Bangkok Street Dogs

A place to learn about the lives of street dogs in Bangkok, Thailand, with emphasis on the individual characters of the Bangkok street dog community and their stories of hardship and humor.

View Casanova's Welcome Message

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Introducing Jack

This is my buddy Jack, a 2 year old part terrier, part who-knows-what, who lives near the railroad tracks in the Din Daeng section of Bangkok. Despite his diminutive stature, Jack is one of the scrappiest, toughest little dogs you'll ever meet.

Like most terriers, Jack has a pretty hot temper, and once he gets riled up there's no stopping him. Fortunately, Jack's a pretty reasonable dog, who only fights in situations where obvious injustice is taking place.

For his friends, Jack is one hurricane of a bodyguard! One time, when I was walking down Sukhumvit Road, on my way to see some friends (to go out trash can-tipping), I was set upon by a pack of drooling, bloodthirsty hell hounds from Bangkok's eastern suburbs. These mangy miscreants have a well-earned reputation for cruising around town and causing trouble, and they soon had me cornered in a dark alley.

Just as they were about to tear me to pieces, I heard a vicious, high-pitched snarling sound, like the din of a dozen rabid pit bulls. It was Jack, coming to save me! He came rushing into the crowd of dogs, snapping and biting and going off like a canine buzzsaw, and within seconds the gang of bullies went running away yelping, with their tails between their legs.

It's good to have a friend like Jack. He'd do anything for me.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Introducing Stretch

This friendly fellow's name is Stretch. He lives in the Sutthisarn neighborhood of northern Bangkok, near a cluster of small streetside noodle shops, a roast chicken seller, a butcher shop, and a 7-Eleven. Stretch is known as a lanky, skinny, tall dog whose emaciated appearance belies his impressive athleticism. His hind legs are the source of his amazing leaping ability, which he utilizes on a daily basis in his never-ending search for food.

Stretch's mother was an purebred Greyhound, which accounts for much of his quickness and agility. As a pup, Stretch used to hang out at the Saturday night motorcycle races that take place in many locations all over Bangkok. Chasing these speeding teenagers on motorbikes was not only fun, it also helped Stretch to develop his native talents and become an extremely fast runner.

Stretch is also a prolific jumper; so prolific, in fact, that the chicken seller on his street was forced to hire a security guard to watch his shop, after having dozens of his chicken breasts 'disappear' from the countertops. "Every time I would turn my back, or go into the kitchen, all the chicken breasts would be gone, not even a single bone was left," explained the chicken seller. Other restaurant owners and food sellers in the area have reported similar thefts, although no one has yet been able to catch Stretch in the act.

Stretch has become something of a local folk hero in the Bangkok street dog community, because he always shares the food that he steals from local restaurants and markets. In this way, he espouses the Thai concept of kindness and generosity known as nam jai.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Introducing Happy

Meet Happy, a brown and white female who lives near the Asoke/Sukhumvit Road intersection. Happy spends most of her days sprawled on the sidewalks of local malls and markets, napping through the afternoon heat. She might look lazy and shiftless during these times, but in the evenings, Happy turns on the charm and sets off in search of food.

Her most effective tactic is to walk around with a friendly smile and wagging tail, gazing dreamy-eyed through the windows of local restaurants at the people eating inside. More often than not, someone will come out and throw her a few scraps of their meal, which she devours in milliseconds.

Happy is one of the most easygoing, optimistic characters in the Bangkok street dog community, which is surprising in light of the difficulties she faced growing up. As the smallest of a litter of 14 puppies, Happy had lots of trouble getting enough of her mother's nourishment. In fact, the larger puppies would often muscle the poor little gal to the sidelines, where the nipples did not bear as much milk.

However, instead of growing bitter and disenfranchised, Happy learned how to use her infectious smile to solve conflicts and open doors. Thusly, she was able to eventually gain a spot at the front of the line at suppertime. She continues to use her disarming smile to solve problems and mediate conflicts wherever and whenever they arise.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Introducing Itchy

For reasons that are fairly obvious, this fellow's name is Itchy. He is known in the Bangkok street dog community as a dog who is always scratching, nibbling, rubbing, and clawing to soothe his filth-ridden hide of various bugs and skin conditions. I personally try to avoid this guy, because last time we hung out, the next day I woke up with what felt like the Flea Olympics taking place all over my back and tail!

The weird thing is, Itchy has this warped belief that his bad skin and dirty appearance make him seem tough and strong. He's not an unpleasant dog, however, and I do feel sorry for him. He kind of reminds me of the character Pigpen from the Peanuts comic strip.

Itchy and I talk occasionally (from a distance). He told me about how one day during the rainy season in Bangkok, he got caught in a sudden, drenching thunderstorm (which is easy to do at that time of the year), which washed all the dirt and grime from his fur, leaving it pristine and fragrant. But Itchy felt this cleanliness made him seem weak, so in order to to preserve his rough and tumble Bangkok street dog image, he promptly knocked over a garbage can filled with rotting mangoes, and proceeded to roll around in the pungent mess until reaching a satisfactory level of restorative filthiness.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

A welcome from Casanova


Hello, and welcome to Bangkok Street Dogs, my first foray into the blogging world (I abhor the term 'blogosphere'). My name is Casanova, and I'm a 3 year old male mongrel who lives near the Klong Toey market in Bangkok, Thailand. The purpose of this blog is to document the lives of several prominent characters of the Bangkok Street Dog community.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Thailand and its capital, Bangkok, let me provide you with some background. Thailand, as a Buddhist country, does not believe that stray animals should be rounded up and put to sleep. It does happen, but not with the same sad frequency as in other countries. And that means that the streets of Bangkok, and other Thai cities, are teeming with large communities of homeless hounds.

Although we're happy just to be alive, life in Bangkok is tough for us street dogs. We oftentimes live in unkempt, filthy conditions - you might even say that most places we sleep aren't fit for a dog! But amidst the squalor, I can tell you that great things do emerge from our community. Great characters are constantly developing and standing up for themselves against all odds. Survival instincts take over and carry us through the sometimes difficult conditions.

In short... us Bangkok street dogs may be poor, wretched, and desperate, but we do have each other, and telling our stories is therapeutic for our lonely souls. We also have the love and support of Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is a dog lover and has adopted a former street dog named Thongdaeng.

With me as your guide, this blog will serve as a place to meet members of Bangkok's street dog community, and hear their anecdotes. In reading my posts, you'll get a keen sense of the challenges Bangkok street dogs face, and perhaps better appreciate their ability to stay positive during all the hot, dusty days and hungry nights spent scraping out a living in the Thai capital.