Hello, I'm LAMAI and was rescued from Koh Samui in 2003 by Brigitte and Peter.
On behalf of the award-winner, Brigitte Gomm, and in her name, I, respectively we, would like to tell you about this admirable project on the other side of the globe.
Let me first quickly tell you how we, my wife Brigitte (do not get it mixed up) and I, get to know the DOG RESCUE CENTER:
In the year 2003 we, and I am talking only about Brigitte and Peter Bose; Lamai, this dog at my side, was not in the picture at that time; we were two cat-people, especially Brigitte. We have not even thought about a dog until then.
We got to know the misery of animals in the southern holiday spots and were always followed by one or several animals. Obviously we have some kind of attraction, maybe because we can never turn our back towards them. That was the reason we stopped going on holidays to the south, just for our own protection.
That worked fine for a while, until an animal lover went into raptures about a beautiful small island of Thailand where no animal problems exist because of this German lady, Brigitte, who takes care of the sick dogs. She further told us that, if we were to see an injured animal, to call Brigitte and everything will be taken care of. We gave in; we cannot remember why swallowed that information without any doubts.
Anyway, in November 2003 we were there:
Koh Samui, an island of your dreams in the Thai gulf, about one hour flight (turboprop plane) from Bangkok; 247 square kilometers in size, comparable with the size of urban Düsseldorf (217 square kilometers), but with only 49,000 inhabitants (not counting tourists). Average temperature: 28 degrees Celsius, quite comfortable in November.
During the first week everything was like described. We saw a lot of dogs, but they did not seem to suffer. Therefore we decided to visit Brigitte from DOG RESCUE CENTER SAMUI in our second week.
Well, after entering her property, our remaining holidays of two weeks changed the way they were planned. This was not only because a greeting committee of several dogs awaited us happily barking and tail wagging at the gate. It did not bother us that some of them had only three legs, two of them walked only on their front legs and dragged their bodies with the limp hind legs behind, and some of them had no fur at all.
It was also because Brigitte Gomm greeted us as we had known her for a long time. And she was able to immediately integrate us into her daily activities. We learnt from other visitors who only wanted to have a look at the place, that they were treated the same way.
Once you are there, you have a job.
That meant for us that, within no time, we were on the road with the ambulance car (her only Thai helper with a driver license was on vacation for a few days). We had to transport dogs to the sanctuary which is located 25 kilometers away, or we, together with a Thai helper, had to catch bitches and bring them back for neutering. Just to mention in passing, we also caught four cats at our hotel for neutering. The cat trap was, of course, from Brigitte Gomm.
Brigitte Gomm, the award-winner, she is who I want to talk about:
Ten years ago there was no veterinarian on the island. Medical treatment for animals was
basically impossible. There were hundreds of homeless dogs, the so-called SOI-DOGS, who were begging for food at the beaches and in the streets. Every year they grew in numbers, how much, we can only guess. In this climate zone bitches can easily have puppies twice a year. Ten puppies per litter was not rare for a mixed breed. Whenever there were too many dogs on the island, the government ordered a mass poisoning which reduced the number of SOI-DOGS, but which, on the other side, caused trouble from the tourists who saw the dying dogs lying around. Furthermore, nobody cared for the injured dogs. Even small wounds can lead to death in the tropics because flies lay their eggs into the wounds and the maggots eat their way into the animals. The result of that were numerous animals dying unnoticed and miserably along the roadside. And the treatment of maggot-infested wounds is easy and the healing happens right away.
Thanks to the initiative of Brigitte Gomm, her husband Werner, as well as many animal lovers, who could no longer watch the misery of the animals on the island, it was possible to open up a small animal clinic for homeless dogs in 1999. A veterinarian was hired who neutered at least two bitches a day and treated injured animals.
The regular expenses for the clinic were high. That was financed with donations in the beginning. Thanks to the never-ending activities of Brigitte Gomm, there are now a large number of helping animal lovers worldwide who became sponsors for animals and/or secure the continuation of the sanctuary with their financial donations. Almost all of them have been on the island at least once and worked with Brigitte. And I repeat: once you have been there once, you are hooked.
Due to the generous donation of a Swiss woman, a 7,500 square meter-large property was acquired in 2002. This became the location of the sanctuary in 2003. All the dogs and in the meantime also cats, can find a shelter there if they no longer are able to live outside due to injuries or handicaps.
Since 2003, 250 dogs and 130 cats were taken into the shelter. Some of them only stay for a little while because animal lovers from Europe, Australia or Canada adopt one or two of them. Most of them, however, stay there for good, well taken care of, without hunger and pain.
That also applies to this lucky living creature here: a beautiful mixed breed. Her name: Lamai! Lamai from Koh Samui. She was living at our hotel in the village "Lamai-Beach", was caught by us and took in for neutering. Since we realized that it was too risky to bring her back to the hotel after her neutering, we had to make a decision. She did not have a chance at that place.
How we decided, you can see it here.
At the sanctuary is also a small clinic where a full-time veterinarian neuters at least six animals a day and cares for injured ones. In the meantime, a cat and a puppy house are completed. The puppy house is equipped with special quarantine measures, and hopefully the puppy mortality will be reduced.
When Brigitte was informed about the award this spring, she immediately made an investment for the sanctuary:
She bought ten large masonry tubs. You know, these large, black containers. Here you can purchase them without problems and at low cost at a building supply store. On Koh Samui this is not so easy and they are quite expensive, 900 Baht per container (about 18 Euros). These containers are used as bath tubs for the dogs, so that the drinking tubs no longer have to be used as such.
Greatest respect should be given to the construction work in this part of the world. Bureaucracy and Thai mentality were not really helping and only due to the stubbornness of Brigitte Gomm, things were accomplished. She is a respected "Farang" (foreigner) also because her ability to speak Thai.
By the way, we learnt one Thai word during our visit: TAMAN, that means castration.
After eight years of the foundation of DOG, in the meantime also, CAT RESCUE CENTER SAMUI, every dog and cat can be treated medically for free. More and more Thais take advantage of this offer since most of them are too poor to pay for veterinarian's bills. This created a trusting relationship and now Thais, as well as tourists, call Brigitte when they see injured animals along the roadside, so that her helpers can fetch them for medical attention. After many discussions with some hotel managers (unfortunately not that many), they realized that it is better for everybody to live with the dogs. These dogs are healthy, neutered and do not disturb anybody. The feeding of the animals is taken care of by the hotels - in ideal cases - or, like in most cases, by the Rescue Center. The dogs on Koh Samui eat anything (that also applies to this lady here - Lamai). They are not spoiled and eat whatever they can get (by the way, Brigitte's helpers pick up left-over bread and food from the hotel kitchens to feed the dogs). Ladies and Gentlemen,
Brigitte Gomm and her team deserve our respect. It is because of her that dogs and cats are treated medically on the whole island. Since 1999 numerous animals were spared from death, impoverishment and a miserable life due to her efforts and the work of her helpers.
I end my eulogy with the motto of the DOG AND CAT RESCUE CENTER SAMUI: HELP US HELP and want to thank the committee for their decision. I, respectively we (LAMAI), thank you for your attention.