It’s a Dog’s Life

Generally, dogs have a pretty miserable time in Thailand. All too often a family will buy a cute puppy and after a few months abandon it at the local temple (if it’s lucky) or on the street. Either the puppy has lost its cuteness, or it’s developed some sort of behavioural problem. Dog training isn’t the norm here. There’s no “sit” or “heel”. They do what they want. In Ayutthaya the family opposite had three dogs that would bark pretty well non-stop throughout the day, set off by anything that moved. The family, apparently, thought that was OK.

In Ayutthaya there are dozens of dogs by the railway station. People take them off the island, thinking that the dog won’t be able to find its way back home across the bridge. Many of these dogs are in an atrocious state – mangy, scabby and scarred, often with broken limbs. There are people who think nothing of beating them with wooden sticks or pouring hot oil over them. It’s heartbreaking. The dogs are rarely starving, though. Kind people put out food for them – I guess it’s a kind of merit-making. (I believe there’s a Thai tradition that naughty temple boys will be rebirthed as dogs.) The food is usually mostly rice. Not the best of diets for a dog, but it keeps them alive. It also keeps them docile; it tends to be the starving strays that are aggressive.

There’s nothing I can do to solve the problem of Thailand’s street dogs, but I can do something, and that starts today. Meet Whisky:

Whisky the dog

He was born a couple of months ago to one of Bangkok’s street dogs, one of a litter of seven. He was found, with the rest of the litter, living close to a busy expressway. From today he’s got a new home, living with me.

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