people care for these dogs without taking ownership.
The key of the Thai way of caring for street dogs (and abandoned stray dogs) is that people give food to street dogs yet don’t claim individual ownership.
All street dogs have a territory. In that territory there are people who daily feed them. That can be the local motorcycle taxis who “adopted” that dog, it can be the local street vendor who gives leftover meat to one particular street dog he bonded with, it can be a shop owner who daily feeds a dog, and it can be the local people who live there who put their leftover food (e.g. rice with chicken or fish) to the local street dogs.
Street dogs never “beg”. They have good relations with local people and simply sit and wait.
Now occasionally there are true stray dogs. Dogs that have been taken for a one way ride by their owners and have been abandoned far from their home. Unlike street dogs these dogs lack a territory and so they are constantly attacked and driven away by the real street dogs. These dogs are wandering around, looking around nervously, afraid of people, skinny, and simply a sad sight to see. Completely opposite from the well fed and integrated street dog.
What happens to these dogs? In 5 years of living in Thailand, first in Bangkok city and now in rural Thailand, I have seen very little of these stray dogs. In one year I could see one or maybe two.
Again, most likely what happens is that these dogs soon get adopted, in one way or another, by a local Thai person who feels pity for that dog. A hungry dog will always be fed with some leftovers and so slowly a relation will be build.
It was this way how I did get a dog here in Udon Thani. Two years ago in our local street was a nervous new young stray dog wandering around. The local kids already started to try to give it food. Eventually I took the dog.
But people who are desperate to get rid of their dog for one reason or another, don’t have to be that drastic, they always can leave their dog at a Buddhist temple. Many Buddhist temples have a pack of dogs, dogs that were brought there by there owners and are now fed by the monks or, again, fed by the local people who live near the temple.
Western people might think negatively about Asian people and animals, and especially rural people. But here in ruralish Thailand, even people who don’t particularly like dogs, provide outside shelter and food for any dog, and in this way “adopt” the dog. It is not Mexico, amigo.
Occasionally there is an sympathetic article in a Thai newspaper about a local and usually old woman who feeds the local street dogs.
One last dog story.
When I first came to live in ruralish Thailand, at the edge of a village, there was this guy, who had a small dog. This dog always walked in the neighborhood with another small dog, which happened to be her daughter. I am a kind of dog guy so it didn’t take long to make friendship with these two dogs. (and other dogs in the neighborhood LOL)
Anyway, one year ago this brown small dog, the daughter, gave birth to a litter of puppies. Not at the home of her “owner” as you might suspect, but near our house in the long grass. (she seemed to like me…) This was not a fuzzy nest, this was a natural and professional nest made by a skillful animal. You could stand right next to the nest and simply not see it.
I was really amazed by how independent these Thai dogs are. And how Thai people can take care of a dog yet let it be completely free, not “owning” the animal but simply respecting it’s own decisions.
Let the Thai street dogs live in the streets. They are NOT abandoned dogs, they are taken care for and street life is their natural life. Don’t put them in western style animal shelters, and NEVER BRING AN ADOPTED DOG TO YOUR OWN COUNTRY! Your own country has MORE THAN ENOUGH sad dogs in concentration camp style animal shelters available for adoption.