I have been feeding a group of six very shy, stray dogs (Misha, Timber, Ranger, Joy, Pim and Dodge) near my rented house in Chiang Mai for about two years. Sadly, a few months ago, Dodge disappeared and we believe she was hit by a car.
This year, I am moving back to my hometown and I am hoping to start a small bed and breakfast there. It is an off the beaten track town, with both natural and cultural places.
I am hoping to bring the five remaining dogs with me. I am planning to finally capture them and have them fully vaccinated. They will also be properly trained and socialized. The dogs’ happiness will be prioritized at the B&B, which means that guests who will be staying there will be limited to dog enthusiasts who don’t mind giving the dogs a lot of TLC.
There are many strays in Chiang Mai. There are also many individuals like me who feed stray dogs in their neighborhood but most of the time, the dogs do not get spayed or neutered. However, recently, there are a few foreigner run shelters that provide free sterilization for street dogs in Chiang Mai so hopefully, there will be less strays in the future.
Many years ago, I met a local rescuer who has been feeding and taking care of stray dogs while volunteering at a shelter. Two years ago, she asked me to help her feed a group of very shy dogs across the main road from where I lived. There were about forty stray dogs in that area at that time and she was unable to get food to them. The group was supposed to be a mother and her three pups, but a few days later, two more dogs who were also apart of the family started showing themselves.
Altogether, the group consisted of the mother, an adult male and four puppies.
At the beginning, I had to hide after leaving food out for them, and they eventually came out of hiding to eat. Now, they are slightly friendlier around me. They can eat food comfortably from my hand and two of the puppies, Ranger and Joy, even allow me to stroke their fur, but still won’t let me hold them.
Whenever I am unavailable to feed the dogs, I will leave the food with the rescuer and she’ll always feed them for me. Some of the dogs received free spay and neuters from WVS Care for Dogs and some with Santisook Dogs and Cats Rescue.
Many people have asked me why it took so long to gain these dogs’ trust. I think it is mostly because the mother, Misha, is very shy. We don’t know where she came from nor what happened to her before.
The adult male, Timber, is also very shy. Both of them are very elusive. About a year and a half ago, we had to get all the stray dogs in the area sterilized. The four pups were captured by a trap cage, but the shelter had to send someone to shoot Misha with a tranquilizer gun, and we are still having trouble trying to capture Timber.
With limited space available at both shelters, the dogs were returned to the same place after sterilization.
I have a shy rescue dog, DJ, whom I brought home from Bangkok six years ago. DJ used to be a lot like these dogs. He recognized me as a friend after only a few weeks of feeding him on the street (where he lived), but after a month, he still didn’t let me touch him.
At my home, he quickly learned to ask for attention from my family by watching my other dogs asked for attention, but he still walked away when we approached him. It took DJ a few years to allow us to hold him and cuddle him like a normal dog.
I hope that one day, we can do the same for Misha, Timber, Ranger, Joy and Pim.