By Sherry Conisbee, President and Co-Founder of the Soi Dog Rescue Organization in Bangkok
On October 20, 2002, Soi Dog Rescue was formally established. This was also the day that the first street dog that had been rescued was transported to Boston, Massachusetts. I had been living in Thailand for close to five years at the time, and I had always been appalled by the large number of stray dogs that roamed the streets of Bangkok, not to mention the deplorable conditions in which they existed. I was vacationing on the coast of Thailand in the summer of 2002, and I happened upon a litter of motherless puppies while I was in the small fishing village of Bang Saray. I was able to rescue one of them, gave her the Thai name Suay, which means “pretty,” and brought her to my home in Bangkok with the intention of rehoming her within the country of Thailand. That did not come to pass; despite the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of dogs living on the streets, very few people actually want to adopt one. My niece, who was living in rural Massachusetts at the time, was the one who came up with the solution. Her neighbor wanted a playmate for their Beagle, and Suay appeared to be the ideal candidate. Then, Suay boarded a plane for a fresh start in a better life in the United States, and Soi Dog Rescue was officially established.
Since then, 59 rescued street dogs have found their forever homes in the United States, five other lucky ones have gone to Europe, and many, many more cats and dogs have been re-homed locally in and around Bangkok, bringing the total number of animals that have been re-homed locally in and around Bangkok to approximately 165. This is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the 300,000 strays and abandoned dogs that make a miserable living on the streets of Bangkok, but the lives of those 59 dogs in the United States have been improved in a way that will last a lifetime.
Fabia, who is originally from Germany, is currently helping us out as a volunteer dog trainer here in the United States. She does wonders with the puppies, helps to socialize and train them, offers training to re-homed rescued dogs in Bangkok, and helps us to assess personalities so that we can match the right dog with the right owner. It separates us from others.
Because of this…
Soon after, a few additional volunteers in Bangkok joined in on my efforts, and in 2003, we came to the conclusion that we should take a more proactive approach to the core of the issue by shifting our focus to spay/neuter. In 2005, with the assistance of Thai and international volunteer veterinarians, we sterilized 1,362 animals, the majority of which were female dogs, bringing the total number of animals we have sterilized to date to 2,029. We also administer vaccinations against rabies and treatments for mange and a host of other truly debilitating canine diseases to the dogs that we sterilize before we put them down.
In 2005, and continuing into this year, we are focusing more attention on education within local communities and local schools in an effort to stop the common and culturally acceptable occurrence of dog and puppy dumping, and to offer advice about the benefits of spay/neuter, not only the benefits to the dogs, but also the benefits to the communities in which these dogs roam and breed. This is being done in an effort to stem the regular and culturally acceptable occurrence of dog and puppy dumping, and to offer advice about the benefits of spa We have high hopes that if the Thai people and schoolchildren are provided with the relevant information at this time, they will take positive action at some point in the future to improve the circumstances in which these dogs live and the quality of their lives.
SDR is an organization that does not seek financial gain for its members and was founded in 2002. It is comprised of a core of just five volunteers and a host of other wonderful people from Thailand and around the world who contribute and help out on occasion. The magnitude of the issue makes our mission, which is to improve the quality of life for Bangkok’s strays while simultaneously reducing their population size, a formidable challenge. We hope that by doing so, we can make it a more pleasant place to live, as well as a cleaner and safer environment for everyone to take pleasure in.
Simply go to their website at www.soidogrescue.org or www.petfinder.com if you are considering adopting a Soi Dog and think that you might be interested in doing so (search Haydenville, MA, Soi Dog Rescue). When Elaine Tobias, a veterinarian and volunteer for Soi Dog Rescue who hails from the state of Washington, first became involved with the organization, she had to go through this procedure. Her cherished “Bot Man” was a wonderful addition to her family of K-9 companions when he joined them. She remarked that she was impressed that the process was very smooth and that the paperwork was not nearly as extensive as one might have anticipated. She claims that the volunteers at Soi Dog Rescue are the most welcoming of all the rescue groups she has worked with, and she intends to continue volunteering for the organization both part-time during her annual trips to Thailand and full-time after she moves there to spend her retirement.
There is an application process for adoption, and you are required to include references. After the adoption procedure has been approved, a shipment date is decided upon, and an export license and a health check by a government veterinarian are carried out.
Email will provide you with a lot of information about your new dog, including details about their personality, health, training, and other topics. There will be no period of quarantine, and in fact, you will be able to meet your new canine companion right at the airport. The total cost of adopting a pet is $495, which includes the cost of shipping.
Visit the website www.soidogrescue.org to find out how you can assist even if you aren’t interested in adopting a dog at this time.
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