What A Remarkable Story of Compassion and Commitment
John and Gill Dalley are true heroes for street dogs and cats in Phuket – Thailand. The following story explained in their foundation information explains their mission and their incredible dedication! Rehabilitated animals from Soi Dog Foundation can be adopted and sent to live in the UK – USA – Europe and Canada. Please take a moment to read their story and consider an overseas adoption if you have the means and inclination!
“Soi Dog Foundation is a not-for-profit, legally registered charitable organization in Thailand, the United States, Australia, the UK, France and Holland. Soi Dog helps the homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats of Thailand. Our aim is to set an example for the Asian region on how to humanely reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats through spaying and neutering, and to better the lives and living conditions of the stray dogs and feral cats of Asia.
John and Gill Dalley moved from England to Phuket in 2003, after having visited many times before on vacation. The Dalleys had married in Phuket and decided to come back permanently to retire. Little did they know that instead of a leisurely retirement, they would work harder with Soi Dog than they ever had in England. What they found in Phuket after getting settled was a massive stray dog problem that was growing rapidly due to the growth of Phuket as a tourist destination and a place where Thais from all over Thailand came to find work. The Dalleys knew they had to try to help somehow.
When asked why they chose Phuket initially, John replied, “The climate, the people and of course the animals! They were determined to do something to help “rather than just spend our time lying around doing nothing.” When they looked closer at the situation around Phuket, they saw many street dogs, sick, suffering and needing help. Being a nation of Buddhists, euthanasia was unacceptable. However, it was acceptable to put unwanted puppies and kittens on the streets because nature would take its course.
About the same time the Dalleys arrived, a woman named Margot Homburg Park also moved there. Park was the original founder of the Soi Dog Foundation in 2002. (Soi is the Thai word for street). Using her own funds, Park began sterilising the stray dogs in her neighbourhood, first in the capitol city of Bangkok and then in her new home of Phuket. The Dalleys and Park worked together to create spay – neuter clinics around the island. Slowly the organisation grew. The Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) was on its way to becoming a driving force in helping the street dogs of Phuket have better lives.
John Dalley jokes he works more with the animals than he did for his former company. “Gill and I effectively work 7 days a week, often 14 hours per day. In reality we now work far harder in retirement for no pay than when we worked for a living!” This is especially true since 2006 when Park became ill and moved back to Bangkok, leaving the Dalleys to continue on their own.
Buddy Before & After
In September of 2004 – Gill Dalley was attempting to bring a tranquillized stray into the clinic for treatment. They had tranquillized the dog and it had escaped into a flooded buffalo field. She knew she could not leave the dog there and waded through the water to save it. Shortly afterward, Gill became ill and her legs began to ache and turn a bluish-gray. She had developed septicemia, infected by an unknown organism in the flooded field she had carried the dog through. Doctors treating her realised the only way to save her life was to amputate both her legs below the knee.
Pearl Before …
Pearl With Her “New – Forever” Dad in Copenhagen!
When the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami ripped through the island, destroying everything within the waves’ reach. One of the organisation’s most impassioned volunteers, Leone Cosens, was killed in the disaster. However, what seemed hopeless actually helped the SDF become even stronger. The months following the tsunami saw the arrival of volunteer veterinarians from around the world. Because of the SDF’s strong community presence, these organisations were able to get to work quickly and efficiently.
It led to an award by the Humane Society International and another organisation, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), thought so highly of the SDF that they agreed to finance the sterilisation programme for the next two years. During this entire ordeal, Gill Dalley worked from a wheel chair as she recovered from her double amputation surgery. She didn’t let the loss of her legs stop her from helping Phuket’s animals. Using prosthetics, she now walks and trains the dogs at the Foundation’s shelter. Although sterilisation has always been the main focus, Soi Dog recently built a shelter, headquarters and medical clinic. They currently employ four full-time veterinarians and over 20 other staff members. They house around 400 dogs at any one time and also have an education programme in schools to teach children about responsible pet ownership.”
Soi Dog Foundation accepts, collects, treats, rehomes and cares for the sick, injured and neglected cats and dogs of Southern Thailand. They have sterilized over 30,000 of the island’s dogs, provided a mass immunisation program for street dogs and locals who cannot afford to desex or immunise their dogs and cats. The animals that cannot be returned to their owners or environment due to cruelty or neglect or are not rehomed or adopted, are kept at the shelter where they at least will be well fed, protected and receive tender loving care from the dedicated staff and volunteers”.
If you are travelling in Thailand you can visit Soi Dog – I’m betting it would be a life-changing experience!