His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej – Compassion to stray dogs
Whenever I read about His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand’s compassion towards stray dogs it always warms my heart. I felt compelled today to share this with you and especially his personal and wonderful comments regarding a stray street dog’s special qualities.
Many of you may already know that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has adopted many handicapped, stray and abandoned animals. His Majesty is well known for his concern for the welfare of animals and wrote a story of one such adopted street dog, his beloved Tong Daeng. This has been published in a best-selling book, the proceeds of which are helping to fund several royal animal welfare projects.
Tong Daeng (‘copper’), a tan and white dog rather like a Basenji, along with a number of other royal dogs is a blood donor for the Kasetsart University Animal Hospital. The King’s initiatives in promoting animal welfare have helped stimulate local people to care more for their dogs.
Along with other members of the Thai royal family, King Bhumibol Adulyadej has a number of pet dogs, but this pet in particular (Tong Daeng) has a heart-warming story attached.
In 1998, a stray Bangkok dog was taken in by a medical centre in Bangkok and had a litter of puppies. After the Thai king visited the medical centre he adopted a dog from the litter. That dog was called ‘Tong Daeng’ (’Copper’) and was soon to become a favourite of the Thai monarch and would go on to have her own litter of puppies which would become part of the royal household.
Tong Daeng is praised by the king for her loyalty, manners and intelligence and he once said, ‘Tong Daeng is a common dog who is uncommon’. When the king left hospital after a minor operation in 2002 he wore a t-shirt with the image of Tong Daeng and her puppies. This sparked a fashion craze in Thailand with the public buying up Tong Daeng t-shirts as soon as they went on sale. Similar scenes followed when the Thai king published his book, ‘The Story of Tong Daeng’. Apparently, the fact that His Majesty adopted a humble stray puppy as the royal pet dog touched the heart of the general public so much that it became an instant best-seller in 2002. This was followed up with an animated version of the book in 2004 which became even more popular than the original version and numerous reprints were required to satisfy demand. The book itself stressed how Tong Daeng despite coming from a lowly background was still intelligent, respectful and well-behaved. The book struck a chord with many ordinary Thais, but some media analysts also interpreted a message aimed at certain politicians in Thailand.
In the book, His Majesty praises Tong Daeng’s traits of gratefulness and respectfulness as “different from many others who, after having become important personalities, might treat with contempt someone of lower status who, in fact, should be the object of gratitude.”
By adopting Tong Daeng, a puppy born in the street near the Medical Development Centre Clinic in Bangkok’s Wang Thonglang district, His Majesty showed that with a little help, stray dogs can be taught all the commendable qualities one could expect from any pet.
“Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners, as if they are grateful for the kindness they receive. Moreover, they are not inferior to imported dogs in intelligence. Some are attractive or have a distinctive smart look, like Tong Daeng,” he wrote.
The King added that if the authorities helped, more people would be willing to adopt the numerous strays roaming the country.
Tong Daeng has also featured on a limited edition set of stamps and her own DVD. Profits from the Tong Daeng books and DVDs have gone to the king’s charities.
What a great man, great comments & great example!
Tagged as: abandoned, Adoption, animal welfare, compassion, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, stray dogs, street dogs, Tong Daeng