Friday, September 2, 2011

The dogs of Bangkok

It doesn't take much walking around in Bangkok before you notice the stray dogs.  These dogs are known as "soi dogs."  Soi in Thai means side road.  These dogs are most likely community dogs, which means that they tend to stay in the same neighborhood, and often, people in the neighborhood feed them.  In the past, city authorities controlled their numbers by euthanization, but that practice was abandoned with the arrival of the SPCA nearly eight years ago.  The SPCA ran a campaign declaring that killing the dogs went against Buddhist beliefs.  Since that time, the numbers of soi dogs has steadily risen.   Sometimes, the dogs seem healthy and normal, but more often than not, they will be mangy, scabby and limping.  One of the dogs we see frequently near our closest subway stop has severely infected eyes.   I won't write too much about these dogs, but if you are interested, you can read a really good article about Soi dogs here.
It's hard to know if this dog's eye was infected, or if it had been damaged due to some kind of trauma.
The good news about the soi dog issue is that there is at least one organization taking action to help.  You can visit their website by clicking here.  Even though I know these dogs don't have the pampered life that our spoiled dog Pono has, most of them do seem to be fairly well-fed.  I have seen traffic stop for a dog in the middle of the street, although I am sure many of them do get hit by cars or motorbikes.  It is also common to see a dog, stretched out flat in the middle of the sidewalk with a flood of pedestrians spilling around it.  Regardless of how we might perceive the lives of these dogs, they do know how to endear themselves to us.  That is one skill dogs - even scabby strays - seem to have mastered.

About 30 seconds after I took this photo, this dog stopped, right in the middle of the street, and had a nice big poop.  I was too surprised to photograph that.

There are stray cats here, too, of course, but dogs seem to be more ubiquitous.  Most of the cats I have seen were near the temples.  I don't really have any good cat photos to share with you.  Instead, here are some photos of an opportunistic raven we saw, while eating spicy food last week at a little outdoor restaurant. 


Cynthia Schelzig said...

thanks for taking us on your trip with you....seems everywhere I have ever gone on trips I always find stray dogs and cats...well, they seem to find ME:) Love the raven shots.

Annie said...

Stray and homeless dogs and cats seem to be a problem every where. We have the same sad situation in Taos. At least they feed them there. Here not so much :-(.

Anonymous said...

This is really sad I would like to help all those dogs :(

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