Upon arriving in Thailand, the abundance of homeless animals is overwhelming. Some stray dogs travel in packs, while others wander alone all over the cities, villages and beaches. It is easy to assume that spaying and neutering is not of utmost importance to the people. One can’t help but wonder, though, if educating them of the benefits would sway their opinion.
There seems to be this nationwide ideal of a “semi-pet,” where people let an animals (cat or dog) roam around their property and occasionally feed them. This does not necessarily mean that they take care of them. Facilities have popped up around Thailand that spay and neuter cats and dogs, especially strays. They believe it is the only humane way to control the outstanding population of strays that occupy Thailand’s neighborhoods.
This project focuses on stray cats and dogs throughout different parts of Thailand. The abundance of subjects actually photographed is minute compared to the amount actually witnessed.
BRING YOUR CAT TO WORK
Many pet owners will bring their pet with them everywhere, treating them more as an accessory than a pet. Cats seem to be the more popular domesticated animal throughout Thailand, spotting with their rightful owners more often than dogs. In the Pak Phanang market, this stand-owner had her cat hanging around, almost on display himself. She seemed very proud and happy to have him with her. He definitely caught the attention of passersby, his dark coat contrasting with the bright colors of the products in the stand.
SHY GUY IN THE SHADE
Temples tend to be a popular spot for both stray cats and dogs. Many wander around and just end up there, probably drawn in by the quiet and vast space the temples provide. The cats, in particular, seem to be unbothered. Like most cats, they seek seclusion and quiet. This photo was taken seconds before the cat darted away.
CAT-CH OF THE DAY
The idea of a semi-pet is widespread throughout Thailand. Visiting a Muslim fishing village in Koh Samui presented this idea in a very unique way. In the Muslim religion, dogs are not often kept as pets because they are considered unclean. The people tend to avoid keeping dogs in order to avoid the extra hassle of washing and purifying before prayer or reading their holy text, the Koran. Cats are typically favored within the Muslim community because they keep themselves clean
Saeng Rang Wat houses many dogs at a time. The dogs are often dropped off by owners who no longer wish to care for them. Lots of the dogs sport scars and injuries (limping, etc.) but they look well fed overall. Most of the dogs were wary of humans but were not aggressive.
There are often more male dogs than female dogs in the temple so the males get territorial when trying to mate with the females and fight the other dogs, a definite cause to many of the dogs’ injuries. This female hid out in this small bell tower and was very aggressive to any dog that neared her. The abundance of strays in this temple really carries home the importance of desexing animals.
This older female dog’s enlarged teats suggest that she may have recently given birth to a litter of puppies. Desexing is not a priority to the Thai people which from one perspective is understandable because the surgery can be costly. But spaying and neutering animals is widely believed to be the only humane way to prevent stray overpopulation.
IN THE SHADOWS
A cat hiding away in the a deep corner of a temple. This cat had a collar but was very injured and was very shy.
PRIDE AND JOY
This woman in Koh Samui proudly displayed her cat rightfully named Suay, meaning beautiful. Her cat was well groomed and looked very healthy. Her owner’s expression and hers are comically similar.
Momma Dog has been hanging around the Walailak Hospitality Center for a few years. A very sweet and friendly dog, she is a favorite amongst visitors and the workers at the WHC alike. She and two other dogs stay around the front of the building, one of the other dogs believed to be one of her own pups.
In a fishing village, the cats will maintain the vermin population and feed themselves with any scraps from the boats coming in from the sea. Despite the symbiotic relationship these cats have developed with the village, many of them looked underfed. This cat was laying out in a fishing village in Tha Sala.
This temple located in Chian Yai district is inhabited by a large population of long-tailed macaque monkeys. It is a short walk from a busy street and is also located right next to a primary school. This dog wandered in and had a small stand-off with a few of the monkeys. After a little while, both parties settled down and the dog went on his way.
http://sak-yant.com/sak-yant/design-meanings/; http://www.soidog.org/en/spay-neuter-program/; http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/why-does-islam-dislike-dogs-1474897; http://islam.about.com/od/islamsays/a/Dogs-In-Islam.htm