Pseudo Soi Dog

Soi Dog’s Gotta Eat

So as mentioned before, some soi dogs enjoy a gray area; they don’t necessarily have a home, but they do have someone that looks after them — motorbike taxi drivers, various street food vendors, etc. One of the many benefits of being a stray dog in a Buddhist country, I suppose.

I’ve seen this hefty girl on Pattaya Second Road at all hours of the day and night, so I’m assuming she doesn’t have a permanent roof over her head. On the other hand, she has a collar and looks reasonably healthy. And  as you can see, she’s not hurting for eats.

Some soi dogs are looked after ... sometimes looked after too much.


Soi Dogs? What About Cafe Cats?

Cat: The Definition of Nonchalance

A cat takes a bath on a sidewalk cafe table in  Pattaya, Thailand

So I was strolling down Pattaya Tai to catch the mini-van back to Bangkok this morning for a meeting when I spied this lovely creature perched atop a cafe table cleaning herself. It was such a non sequitur, that I stopped, continued on, thought to myself  “How am I not photographing that cat?” and went back and busted out the N8.

Now most stray cats are a bit skittish around humans, unless they have been fed frequently by them. Soi cats in particular. This one though did not give a tinker’s damn in the least little bit that I was standing only a few feet away with my phone pointed in its general direction. It continued to clean itself and then settled down for a nap.

A cat naps on a sidewalk cafe table in  Pattaya, Thailand

Judging by the collar and its overall healthy appearance — not to mention its feline nonchalance — that it is well looked after. But then notice its tail, or lack thereof. It may very well be an adopted soi cat; usually a busted up or otherwise missing tail is a sure sign of stray critters here in Thailand.

Are you a dog person? Then check out these soi dogs.

Photo a Day x 3: Big Ass Bonus

Apparently I don’t know how to post date posts for automatically publishing at a future date. So here’s a three-fer.

First up: spied this advertisement at a mall the other day. By way of explanation, this involves a popular Thai rock band known as Big Ass. No joke. I know it looks like I added the lettering, but nope, I just converted the image to black and white and masked out the lettering.

A Big Ass Special Project by Big Ass the Thai rock band.

Next up: yet another sunset in Pattaya. This one was fire-in-the-sky spectacular, though.

Sunset in Sodom-on-Sea, aka Pattaya, Thailand

And last but not least, soi dogs on the beach.

Soi dogs on the beach in Pattaya, Thailand


Rank Hath Its Privileges

But a Soi Dog Is Low Pooch on the Totem Pole

And neither my headline nor my subead is SEO friendly. But sometimes one just can’t be arsed.

This lovely lass can be found at the end of Beach Road in Pattaya, where Walking Street begins. Although she has a collar on, I’m pretty sure she qualifies as a soi dog. Sometimes motorbike taxi guys will pseudo-adopt a soi dog, providing it with something to eat and a collar, but not much else.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a regular roof over her head, poor dear.

At the time I took this I was just walking by, and whipped out my phone and took a shot; it was only afterward that I spied the irony in the background.

Yet another soi dog, spied along Beach  Road, Pattaya, Thailand

Soi Dogs? What of Soi Cats

Photo a Day: Window, Soi Cat and ATM

A soi cat relaxing on a window sill in Bangkok

While soi dogs are more visible, there are many stray cats around Thailand’s urban areas — so-called soi cats. I suppose the pooches are more visible than the kitties just because that’s the natures of the beasts, as it were.

And no, even though they are Siamese (if you please) cats in a very real sense, they don’t look Siamese, as it were. Somewhat ironic, that, I suppose.

Anyway, this cat is somewhat unusual — and makes me wonder if he or she actually has someone looking after it — as its tail is intact. Seeing a soi cat with a full-length, non-mangled tail is a rare thing., it seems, poor dears. This one does look rather healthy, too. But then soi cats generally seem to be a bit better off than the dogs, perhaps not relying so much on human food handouts.

Anyway, this kittie seemed nervous that some unknown homo sapien was suddenly paying attention to it, but managed to stay still long enough for me to get a shot (albeit with a somewhat soft focus).

Just going to take this opportunity to plug the various animal shelters/welfare organizations here. A notable one, SCAD, recently closed its doors for financial reasons, but maintains a list of other organizations; follow the link above.

Soi Dogs: 7-11 Edition

Soi Dogs Love Their 7-11 Stores in Thailand

Yet another soi dog outside one of my local 7-11's in my Bangkok 'hood

Yet another pooch outside one of my local 7-11’s in my Bangkok neighborhood. This one likes to snooze directly in front of the door, and everyone just walks around him and lets him be. Or her; not sure.

When I lived in Suphanburi there used to be this big fat rascal that hung out at the 7-11 on the main drag into town from the south; it was just a few blocks form my apartment. Anyway, she liked to actually barge her way in and then shove herself in a little cubby hole where the compressor was for the for ice cream freezer next to the door.

