13 December 2006

First trip to Maejo with Karin

Today I joined Karin on her weekly trip to Maejo, to Wat Vivek & Wat Gaset Mai, where she has been visiting weekly to feed and provide treatment facilities for dogs over the last year. In fact I think it could be longer than that.

She introduced me to some of the dogs and showed me how there were packs of dogs who stayed in certain areas, therefore needing to make seperate feeds at those places. She introduced me to some of the characters, friendly, skittish, scared and a variety of post injury or operation cases. They came to us from behind & under buildings, from the forest and many were just hanging around waiting for time to pass.

Karin told me told me that this temple complex seemed to be a regular dumping ground for people to leave their dogs. She told me horror stories about puppies just being left at several weeks old and cars being seen just throwing the dogs out.

When Karin told me there were over 40 at the first temple alone, I was stunned. When we went onto the second temple, there were even more. Apparently about 60 dogs live here and there is thankfully a monk who likes dogs and looks after them, almost like pets to him. Karin brings mixed food along on these trips and also dry food to leave with the monk to feed the dogs during the week.

The volume of dogs here made a big impact on me. It left me feeling quite bitter towards dog owners and although now I realise that I should not generalise, with so many strays on the streets, at our shelter and at so many temples, it is hard to think about the positive side of things. There must be some dog loving folks out there, surely.

Whilst at the complex, we took a couple of the sick looking ones to a vet, one of them belonging to the dog-friendly monk. This dog was suffering from an advanced infection of its anal gland. In a dogs bottom, just inside the vent, there are 2 scent glands that exude smell to their poo for others to recognise. When these become blocked for what ever reason, the dog might be seen dragging their bum along the ground or licking it excessively. For this dog, it was past all that. The gland had erupted through the flesh of the bottom cheek and was remaining infected inside. The wound needed a regular clean and would repair itself.

We looked at 4 cute little pups running around in the dust & leaf litter and playing freely. They were snivelling a bit, their noses quite wet and had a cough too. We had them checked out at the vet and gave the monk some medicine. The mother of these 4 was a wild thing. There was no way we could touch her and to catch her for sterilisation is going to be a nightmare.

Happened across a breeder of Tsitzu's and they had other dogs too. All of them were suffering with mange, mites, fleas & ticks. We gave them some Ivomec and said we would return next week and also gave them a good spray. Is it any wonder that when pups from dog shops / markets look fine at first and then deteriorate and die so quickly with low immunity?

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