Small Victories and Precious Goodbyes

We have spent the last weeks preparing our departure from The Resort. For the past three months, I have shed blood, sweat, and tears ensuring the care for these animals. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s the truth. Especially the sweat part…so sweaty. We had prepared the dogs as much as we could to ensure they would have as easy of a transition as possible. With a new Vet on site to handle all further medical treatments, and two new kickass girls that could not be more amazing with the animals, I was about as comfortable as I could be leaving my furry babes in the care of someone else. It is so different living with your patients. I’ve never experienced anything like it. At the shelter, I would work my ten hours, and go home. They were hard days, don’t get me wrong, but I never knew how much being able to leave the shelter and go home to a place detached from the animals you care for allows you to decompress. There were no 10pm last minute quarantine dog walking, or playtime with puppies while you are in your pajamas. Because of this, I was able to build a bond that was second to none. We were their people, and as much as people would tell me,” It’s harder for you than it is for them”, I will kindly beg to differ. We will all be okay, but it won’t go without a few emotional hiccups along the way. So, when the day before departure day arrived, I knew we had set everything up as best as we could, and all that was left to do was visit some of our favorite village dogs we have treated. Through the months, we have been treating wounds and helping ease the burden of unaffordable veterinary care for some of those four legged friends and their people near our property.

Our first stop was Chok. This handsome boy suffered from severe skin allergies and conjunctivitis. When we would come to give treatments, he would run up to our motorbike with his tail wagging almost every time. He knew we were there to help him. Now, he is healthy and happy with clear eyes and healthy skin. Although his underlying issues may not have been completely solved, we eased his pain for sure. I’m going to miss his handsome man more than he’ll ever know.

Next we visited Boon Lot, the pretty girl with severe mange we started to help. Spotted on the side of the road, we knew we had to do something. She had almost no hair, and open sores and scratches from her constantly itching herself. Over the last month we have been treating her, as well as teaching her owner about the care of their dog. They loved her dearly, so much that the kids even helped with treating her open wounds with Betadine on q tips. When we said our goodbyes to our sweet girl, she was visibly healthier, and although her hair hasn’t grown back completely, it is absolutely getting there. This once freightened girl of ours now let’s us shower her with pats and love for as long as she’ll let us. 

Then it was time for visiting a woman who we spent most of the first two months walking by. We would always walk by her house on our way to other village dogs. We would greet her with smiles and friendly hellos, but nothing further. Soon after, she asked for us to follow her to the very back part of her property. One of her dogs had a large bite wound that she had been attempting to treat herself. The wound was about the size of a ping pong ball, and I wasn’t sure that with the supplies we had we would be able to treat it without actual suture. The woman was vigilant with caring for the wound when we couldn’t come on certain days, and made about seven different makeshift outfits so her dog wouldn’t lick at the bandages. Sure enough just a few weeks later, the wound was completely healed.  I was even amazed, myself. This sweet woman was devistated when we told her we were to leave the next day to go on our own new adventures and endeavors. She hugged us repeatedly and wished us good luck on our journeys. My heart broke as I realized how this woman who I had communicated with mostly with head nods and smiles, meant more to me than I could have imagined, and I knew she felt the same. 

Our final stop was possibly the most meaningful of them all. We helped Nai, a woman down the road, when two of her female dogs were severely pregnant, and septic, each with a litter of deceased babies inside. We cared for the two girls at the resort post op for awhile. And once we were able to return them home, we neutered their brother. Nai was always the most pleasant woman, and truly cared about us and our lives. If we didn’t show up to say hello or give the pups a bath one week, she would begin to worry where we were. Her dogs are happy and healthy now, when the two girls would have most likely died without our help. When we told Nai that we were leaving, she was instantly upset, almost mad. She said she didn’t understand and that she didn’t want us to leave. She hugged us both and said that she would see us soon, even though we both didn’t know when the next time that would be. It never ceases to amaze me the relationships you are capable of building just by showing a little bit of kindness. If only the rest of the world worked like that. 

We walked down the short road back to our property. I had tears in my eyes as I thought about how I wouldn’t know the next time I would walk down that road. I gave Ryan a high five, and told him that he had done a good job. Because without him, there was no way in hell these relationships would have been built, or these dogs would have been helped. And as we approached the gate, we were greeted by over ten wiggling butts and howls from the dogs we would have to leave the following day. Cue the tears again. I came to Thailand with a picture of what I would be doing in mind, and am leaving having done something completely different yet so much more meanginful. I will remember these smiling faces and four legged friends of mine for the rest of my life. Until next time, my Sai Mun beauties.

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