Noel Coward’s song “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” is a witty rendering of the eccentricities of the English abroad. One of the eccentricities that mark out the true English person is their love of animals, particularly dogs.
Bangkok City of Angels
Bangkok’s Thai name means The City of Angels but is also the city of stray cats and dogs. No one who lives in Bangkok is unaware of the thousands of feral dogs and cats found on many streets, gently snoozing, or lazily watching the world go by. In many other countries these dogs would be rounded up, placed in a pound and, if not claimed or adopted, euthanised.
Soi Cat and Dog Rescue
But Thailand’s Buddhist culture forbids the killing of any living creature, so these cats and dogs are left to roam, scavenge and to procreate. However, a charity established by a small group of British expatriates aims to better the lot of these unfortunate animals so Soi Cat and Dog Rescue (Scad) was born.
Neutering Stray Dogs and Cats
Most of the stray bitches and queens having borne, delivered and seen off one litter are soon pregnant again so they are continually nursing and adding to the stray population. Neutering is one of the cornerstones of Scad’s practice. Vaccination against common diseases and re-homing are also part of the charity’s mission.
Neutering just one bitch prevents over 65,000 puppies being born over six generations. Since the spaying/neutering programme began in mid-2003, Scad has sterilised over 2,300 dogs and many cats preventing much fewer unwanted pregnancies.
Managing Rabies, Mange and Distemper
A significant number of the dogs suffer from health problems like mange, distemper and rabies, although in Bangkok rabies isn’t a significant threat to humans. Every animal that Scad sterilises is also vaccinated against rabies
Re-homing Dogs and Cats
The first of Scad’s lucky dogs to be re-homed was ‘Suay’ (Thai for beautiful) who is now happily living with her US adoptive family. Soi Cat and Dog Rescue has re-homed dogs in the Boston/New York area and in The Netherlands. There are an increasing number of cats and dogs being adopted in Thailand too.
Veterinary Health Checks
It is not just a matter of making the dogs look pretty and then settling them into their new home. Each animal has a thorough veterinary examination, neutered and given all the required vaccinations for life in their new home. Then it goes through a programme of basic obedience skills and socialising with humans and other dogs, using methods such as recommended on Kitty Coaching.
Outreach and Pet Education
Soi dogs may not be cruelly treated but there is still a great deal of indifference to their plight, especially amongst the older population, who have been taught to ignore or fear the animals. To this end, Scad has started an outreach programme to bring dogs and people closer together and to educate them on the benefits of pet ownership. This, like the rest of Scad’s activities, is run on the generosity of its founders, volunteers and well-wishers.
Bangkok’s Soi Cat and Dog Rescue is helping to promote a better life for the city’s less fortunate animals and to help close the gap that sometimes occurs between strays and people. And both humans and animals benefit from the generosity of Scad’s volunteers.