Soi Dog Rescue


By Sherry Conisbee
President & Co-founder Soi Dog Rescue, Bankok

Soi Dog Rescue was officially formed on October 20, 2002, the date the first rescued street pup was shipped to Boston, MA. I’d been in Thailand about 5 years then, and had always been horrified by the number of dogs on the streets in Bangkok and the pitiful condition they were in. In the summer of 2002, I was spending time on the coast at a small fishing village called Bang Saray and came across a litter of motherless pups. I picked one up, named her Suay (meaning ‘pretty’ in Thai) and took her to my house in Bangkok with the aim of finding a new home for her in Thailand. That didn’t happen; with so many thousands of dogs on the streets, very few people living here actually want to adopt one. My niece, then living in rural MA, came up with the solution – her neighbor wanted a pal for their Beagle, and Suay seemed perfect. So off Suay flew to a new and better life in the USA, and Soi Dog Rescue was born.

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 to around 165 re-homed animals. This is a drop in the ocean compared to the 300,000 stray and abandoned dogs that eke out a terrible existence on the streets of Bangkok…. but for those 59 in the States, their world has been forever changed for the better.

Right now, we’re lucky enough to have a volunteer dog trainer with us from Germany, Fabia. She works 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 we can match the right dog with the right owner. It sets us apart.

Since then…
A few other volunteers in Bangkok soon joined in my efforts, and in 2003 we decided to strike more positively at the heart of the problem by turning our focus to spay/neuter. In 2005, with the help of Thai and foreign volunteer vets, we sterilized 1,362 animals, mainly female dogs, bringing our total to date to 2,029. The dogs we sterilize are also vaccinated against rabies and given treatments for mange and a host of other truly debilitating doggy diseases.

In 2005 and continuing this year, we are turning more attention to education within local communities and local schools, in an effort to stem the regular 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 to the communities in which these dogs roam and breed. We hope that if Thai people and school children get the appropriate information now, they will do something positive to change the situation and change the lives of these dogs at some time in the future.

SDR is a non-profit group, established in 2002, with a core of just 5 volunteers and a host of other wonderful people from Thailand and around the world who chip in and help from time to time. Our aim is to reduce the numbers and improve the lives of Bangkok’s street dogs – a mighty task bearing in mind the extent of the problem. In doing so, we hope to make it a better place to live, and a cleaner and safer environment for everyone to enjoy.

If you think you might be interested in adopting a Soi Dog simply visit their web site at www.soidogrescue.org or www.petfinder.com (search Haydenville, MA, Soi Dog Rescue). Elaine Tobias, a veterinarian and volunteer for Soi Dog Rescue from Washington state went through this process when she first got involved with the organization. Her beloved “Bot Man” was a wonderful addition to her K-9 family. She says she was impressed that the paperwork was not as extensive as you might think and the process was very smooth. The people at Soi Dog Rescue, she says, are the friendliest of rescue groups she has worked with and she plans to continue working with Soi Dog Rescue each year she goes to Thailand and full time when she eventually retires there.

There is an adoption application and references are required. Once the adoption process is approved a shipment date is set, as well as export license and a government vet health check is done.

You will find out a lot about your new dog by email, including personality, health, training, etc. There is no quarantine period and you can even meet your new K-9 friend at the airport. The total adoption fee is $495 and includes shipping costs.

If you aren’t looking to adopt, but you still want to help, visit www.soidogrescue.org to learn how.

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