With the entire world being forced to stay at home in some fashion due to the Covid-19 pandemic, street animals are reaping the benefits by having new homes and providing comfort during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and loneliness. Animal shelters are celebrating worldwide as they have adopted out most of their animals, a move that has given hope to the many stray animals in finding a forever home.
Here on Koh Samui, a dog organization is continuing the plight of finding homes for all of Thailand’s street dogs in a new way. Rob’s Dogs, an Australian charity, has found that the most effective way to get dogs off of the streets and into a home is by paying someone to foster them.
After doing a bit of number-crunching, the charity has found that it is more cost-effective to pay willing foster homes to keep the dogs rather than home them in a shelter.
Naming the initiative Paws With A Cause, Rebecca Cain, the founder of Rob’s Dogs said, “The inspiration comes from seeing the community ingenuities that are evolving during the COVID-19 crisis. Not only are we helping home animals but we are providing an additional stream of income for the foster families. It makes sense to bring the Buddhist values and kindness together with caring for animals. We see this as a long term project that will not only successfully manage the stray population but add meaning and purpose to those that could also benefit from additional income.”
Each sponsor that donates THB1500 monthly to Paws With A Cause will have an animal allocated to them. Part of the money donated, 500 thb, will cover the animal’s food bowls, bedding and vaccinations. The rest of the money donated, 1000 thb, will be used to pay a host family to house the dog.
Sponsors will receive regular updates on their fostered or adopted animal and receive a regular newsletter from Rob’s Dogs. The charity has several volunteers that will carry out regular spot-checks on each animal to ensure that they are being cared for correctly and that their vaccinations are up-to-date to prevent disease.
Maria Linsley, a long term expat resident on Koh Samui, is the first monthly sponsor to commit to this exciting project. An animal lover herself, she has two rescue dogs at home. She understands the importance of supporting the community, spay and neutering programmes and giving dogs the opportunity of a loving home.
“I’m thrilled to take part in this forward-thinking project, and I’m looking forward to taking one of the soi puppies to her new home and watching the love between the fosterer and their new family member grow.”
The move to change the way dogs are rescued from the streets undoubtedly aligns with most research surrounding stray populations and the benefits of keeping a pet.
As noted on the Center for Disease Control’s website (CDC), research shows that owning an animal has incredible benefits for wellbeing and health. Not only does owning a pet help prevent loneliness and isolation, which is crucial in staving off cognitive decline and disease, it also prevents stress, improves heart health and overall fitness. Not to mention its ability to improve one’s social life.
Jenni Lipa, who adopted a street puppy during the pandemic and said, “Dogs love us unconditionally, and people need that – especially people who feel lonely and need to feel loved. Fostering or adopting a dog is very much a healing tool.”
According to the Soi Dog Foundation of Thailand, peoples’ attitudes and habits form at a very young age, which points to the need for children to learn empathy towards dogs and cats while growing up. Consequently, if animal treatment education starts early, the future will see less neglect and abuse cases.
The beloved late ruler of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was a lover of animals and would promote their wellbeing across the nation. Several cats and dogs resided in the royal residence; the Kings favourite was a street dog called ‘Tong Daeng’ which means ‘Copper’ in Thai. In 1998 the King visited an animal medical centre in Bangkok where he met a stray dog who had just had a litter of adorable puppies. A specific bundle of fluff stole the Kings’ heart and moved to the Royal Palace; Tong Daeng went on to have her puppies, who also lived a royal canine life with the monarch.
Apart from offering a lifelong companionship, getting these dogs off the streets and “fixed” to prevent more offspring, can help control the amount of dogs without homes.
Peta.org says just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!
For more information about taking part in Paws With A Cause, please contact email@example.com.