Petra and I were vacationing on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand in the summer of last year.
During our first evening beach walk we saw a nice little dog who, after some persuation, came hesitantly to greet us.
Two days later we met the same dog on that same stretch of beach close to our hotel. The dog was skinny and not wearing a collar.
In the mean time we had found out that there was problem with an overpopulation of stray dogs on Koh Samui. The local and rather poor population tries to solve the problem of an extra litter the easy way by dropping it in an isolated and deserted spot.
Either Petra or myself, I don’t remember exactly anymore, was carrying some left over food which the dog, who turned out to be female, very cautiously accepted.
Because we had fed her she “adopted” us, there is no other way to explain it. The dog started to walk alongside us every time she saw us. On the beach she lay next, or better yet, between our reclining beach chairs and later on she dug a small hole in the sand under my beach chair. The dog quickly found out where we were staying, it was a garden bungalow with a small private garden In the evening she walked “home” with us. Every night she slept on the threshold of our room and greeted us friendly when we got up in the morning.
In the evening as we were having our last drink of the day she went along to the open air bar and lay contently next to us.
When we went out of the resort on day trips we found her waiting for us at the door or on the deck of our bungalow and the same happened when we went out for dinner in the evening.
The dog was not allowed in the breakfast pavillion as not disturb the other guests, she went and lay down on the beach close to the exit and waited for us.
She was very suspisious towards the Thai hotel staff who were probably used to chase her away when she was walking by herself through the resort gardens or on the beach in front of the hotel. We heard that the staff called her “deng” (that is how it sounded to us) and from what we understand it refers to her reddish color : däng means red or reddish.
Towards the end of our stay she had become “our little dog”, not only in our eyes but also in the eyes of the other hotel guests and staff. We left the islandthe next morning with a small heart.
Was it just a holiday romance? What more can you do than give her a good last meal and leave quietly.
But yet, on the long flight back home we felt really bad that we had not even tried to take her with us. We had heard about a volunteer organisation who tried to do something for the stray dogs and cats on the island. Maybe these people could have ........
Once back home we search the Internet and found the organisation (Koh Samui Dog Rescue Center) under www.samuidog.org and we asked the driving force behind that organisation, a German lady called Brigitte Gomm, if she could help us find Däng.
Brigitte reacted very enthousiatically to our request. We had a few pictures of Däng that we could send her and also knew the simple number of her ear tattoo. The tattoo was prove that Däng had gone through the Dog Rescue Centre as a puppy where she got a basic treatment such as vaccination, sterilisation/castration, tattoo etc. Because of a lack of funds all they can do, if the animal leaves the Centre healthy, is hope for the best.
Through Brigitte we offered a small reward to motivate the hotel staff to be on the lookout for Däng
Three weeks and many e-mails later, after we had just about given up hope, we got a message that she had been found and that Brigitte was looking after her.
I will spare the reader a description of the following three months of paperwork, vaccination and quarantaine obligations, tasks performed wonderfully by Brigitte at cost without any profit.
On November 15th, 2006 Däng arrived at Brussels International Airport on a flight from Koh Samui via Bangkok and London to Brussels. She arrived in good condition in a fairly comfortable bench.
Believe it or not but we think she immediately recognised us, she was very happy and ready to be cuddled.
After she arrived at our house she had to get used to our 2 other dogs and visa-versa. In the beginning there was some tension not only because our white Slovenian Tjuvac named Zahra is a female dog as well and very dominant towards other females but also because we had noticed on Koh Samui that Däng herself did not seem keen on approaching other dogs.
With Duke, a male dog and a cross between a black Labrador and a Border Collie, with a beautiful mix of the characters of both breeds, things went very well from the beginning. After a few days, instead of just having a couple of dogs, we now have a small pack of them.
Our three cats needed some more time to get used to the new arrival but that too turned out very well.
Däng herself has adapted wonderful to her new environment, even to the cold weather of the first wet winter months who at first she did not like at all.
As if she had never known otherwise she was “housetrained” from day one. We never found any “accidents” in the house, the inside or the outside kennel even though we both work and are away all day. We can take her anywhere, she loves to sit in the car and we never had any problems walking her on a leash. She also behaves very well when we go to family or friends.
She is very affectionate and loves to come and cuddle with us in the evening as we get comfortable on our couch. She then either lays right besides us or goes and lays in her basket to dream about the sun drenched Thai beaches and the deep-blue seas…
Petra and Guy Delvoie-Plas
Here I am still on Koh Samui