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Dogs of Thailand


I just got home from a month long journey to Thailand. Well, it's 1am my home local time after 36 hours of traveling and I'm WIDE AWAKE. Jet lag sucks but it's completely worth it for the ability to travel, not to mention it allows me to catch up on things I want to do...who the heck needs to sleep anyways?!?!

One of the things I learned and took away from my trip to Thailand is that most dogs there are homeless vegetarians. I was definitely reminded of how well my dogs have it compared to the street and temple dogs in Thailand. Most dogs in Thailand have no owner or home but live on the streets or flock to the temples as the people there take care of them. They essentially belong to all the local people. I saw very few dogs that had a distinct owner, on a leash or in a home. Even though the dogs there have no home or owner, they really couldn't look happier. Of course there are the dogs that get injured with no medical care or are in particularly bad shape due to some kind of circumstance. But in general these community dogs are happy and live a full life. I almost started to feel bad for the dogs who were on leashes, or locked in a house or chained to a tree. It seems to me that the free lifestyle far outweighs the captive lifestyle, at least in general terms for Thai dogs.
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Street Dog

We go to long lengths to provide our pets with the proper nutrition and healthcare as well as the luxuries of home life. Some say that we as raw feeders take things to the extreme to feed our dogs an appropriate diet. Often times getting into heated debates and struggles with family to do so. But in the grand scheme of things....I feel blessed I have the ABILITY to provide for my dogs the way I do. We all should feel this way.

It was a humbling experience to go to Thailand and see vegetarian dogs alive and happy. In the best shape? Of course not but a vegetarian diet is better than going hungry. Since a vast majority of Thai people are vegetarian, meat is hard to come by unless you're a falang(pronounced/alternative spelling farang) in a restaurant or a guest in someone's home. As meat is hard to come by and rarely eaten by locals there's not much left for dogs. I actually took homemade meat treats with me, and most of the dogs sniffed them like it was some foreign matter that needed to be rolled on instead of eaten. And the kibble they have available is not much better than a vegetarian diet.

I spent time volunteering at Elephant Nature Park with the wonderful group The Power of One directed by Blue Star of Hope. Part of our duties was to care for all the dogs rescued from the 2011 floods of Bangkok city. Many rescue organizations worked to save countless dogs displaced, wounded and stranded due to the horrendous floods. Elephant Nature Park takes in all animals in need of a safe haven. They went to great lengths to care for approximately 1000 dogs they rescued. They quickly built amazing facilities to house these dogs that put to shame any rescue shelter I've seen in the USA, hired staff to care for them and created a network of medical and financial help for these animals. While a lot of the pets were returned to previous owners or found new homes, they still care for approximately 300 dogs. Not to mention they take in street dogs regularly.

These dogs are vegetarians, eating the scrap food that is left over from the kitchen and mess hall at the park. The lucky dogs get donated kibble, usually the youngest puppies who are still growing. I chatted with one of the head volunteers while staying there and she said that she's seen a big difference in the puppies raised on the primarily rice slop they get from the kitchen and those raised on kibble (albeit low quality kibble), in that kibble fed puppies are overall healthier and more robust. This would indicate that dogs definitely do better on more adequate levels of protein, as the vegetarian slop is mostly rice.

This experience doesn't change the way I feel about raw feeding. I wish that all dogs could be raw fed as I wholeheartedly believe that it's the ideal type of diet for all dogs (obviously personalized tweaks for some individuals). What this journey has taught me is that while I believe raw is right, it's not the only way things have to be done in order to keep animals alive and happy. If anything it makes the "fight for raw" in me a little more Buddhist like....in the big picture it's not a big deal and certainly not a topic to get into fights with other people about.

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Rear end paralyzed dog who has her own facility and wheelchair

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These facilities have acres of open land for their rescue dogs, including pools, multilevel houses and loving staff to care for them!

While none of the above diets are really ideal, its the best they can do with what they have. It's highly commendable all that they do at the park. Visit the links I posted above to learn more and to see what you can do to help!


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