If you’ve never heard of the Soi Dog Foundation, prepare to be amazed. Several years ago I saw a documentary about this organisation and the great work they do, and I knew that if I were ever near them, I would have to visit.
Well, Jamie and I just had a trip to Phuket, Thailand and so we had a chance to visit Soi Dog’s Phuket facility and take the tour. If you’re ever in Phuket, this is a must see!
After the tour, we were allowed as much time as we liked to visit two of the dog areas and two cat areas.
I took the opportunity to go on Facebook live and explain what Soi Dog do and show around the pens. Check it out:
In Thailand, people don’t believe in euthanasia so it’s not an option for population control of homeless dogs and cats. So Soi Dog takes a holistic approach and have demonstrated the power of persistent action.
Each day, the Soi Dog team takes dogs and cats from the streets of Thailand, takes them to their shelter, sterilises, vaccinates and tattoos them, then return them to where they were found to continue on with life, minus breeding and rabies.
With this work, Soi Dog has been able to make Phuket the only rabies free province in Thailand. They have now sterilised and vaccinated 178.004 animals.
Soi Dog also works hard to fight the dog meat trade, rescuing countless dogs from the suffering. These stories really made me tear up on the tour.
At the time we visited, there were over 700 dogs in the shelter. Most of them are up for adoption and you can adopt a Soi Dog (or cat) from most places in the world. Some are not adoptable and they live out their days at Soi Dog, which is a pretty awesome life. Their shelter is one of the best I’ve seen, even compared to shelters in Australia.
How You Can Help
Soi Dog operates entirely on donations. Here’s some ways you can assist them with their work:
When you choose to adopt a rescue dog, not only are you gaining a new family member, but you’re saving a life. And in turn, another life can be saved as there is now another spot available at the shelter.
There are so many dogs waiting to find their perfect home that there is a lot of choice.
So how can you be sure to choose the right dog for you and your family?
Here’s a few things I’d consider when adopting:
Energy levels This would be one of the most important things to get right when adopting a dog. The energy levels should match yours. If you want to go running with the dog for miles every day then you don’t want to choose a couch potato. And vice versa. If you’re not a high-energy person then a high-energy dog will be high maintenance for you and you may not be able to keep up.
Size Ideally your dog will have plenty of room at his new place but keep in mind that size and energy level do not always relate to each other the way you may think. For example, did you know that Great Danes are known as great apartment dogs as they are so chilled? And that greyhounds are known to be couch potatoes?
Coat type If you’re considering a long coated dog, be aware that all that hair has to go somewhere so make sure you can handle it. Longer coated breeds need regular grooming. You’ll have to make a long term commitment to either spending time on it yourself, or spending money on it through someone else. Some dogs don’t shed but then they need regular clipping so make sure you prepare for the ongoing expense.
Health Does the dog have any pre-existing health problems? Or are they a breed or type that are prone to certain ailments? It’s perfectly fine to adopt a dog with a health problem as long as you’re prepared for how to manage it.
Temperament This is another huge one! Probably most important is the dog’s temperament. Is the dog friendly to people? To other dogs? To children or all ages? Does the dog have any phobias that could make him difficult to manage? These are all questions you should know the answer to before making your final choice.
Training needs All dogs need training, but it’s good to be aware that some dogs may need more training than others. Does the dog you are considering know any basic commands? Are they house-trained? If not, do you know how to go about training the dog? A good place to start is to have our free rescue dog checklist for settling in on hand.
Any serious behavior problems? Things like aggression or separation anxiety are very difficult to live with and take a long time to fix. It’s worth knowing about any major behavioral issues before making your final choice.
History Knowing that dog’s history can be a blessing or a curse. I say this because one thing I see happen a lot is that if the dog has had a bad past, the owner feels so bad for the dog that they allow them to get away with terrible bad habits. It’s important to move on to a happy and positive future by treating the dog like any other well-loved dog, but also with the same rules.
Your emotions As much as you’ll want to take every dog home, you need to make the decision that’s right for you. Choosing a dog because you feel sad for it because no one can get near it is not going to be an easy journey for anyone involved if you’re not a trained behavior expert. By the same token, choosing a dog solely on looks isn’t always the best decision.
Time Commitments How much time can you spend with your new family member? Just like energy levels, dogs vary as to how much time they need you to commit to them in training, exercise and just quality time. Research breeds and types that you are considering to get a good idea of their needs.
Expenses The cost of both purchasing and owning a dog can also vary depending on the age, breed and size too.
