Kinship Circle
Second Chances

Thailand Flood Report

DATE: December 1-4, 2011
LOCATION: Emergency Shelter in Bangkok, Thailand
Flooded areas north of Bangkok, including Bang Bu Taung
TEAM ON GROUND: Beth Schmidt, Cara Blome, Ron Presley, Cheri Deatsch, Brenda Shoss, Grady Ballard, Adrienne Usher, Bryan Grant Saving Monk & More Like Him

We name him "Monk," for the flooded temple where the scrawny white terrier mix swims with some 50 forgotten dogs. Monk is hungry but seems okay, until we see a quarter-size hole that oozes blood down his neck. The dog was likely someone's companion tossed into this flood pack and bullied in food scuffles…

With Monk in my lap, Kinship Circle's Cheri Deatsch, Beth Schmidt and Adrienne Usher pull our boat through dark water to the rescue truck. I can hear Monk's faint pant against my chest. Alive. Safe.

At this place between sorrow and despair, your support gave a second chance to Monk — plus so many animals like him from Chile and Brazil…to Japan, the U.S., Thailand.

I recently returned from Thailand, where Kinship Circle is deployed for animal flood aid. We clean poop, walk, feed…and wade in floodwaters on some amazing food-rescue runs. My husband Grady asked (as Kinship staffed an emergency shelter): "Do people realize how amazing your volunteers are?"

Grady is right. Kinship Circle disaster responders are professional and resourceful, with animal rescue skills and experience…plus stamina to get the job done. They are a give-and-take team effort.

In fact, I'm certain that teamwork trapped Harry, a mad mange dog who didn't understand that we wanted to ease his struggles…


Saving Monk Images

Click on any photo to see full size.

A calico cat navigates ornate temple ledges over floodwaters. We leave food for cats, who typically hide by day. Kinship's Adrienne Usher works at SCAD Bangkok's feline site. (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand 2011-12 / Cara Blome

Kinship Circle co-ICs Beth Schmidt and Cheri Deatsch, along with SCAD Foundation's Lit, talk to a monk about stranded animals while delivering food at this swamped temple. Photo (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12 / Cara Blome

A water buffalo family, including this calf, share the temple's dry, mezzanine with many dogs. Photo (c) Kinship Circle, Thailand Flood 2011-12 / Cara Blome

Rescue At The Temple Of Dogs

Dogs stranded at flooded temples paint an oddly majestic portrait: Ornate gold-rim buildings rise from flood lagoons…A Temple of Dogs, where yelps and howls resonate off silent Buddha statues.

Kinship Circle IC Cheri Deatsch walks along a narrow ledge with our last bits of food. Dogs follow pied-piper style. As we head toward our paddle boat with empty bags, Kinship's Brenda Shoss notices a bloody puncture wound on the neck of a thin terrier mix. Fresh blood stains the dog's white fur.

We're told to not take temple dogs, as some belong to evacuees and others lived with monks pre-flood. However all feeding trips involve triage rescue: Recovery of animals wounded, sick, unweaned pups, lactating moms.

The team decides to bring this dog back today. (Brenda's husband Grady Ballard, also in Thailand, later dubs the terminally cute mutt Monk.)

Brenda approaches the skittish dog, who back-walks into a corner. But his nose sniffs a hand with food. The dog is lifted in a firm underhold to brace his back and neck while avoiding the wound area.

Monk rides lap seat with Brenda as Kinship Circle team members Cheri, Beth Schmidt and Adrienne Usher lead the paddle boat through dark water to the rescue truck.

Sounds are muted, like someone switched off auido when the temple flooded. At the truck, we fasten Monk into a large cage for a 2-3 hour drive to the shelter. This dog is trusting and sweet despite his injury and weeks, if not months, in floodwaters. He even offers a few slurpy kisses through the cage slats.

On the way back, we alert the shelter so that Emma Sant Cassia, a British veterinarian volunteer in Bangkok, can prepare to admit the latest flood rescue.

BACK TO TOP - FIELD NOTES LIST Food For Animals In Flooded Districts

We wind through Bangkok's flooded labyrinth toward a secluded temple. Kinship Circle team members use SCAD Bangkok's truck to drive in water that laps at door edges. Mot Waraler Sangkham is our translator and Lit navigates watery streets. Both SCAD staffers are part of our food and rescue team that leaves the shelter equipped with 15-20 kilo food bags, a small boat, cages, a trapping net, slip leads…

The temple complex is overrun with dogs, some collared. When caregivers fled, dogs and cats congregated on temple steps, doorways, mezzanines. We park to load our boat with food. Kinship Circle's Beth Schmidt, Cara Blome, Brenda Shoss, and Adrienne Usher wade waist-deep in the murky wet. A monk draped in orange robes waves us toward animals.

Barks and howls split the quiet. A wiggly glob of terrier, shepherd, lab, beagle, spaniel and street paddle toward us. They are lifelong temple or soi (street) dogs, along with caregiven companions deserted in evacuations.

We leave food on steps, patios and near pillars, careful to disperse small piles so that too many dogs don't vie for the same one.

The weak become evident: Frail, scant eaters who cower behind robust alphas. One hobbles on three legs; her right hind leg dangles zigzag above the ground. A hairless dog with advanced mange looks gloved in black leather with no hint of his original fur color.

A bulldog mix has an old jaw injury. A black, pointy-ear girl favors a leg. Her pelvis appears dislocated. We take notes in order to return for the most vulnerable. We cannot rescue them all. The "owned and healthy" will ride out receding waters here with monks.

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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