No one knew where the dog came from, but he was in very bad shape. An obvious street dog, his skin condition was horrific and painful to even look at. The dog seemed to appear from out of nowhere and outside a local 7-Eleven in Phuket, Thailand. Though one of many street dogs, he looked more desperately in need of help.
When a woman spotted him outside the store, his awful condition prompted her to call Soi Dog Foundation, the local animal shelter, to find out if they had the means to help.
It was the end of October 2017. Soi Dog sent one of its animal rescue officers to pick up the dog and bring him to the shelter, where his journey was only beginning.
Brought to Safety
The dog, named Garwen, was about 8 years old at the time. He was examined by vets and diagnosed with demodectic mange. The vet team found demodex mites on Garwen’s body, some alive and some obviously dead, according to Maeve Henry, head of creative at Soi Dog Foundation. Garwen was terribly dehydrated and he had obvious bald patches all over and wounds from scratching himself.
“He was old and frail,” Henry said. “His fur was falling out in clumps, leaving him nearly totally bald. There was no telling how long he had suffered.”
Helping Thai Street Dogs
Soi Dog was founded in 2002 in Phuket, Thailand, to help the street dogs and cats who roamed the island. Every year, Soi Dog provides spay and neuter services as well as vaccinations for tens of thousands of street dogs and cats in the area. The organization is the passion of John Dalley and his late wife Gill who joined forces with Margot Park, the original founder.
Garwen was one of the many street dogs that Soi Dog tends to monthly. “He was very depressed, and he was not interested in eating,” Henry said. “He was kind of shut down. They were worried he might not make it.”
It’s amazing what a little bit of love, care, and medical treatment can do, however. “Once they started Garwen on the treatment he started to get better quickly,” she said. “It was amazing.”
A Quiet Dog
Garwen has come a long way. He is healed in body and spirit. His skin condition has been cured and his beautiful fur has grown back. Gone are the painful scabs and dry, bald patches on his body. He now looks like a totally different dog. And he is also available to be adopted.
He’s a bit different than other dogs and isn’t one for running around and playing. He is a medium-size dog, now about 9 years old. “He’s a sweetie and more reserved than other dogs,” Henry said. “He hangs back in his enclosure. All the other dogs will run up on you and he will always sit in the corner against the wall and wait for you to approach him. But when you get him out, he’s just a love bug.”
Garwen does like other dogs and he isn’t aggressive. “He doesn’t cause any problems, and he would make a wonderful pet,” Henry said.
While he may like to hang back from the other dogs, Garwen is truly laid back in general and doesn’t jump on people at all. “He’s very quiet, placid and reserved but he enjoys cuddling and being held,” Henry said.
Next to cuddling, he enjoys heading out for a nice long walk with the volunteers.
Looking for the Right Home
“Garwen needs someone who is prepared to give him time because these street dogs are different from normal dogs,” Henry said.
Many of the dogs are not used to living inside with ceilings. For instance, the enclosures at Soi Dog do not have ceilings. They live in an outdoor enclosure with a sheltered area within the enclosure so they can always access the outdoor area. So, ceilings have been known to scare the dogs.
“Things such as TV and vacuum cleaners can freak them out, too,” Henry said.
Garwen would do well with a patient owner. He needs lots of time, as do most of the adoptable dogs from Soi Dog. These dogs have never lived in a home and never worn a collar. “We do get dogs who were dumped but most were born on the street,” Henry said.
“The perfect adopter will be rewarded tenfold,” Henry said. “I just think he’s so sweet and really chilled out. I‘d love to see him in a home for his later years.”
Watch Garwen’s transformation here:
Soi Dog has very strict adoption interviews, especially since most of the dogs are adopted overseas. “We are not going to adopt a dog to have them have to come back,” Henry said. “We have very strict criteria.”
But in the end, it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in Garwen, first send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Garwen by name. It’s easier to adopt if you’re in the U.S or Canada; European countries have a longer quarantine period.
Feature image: Soi Dog Foundation