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

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Introducing Samantha

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the face of youthful canine disappointment. This is my friend Samantha, a hyperactive 8 month old pup who lives with her mother near the Landmark Hotel on Sukhumvit Road. Samantha is sad because her mom (seen in the background) won't let her go out and play with her Bangkok street dog pals. That's why in this photo, Sam's mournful expression and furrowed brow make it seem, to the viewer at least, like her world is about to end.

Now, before you go getting all teary-eyed at this poor pup's plight, you should know that Sam's mom has many good reasons to punish her! Youth sometimes has an intoxicating effect (on both humans and animals) and the rebellious Samantha has been going through a stretch of behavior that has been, well, less than exemplary. For example, Sam has recently developed a penchant for digging, barking loudly at passing cars, and stealing ice cream cones from small children.

After her last transgression, in which Sam absconded with a 2 year old girl's cone of chocolate chip ice cream, Sam's mom decided enough was enough, and grounded her. And that means Sam was unable to join us for a roam down to the Chao Praya River when I took this photo. Her whining could be heard all the way down Sukhumvit Road!

Actually, I have to agree with Sam's mom on this punishment -- I mean, I'm all for being opportunistic, but you can't just take a kid's ice cream cone away from him/her. That kind of behavior has a way of coming back to bite you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Re-introducing Casanova (the author of this blog)

If you haven't already seen my welcome message from a few months ago, you're probably wondering about the dog behind this blog, and why I started it. Well, my name is Casanova, and I'm a 3 year old male dog of extremely mixed heritage who lives near the Klong Toey market in Bangkok, Thailand. Over the past couple of months, I've used this blog to highlight the life and times of some of my closest pals in the Bangkok street dog community. Now it's time for you to learn some more about me!

Despite my extreme good looks -- as evidenced in the photo collage above, which I have put together to convey every nuance of my rugged, yet handsome visage -- I am still a pretty down-to-earth dog. My personality is simple and loyal, as my legions of street dog friends can attest. I would do anything for a friend in a time of need, and am confident that my friends would return the favor. And that's what it's all about when you're a dog roaming the lonely, dusty streets of Bangkok.

How many of us street dogs roam the capital's streets? No one really knows, but the newspapers estimate anywhere from 100-300,000. As I mentioned before, Thailand's Buddhist influence means they don't round us street dogs up and put us to sleep on a regular basis. However, some pretty hideous things do happen to me and my brothers and sisters, and many of us do carry dangerous diseases such as rabies. I started this blog not to gloss over or ignore these harsh realities, but to give us dogs a voice, and hopefully, portray us in a positive light.

I'm not asking you humans to pretend like the problems we cause don't exist, I just want you to realize that most of us dogs are pretty kind-hearted creatures. Also keep in mind that no other animal is as closely aligned with humans as dogs are - it's a fact. Unless you count dolphins or killer whales, but it's not like they can guard your house if a burglar breaks in, know what I mean? And they're not exactly cuddly either.

Anyway... I'm Casanova and I hope you enjoy my blog.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Introducing Donny Daredevil

For most street dogs, surviving in Bangkok is a day-to-day struggle in which dangers -- in the form of speeding cars and motorcycles, predatory fellow street dogs, disease, and poisoning by heartless humans, to name a few -- lurk around every corner. You might assume, then, that the chaotic life of a city stray would be anything but boring. And that's true for most dogs -- except for a crazy 4 year old white-haired mutt known on the street as Donny Daredevil.

The thrill-seeking Donny, who lives near Bangkok's Grand Palace, loves to play street games in which he risks life and limb -- and the gnashing teeth of Bangkok's mind-boggling array of vehicles are all too happy to oblige. He's seen here playing his favorite game -- called "Pancake" -- which consists of Donny positioning his tail in the roadway and then moving it out of the way just as a car is about to run over it, while of course managing to avoid getting run over himself.

Donny always gets this maniacal, glassy-eyed grin on his face after he has played this game for a few hours, after which his friends will team up to drag him to the safety of the sidewalk. He actually used to play Pancake using his front legs, but on one unfortunate occasion he was too slow to remove his left front paw, and it was severed by a passing cement truck. Luckily, a fellow street dog knew someone who knew someone in the emergency room at Bangkok General Hospital, and this doctor was able to re-attach Donny's left front paw -- although it's not completely straight, as you can tell from the photo.