Other dogs at home Do you already have another dog/s at home? Make sure your existing dog is likely to get along with your new dog. Just like matching energy levels to you, it’s a good idea to choose a dog with similar energy levels to your current dog.
Age Experience puppy-hood or skip the puppy stage? There’s often puppies available in shelters. If the breed mix is unknown, it could be a bit of a gamble as to what you’ll end up with but you can still get a great idea of the temperament and energy levels from a young age. Typically most shelter dogs are young dogs but past the small puppy stage.There are also many older dogs in shelters and they often get over-looked. Could you open up your home to a golden oldie? The time spent with you may be less, but could be twice as rewarding.
While all of these points are important, when you know, you know. And sometimes… You just know. Sometimes people find their doggy soul mate, sparks fly and they drive off into the sunset…
Other times, the bond needs to build up over time. And that’s perfectly okay too.
Either way, there’s several things you can do to increase the bond between you and your new addition as well as to set the house rules in place. See the free Rescue Dog Checklist download to help your dog settle in, bond with you and learn the ropes of their new home.
May you find the perfect rescue dog to adopt and give them the happily ever after that they so deserve…
Give them some time. It’s important not to expect too much for the first few days. Just relax, spend some quality time just hanging out with the dog without putting on any pressure for interaction or training. Take things at the dog’s pace. HOWEVER, it’s very important that you don’t let the dog practice any bad habits. You have a clean slate to show this dog what the house rules are from day one so make the most of that.
Play is a powerful way to bond with a dog. Dogs bond with other dogs through play and also with people too. Just have fun!
Dogs thrive on routine and on knowing what is coming next. Have set walk times and set feed times. Set what time you hang out inside and what times you play outside with them.
Training is another great way to increase the bond between you and your new dog. Use fun rewards based methods and training becomes a powerful bonding exercise, just like play but with the benefits of learning new skills.
Be kind but firm and don’t pity your dog. Some rescue dogs have had horrible pasts and yes, it’s very sad and we feel for them. But if there’s one thing we can learn from dogs it is that dogs live in the moment. They are not constantly dwelling on their past, and neither should we. Dogs are thinking about what is happening right now. If we pity our dogs and excuse bad behavior, the dog is not better off but can become confused and anxious. Dogs thrive on routine and on knowing who is in charge. So while every dog is special, treat your new rescue dog like a normal dog with patience and kindness but also with rules and boundaries, and move forward with their bright future with you.
You find all these tips in our easy to follow checklist for settling in the adopted rescue dog. Download it free here.
Well the price of adoption can vary from shelter to shelter or organization to organization.
I can already hear the dog snobs saying, “if you can’t afford to pay for a dog then don’t get one.”
Well don’t be bitches, dog snobs. We aren’t all rolling in cash, are we…
The purchase price to adopt a dog from a shelter is usually between $200 to $400. This is a great deal because the dog comes with all of it’s medical stuff done already so you don’t have to pay for that. If you’re looking at a shelter that has not done the medical work on the dogs (neutering/spaying, vaccinations and worming) then you might want to consider looking for a rescue society that provides the medical work, especially if they are still charging you money for the dog.
Now it’s true that the initial purchase price of any dog usually becomes fairly insignificant over time. Not just because of the ongoing costs of dog ownership adding up, but because you form a bond with your dog and he or she then becomes priceless.. Aaawwww!
Nevertheless, let’s look at some of the expenses that you’ll need to keep in mind when preparing for dog ownership, or if you’d rather, preparing for your newly adopted furry child.
Desexing (spay/neuter) –
$200 – $500 depending on the vet. Rescue dogs – DONE. Cha ching! Money saved.
For intestinal worms, at least every three months but most done with a monthly wormer. This is done when you adopt your rescue dog but is obviously an ongoing cost. Worming can be combined into one monthly wormer.
As above, most are every month and can be combined but you can also get a yearly injection from the vet.
Most are a monthly application or a flea bath. Your adopted dog shouldn’t come with fleas. The rescue organization should fix up anything like this before putting the dog up for adoption.
COMBINED monthly flea, heartworm and intestinal wormers vary by brand but comes to roughly $60 – $100 per month depending on the size of your dog.
Equipment (collar, lead, bowl, bedding) –
Don’t be skimpy. You get what you pay for. Get good quality gear. A set up of all the above and good quality will range from $100 to $200 depending on dog size. You can also do this on a budget but then you may end up spending more when it all falls apart.