This tended to be a bit much even for the laid-back Thais that worked there, and they would try and drag her out, but there was no room to even get a skinny adolescent Thai girl’s wee arm in there to fish out the pooch, so they usually gave up after a few minutes. Every time I went in there, if I didn’t see the dog, I would look at the glass next to the door to see if I could see her canine butt mooshed up against the other side of the pane.

Always planned to get a picture of that dog; never did though.

Photo a Day: Another Soi Dog

A Soi Dog Story With a Happy Ending

While out with some Irish friends I spied this sweety who has obviously had a tough life on the out on the sois. This soi dog is missing an eye, missing her tail and has obviously whelped more than her share of pups, one would think. Today, however, she has been adopted by a big-hearted bar owner who, as you can see, keeps her well fed.

A one-eyed soi dog with a happy ending. Dawwww ...

She accompanies him and his co-owner girlfriend to the bar when he comes into work, and chases out the wandering peddlers one tends to find in any open beer bar in Thailand — be it one frequented by expats or Thais, or both. How she knows the difference between patrons and peddlers, no one knows; I think it probably has to do with the fact that the peddlers are often carrying a lot of stuff in their arms, and this upsets her for some reason.

And yes, that is my bruised big toe down in the right hand corner underneath the logo.

Here’s another one that resides outside one of the 7-11’s in my neighborhood. It’s a little blurry, so I rejected at first, but it’s good enough for a supplemental soi dog Photo a Day.

Let Sleeping Soi Dogs Lie (outside of 7-11)

Soi Dog at the Beach

But Not Sure She’s a Soi Dog Per Se …

Soi dog at the beach.

She’s certainly grizzled enough to be a soi dog, but then she is sporting a collar. Typically so-called soi dogs don’t have collars, and consequently owners, but then sometimes it’s a bit of a gray area here. Any given day at a beach in Thailand, if you have folks visiting the beach and folks providing food and drink for said beach goers, there are bound to be pooches in evidence.

In any event, this lovely old girl, caught in this rather revealing pose, is getting added to the Soi Dog Photo a Day entries.

Photo a Day: Soi Dog No. 1

A Photo a Day Paen to Thailand’s Soi Dogs

A soi dog outside a Starbucks on Beach Road in Pattaya, Thailand

If you’ve ever been to Southeast Asia in general and Thailand in particular, you’ll notice a lot of stray dogs and cats, particularly pooches. In discussing this with indigenous friends, it seems this is in part due to Buddhist philosophy and very old animist beliefs, part ignorance and part plain apathy. Bear in mind I’m not criticizing, just noting the reality and what I’ve found; if you disagree by all means please chime in.

Unlike some guide books I’ve read, and complaints I’ve seen and heard tourists make, for me personally this has never proved an issue. In my three years of living here — here being Thailand and Viet Nam, with the odd trip to Cambodia or Laos — I’ve only ever had one issue with a stray dog — or soi dog, if you will (soi being a Thai word for side street). And this was because some local ne’er do wells had been provoking a group of dogs, and they were kind of worked up, and one started to come after me as I happened to walk past.

I’m not sure whether it was my father’s country-boy teaching or what, but from somewhere in the depths of my prior learning and experience, I remembered to keep my wits and not run away, but rather took a step towards the dog, threw up my hands and hollered — loudly. The poor dear immediately backed away with her tail between her legs.

Nevertheless, out of all the inoculations I’ve had for traveling abroad, for one brief moment I wished I had gotten the rabies one. But I wasn’t angry at the dog, but rather at the drunken butt wipes teasing them.

Also bear in mind, I walk past soi dogs, most of whom belong to no one and have no one taking care of them except in the most marginal of capacities — if they are lucky, they reside near a temple — virtually every day. If you leave your abode, and you live in a community of any size here, odds are you walk past a stray mutt. Go to a 7-11/Family Mart (or a Circle K in Viet Nam) and you almost certainly will encounter a soi dog or two.

So I’ve probably walked by stray dogs more than 1,000 times over the past three years; probably at least 1,500 times. And out of all those dogs, there only been a problem with one. Others’ experiences may differ, and I know a frequent visitor here who has been bitten by a soi dog — but this is mine. Actually some of them are quite sweet; all of them will seemingly leave you alone if you leave them alone.

I actually walk past the aforementioned pooch who came after me quite frequently; as I say, if some local hoodlums hadn’t been messing with her and her pack mates, it wouldn’t have happened.

Interesting Subjects

For some time I’ve had this idea of starting a Tumblr or even a specific site devoted to photographs of Thailand’s soi dogs; there are some interesting mutts out there, living by there wits alone in the naked city. Maybe I can help drive some traffic and attention to the non-profits out there devoted to helping them, too.

Maybe the sweety pictured above will be my first one. She is usually out front a Starbucks most mornings. There’s another male dog hanging around, too, but I didn’t see him today. I was waiting for a songthaew this morning and spied her under the chair, snoozing, and busted out my phone.