I suppose you know that the Thai people aren’t, or at least weren’t back in 1988, fond of dogs, especially the fairly common Thai type dog that roams the neighbourhood. Not all that dissimilar for dingoes in the way they look but they’re generally darker in colour.
A friend and I ended up in Thailand for 5 weeks on
the way back from backpacking in Australia. We spent about 4 weeks on
the island of Koh Samui living in a bungalow village. Our bungalow
happened to be right on the beach and had the ONLY sit down toilet in
the village. Major bonus. We’d fall out of the bungalow in the mornings
onto the beach and have our own “personal” masseuses turn up, two older
twin ladies, and give us a full body massage in the warm sun for the
princely sum of 5 baht. Good times!
We used to sit and watch
the local sport of dog kicking from our bungalow veranda. Any dog coming
close enough was apparently fair game and had to be booted. Loving dogs
like we did, we thought it a bit odd but things are as they are and
there must be a reason for it we guessed.
One night we came
home to find a very sorry sight in the sand outside our bungalow; a dog
with high fever lying in the sand shaking and basically dying. We rolled
the dog onto a towel and carried it up onto the bungalow veranda and
placed it in a wooden chair on a pillow.
I spent an hour
carefully cleaning up a bite wound on its head. It had been in a fight
and the skin had been punched by a canine tooth and closed up which kept
the infection in nicely. It was incredibly sore and the whole head was
hot and inflamed. The glands were swollen so it really didn’t have much
of a chance of survival.
We soaked a towel so we could get
water in its mouth and we sat with it all through the night making sure
we kept the fever down as much as we could. We figured it would most
likely die that night but if it was going to die it wasn’t going to have
to do it alone and we would make it as comfortable as we possibly
could. Morning came and not only was it still alive, the fever was down.
The bungalow village owners were not happy to see us 1. Saving
a fucking dog (I suppose they’d been more pleased if they’d found us
playing soccer with it on the beach) and 2. keeping it on our veranda
but there was little they could do about it. It took a good three days
of nursing before it actually got up to go finally go pee and on the
fourth day we got it to eat.
We called it “Hunden” (“the dog”
in Swedish) and it stuck around on our veranda and kept watch. We
figured it was a good thing because we’d already had the bungalow robbed
plus it was nice to have a pet. We’d go for walks on the beach at
sunset (I have photos of it somewhere) and play in the waves. We’d share
food and have someone greet us when we came home from the bar at night.
The real value of having Hunden around became apparent a few
weeks after we found him. We came back one night after drinkies, Hunden
greeting us and off we went inside. Hunden never ever crossed the
invisible force field that was the open doorway. I started rummaging
around in my backpack, it was basically functioning as my wardrobe, and
suddenly found myself with a handful of hairy. It turned out to be the
biggest bloody rat I’ve ever seen. I swear that in my memory it was the
size of an elephant but in reality it was probably more the size of a
small Chihuahua. It wasn’t going to move, that much was clear but that
was when I heard a tiny bark from the doorway. Hunden was standing there
ready to come to the rescue just waiting for the force field to be
taken down so he could cross into our inner bungalow reality. And, boy
did he get to work once he got inside.
The rat lived with in
the delusion that it was in charge for about half a second and was then
unceremoniously chased around the bungalow until it ran up the wall
where it sat up at the top of wall at the ceiling looking a little
triumphant but out of breath. It was then that Hunden launched itself
straight up in the air, up along the wall, his teeth snapping short of
the very surprised rat. The rat wiggled off under the roof and was last
seen sprinting down the moonlit beach at was must have been rat record
Hunden calmly, after his super hero deed, simply looked
up at us, wagged his tail and went back to his chair on the veranda to
snooze. I can tell you though that he looked mighty pleased at having
been of assistance that night. In fact I think he may have been waiting
for the opportunity to show his gratitude in some useful way.
stayed with us until we left Koh Samui. It was almost as though he knew
time was coming before we start packing and he said his goodbyes. The
day we left he sat there and watched us leave on the bus. He didn’t look
sad. He looked like he was parting with good friends and that he was
extremely happy to have been part of our tribe if only for a short time
of his life. It was a kind or remarkable feeling because I remember
thinking that he seemed grateful to have had the experience; it just
really stuck with me as one of the things that stood out the most of
what was a 7 month trip.
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