Bang Wad Dam, Phuket Thailand
May 25, 2015
The little fluffy dog sat by the side of the road alone, only just recognizable as a dog, but strangely familiar at the same time. I thought maybe I’d seen him or her running around with the local pack of dogs, a week or maybe even two earlier and I’d had the same thought then.
A small fluffy dog shouldn’t be out here.
This was a designated recreational area but still pretty much the jungle and a nasty place for a little one to be alone. I stopped and approached the little fluff ball speaking softly.
I got barred teeth and a nasty growl as a response.
The dog’s eyes were mostly obscured by dirty matted fur and he or she was seriously agitated but after a few minutes I got close and felt game enough to reach out and pick up the tiny creature. As I did the growling stopped and as I pulled that tiny little body to my chest I felt it’s surrender.
The dog was a she.
She relaxed in my arms as if she knew me and even though she smelled I held her close. We had a two kilometer walk back to my car and I knew she was also covered in ticks but I just held her and walked.
She was exhausted and she felt skinny.
I knew that the most likely scenario was that she had been abandoned but at that moment I was hoping that I would be able to find her owner and witness a happy reunion.
I started to speak to her and I told her that it didn’t matter what had brought her to this point that from now on her life would be ok. She would be ok. I would make sure of it.
I would take her to the Soi Dog Foundation and she would be taken care of, nursed back to health and then adopted. So many people would want her because she was small. She would probably be one of the really lucky ones sent to a new home abroad to eager, caring owners. Of course, I wouldn’t keep her. I already had a very full plate. I had a dog and cat already and was kind of at a crossroads myself.
As I walked back to the car I passed other runners and a couple of them stopped briefly and asked about the dog.
“He doesn’t look good does he”
“Is he alright?”
I just found her. I don’t know. I’m going to take her to the Soi Dog Foundation.
We reached the car and my own dog of 4 years, NutNut, came bounding up. She’d been waiting for me to do a few extra laps of the dam. It was a couple of weeks out from a marathon I was entered in.
I kept the little bundle away from NutNut and opened the car allowing the bigger dog to take her usual “shotgun” position and put the rescue in the back where luckily I had a towel and some dog food and water. I gave her just a little.
I sent a message to the Soi Dog Foundation that I was coming in and set off on the long drive across the island of Phuket.
I didn’t get very far before a message came back asking me to not bring her in as they had “paused intake”.
I took her to PAWS and they didn’t seem especially interested in taking her either. I explained that I had found her and was worried about her condition and the fact that she was terrified of all the big, wild dogs and they just nodded their heads as if to say “ok, well off you go and take care of her then.” I guess they knew I would.
So I took her to the groomer.
And then it dawned on me that the reason I knew the groomer, Khun Aggie at Phuket Dog Park, was because I had met her almost 2 years earlier when I brought in a very similar case; a small fluffy white dog all matted up due to neglect. That time a young local girl had brought the dog, male, to my pub and I ended up looking after him but tragically he died not long after.
Khun Aggie, remembered me and looked confused at seeing the “ghost”.
Khun Aggie, told me the little girl was so badly matted she would have to clip her coat very short and I agreed but asked for her to be made to look as pretty as possible so she would be adopted quickly.
2 hours later I picked up a very different little dog.
Her skin was angry and pink and we could see tick bites and dog bites and tiny bruises caused by her matted fur. They had had to clip the hair on her tail right to the skin and it looked like a rat’s tail. But she got to keep slightly fluffy ears and a little hair around her face and when she saw I’d come back for her she lit up like a Christmas tree, so despite everything she was totally adorable.
Next stop was the vet; blood tests and a general checkup. We left with antibiotics and easy to digest “recovery” food. The vets noticed and pointed out that the little dog had already latched onto me. Poor little thing was understandably very insecure.
Home we went where I put the small one to bed in a crate. I was worried about how she might interact with my young cat, Mickey (yes, named after Mickey Dog) If things didn’t go well his claws could really hurt her tender skin.
I contacted the Soi Dog Foundation again who promised to take her the following week.
Now, if you’ve stuck with me though this story I am sure I don’t need to tell you that over the course of a few days that tiny little being kind of crept into my heart.
I named her Frankie after the Sister Sledge song of the same name, mostly because of the chorus “do you remember me?” She reminded me so much of my recued dog “Mickey” that had died and for some reason the song had begun to haunt me.
I had also been watching the TV series “The Sopranos” and felt that the tiny dog could use the tough mafia boss type name.
I posted ads, emailed all the vets and took her back to Bang Wad Dam almost daily for months but nobody ever claimed her.
Many times I asked myself if I was doing the right thing holding onto her when my future was so uncertain. If I decided to leave Phuket I already had a dog and a cat to transport and maybe even put through an extremely expensive quarantine process.
What was I thinking?
But I had promised her she would be ok and I knew that the only way I could guarantee that was to keep her myself. She trusted me and she needed me and I suppose in my own way I needed her.
Two years later Frankie would embark on an epic journey and eventually land on her feet in doggy paradise in the beautiful Whitsundays in Queensland Australia with her big sister NutNut and brother Mickey.
And there’s even more in store for Frankie in the next few years so be sure to follow twowhitecatsandtheirdog.com