Guest Post: Kaitlin Young
Soi Dog Flight Volunteer – Training and fighting have brought me to Thailand twice now, and there will certainly be more trips to follow. If you visit, you will see the many stray dogs and cats that populate the streets and store fronts. (As a reader of this blog, you probably know that the very handsome Jaidee von Duuglas-Ittu came from this situation.) Despite being fairly well-fed by good Samaritans, they are host to ticks, fleas, mange, and various other parasites and skin diseases. Dogs are not commonly neutered or spayed there, so the growing population of strays remains unchecked.
In addition to the routine dangers of being a homeless dog, there is also the threat of the illegal dog meat trade in Thailand. The Thai government and other organizations, including Soi Dog Foundation, have been fighting against this brutal practice. Dogs are not humanely killed, but often skinned alive because it is thought that their suffering will make the meat more tender. As an avid dog lover, witnessing them in these situations was more than enough to motivate me to do something to help.
It’s Easy to Help
A friend of mine had mentioned a post online about an organization looking for flight volunteers to transport the dogs back to the US and Canada to be adopted. In browsing a bit, I came across the Soi Dog Foundation. Indeed, one could be a flight volunteer. All you needed was a flight booked with one of several approved airlines (Korean Air, for me) and a short layover. I had both of these, thanks to my wonderful sponsor, Menacing Valor.
I emailed Soi Dog Foundation and notified them that I would be flying into Chicago from Bangkok on April 21st, and would love to be a flight volunteer. They responded quickly to confirm my interest and let me know that they would look for a match. They need 3 weeks notice or more, as they have to ensure that the dog is up to date on vaccinations and health clearance. They also need to find someone in your destination city who is ready and able to adopt the dog.
About a week went by and I received another email stating that they had found a match! The dog was 8-month-old Ivory, and the adopter was a woman named Kelsey from Chicago. I was instructed to meet the SDF staff at the Bangkok airport 3 hours prior to departure. Kelsey also reached out with her contact information so that we could meet upon landing.
The pickup went smooth and the gentleman who had brought Ivory to the airport pretty much handled everything. The cost to bring Ivory to the US was covered by the organization and/or the adopter. Luckily, there were no delays on either of the flights, and the layover was nice and short. Dogs traveling in the cargo space of the plane are not let out of their crate for the duration of the flight, and flights from Thailand to the US are long.
Upon arrival, Ivory was waiting with some airline personnel at the baggage claim. She was clearly a bit nervous, but sweet as ever. It was at this point I noticed that she was missing a back foot. Poor girl. We made it through customs easily. A very excited Kelsey met us outside. We loaded Ivory into her vehicle and off they went.
As I waited to brave my United flight from Chicago to Minneapolis, I wished that I had known about this opportunity last year when visiting Thailand. It’s a small gesture and changes the life of only one dog, but there are an awful lot of fighters from the US and Canada who routinely visit Thailand. Perhaps together we can help a few more. http://www.soidog.org
these are the airlines that you can use as a Flight Volunteer:
Qatar (flights to the US & Canada only)
EVA (flights to the US & Canada only)
Air Nippon Air
China Airlines (flights to the US & Canada only)
The Story of Ivory Before She Found Her Forever Home
Can you please ADOPT me and give my story a happy ever after?
My name is Ivory. I was found in the jungle in Phang Nga, a province just north of Phuket, Thailand. A kind local lady used to feed me. She even built me a shelter to keep the rain off me! But one day she noticed I had a bad wound on my back paw. It was covered in maggots and I was in terrible pain. So she contacted Soi Dog for help.
The Rescue Officer brought me to the shelter, where I received the treatment I needed, thanks to people like YOU. Sadly, the vets were not able to save my paw, but my wounds have healed and now I’m ready to find my forever home.
I am just over 7 months old. I am curious and playful like other puppies of my age. I don’t let that missing paw hold me back – I can still run and play with all my puppy friends! When visitors come to see me they can’t resist my big beautiful eyes and my soft white fur. I am so happy when I have toys to play with, but I’m also very happy to have a quiet cuddle on a visitor’s lap. If you could be the one to cuddle and play with me forever, please adopt me.
There are lots of puppies here and it’s really overcrowded. I don’t want to spend my life in the shelter. I wish I could have a bed of my own in my forever home with you. Please will you adopt me?
And this is me and my dog Tazer: