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Soi Dog Stories of May

PHUKET: Welcome to the first column about the Soi Dog Foundation of Phuket (SDF), which rounds up the monthly happenings at Phuket’s world famous animal care organisation.

By Soi Dog Foundation

Thursday 13 June 2013, 03:22PM

Nikki (black) flew out to new homes in the US in the last week of April.

Nikki (black) flew out to new homes in the US in the last week of April.

50,000th sterilisation

SDF reached its 50,000th animal sterilisation (since starting in late 2003) on May 7, when a little black haired stray from Thepkasatri, called Haa Sip (Thai for 50) was sterilised at the Mai Khao clinic by Thai veterinarians Dr Su, SDF’s senior vet; and pupil Dr Chae. SDF aims to increase the yearly rate to around 15,000 animals to reach around 100,000 sterilisations in three year’s time.

759 sterilisations in April

A total of 759 sterilisations took place in April at the SDF clinic (142 cats and dogs), mobile clinics (497) and in Bangkok (120). Mobile clinic areas covered were Muang (232), Kamala (141), Patong (11), Cherngtalay (9), Kathu (10) and Rassada (54). Of the total, 225 were puppies and 15 kittens, the vast majority of dogs being strays but 104 of the total number of cats and dogs came from owners.

Adoptions: More than one per day

Every year SDF adopts out as many dogs as possible to good homes in countries in the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia. Last year 360 dogs were adopted. This year volunteers Cindy and Derek Amey, who film and process the dogs for adoption, are well on track to beat that target. So far around 40 adoptions were placed between January and April, the majority going to the US, Canada and UK. By the first quarter of May, Cindy had already 17 planned adoptions.

Nakhom and Phanom: Survivors find new homes

Nakhom (Nikki) and Phanom are two dogs rescued from the dog meat trade, had their legs amputated following injuries in smugglers’ transport cages and have now been adopted out. Both have recently gone to separate homes in Boston, USA. Nakhon and Phanom were rescued during the arrest of dog meat smugglers. Each had had their limbs crushed between cages while on the smuggler’s trucks.

Dr Bo of the Nakhon Phanom shelter performed urgent surgery on the dogs soon after arrival, although each had to have a limb amputated they can still walk and are happy dogs.

Nakhon and Phanom had virtually no chance of being adopted within Thailand, but have now found loving overseas owners. Nikki arrived at her new home in Connecticut, USA in mid-May. Nikki's new owner, Pam Blades, describes Nikki's first day after more than 24 hours travel from Phuket to Connecticut.

Laguna Golf Phuket

"Well. We made it through the night fine. All is well. Nikki and Kami (a former Thai street dog) doing well. Nikki very playful. Jumping around playing with Kami's toys. Kami okay with it. Couches, three legs, no problem. He is a very curious dog and is exploring everything. Cats don't seem to be a problem and they have very interesting smelling food.”

Nikki the therapy dog?

Pam Blades, who adopted Nikki to her home in the United States, is hoping to train the three legged survivor of the dog meat trade as a therapy dog. Pam thinks it would be helpful “if folks could see where he came from and how he has flourished.” But becoming a therapy dog is a long haul for Nikki. He has to go to basic obedience classes, advanced obedience, and then through what they call here ‘good citizenship certification’. He also has to learn English first. Pam says she will probably start in three months or so once he settles in.

New SDF hospital planned

SDF is in the process of building a new hospital at the Mai Khao shelter to further improve facilities for sterilisation and other caring processes. The ground has been cleared but funding is still required to complete the project. Meanwhile work on the sterilisation clinic aspect of the shelter is progressing. The clinic must precede hospital construction.

Dog meat trade

SDF’s involvement in stopping the barbaric dog meat trade between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos is having some success, but has a long way to go. A distemper epidemic developed at the Nakhon Phanom livestock centre, where following numerous interceptions over 3,000 dogs were living in early May. With around 700 dogs dying SDF has brought in teams of vets from overseas to try and save the remainder. In the meantime it is financing the construction of new shelters in Buriram to help house the dogs.

SDF Benefactor Dies

Jeanne Marchig, who died in Switzerland in early May was, through the Marchig Trust, one of Soi Dog’s biggest supporters. Through the Marchig Trust she established in 1989, she enabled countless smaller animal charities like Soi Dog Foundation to progress and continue their work, and in 2011 she funded the innovative cat hospital that bears her name at the SDF centre in Phuket.

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