Soi Dog Foundation gives life-saving treatment to thousands of dogs and cats in Thailand every year. Some of those animals have stories that are deeply heartbreaking, but have an inspirational ending.
Hi, my name is Hero and I would like to tell you my story of despair, followed by kindness and hope. I was ready to give up on life after I was brutally attacked by two men. I thought they were going to give me food when they called me over to them, but they grabbed me and started hitting me and attacking me with a knife. The pain was horrendous and I was bleeding everywhere, but I managed to escape. I found a quiet corner in a building where I planned to spend my last moments when a lady found me. I was so scared of her and felt trapped, but I was too injured to run away. To my surprise she gave me food and a bowl of water and put powder on my wounds. She promised me she would find help, but told me I must remain quiet as if the people in the village knew I was there, they would kill me as they had done to other dogs before me. I did as this nice lady said and remained silent for the night and the next morning she came back with a man named Khun Sanae, who gently picked me up and put me in the back of his truck. I was so confused as I didn’t know where Khun Sanae was taking me but I soon realized he was trying to help me.
I was taken to a place called Soi Dog Foundation and was so frightened as I was examined by some people called vets. By the time I reached the shelter my legs were so badly swollen these vets had difficulty taking a blood sample from me and my wounds were infested with horrible insects called maggots. I heard the vets saying I was very ill and most likely had septicemia. I don’t know what that is and I certainly did not like the medicine they gave me! One positive to being taken to the clinic was that they gave me a whole can of dog food while they were drawing my blood, which I ate within seconds.
Over the next couple of weeks, I received a lot of attention from the vets, including an hour and a half body scrub from Dr. Su. I found this very gentle and relaxing and she told me that it was to remove matted fur and dead skin. I felt so much better afterwards as I was less itchy. Dr. Su also told me that I have blood parasites and demodex mange that would need to be treated after my septicemia was better. This really didn’t mean much to me, but what did mean a lot to me was that Dr. Su told me she would do everything in her power to make me better.
After spending about five days in the clinic, I was starting to feel better and was beginning to feel hopeful about my future. The people here were so kind and fed me a lot of delicious food. I was starting to gain weight and had a lot more energy. I also had so many visitors, including John and Gill, who they tell me started Soi Dog Foundation. Without them, myself and dogs like me would not have a chance at being saved and I would surely have died. They also tell me many people called “sponsors” donate money to help dogs like me. John told me he had made me a sponsor dog and while I was not entirely sure what that meant, it made me feel special as sponsoring me not only helps me, but all the dogs Soi Dog cares for.
After a week or so of being at the shelter, I had a lot of tests to see how I was recovering. All of what they were talking about was mumbo jumbo to me, but perhaps it will make more sense to you. From the blood tests they did on me, they said my liver function had returned to normal and my white blood cells had decreased. I also had diarrhea and they said I had a virus called coronavirus, but that it wasn’t serious, but I had to stay away from other dogs for a little while. My wounds were also improving and Dr. Eed was treating them with honey, who would have thought honey could be used as medicine! Dr. Su and Dr. Eed decided that I was healthy enough to start medication for the blood parasites and for my mange.
After about two weeks I was moved out of the clinic and into a bigger run. I was so excited as I was starting to feel better and wanted some more room so I could walk around, now that my wounds were starting to heal and I had more energy. I wasn’t allowed out which was a bit boring, but it was more interesting than being in the clinic as I could watch what was going on around me and my run looks out over a small lake. I was slowly learning to trust people, however if I didn’t know someone and they tried to come into my run, I would growl at them. This was because I was scared that they would do what those horrible men did to me. I learnt quickly to trust Khun Pew, who looks after me. She gave me my yummy meals and kept my run clean and made sure I had somewhere nice to sleep. Although I sometimes didn’t like the things Dr. Su and Dr. Eed had to do to me, I knew they are doing their very best to be gentle with me and I appreciated that. Dr. Eugene also looked after me one weekend and he was also very careful not to hurt me. A man called Raymond was also visiting me a lot and taking lots of pictures, so slowly became my friend. I am not sure why he was taking so many pictures, but he said I had a lot of friends on Facebook and they all wanted to know if I was getting better. It sure was nice to know people cared about me.
After about three weeks at the shelter I was allowed out of my run into a play area during the day and guess what, I was in there with two other dogs and finally had some friends to hang out with. It felt so good to have some company. Next door there were some old dogs and I would say hello to a couple of them, although most of them would just sleep all day! We were all put in our own runs at night, but that was ok. As I was still recovering, it was good to get some rest. My wounds were improving each day and I definitely felt like I was putting on some weight from all the tasty meals I was given. I even started to grow some new fur, which I was extremely proud of and I was starting to feel handsome once again.
Over time, I started feeling better by the day and was growing fur at a rapid rate. I was still a bit nervous around people I didn’t know but I was getting regular visits from the staff and I discovered I really liked cuddles. Belinda who worked in the office near my run would come to see me a couple of times a day. Sometimes I would get a bit scared and growl at her, but once I realised she was my friend I would wag my tail and get very excited to see her. She gave me cuddles and scratches behind my ears and when she stopped, I tell her not to by giving her my paw or licking her hand. She was very patient with me as were Raymond, Khun Pew and all the vets.
Once I was almost fully recovered, I was allowed to go into a bigger play area during the day with more dogs and made lots of new friends. My best friend was Yai and we ended up sharing a run at night. I really liked her but I didn’t want to get too attached as she told me she was going to live with a family in the UK. That sounded pretty good to me and then I found out the adoptions coordinator was working on finding a home for me too. I kept all my toes crossed that this would happen soon. I really loved living at Soi Dog and was so grateful about all the help they had given me, but what I wanted most was a family to call my own. The day finally arrived and I was told that a home had been found for me and that I was going to live in the USA with a lady named Sissy and her family. I could hardly believe how lucky I was to have gone from misery to a new life in the USA.
The day finally arrived for me to go to my new home. Belinda and Mark came to the shelter early one morning and put me in my travel crate and drove me to the airport. I was sad to say goodbye to all my friends at Soi Dog, but was also so happy to start my new life. I was very brave at the airport and I didn’t cry at all and wasn’t scared. Belinda cried a little bit but told me she was happy for me and told me to be good for my new family.
I didn’t mind the flight too much as I slept for a lot of the time and when I was awake I was imagining my new life in the USA. When the plane landed, I finally got to meet Sissy. She was so excited to see me and gave me a big hug and promised me we would have a wonderful life together. I then went for a ride in her car which was very interesting. She also put a jacket on me as it is very cold in the USA. It is even snowing. When we arrived at my new house, Sissy introduced me to the rest of the humans in my new family and to my new doggie brothers and sisters. They have all been very nice to me and have made me feel part of the family.
I am so happy to be living in my new home, but I will never forget everything that Soi Dog did for me. I had lost all will to live when I was found and they not only healed my body, but also my spirit.
Soi Dog Foundation, founded in 2003, is continually working to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Thailand, toend animal cruelty, and to ultimately create a society without homeless animals. Over the past 10 years, Soi Dog sterilized more than 69,480 dogs and cats, treated over 4,666 injured or sick animals as well as rehomed almost 1,000 dogs and cats. Its activities are only possible because of generous support by people in Thailand and around the world.Hero is one of many lives Soi Dog recued. His story is an example of the importance of caring for animals and respecting other lives on the planet.
About Soi Dog Foundation: Soi Dog Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003, is a legally registered charity in Thailand, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland with the aim to help the homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats of Thailand. John Dalley, co-founder and vice president, is available for interview.
For more information please visit www.soidog.org or www.facebook.com/SoiDogPageInEnglish.