A Travellerspoint blog

Start of Sterilizations and Puppy Patient to Human Hospital


Late last night a puppy was brought into the sanctuary who had been hit by a car. This had happened a week ago and the ‘owners’ decided not to bring him in until now. He had severe trouble breathing and Marie-Eve believed he was suffering from a hernia. Unable to clarify this without an x-ray, we contacted the local hospital to see if they would allow us to bring the puppy in today to use the x-ray machine. Amazingly they agreed and we were given an appointment time of 3pm. This meant that we could proceed with the sterilisations this morning.

We currently have 4 males at the sanctuary who need to be neutered. Etti, Dorrie and Hippie were all fixed without any major problems. Waffle, however, did prove trickier. At first it was nearly impossible to find a vein to put a catheter in his arm. When we finally succeeded and he had been anaesthetised we discovered that he only had one ball – the other hadn’t dropped. This explains his determined and, quite frankly, sometimes odd behaviour. Often I have seen Waffle persist with ‘winding up’ Etti for instance and he occasionally antagonises disgruntled dogs in heated situations. Considering that Waffle is disabled it is always a worrying sight to see him try to fight; it is precisely for this purpose that we felt it necessary to sterilize him rather than for any reproductive reasoning – the same goes for Hippie. We shall try again to sterilize Waffle in a couple of weeks.

The journey to the hospital this afternoon seemed to cause a significant amount of stress to the puppy, with his increased breathing it was imperative that we took the x-rays as quickly as possible. The hospital staff were helpful and the gentleman operating the machine was very friendly and appeared unfazed by the species of the patient. Marie-Eve and I held the puppy in position.

The x-rays showed a clear hernia – his intestines had moved up into his thorax, which explained why he’s having such difficulties breathing. To calm him down, we sat outside the hospital for a while to relax his breathing. Feeling that he was ready to travel, we set off for the sanctuary – just 5 minutes away by scooter. No more than 30 seconds into the journey we were forced to pull over when our poor boy began panicking and breathing frantically. We tried to calm him down and cool his temperature with water but tragically he died moments later.

Marie-Eve performed an autopsy and we were all shocked by just how severe the hernia was. It's unthinkable that his owners left him for 7 days in this state.

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Posted by StreetBitch 11:13 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The Doggies Get Some Exercise

The Burmese worker at the sanctuary, Yu, was ill today which means that his duties such as walking the dogs and feeding etc. had to be completed by the volunteers. Yu normally takes the dogs out twice a day, and this time is normally focused on those with disabilities who are in wheelchairs such as 'Hippie' and 'Potato'.

It was a shame because today we were hoping to commence with the sterilizations, but this wasn’t possible as there wouldn’t have been enough hands to prepare the dogs for surgery, perform the operations and complete the day-to-day tasks required.

Today felt very long. Gemma and Marie still have some veterinary supplies that need to be tracked down and so Jodie, Jose and I took the dogs for a walk down to the lake. The journey to and from the lake was pretty painless (except for Marley getting scared off by 'Chocolate 2' – a feisty young male dog that lives by the motorbike taxi ramp – resulting in her sprinting all the way back to the sanctuary and scampering underneath the gate). Nonetheless, coming back from the walk and putting some of the dogs back in their enclosures proved more eventful.

'Wiley' has been with us for about a year and is blind after somebody shot him in both eyes. He now lives at Baan Unrak Animal Sanctuary in a separate enclose with ‘Three Legs’ and ‘Flea’. As I was trying to put both he and Flea back, passing through a couple of dozen eager, excited dogs desperate for their turn to go for a walk, things were made more chaotic as Jodie didn’t feel comfortable coming into the sanctuary and Jose slipped over a few times on the muddy ground.

Both of my dog-walking companions went for some lunch at Jimmy’s at 12 and I haven’t seen them since. The rest of my day was predominantly spent dog walking - I like to try and take as many out as possible otherwise the day can become very monotonous for a lot of them.

Posted by StreetBitch 15:51 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

New Arrivals... Of The Two Leg Kind

Yesterday 3 new volunteers joined us. We would like to welcome Jodie, Jose and Marie-Eve to the Baan Unrak Animal Sanctuary!

