The 22-year-old chef from Sweden is on her third visit to the island to volunteer at the Soi Dog Foundation’s Mai Khao shelter.
“My friends think I’m crazy, really no one understands my passion for dogs and for doing this. But if people come here, they will understand,” Johanna says.
Her involvement with Soi Dog began in March 2012, when she found a sick dog in Bangkok while visiting her brother.
The dog could barely walk due to a leg injury, and she wanted to take it back to Sweden. She Googled what to do, and came across Soi Dog. She’s a keen dog lover (she already has six dogs in Sweden) and decided she wanted to return to help.
This time Johanna will take back “Soi”, a 15 month old dog, to foster for six months before the dog goes to a permanent home in Australia.
Johanna and her mother Lena, who came over with her on this visit, spend her mornings walking the dogs and “socialising” them, which means giving them lots of cuddles. The best part of Johanna’s experience has been teaching the dogs to get comfortable walking on a lead.
“They can rebuild their trust with humans, no matter what they have been through.”
“I think this [the shelter] is a good place to be if you’re a soi dog. I’m just happy that the dogs are here and not on the streets.”