Guest Post: Tamara Wrigley – Spaying Strays in Thailand

pupsI recently traveled from Calgary, Canada, to Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. The original purpose of the trip was to visit my brother and his family, but it became so much more than that. One evening, while talking with my brother about our plans, I mentioned that on a previous trip, I had been really bothered by the sad lives of the street dogs and cats that we saw. I wished that I could do something to help them, as there are no animal rescue groups in that area. He told me that there were four female dogs in his village, and suggested that we get them spayed while I was there. I loved that idea. He said that one of the females, named Daeng, was less than two years old, and had just had her fourth litter of puppies. This could change their lives.

I volunteer with a local rescue in Calgary and, because I was excited about this little project, I was talking about it to… well, anyone who would listen, really. I started getting support and offers of donations from people. Five weeks before my flight, I set up a Facebook page and a PayPal donation link, and this project began to grow. In those few short weeks, I raised enough money to change our goal from four animals to 15.

I contacted Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket, Thailand, and asked them for some advice about vet costs, medications, and parasite treatments, as well as general advice on cultural expectations and local peoples’ reactions to a project like this. Thanks to their advice and information, I was able to find the things I needed a lot more easily and I had a better idea of what to expect when dealing with local people while in Thailand.

groupWe worked with two local vets on this project. It cost us about $40-50 CAD to have each animal spayed or neutered. We also treated each animal for internal and external parasites – they were so severely infested that this made a huge, immediate difference in them. By the end of the project, we had spayed and neutered 12 dogs and four cats, and we have the money set aside to spay five of the puppies from my brother’s village when they are old enough – so 21 animals in total! We also helped three dogs that we found with cancerous tumours – two with surgery and one with chemo. We found several animals that were ill with infections and had them treated, as well.

Near the end of my visit, we spent a day at a local temple where local people take unwanted dogs and cats. There is only one monk living there, and he looks after over 100 dogs and at least as many cats all by himself. Luckily, he does have a vet who comes to the temple periodically, so most of the animals are spayed and neutered. We saw a lot of dogs and puppies with severe mange while we were there, but we had no way to help them, our time was too limited. We took him a pickup load of food for the animals, and we treated over 50 puppies there for parasites. We also left him with a supply of dewormer and flea/tick treatment so that he can continue to treat them.

I left Thailand with such a good feeling about what we had accomplished. I really believe we made a difference in the lives of those animals. I’m already planning my next trip, and I think it will be even better because I learned so much this time.

You can read more about this project, and see more pictures on my Thailand Spay/Neuter Project Facebook page