Kinship Circle
Wading Deep For Animals
Thailand Flood Report #10

DATE: December 1-4, 2011
LOCATION: Emergency Shelter in Bangkok, Thailand
Flooded areas north of Bangkok, including Bang Bu Taung
SUBMITTED BY: Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle founder/director in Thailand
TEAM: Beth Schmidt, Cara Blome, Ron Presley, Cheri Deatsch, Brenda Shoss, Grady Ballard, Adrienne Usher, Bryan Grant Rescued From Water's Edge
Inside flooded temple grounds, our feeding boat stops alongside a canine family on the steps of a small meditation building. Dad paces top steps while wheat-colored mom stands guard. Three pups splatter in water as we open food bags for them.

The pups briefly follow as we slog in thigh-deep water toward the larger temple. About 30 dogs line up at water's edge. They paddle with choreographed precision, a single ripple of paws and waggy tails.

We intend to rescue a small Shepherd mix girl with a mangled paw; a black skinny girl whose pelvis appears dislocated; and a furless dog with advanced mange. Though originally told that "owned" dogs — left behind when people evacuated — could not be taken, we've learned residents are unhappy about their growing numbers. With no municipal animal control in Thailand, private citizens sometimes poison "nuisance animals."

Heartfelt Thanks To Mot And Lit!
Kinship Circle and SCAD (Soi-Street Cats & Dogs Of Bangkok) do regular food and rescue runs in SCAD's truck and Save Elephant Foundation's paddle boat. We bring food to temples, bridges and more sites where dogs and cats (not to mention water buffalo, monkeys and other animals) struggle to survive.

SCAD Bangkok's Mot Waraler Sangkham serves as translator, asking locals about animals. Lit, also with SCAD, is a driver who never loses his cool in long treks through Bangkok traffic to flood zones…even as water laps at truck doors!

During one ride, Mot told Kinship Circle's Brenda Shoss about Chalee, the childhood dog who inspired Mot's devotion to animals. When Mot was 8-years old, her mother refused to sterilize Chalee. After each birth, Chalee's pups were dumped at faraway temples where monks care for strays and drop-offs. Mot grieved each loss and formed an everlasting bond with Chalee.

But Chalee grew aggressive toward everyone else. Mot's mom eventually took Chalee away too. Mot was inconsolable. Months passed. One day, Chalee staggered into Mot's yard emaciated, sick, barely able to stand. She'd crossed hundreds of miles to find Mot. Chalee died days later. Mot still cries for her.

Yet the dog's love forever changed their lives. Mot's mom advocates spay-neuter and no animals are discarded. Mot works for SCAD…and is here in a truck with Kinship Circle, to save forgotten animals in a flood.
Brenda, Mot, Lit, Thailand Flood
Kinship Circle volunteers Cheri Deatsch, Brenda Shoss and Beth Schmidt carefully cage a rescued dog. (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12 / Cara Blome

Water buffalo bulls, a cow and calf provide cover for an injured dog we eventually catch on flooded temple grounds. (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood

A friendly white dog escorts Kinship Circle's Adrienne Usher (foreground), Beth Schmidt (by boat) and Brenda Shoss (in boat with wounded dog) across flooded temple complex in northern Bangkok. (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood
Black Dog Flood Rescue, Kinship Circle Hurt Black Dog Is Saved

A black dog is very thin, her ribcage evident. One hip joint protrudes sharply, similar to the dislocated hip of Mabel at the flood shelter.

When Kinship Circle director Brenda Shoss approaches her, the timid dog draws back. Many curious dogs crowd around her, so she retreats to a cement corner on the temple patio. But after gentle coaxing, she is scooped into a firm hold, her legs dangling with no pressure to hip joints.

The skinny girl is carefully lowered into a cage. Bewildered, she barely notices the treat we give her. Still, she is calm in Bangkok traffic for the long, bumpy truck ride to the shelter.

Shepherd Mix Flood Rescue, Kinship Circle On Our Bellies To Rescue Dog With Mangled Paw

We find a Shepherd mix with a lacerated paw, unable to bear weight on the paw. Still, she is a runner. As volunteers chase, the dog barricades herself behind a water buffalo family — two bulls, a cow and calf — who graze at water's edge. She is a tan and black dash between the bull's thick legs. Then a peek. A few steps toward us. Gone.

Kinship Circle's Cheri Deatsch suggests we encircle her from all sides. The dog darts beneath a low wooden table, enclosed on some sides, buried under mounds of hay. Kinship's Brenda Shoss, along with Corrina, a Singapore veterinarian, belly crawl under the table on either side of the injured pup.

Brenda's slip lead nearly encircles the dog's neck, but needs a tug from the opposite side to complete its loop. Corrina reaches through a tiny opening under the table to pull the yellow twine…and the dog is finally leashed!

Safely caged, she settles in for transport to the flood shelter, where U.K. vet Emma Sant Cassia can treat her wound. Like others, she'll enter SCAD Bangkok's foster-adopt program or live at SEF's sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Mange Dog Flood Rescue, Kinship Circle Hope For Harry, Flood Dog With Severe Mange

The next rescue is complex. A furless dog with advanced mange is aggressive and fearful. We have a large net attached to a pole to catch him. Despite his leathery black skin and decrepit appearance, the dog is strong and agile — easily jumping between ledges, splashing into floodwaters and crawling ashore beyond reach.

Lit, a SCAD Bangkok volunteer, eyes the dog closely. With a perfectly timed swoosh, Lit throws the net over the dog. Much thrashing ensues. This dog has endured hunger, mange and floodwaters. He does not understand we are here to ease his struggles.

Part two of the capture involves placing a netted dog inside a cage, removing the net and securing the cage door. Kinship Circle's Beth Schmidt, Cheri Deatsch and Brenda Shoss ultimately crate the dog with careful angling and quick reflexes.

This stubborn boy joins the Shepherd mix, black dog, and terrier mix with neck gash at the shelter in Bang Pu. We situate them near each other, to ease anxiety with familiar faces and smells.

Thailand Photo Diary

Nov-Dec 2011, Cara Blome

► See all flood images in field reports!
► Or visit Thailand Flood Photo Gallery.
All thumbnails click to full size photos.


Photo (C) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12

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