Its a dogs life
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 25 of 39 › view all entries
So, after planning to be in Chiang Mai for a few days we find ourselves still here four weeks later.
Before we went to the elephant park Rachel had found out about a dog shelter here in Chiang Mai that has been set up to deal with the ever increasing number of homeless dogs. We emailed them and asked if we could come along for a day or two and help out, they said yes and invited us to come along to a fund raising day they were holding at one of the big shopping centres. We went along and met some of the people that do long term volunteering, and of course saw some of the cute puppies they help.
Once back from the elephant park we called one of the volunteers and arranged to meet another volunteer and take a red bus to her house so we could ride to the shelter with her.
The shelter is a twenty minute ride from Gill's house and as Paul comes aswell at least one of us (I think it was Kate that day) always rides in the back of the truck with him, cant do that back home! The shelter was founded by three women who wanted to do something about the rising number of stray and mistreated dogs.
We arrived at the shelter and met Sarah, a Kiwi who has been running the shelter for the past year and a half on a volunteer basis. The shelter employs three Thai workers to help with the running of the shelter, they are the only permenant paid workers, everyone else is there on a purely volunteer basis. Sarah took us round and introduced us to the dogs. The shelter is set up in an open plan compound, the dogs are not individually caged like they would be back home, they are free to wander and form their own 'packs'.
Each dog has a story, some are truly heart wrenching, like Nick, a friendly but slightly nervous little ginger female. Every week volunteers go out to temples to feed the dogs that live there. One week they arrived to find body parts of dogs littering the temple grounds. A group had attacked the dogs with machetes, slaughtering them in the dozens. The volunteers were understandably horrified and rounded up every dog they coud find that had survived and took them back to the shelter.
Our first task was to wash some puppies (its a hard life for us!). There were six small pups, six weeks old, a mixture of two litters that had been rescued from a rubbish tip. They had a bacterial infection which was affecting their skin so we needed to give them all a wash. Some were braver than others, some just cried and wiggled the whole time, but they all enjoyed the cuddles they got as they were being dried. We spent a lot of time over the next few days with the puppies but also got involved in the day to day running of the shelter. We have been bathing dogs, pulling ticks from between toes and in ears, taking the dogs for walks, grooming, and of course providing lots of cuddles!
A few days after we started at the shelter a litter of 5 puppies came in.
We normally arrive around 11am and leave about 5.