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The Soi Dog Foundation was established in 2003 to provide a humane and sustainable solution to managing the stray animal population in Asia while addressing the animals’ medical needs. Soi Dog rescues injured cats and dogs, feeds and cares for them, and provides homes, vaccinations, and medications completely free of charge. The newly formed RIS Soi Dog Committee has helped to raise funds for its namesake foundation, with a large portion of the donations going to support Soi Dog’s sterilization program. Committee members recently traveled to the Soi Dog Foundation main headquarters in Phuket, where they saw the facilities first hand, including the dog and cat hospitals, the exercise areas, and their adoption department. Here are the committee member’s accounts:
Pimpasorn (Pim) Thanawong, Grade 11
“[Before going on this trip] I honestly thought we’d only be listening to the staff, workers, volunteers, and doctors from Soi Dog talking without having much hands-on activity with the animals. When we actually [got there], it was completely different from what I thought. We were able to interact closely with both the dogs and cats and give them love and care. I also gained additional knowledge on what Soi Dog Foundation does, how it works, and how people can contribute to help reduce the amount of stray dogs across Thailand.
I also became especially interested in Soi Dog’s adoption process. I was able to truly understand how much adoption would mean to the dogs and cats and how life-changing that would be for them. Unlike pet markets, where you’d have to do everything on your own and waste a lot of time and money, here at Soi Dog they offer everything that would be beneficial to both the adopter and the pets being adopted. The most impressive part of this whole adoption process is it’s free.”
Sila (Thun) Visutvatanasak, Grade 10
“At first glance, the foundation isn’t anywhere near fancy, but after taking a closer look, I was amazed at its functionality and how everything joined together systematically. There are runs for all types of dogs and cats. Vets take care of all the animals in clean and safe spaces, and there’s a large area for volunteers to walk dogs. You might also be wondering how they fund all [the] care for hundreds of animals. It turns out that the foundation is supported solely by donations. If you wish to help, you could go there to volunteer … or donate directly or online. People who can’t adopt a dog or cat can also choose to sponsor one on a monthly basis instead.
This year, we hosted many events and fundraisers to raise awareness for our Soi Dog Committee, all the while informing others what our committee does. Some of this year’s activities included multiple food sales, a Christmas postcard sale, a Hug-a-Dog Chinese New Year sale, and, of course, our annual Songkran Water Fight festival…. All of these events were very successful, thanks to the support given to us by the entire student body.”
Nichatorn (Belle) Tangkuptanon, Grade 9
“Regardless of managing over 700 dogs and 200 cats, Soi Dog has a five-step process for people looking to adopt an animal. First, they get the family’s permission, then they interview the potential adopters…. There are pre-adoption health checks for the dog or cat, and finally the signing of an agreement. Instead of buying animals at local stores, consider adopting. These animals are guaranteed to be hygienic and healthy. The benefit is that you save on sterilization and first-year vaccination costs, plus adoption can change a life.
At first, I thought Soi Dog only provided a home for stray animals, but it’s actually more than that. They pay attention to every single dog and cat, and whenever there is an animal that is in an accident, the foundation tries their best to rescue them. I was also surprised by the amount of foreign volunteers coming to help walk the dogs. I barely saw any Thais, except for the staff, so I appreciate how so many people from other countries came to volunteer.
Soi Dog’s co-founder and president, John Dalley, wants to end the horrific dog meat trade in Southeast Asia. The costs that are needed to end the dog meat trade are tremendous. Luckily, there has been support from volunteers and donors across the world to fund the 15-million-baht operation cost. Although the word ‘soi’ means ‘alley’ in Thai, the Soi Dog Foundation is now legally registered in several countries, including the United States, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.”
The main headquarters of the Soi Dog Foundation are in Amphur Thalang in Phuket. To donate, volunteer, sponsor an animal, or adopt, please visit www.soidog.org or call 076-681-029.