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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
ASH Students Fetch Big Funds for Soi Dog
test sub heading By Arlette Stuip 11-Nov-15
Every winter, fifth-graders at the American School of the Hague (ASH) get busy raising funds to support an amazing animal shelter in Phuket, Thailand called Soi Dog, which means “street dog.” These student-led activities have included silent art auctions, fingernail painting, candy guessing games, raffle baskets, a pie-throwing contest, and a sponsored run. John and Gill Dalley, two British tourists who retired to Thailand in 2003, were hoping for a quiet life. But when they saw the sad condition of the 50,000 sick and starving homeless dogs living on the streets of Phuket, they opened a shelter in a small two-room office instead. In September 2004, Gill lost both her legs after saving the life of a dog. Still, she continues to work seven days a week, standing on prosthetic limbs. Over the past decade, Soi Dog has accomplished a great deal. The organization launched a large-scale sterilization program, catching and sterilizing 80,000 dogs and cats and releasing them where they had been found. They hope to sterilize 100,000 animals by the end of 2015, and to have the stray dog population on Phuket under control. Thanks to Soi Dog, Phuket is Thailand’s first rabies-free province. The organization’s aim is to support the Thai government by devising a means to eradicate rabies throughout country by 2020. Soi Dog works full time to fight and bring to an end the illegal trafficking of dogs to be sold as meat, both domestically and in Vietnam. This devoted team has rescued thousands of dogs that were kidnapped and smuggled across the border and is now caring for them, having built shelters capable of holding up to 5,000 rescued dogs. Before Soi Dog got involved, an estimated 500,000 live dogs were being smuggled across the border into Laos then Vietnam each year. Every year since the 2004 Tsunami, ASH’s fifth-graders have been involved in supporting Soi Dog. Among their many contributions to this important cause, our students have sponsored dogs; funded 20 highway billboards to end the dog meat trade; helped fund dedicated spaces for puppies, nursing moms, and older dogs; furnished the new cat clinic; helped secure a dental machine; and funded an ICU/ intensive care unit. In 2014, they supplied the funds needed to purchase a bath to wash dogs with skin problems, as well as a wet table for operations, four infusion pumps to automatically set IV doses, and a large scale to weigh dogs. This winter, it took our students only two short months to raise enough money to fund five steel examination and treatment tables for the new hospital, each of which costs roughly US$1,450. Shelter volunteers see between 120 and 150 dogs a day, so the more tables they have, the more dogs they can examine and treat. Thanks in part to the many years of support they’ve received from our students, Soi Dog was able to move its operation to green, spacious quarters a few years back. Today, their dream of opening the biggest and best-equipped dog hospital in Asia is becoming a reality. After several years in the works, building plans have finally been approved by the Thai government. Construction of the hospital should be completed within one year. To get involved, contact Arlette: [email protected]www.soidog.org
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