About homeless dogs
Some background information
2nd class dogs
Puppy’s are typically born fluffy, cute, playful and a little bundle of happiness to have around.
Here in Chiang Mai, like many other places in Thailand and around the world, where animal welfare does not seem to feature high on peoples agendas, there are just far too many puppies. There are positive examples of dedicated local dog lovers who look after their own or even homeless dogs very well but sadly there are also many cases of animal neglect.
The saleable commodities of little bundles of pedigree fluff at pet markets – often bred and kept in appalling conditions – is sad but a reality. In a country where safety & common sense practices are disregarded. Everyday you can see 4 people riding a motor bike with the poodle, or similar toy dog, leaning on the handle bar resting it’s feet on the riders knees. Sometimes there’s even an umbrella opened above the drivers head too. Larger dogs that do not appear in pedigree book pictures are not readily accepted as a pet or family dog, though His Majesty King Bhumibol of Thailand, has set an example by adopting homeless dogs and encouraged others to do the same and has even published books and videos of his favourite dog “Tongdaeng”. But still, many households consider a “Thai dog” as ideal to live in their garden as a guard dog or outside their home, whilst the pedigree or toy dogs live inside the house.
Dumped on the street and in temples
Homeless dogs are largely responsible for the mass of puppies found wandering looking for food and shelter but family “latch key” dogs are possibly equally responsible. These dogs are often not sterilised and if puppies are born from family dogs, more often than not, the majority are dumped at a temple or other public place rather than found a home with a friend or neighbour. The truth is, if people know the Care for Dogs shelter, they sometimes try to anonymously dump a white rice sack full of fluffy bundles at the gate.
There are already so many “No Hope” dogs on the streets and if you visit markets, shop car parks or other public amenity area, where there might be food during early morning or evening, you will see them hanging around looking for food.
When dumped at temples, they fight for their lives and if they survive without being eaten or managing to find some food of their own, they will join the masses. These place are not picture card tropical rest homes but sad and dreary pitiful places. Some temples have literally hundreds and it is not because monks particularly like dogs, but because they get overwhelmed by dumped dogs from irresponsible owners. Some in fact want to move dogs out from the temples by any means possible.
Situation at the shelter
Despite a regular rate of adoptions, the numbers of residents at the shelter remains high due to the Care for Dogs team effort to find homes for dumped puppies, rather than see them starve and die on the streets or just become one of the many thousands living a life of no hope. The current budget and space at shelter allows the housing of, on average at any time, approximately 80 dogs (young & old). The shelter could have hundreds if all offered dogs were accepted, so the team tries hard to concentrate on the most urgent cases. Some dogs come to the shelter for sterilisation or treatment and leave again. Some are brought to the shelter in order to advertise them for adoption and some rescued from imminent danger of being killed. Other dogs however, enter the shelter in a sad condition as a result of one of the following scenarios.
Reality on the streets and in temples
- Dogs are often hit by cars or motorbikes, run over whilst asleep under the car or even asleep at the side of the road. Care for Dogs often receives a dog from someone who came across the dog in terrible agony after an accident. Sometimes they take the dog directly to a vet or immediately seek our assistance, either with medical costs, transportation or boarding. Sometimes the dog stays at the shelter for recuperation and then – if healthy again – returns to the area it lived in. Sometimes the person who found the sick or injured dog continues to keep an eye on them. Just once in a while, the people take the dog into their family as a pet. Illness and injury from disease (e.g. distemper or parvo virus) and the consequence of living rough on the streets, can often kill a dog. Afflictions such as nerve damage, broken bones resetting out of place, open wounds putrefying and a list of other conditions lead to dogs living shorter lives. Dying sooner in some cases would seem to be a kinder release for them. But sometimes the dog comes to the shelter in good faith of being paid for and claimed by the person who found them in the street and they never follow through with their promise
- When Care for Dogs becomes aware of any dog living with a health condition that could be improved with proper care, in the first instance we try to help the dog either by showing caring people in the area how to give medication, whilst the dog lives at its found home for instance a temple or car park. However, when we come across a dog who is living with a serious condition we will rescue the dog to the shelter and provide the care the dog requires. Sadly, quite a high number of the dogs “in for treatment” (Outpatient Dept) are neglected owner dogs.
We believe that homeless & uncaring street life must be very difficult for sick, injured or aging dogs. These individuals are not likely to be candidates for adoption, with health baggage to consider, a few scars of life and not being looked upon as fluffy bundles anymore. Therefore, the consequence of some of Care for Dogs rescue work, results in taking dogs with a poor outlook to the, even if they have only low adoption chances but at least giving them some quality of life.