Welcome to my second blog about the Soi Dog experience. It is now the end of my first week at Soi Dog in Nai Yang Thailand and what a humbling experience it is being part of this shelter for the stray and neglected and injured street dogs of Thailand.
Each weekday starts with a pick up in the back of the Soi Dog ute. I am joined by about 8 other volunteers from the UK, Canada, Germany, Holland, Austria and Finland all set for their job to walk the dogs from their run (one at a time) around the dam at the property and to allow the dogs to become accustomed to socialising with humans.
Upon orientation a new volunteer spends the first day meeting and mixing with the dogs allocated to you. I am in Run B3 and have 22 dogs! I can now remember most of their names (and I have to say some look very much alike) and yes I was a tad nervous going into a run with so many big dogs on my own but by the end of the first day I was much more confident. The dogs have, for the most part, come from very sad and sorry situations and are now being rehabilitted in readiness for their adoptions around the world. Many have been hit by cars or attacked by machetes and suffered horrendous injuries. Many have 3 limbs and quite a few have only one eye or no eyes at all.
Each dog goes out of the run through a series of secure gates and then walks around the dam once or twice if he or she wants to. Many dogs crowd around the gate and jostle to get out and it is tricky trying to get only one out at a time. Even after so much jostling to get out, many are so shy that when it really does come to their turn for a walk they can be too scared to go beyond the main gate of the enclosure. Some are so very shy. But when one thinks of their history it is completely understandable and we must be gentle with them.
And their histories are not pleasant and this of course raises the issue of the Dog Meat Trade in Asia. The rescue of these dogs is a big part of the work of Soi Dog Foundation.
People who trade in these dogs grab dogs off the streets in Thailand and have them transported to Vietnam and other neighbouring countries where they are sold live as meat animals. According to Soi Dog, the conditions under which the dogs are transported and slaughtered are inhumane and many die from suffocation before they reach their destination. In reality these are the lucky ones. Those that are still alive are not humanely killed but many are tortured often for hours before being skinned alive.
Soi Dog works to rescue these dogs and bring them back to the Foundation here in Phuket. Many are currently here with the arrival of a large number last Friday and they are pictured here in the DMT runs – yet they are surprisingly calm and gentle. They are assessed and often then transported to the US in groups of about 10 to cities such as New York where there is a wonderful shelter and they stand a very good chance of being adopted.
Under the direction and perseverance and hard work of the late Gill Dalley and her husband John, co-founders of Soi Dog, the dog meat trade is now illegal in Thailand though many dogs are transported from Thailand to neighbouring countries and Soi Dog needs to be vigilant.
If you would like to take action after reading this please see the Petition against the dog meat trade here – http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/333/178/361/
25th March 2017