Look, we know what you were all thinking… you’re bored of seeing puppies right? Chubby, fluffy, little babies with tiny little pawsies? OVERRATED. ‘Where is the character? The backstory?!’ we hear you cry, ‘yes Bear just scared himself by sneezing and Teddy just smelt a flower, but where is THE GRIT?’
Well, let us tell you the tale of a fallen king: abandoned, left to struggle on the streets for years, his ageing body slowly betraying him as time goes by… and a rather nice retirement plan from Sangkhlaburi Animal Sanctuary!
Our story actually starts with how we come to know about a canine kingpin of Sangkhlaburi’s streets, and that was through a princess of her own right! Anyone who has been to volunteer has likely met Fai.
A long-time friend of all of us at the sanctuary, Fai has spent a lot of her free time in the sanctuary and has helped us with so many odd jobs from translating, equipment ordering, and phone calls in Thai. Fai is particularly great with these jobs because she’s a people person. Fai has a quick wit and sassiness that evokes roars of laughter from Thai and English speakers alike, but her negotiating is impeccable. Listening to her use a sugar-sweet voice and excessive politeness makes it very hard to say no to her. So when Fai began to tell us the story of Sai-fah, whose name means Thunder, a dog she has watched over and tried to help for years, it’s hardly a surprise that we’re announcing a new resident.
Sai-fah once had a family of his own. He was actually neighbours with Fai and was friendly with her dog Coco. But Fai was shocked to see his owners pack up and move house, and leave Sai-fah behind. Suddenly his reliable meal times and safe place to sleep were ripped from under his paws. Although he was familiar with the streets close to his house, he surely had never had to hunt for his own food and fend off the mean dogs of the streets. Luckily, Sai-fah is a big dog, and in his youth he was strong. He quickly adapted to his homeless life and learned to make his way to the local market every night where he would compete with countless other dogs for food scraps. Despite these miserable circumstances, Sai-fah made a good life for himself. He was well known throughout the town; the market vendors kept him well fed and the street dogs respected him, although the smattering of scars that mark his face tell more of that story.
Fai and her family would often feed Sai-fah when they saw him back on their block, and showed him the love that he was no doubt missing. Fai and her family also took Sai-fah for annual vaccines along with their family dogs, and made sure he was neutered when he was first thrown to the streets by his old owners. Sai-fah has lived this way for years, with Fai’s pity being his only source of love. And now Fai has seen that his legs wobble more when he gets up, and it takes him longer to return from his nightly pilgrimage to the market. Sangkhlaburi has a huge over-population problem; for more than a year we were unable to facilitate a vet due to Covid19, and for dogs like Sai-fah that only means more competition. Sai-fah is getting too old to defend himself anymore, too weary to search for food scraps, only to have them stolen by younger, stronger dogs. Fai has watched him fight for too long, and tried to take him in herself, but one of her family dogs attacked our aged street king until he left the property.
And that is how Fai came to ask Denise if she might tell us a story. And how a voice so sweet, told a story so sad, that there was no question of ‘if’, but only of ‘how’. How can we give this old soldier the life of safety and love that he so clearly deserves? A spacious pen, all to himself for now, and the chance to make new friends at his own pace. A life of regular meals, and patient carers, and a first-class vet to cure his ailments. Sai-fah has been with us for two days now, and he’s doing great. He’s getting nutritious dog biscuits with cooked chicken and veg, and he’s been spotted rolling and relaxing on the sun-flooded grass. He wags his tail when you approach his gate and he’s so grateful for affection and cuddles. Sai-fah is now a permanent resident, along with Nipper, Mack, and Sweetie, and he can enjoy the rest of his days being taken care of.
Sai-fah might not have much to offer to some people; he’s past his best days, and his face and body are a reflection of a tough life. We’re still getting to know him, but what we can tell you, is that he’s just as deserving of love as those little pups!
You can read more about Sai-fah here, and you can sponsor him through Patreon. Your monthly sponsorship will ensure Sai-fah has a comfortable retirement from the streets and will show him that he can rely on people once again.