Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My Adopted Thai Park Dogs

From left to right.
This dog was more dead then alive with his skull seriously dented because of a road accident. I adopted him “Thai Style” which means give a dog food but don’t take it to your home (rather let the dog stay in HIS home which is the street) and he recovered and is now one happy dog.

I always give this park dog some dog food in the park. He is well behaved and sits with us.

Imposter!! This dog is often in the park and occasionally begs food but he actually has an owner and lives around the corner, and he is not a “street dog”.

Three years ago I settled just outside Udon Thani, a provincial city near the border of Laos. City life is exiting here, there is a “Central” department store, various (vegan) Jay restaurants, a train station, and an art museum with works of Picasso, Rembrandt, Vermeer, etc.

I am just kidding about the art museum. 

Anyway, there are also two parks. Almost daily I go to the park so my 4 year old son (don’t email me, he is vegan!!) can play there.

There are always dogs hanging around. It works like this.

Don’t think that these dogs beg for food and are a nuisance. On the contrary, these dogs behave very well. When you eat something, they sit a fashionable distance away from you and are not staring. They simply, and politely, wait until you toss a bone or piece of your meal to them. A Thai person who don’t like the attention from them, with a simple hush hush the dog will understand the message and move away.

The way to “adopt” a dog on a regular basis works like this, I think.

Most dogs are healthy looking and well fed. They know there way around and apparently get daily food and have their share of sponsors like, maybe locals or a street vendor whom they developed a relation with. Don’t pick them for adoption.

Occasionally, and I mean occasionally as opposed to regularly, you could see a thin dog that apparently has trouble finding its daily food. (Be careful though, enough scruffy thin dogs that actually have a real owner and home, but these dogs just lay around and don’t seek attention.)

A while ago I did see such a dog in the park, a big sized park dog, a nice one, and I started to bring dog food and feed him on a regular basis. That worked out very well. He is always happy to see me and still a polite dog, and he is not thin anymore.

Recently, just a month ago or six weeks. I did encounter a dog that looked more dead then alive. It was almost bald with unhealthy skin, and worst, it just had an accident and it’s skull was heavily dented, and blood was shown. It was very thin. A sad case. 

It made me think, or self reflect. In the west, or my former self, would have called the Animal Ambulance who would have picked up the animal and have it euthanized.

I had changed. Of course I felt very sad and sorry for that dog. But I didn’t have a desire to play God. I did feel that IF he had to die, please let him die on the streets which is his home, let him die under the stars in the fresh air.

But it didn’t come to that. I simply decided to give it food everyday, and leave him alone. I had to oppress the western animal lover in me that wanted to take the dog to my home.
Everyday I did go out there and give the dog some dog food. The dog is a resident of the place right next to the park where local vendors sell food. Besides my food he also gets scraps from them.

Now, the dog has recovered. He is not thin anymore, his head is in good shape, the only problem is his naked skin with minor infections. (I lack the funds to buy medicines or skin lotion unfortunately )

He has become a playful dog and anytime we see each other, he and me, we are happy to see each other. He plays a bit, eats a bit, and after that we go our separate ways. NO DOUBT he is happy to live his life in freedom. NO DOUBT he is lucky not be tossed in an animal shelter with loving people but was allowed to live (or die) in his home, the streets, in freedom.

Message of the day. Don’t adopt dogs from other countries. You don’t know the story of the dog, and adopting a dog from another country means a shelter dog in YOUR country will die. Support your local shelter and adopt there.

And for Thailand, don’t support shelters in Thailand. Let dogs live free on the streets.
“Respect” and “control” are two different words.

Time for a cup of coffee…

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