Lucky Dawg

Three weeks into my volunteer work in Thailand, Lucky Dawg arrived at Lanta Animal Welfare, Koh Lanta.

Lucky came in from an Island called Koh Ngai, about an hour’s boat trip away. He was found near two dead dogs – suspected poisoning. The English couple who found him surmised he too had been poisoned and also been hit by a vehicle. His shoulder looked injured and he had only one good eye, the other being eaten away by infection.
LAW doesn’t normally accept dogs from other Islands, as they really do have enough dogs to cope with on Koh Lanta. But the couple who found Lucky were so insistent that Junie, the owner, relented. After struggling to catch the feral, injured and possibly poisoned street dog, the lovely British couple chartered a private boat to Koh Lanta.
I met Lucky on his second day at the centre. I was outside the centre minding my own. One of the girls had wanted to take him from his kennel for some fresh air outside. Street dogs have no restrictions or boundaries and little, if any, physical contact with humans. Lucky was on a choke chain, and when he got outside he must have thought “YAY! I’m off!”, running to the end of the lead. The choke chain tightened, he then reared up and did what I can only describe as a crocodile death roll. He wrapped himself around and around in the lead screaming, yes screaming, as he went! A few people went to help and someone managed to pick him up and take him back inside still screaming his head off and threatening to bite!
When I saw Lucky the following day he looked very subdued, sad and alone in his kennel. Nobody wanted much to do with him at this point. He was defensive, untrained and nervous… I couldn’t help myself, in I went.
I spent the next few hours  in Lucky’s kennel, sitting on the floor, with my dog treats. He was so so nervous. In those hours I fitted him with a soft collar, he quickly learned the gentle pressure and release of the lead, with the aid of dog treats of course.

By our third day Lucky and I ventured outside, he skipped out like a different dog with much more confidence. Don’t get me wrong we had our moments, I felt lucky that he did trust me and is such a quick learner.
I spent several hours every day with Lucky. I was so proud and happy with his progress, and the centre staff were very pleased too. It was so satisfying for me.
Space is at a premium at LAW. If a dog is healthy, sterilised and suitable for release, they are returned back to the area they come from. Lucky had qualified for release on all counts now. The end of my volunteer work was looming. I felt very sad, I felt I was letting him down.On Koh Lanta and Koh Ngai it is normal practice for local business owners to ‘clean up’ their areas. Dogs are considered dirty and are poisoned prior to the tourist high season. If a poisoned dog doesn’t see a vet very quickly its a slow, painful death. If they do, prognosis is poor. The culprits use a chemical that acts on the nervous system, causing convulsions and spasms, before the internal organs give out. If a dog survives treatment they quite often have neurological issues. Having witnessed several poisonings it is not something I want to see for the rest of my days.

In the days prior to my departure I made a decision to adopt Lucky. I felt that it would be when, and not if he was poisoned. One more to add to my collection, why not?
Lucky has now been successfully quarantined and is due to arrive in the UK on November 10th 2012… My best birthday present ever!