Jodie arrived early yesterday morning, whereas Jose and Marie-Eve – our vet – arrived later in the afternoon. After Gemma and I fed the dogs last night with Marie-Eve, we went to find Jodie and Jose at ‘Jimmy’s’ where they were having dinner and a few drinks to see if they would like to come and feed the street dogs with us.

I don’t think that the street dogs have ever felt so popular when 5 of us turned up to feed them – almost one person per dog!

Today, it was just the 4 of us at the sanctuary. Unfortunately, Jodie feels rather intimidated by the number of dogs that we have here. Gemma and I have tried to re-assure her that, even when the dogs bark or growl at each other, they always see you as ‘Top Dog’ and they do not attack you. We only have 2 dogs at the sanctuary that are scared of people – ‘Uncle’ and ‘Piglet’ – and they just stay away when they are nervous; there really is no reason to fear the dogs.

Nonetheless, Jodie is finding it difficult to be in the sanctuary, and so I think that her main responsibilities will be to dog walk outside the centre, supervised by another volunteer who feels comfortable with dogs.

Marie-Eve, our new vet, has spent the past few months in India and doesn’t seem fazed by our basic conditions at all, which is wonderful! I think it has been a very common problem for Gemma in the past (especially with vets that have been trained in ‘the west’) that they are unable to cope without the luxuries of a western clinic. We plan to begin our sterilization project as soon as we receive our veterinary supplies that we ordered last week, which we hope will be arriving on Monday.

Posted by StreetBitch 18:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Where's Hernie?


We returned to the Mon side this afternoon to check up on Hernie and his remaining siblings, many of whom we were unable to find yesterday. Normally when we get off the motorbike we are surrounded by yapping puppies eager to say ‘Hello’. The fact that the group seem to have halved in such a short amount of time is a concern.

Thankfully, all of the others were there today... all except Hernie. The next 20 minutes or so were spent looking under houses, in the grassland by the lake and amongst the rubble of a construction site that he normally hides in – he couldn’t be found anywhere.

The local children couldn’t tell us where he was either and it wasn’t until we asked a resident gentleman that our deepest worries were confirmed. Hernie had died a few days ago. From what, we could not be certain, but we can only guess it was from weakness and malnutrition.

Being the smallest, it was obvious he was the ‘runt’ of the litter. When we used to go and feed the puppies, he was often left waiting in the wings until we scooped him up and fed him by hand. We should have kept him with us at the sanctuary, and now we wish that we had. The problem is that we would love to keep so many puppies and street dogs that we find every day, but we simply cannot house them all.

Hernie’s memory, like so many other unfortunate street dogs that we have met, and lost, shall stay with us forever. We are just so sorry that you had such a short, cruel and unfair life. Sleep well little Hernie, you deserve peace at last.

Posted by StreetBitch 03:13 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Mon Fire: The Show Must Go On


This afternoon, we went over to the Mon side to check up on our usual patients and to see ‘Hernie’ and his siblings, whom we hadn’t visited for a few days. Some of you might remember Hernie who was a little puppy that we were treating for a Hernia, he is also the brother of ‘Little Sis’. Strangely – and worryingly – only half of the family was present; concerned that so many have disappeared in just a few days, we will return tomorrow to see if more turn up.

The Temple where the fire occurred last night is just down the road from where Hernie lives, so Gemma and I went to see what the damage was. The entire market had been destroyed. Yellow ‘police’ tape encircled the ash and rubble; everyone was ducking underneath it, ignoring its purpose, and so we followed their example.

Everything had gone. There were no building structures, no way of telling which stalls were whose and all that was left on the floor were broken ornaments and slates of metal which used to be the market roofing.

It is estimated by shop owners that there has been about 100 million baht worth of damages. As a popular tourist attraction, as well as a favourite furniture haunt for locals, it is surprising that the consequences of this fire haven’t been more obviously felt in the community.

There is currently a festival taking place just meters from where this huge fire occurred. This festival has been going on for the past few days and looks to continue for a few more. The Show (it seems) Must Go On.

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Posted by StreetBitch 03:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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