November 8, 2011
Feeding Dogs at a Flooded Temple
Nonthaburi Province, about 20 kms away from Bangkok, is home to a large number of rescued dogs, who are housed on the premises of the Suan Kaew Temple and are looked after by the monks there, in keeping with the tradition of most Buddhist temples in the country.
After the water level rose, people were evacuated from the area. Even the local volunteers who were eager to help stopped visiting after a few days as logistics became complicated and their own homes were flooded.
Left behind, but not forgotten
While a few hundred dogs were taken out of the danger zone, 400 more were shifted to a warehouse a short distance away. The 100-odd dogs who remained in the temple were among the most aggressive and couldn’t be moved. The HSI team joined staff of the World Society for the Protection of Animals to distribute food and water to the stranded dogs in both locations.
As they approached, they realized that the delivery of dog food, no matter how difficult, was vital, for the area was cut off from the rest of the region and looked entirely abandoned—except for five temple employees and of course, the 500 dogs.
One of the temple caretakers is a woman named Lek, who has been there for the past 16 years. Every day, she feeds 400 dogs, with just her four colleagues to help her. She knows the name of every animal, and when the HSI team inquired as to which one was her favorite, she was miffed that we asked her the question. “I love them all,” she said emphatically. “I just couldn’t leave them here.”
The number of dogs to be fed and taken care of is a feat in itself; add to that the conditions in the region, and Lek is nothing short of a real-life hero. Even in a disaster of this magnitude, she takes no shortcut with her duties. She marks the dogs that are being treated for various conditions with purple ink, to ensure she gives them their medicine! The HSI team was honored to have met and helped her and her charges.
The situation is still dire, with the dogs at great risk for disease and infection, but as the team members helped unload food from the float, they were somewhat relieved, knowing that the animals would at least be fed. Hopefully, the dogs will be able to return to the temple soon, and Lek will get to do what she loves most in better conditions. Donate to help.