Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Dogs of Bangkok

Soi dogs. Soi means "street" so these gentle creatures are literally street dogs.

Most look like mixes - Husky meets Labrador meets Poodle meets Shar-pei. There is also an occasional pure-breed. There is one common thing: they are all (among those I've seen anyway) well-fed.

Street carts and hole-in-the-wall eateries are everywhere - they line the main roads, populate the narrowest sois, and exist even under stairs leading to the BTS stations.

Where there are carts, there is food. Where there is food, there are customers. At the end of the day, there are leftovers, and - in the case of the gai tom (chicken soup - actually like HCR) stalls - lots of leftovers. These leftovers inevitably find their way to the dogs.

A short-snouted medium-sized brown dog at the Sathorn Pier (near Saphan Taksin BTS station)
eats out of a plastic bag
Some of the dogs (and a few cats as well) actually have collars. These are usually put on by the people who become the primary caregivers for the animals.

They are simple folk. There is a large dog near Popsie's condo who lies in front of his master, a security guard for a condo building under construction. His master speaks no English; I speak no Thai (yet) but I understand in the way that he (the security guard) coaxes the dog to get up and look at my camera (he doesn't) that he loves the animal. He has another one under his care, a lush-haired black medium dog that looks like a Husky-Labrador cross.

He lives on soi Anuman Radjamon with another dog; they both have collars
and are cared for by a security guard
Outside a shop across Naradhiwas lies a medium-sized black dog. He looks like a mix of Rottie and Lab. It was almost dusk and he is taking a nap on the warm concrete. His guardian owns the gai tom stall a few meters from where he reposes. With my broken Thai and the stall owner's broken English (and a lot of mutual hand-gestures), I discover this dog found his way here a couple of years prior - with a broken leg and ticks. He is healthy now and gets as much leftover rice and chicken as he wants at the end of the business day.
The darling black dog who raised his head to look at me while I took his picture
I couldn't help but think how much better off our homeless animals could be if we Pinoys could be as compassionate and care about life as much as Thais. Sure, the Thai guardians may not give adequate vet care. The dogs may not have the concept of "home" that the Western world does, but they do have a home. They do have owners.

They do have good lives - and it is SO much better than the lives of the dogs I see in Metro Manila.

What we Pinoys need to feel is not merely pity, but to be moved to do something. Anything.

What we need is compassion, and to
be the spark that ignites the flame of change.


marianne lorene macailing said...

I bet those dogs are better fed than alot of Pinoys in the streets of Manila. hehe.

Kasseopeia said...

Oh yeah, you bet! They're actually FAT! Dito sa Pilipinas, most street dogs are bags of skin and bones, it hurts just looking at them!