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Hello and welcome to my blog formerly called Gypsy-K. Please note that I am only updating this blog while I am walking from Rome to Jerusalem from September 2015. My online home and permanent blog is at You can also sign up for pilgrim postcards and newsletters here. Thank you for being here and supporting my journey. With love and courage, Kym xx

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Flood Dogs

The pictures alone could make you weep. Posted on Facebook daily for weeks, they showed stray dogs struggling to stay afloat and stay alive during the flooding in Bangkok and Ayutthaya.  Dogs swimming through flood water too deep for them to stand in.  Dogs clinging to floating debris, trees, branches, anything that would keep their heads above water.  Dogs taking refuge on anything that was above the water level, small island embankments, temple ruins, even bicycles stacked on a ledge outside someone’s house. Then there were the inspirational rescue pictures.  People wading through knee to waist deep water carrying rescued dogs. Dogs swimming to people on small boats, towards safety and rescue. People feeding stranded dogs. A Thai woman looking after hundreds of dogs stranded on a small bridge given temporary makeshift shelter with black tarpaulin messily strung over the bridge.

So when the call went out for volunteers to help care for the flood affected animals at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) I responded.  I responded expecting that they would have been inundated with offers to help but I got a swift reply saying “please come”.  One day later I was on a plane to Bangkok and then a mini bus down to Cha-am, 150 kilometres south, ready to help any way I could.  And it was straight into it.  I arrived at WFFT at 8.45pm and by 10.45pm I was in a dark field helping to unload two trucks loaded high with cages of animals evacuated from Bangkok, including a monkey with one arm and one leg, and a rabbit.  Even this scene pulled at the heart strings.  The dogs had been in cages for many more hours than the 4 hour journey from Bangkok and many of these animals had already been evacuated from Ayutthaya before the flooding hit Bangkok.  But at least they were safe and would be well cared for here.  WFFT had already commenced building fenced and covered enclosures for them.  And supplies of dog food had already arrived.  We gave them water and then collapsed into bed ready to face the next day.

In the morning, we started our daily routine.  Thirty minute drive down to Cha-am to the government quarantine centre where 170 dogs and cats, mostly strays, were separated into different runs.  Greeted by the barking dogs, we set down our bags and started cleaning each of the cages.  Poop was swept and often scraped up.  Hay removed and replaced with fresh hay.  Cages scrubbed with disinfectant and washed out when required.  Food bowls were filled and water bowls filled up.  We then had time to socialise the dogs before repeating the routine again in the afternoon after lunch.

For a week, I worked along side some amazing people, volunteers from all over the world including the USA, Holland, Malaysia, Korea and Scotland.  People who came with passion and were prepared to work hard to help another being who needed help.  And it was hard work.  We worked tirelessly in the heat and went home at the end of the day smelling of sweat, dog, sometimes poop, covered in fur, scratches, bruises and even some with dog bites.

But it had its rewards too. I spent time with some beautiful, loving and even inspiring animals.  Titch and Fleck my gorgeous floppy timid puppies who loved nothing more than to be cuddled, sit on your lap or sleep next to you on the hay.  Star, my star mamma dog who adopted 5 puppies in addition to her own 5 after their mamma died.  And Stellar, my big gorgeous brown mamma stray dog who always beckoned me with her eyes, pawed at the door when she wanted food or attention, who jumped up and rested her paws lightly on my chest when I came into her cage and who loved having me sit next to her and pat her gently with love.  I wanted to take them all home with me, to give them them a loving home off the street where they no longer had to struggle or suffer.

As I write this, the rescue operations continue in Bangkok.  Inspirational and often heart-breaking photos are still being posted daily of dogs being rescued from flood waters.  The flood affected animals are still being cared for by volunteers and staff at WFFT and are now being neutered by 5 volunteer vets. With the flood waters spreading into downtown Bangkok, the rescue and care operations are likely to continue well into December and they are asking for more volunteers. If needed, I will return as soon as I can.

If you want to help then contact Edwin Wiek at WFFT via Facebook or see WFFT website
WFFT's prime activity is rescuing wildlife and they do an amazing job providing a natural habitat and care for wildlife.  You can support this important work by making a donation via the WFFT website.

If you are unable to help in person but would like to support the rescue and care operation, then you can make a donation to the Soi Dog Flood Relief Appeal. Soi Dog are doing a fantastic job raising funds to support the various organisations such as Soi Dog, WFFT and Elephant Nature Park rescuing and evacuating animals.

The WFFT field opposite the temple that has been converted into dog storage 

Government Quarantine Centre in Cha-am where we housed 170 cats and dogs

Volunteers from Korean Animal Rights Adocates with Edwin, Barb, Louise, Marise and myself

Little Fluffy giving me a big kiss for being taken out of the enclosure for a run and some cuddles



Puppy in one of the field enclosures 

Another puppy in one of the field enclosures 

Beautiful Stellar 

Stellar and her pups 

Puppy feeding time with Star 

Star feeling a bit unwell

 Another friendly stray dog wanting a pat

Heading back to Cha-am with some dogs for neutering

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