Respect for the Dog Yo!: Photo Essay at Care for Dogs

 | Fri 8 Nov 2013 13:53 ICT

On top of the world!Care for Dogs is a non-profit organisation that was established almost eight years by Karin Hawelka, a German expatriate who wanted to help the thousands of street dogs in Chiang Mai. Their main focus is to help reduce the numbers of dogs by sterilising them, although they do incredible work rescuing dogs, providing shelter, offering medical care and after-care, and also finding homes for dogs.
Being greeted when we walked in.To say most of the dogs haven’t had the best of lives, and are effectively institutionalised, just about every face we met was full of excitement. The dogs seem to like visitors. At the moment Care for Dogs has about 180 dogs staying at the shelter, a number they desperately need to reduce. Unless they can find more land, the current place does not have enough space, and staff are also sometimes overworked because of the high numbers. 
Volunteers.Anyone can volunteer, and once you’ve been through a couple of days introduction volunteering you can pick and choose when you want to come. You are needed for a number of things, from walking the dogs to building benches. They need vets, carers, handymen, IT and promotional staff, and even groomers. Get in touch with them here. 
Little one on the mend so he stays in the office.Many dogs have been run over before coming to the shelter, though a lot have been beaten and maltreated, and a number are rescued from the dog meat trade, both in Thailand and Vietnam. 
In the busy office.There’s always something going at Care for Dogs: events, schools visits, educational programmes, and the daily job of just caring for dogs. 
Happily hopping along.Three legged dogs are the minority, but they have quite a few friends in the same predicament. Two legged dogs also seem to get by!
Intensive care.The Thai vet at Care for Dogs does an amazing job in fixing patients brought in and also doing around 60 sterilisations a month. 
A dog on the mend.High priority cases, such as dogs that have been seriously hurt by people or cars, or dogs with tumours, are rescued and taken to hospital. 
A before shot of Shanika when she first arrived at Care for Dogs.
Shanika after some good old love and comfort.
A young puppy in the sick ward.
My old friend Dan Hatley, who is now the Shelter Manager.
All the dogs have their favourite hang-outs.
The pirate look.Dogs at the shelter sometimes have missing eyes, either from fighting or TvT (canine venereal disease). This dog lost just one eye, but quite few of the dogs have lost both. 
The gang leader.Dan explained that the dogs have all sorts of groups and hierarchies. Usually when a dog enters the shelter he/she finds a group. If he is accepted he will stay with that group in one area, such as on top of the wooden boards. Other dogs from other groups cannot enter the area without causing a barking match. Kind of like human prison gangs in the west! Some dogs are like big bosses, which means they sit like kings at the top of the houses. They even have minions who protect them at the bottom. Some dogs don’t ever find a group, and become known as “the roamers”, although they still seem to enjoy causing a bit of trouble. 
The old dogs get their own enclosure together.
The top dog.This dog sits on the highest shelf while his minions guard him down below. Surprisingly, he seemed quite chilled about meeting me. 
Puppies!Nearly all puppies get adopted quite quickly. But Dan stressed that people also need to adopt older dogs. Older dogs are good for a few reasons: they don’t poo everywhere, and they don’t chew everything.
An inexperienced puppy practising for the future. Actually, all the dogs are sterilised, or will be when they are old enough. According to Dan some of the older dogs don’t really mate, but they still like to go through the motions of mounting for old time’s sake. 
This naughty dog was always getting into trouble. 
Angry dogs.Dogs occasionally get a little frisky over territory issues, but they’re friendly enough towards humans. I was allowed to sit anywhere I wanted. 
Watering the dogs when they need to chill.
Two puppies who were adopted and were back at the shelter for sterilisation. 
Puppies that were just brought in.
Chai the dog catcher showing us how he sedates adults.“I love it, and I love dogs,” he says.
Smiling pups.Dan says “It’s a bit stressful at times, and heartbreaking, but it’s really rewarding.”
Being attacked!Bee, the Charity Support Coordinator, says the hardest thing is dealing with people who hurt dogs, cage them, or are just ignorant towards their plight. She tells me many times that caging dogs is a terrible thing to do.
More young pups.Care for Dogs need all kinds of supplies, including blankets, drugs, food, tick killer (Frontline), toys, tools, biscuits, and anything else that would be of use to them.
Go to for all the information you need, including a map to their location and how you can get involved or donate. All donations, large or small, or sponsorships are greatly appreciated and will go a long way in helping Chiang Mai’s street dogs.