While out on my scooter, I was waiting the signal of a very busy intersection. A “soi dog” (the Thai word for “street” is pronounced like the English word “soy”) ambled in front of the waiting traffic. Some of the bigger intersections in Phuket have timers that show when the signal will change. I saw that I had a little bit of time, so I got off my bike and tried, briefly, to shoo the dog to the side of the road, but to no avail. The light changed and I rode off hoping for the best for the dog.
It got me thinking about Soi Dog. Soi Dog is an organization of volunteers who care for the animals that roam the streets of Thailand. I wanted to learn more about their work, so I called them and talked to Regina Telbisz, a Soi Dog volunteer. She said that she was going to tend do some animals at a local “Wat” or Buddhist temple the next day and invited me to come along.
I met Regina at Wat Nakaram, near Phuket Town. In addition to helping animals on the street, Soi Dog also tends to the animals who live with the monks and nuns of the wat. I also learned that, despite their name, Soi Dog also tends to cats. She told me that, in fact, there are many more soi cats than dogs, you just don’t see them as easily. Fun fact: The Thai word for “cat” kind of sounds like the english word “meow”.
Regina went about her work, assisted ably by community volunteers and a Buddhist nun, sometimes coaxing a cat off a hot tin roof or capturing a reluctant dog in a net to give them rabies shots and anti-flea medicine. It would be hard work, even without the risk of getting scratched or bitten. It was, literally, like herding cats, but it’s all in a days work for Soi Dog.
I’m glad that Soi Dog is out there doing what they do. And I hope that Regina comes across that confused pooch in the intersection one day. If you would like to support Soi Dog and the important work that they do, click this link to go to the soidog.org to make a contribution. Or, if you live in Phuket, and you want to rescue a furry friend to take home, you can do that as well.
Thanks, Regina and Soi Dog for letting me take your picture!