4 May 2007

Distressing dog story

On 24th February, we visited a house in Chiang Mai and met an American man who had been in Thailand for many years He married a Thai lady and they set up home together and had all the trappings of a happy family. Including 5 dogs.

Unfortunately, in 2006, the wife passed away suddenly. If this wasn't tragic enough, the man suffered horrific injuries in December, when he had a motorcycle accident and all he can recall is waking up with a tree stuck through his abdomen. When we met him, he was laying on a bed, which he had not left for 2 months and he told us about his condition which initially required him to be kept in intensive care for the first month. He speaks in a whisper, something to do with lung damage, his liver & spleen are in tatters, a whole host of other internal issues and the muscles in his legs are wasting away.

He told us that he was hoping to sell the house & return to America which he wanted to do by April. He categorically stated that he was never a dog lover and he wanted us to take the dogs away. We offered to advertise them for adoption and managed to get his agreement that he & his housekeeper (one a nurse & the other a cleaner) would continue feeding them. One of the dogs has half a rear leg missing, another is very very wild and angry, another 2 are shy and bitter but the 5th dog is another story.

Fai, was apparently the wife's favourite dog and she doesn't get on with the other dogs. The result ? She is kept on a chain at the rear of the house! The other are free to roam the entire garden, even up to her face but she is helpless & victim to all. We offered to take Fai away on that day but the man insisted that the maid would take the dog to her home and care for her.
Care for Dogs advertised the plight of these dogs locally and put photo's up at the shelter to show visitors in case they could be adopted.

We had been in touch with the man on a couple of occasions asking if he had managed to find a home for the dogs and he said despite attempts to relocate them, the were still in his garden. He also said that for now, there was no obvious realistic date of when he would return to the states as his health had not improved.

Yesterday 3rd May, we received a call from the man's housekeeper to say that the house had been sold, the man had moved to a new rented house and the 5 dogs MUST be moved by midday 4th May as the new owners wanted them removed.

So we went along with 5 empty cages to collect the dogs & transport them to the new house. Indeed Fai was still there and in the same position we saw her 3 months ago. The other 4 were running around the garden and it became evident that they had been attacking Fai, she had bites on her body, head & legs.

For 2 hours we tried to catch all of them but as they were so scared from being ill treated, abandoned & ignored, it was no wonder we had a difficult time capturing them. To make it worse, the housekeeper who had called us & let us into the garden, walked around with a big stick & a sheet of plastic roofing, banging it like a Zulu warrior before Rourkes Drift in order to get the dogs into a corner for us to catch. I politely asked her to stop (use your imagination) and the task became a little easier. However, the wilder one of them remained free and despite welcoming our arrival, he had become extremely anxious , partly to do with the Zulu & partly because by now he could see 4 caged family going off on a truck.

We left the 5th dog behind, suggesting that we come back another day to sedate him & complete the removal.

We took the captured dogs to the new home and on the way Karin & I discussed the future of Fai. It was obvious to us that a decision was needed. We had the initiative and the best interest of her at heart. We dropped 3 of the dogs at the new house and explained that Fai would be better off with Care for Dogs than living as a chained prisoner for the rest of her days. There was no obvious reaction, let alone objection.The man, still confined to bed & looking even more unwell than previous, said he would now sack the cleaner. We are not sure if this was because she involved us?

As we had been leaving the first house, we were approached by some villagers who pointed out several other dogs living on the street in their area. 2 of them were females they had shut into a secure garden of a house that was no longer occupied. They were actively trying to stop unwanted pups. There was another female on the street with 2 of her 6 month old pups, the other 8 apparently dying in the makeshift shelter at the end of the street. These folks were genuine dog lovers but unsure of what medical treatment or commitment they should make in the best interest of the dogs. The mother of the pups had by now stopped giving milk and we could see she was suffering with puss from her vulva. Unsure of whether it was pyometra or vaginitis, we felt she should come along with us for sterilisation anyway.

So after dropping off the other 3 at the new house, we returned to the old house & picked up the mother but left the pups in the street with friendly residents for a week, whilst their mum will stay at the shelter for post operative care.

At the vets, Fai weighed in at a massive 21 kilo's and we had the infected bite wounds treated. Fai's eyelids and nose flesh are very inflamed The vet checked her blood and looked for any other signs of ill health. The vet suggested that Fai was suffering with an Autoimmune Disorder and we she wait to clear up her bite infections & then deal with the major issue with steroids.

We shall do what we can for her.

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