You want to feed your dog the best diet you can from the get go. A raw natural diet promotes a healthy shiny coat, gets rid of that “doggy smell,” cleans the dog’s teeth and promotes calm and stable behaviour. Check out Going Rawr for a complete guide to getting it right with a raw natural diet.
Not only that, but the cost is often less than a decent dog food. Total cost depends again on the size of the dog but I’d estimate the average cost to be around $20 – $30 per week for a medium to large sized dog.
Ah, my area of expertise! Make sure you see a reputable trainer. You may be better off with private lessons rather than group classes. Of course with the new and upcoming Rescue Dog Academy you can train at home without pressure or judgement and have all the knowledge you need to get off to a great start. Training is ongoing for the life of the dog but you needn’t keep spending money on it. You can learn plenty to do at home yourself.
If you require in home lessons from a behavioural trainer, this is usually for more serious behaviour problems such as aggression. Make sure you find someone who know’s what they’re doing and has plenty of experience and testimonials proving their results. So many “trainers,” are all talk and may even make the behavior worse if they aren’t experienced.
Pet Insurance –
I highly recommend pet insurance, at least for the first two years as this is when genetic issues can crop up. After that, pet insurance provides peace of mind if there is an accident or illness that happens suddenly. You don’t want to be caught out not being able to afford vet bills if something happens to your new best friend. Pet Insurance costs between $60 to $80 per month depending on the provider and the plan. Make sure you read the fine print!
Pay them back…
You may pay the bills but you’ll be paid ten times over with love from your newly adopted rescue dog. Don’t forget to pay them back ;
I occasionally receive calls from people who have found wandering or lost dogs. There are a lot of roaming dogs around in our area and when people pick them up, they are often unsure of what to do with them.
Check for a name tag – If the dog has a collar with tags, check for a name tag with phone number on it. This is the first thing that most people do.
Check for a Council Registration tag – If the dog is registered with the council it should have a council registration tag on its collar. This tag will have a unique number on it. Call the Council on 1300 883 699 and they will be able to put you in touch with the owner using the number on the tag.
Check for a microchip – If the dog is not wearing a collar or has no tags on the collar, you can check for a microchip by taking the dog to the nearest vet. If the dog is chipped, the vet will be able to call the owner to come and collect their dog.
List the dog on Facebook – Many dogs are being reunited
with their owners thanks to Social Media. The biggest page for our local area is “Lost Pet Coordinator Bundaberg.” There are also a few others you can search for. Posting a photo and time and location that the dog was found will help. If you send the dog to the pound in the mean time, people will have another avenue of tracking them down through your post.
Door knock in the area the dog was found – By asking around you may find the owner or someone who knows who the owner is.
If the dog has no means of identification listed above, the last option is to call the council pound to come and collect the dog. The council will hold the dog for three business days before it legally becomes their property. They then send the dog to either the RSPCA or Red Collar Rescue. Before Red Collar Rescue came to our area, a lot of dogs were destroyed after their three days at the pound were up. But thanks to the rescue group, this is now a rarity unless the dog is aggressive to people.
Because of the fear of the dog being destroyed or having a fearful time in the pound, a lot of caring people really hesitate to hand the dog over to the pound. I can understand these feelings completely but you need to keep in mind a few things:
By keeping the dog with you, it is less likely that the owner will be able to find their dog as most people know to check the pound when a dog is lost.
If you decide to keep the dog for yourself, without the dog going through the pound system, this is against the law. If you want to keep the dog, tell the pound staff when they collect it that you wish to adopt the dog. They will then arrange for you to adopt the dog from the rescue group that takes it after it has done its three days in the pound system.
The best thing people can do to prevent their dog ending up in the pound is to microchip and register their dogs, and to use a name tag.
It is no longer considered safe or acceptable for dogs to roam the streets at risk of being hit by a car, so never doubt you are doing the right thing by helping out a dog at risk of traffic injury. Just think how worried you would be if it were your dog! And think too, how you would want the best chance possible to find your dog safely by people following the steps above. Make sure all your dogs are micro-chipped and tagged so that hopefully they never need to end up at the pound.
Featured Course: Frantic to Focused
This comprehensive course takes you step by step on how to get your dog from a frantic dog to a focused dog on walks. EVEN around other dogs.
Looking for information online can be so confusing as there is so much conflicting advice. In Training Matters, we explain not just the how of dog training, but the why, so that you know what to do and why to do it this way.