With such a staggering number of dogs killed every year halfway around the world from our headquarters, it cane be difficult to think that we can, as individuals, help end this terrible practice. But your voice, your time, and your energy are important and can make all the difference. Here are seven concrete ways that you can help.
(1) Donate to organizations working tirelessly on the frontlines.
The amazing and endlessly-dedicated folks at Soi Dog Foundation have put years of time, energy, and funding towards their massive campaign to end this barbaric commerce. With expert legal guidance, they are successfully using politics, international publicity, and the threat of zoonotic rabies as leverage to keep the pressure on. They have single-handedly had an enormous impact on this practice in just one year – far more than anyone ever envisioned – and continued success is hopefully on the horizon. Supporting their effort is one of the most crucial ways you can help.
(2) Help spread awareness about the dog meat trade.
Add your voice to the hundreds of thousands of international cries of outrage demanding the immediate end to this inhumanity. From Facebook to twitterstorms (publicized on Soi Dog’s page periodically) to chatting with friends and neighbors at your local dog park, utilize the power of social sites, networking, and word-of-mouth to share, share, share any and all of the issues mentioned here. You may also wish to visit the Trade of Shame Facebook page for constant updates on the ongoing battle against the meat trade, and for many links to petitions targeting government officials. Signing petitions and sharing information saves lives – please consider helping to boost the signal to a broader audience via shared links, photos, and posts on your own page.
(3) Help feed, medically treat, and properly house and shelter dog meat trade victims.
For many unlucky dogs, just saved from smugglers, their arrival at government-run livestock centers is also sadly the first step on the end of their journey, as they may live out their lives here, the spans of which may be quite shortened due to all they have been through, and all they must endure under the conditions they are now consigned to. There are so many dogs and not enough homes for them all. The tireless folks at Soi Dog Foundation are asking for donations to their Magic 1000 Club (not to be confused with the similarly-named Magic 10 Club, cited below). All funds go towards feeding, vetting, and properly sheltering these poor souls during their time at the government shelters, in hopes that they may have every opportunity to survive, thrive, and possibly even find a home to call their own one day.
(4) Help sponsor the monthly costs of a dog meat trade victim who has been rescued and is living at Elfes World sanctuary in Thailand.
Elfes World is an amazing example of what one person can do when she puts her mind to it. With the help of a single dedicated staff member, a parade of visiting volunteers of every nationality, and friends and supporters around the globe, Elfe’s property on Samui Island off the coast of the mainland hosts approximately 300 dogs, many of whom are meat trade victims.
ISDF has helped to place a few of Elfe’s dogs, and hopes to help her with more in the future, but many still reside there under her loving care. Each puppy or dog receives, or needs to receive, sponsorship to cover the cost of food and parasite control, which runs less than $1 a day. Although many are already covered, there are plenty more who still need sponsorship. Until they are all funded, Elfe must run at a deficit, which restricts her ability to help more meat trade dogs in the future. She is also in need of general donations towards other costs such as fencing to separate groups of dogs who are not compatible, fuel and maintenance costs for her 19-year-old (!) Suzuki Jeep, and Thai salas (elevated, shade-covered, soft platforms) for protection from the elements.
Donations of any amount towards her general operating costs are deeply appreciated, and sponsorship of individual dogs is desperately needed. Please visit the Elfes World page on Facebook, pick your pooch, and enjoy seeing updates on your sponsored doggie as it frolics around Elfe’s island paradise, because somehow – among all the hard work she must do to care for these dogs every day – she still manages to snap many cute photos for her supporters and sponsors to enjoy. Her dedication is amazing.
(5) Help sponsor the costs associated with pulling dog meat trade victims from government-run livestock facilities.
Soi Dog UK and the irrepressible Carly Jane Evans came up with the brilliant idea of the Magic 10 Club (not to be confused with the similarly-named Magic 1000 Club, cited above), whose premise is to find 10 sponsors per dog, each funding $35 USD to cover the cost (approximately $350 USD) of pulling, paperwork, transport, vetting, and foster care for a handful of chosen dogs at government shelters. Our dear friends Patarin and Soot are once again playing host to a pack of dogs apiece, and the club – now in its second round, having savored many success stories several months back – is once again in full swing.
Many kind people have stepped forward to be 1/10 sponsors of these eight lucky dogs, but many more sponsors were still desperately needed, as the accumulated cost associated with them all was only halfway paid. Fortunately, Marjon Tondravi, who lives here in the USA and is an amazing and tireless supporter of dog meat trade victims, stepped up to the plate. She ran one heck of an online auction and raised enough funds to pay off the remainder of Magic 10’s big bill!!!
Thank you, Marjon, and your awesome (and tasty, as my dogs frequently attest) Give a Dog a Bone dog cookies, which support needy dogs domestically and internationally. You are truly one amazing lady, and I feel fortunate to be able to call you a friend. The Magic 10 Club is now back to a zero balance, and a few of the first adoptees are beginning to head towards their new homes at the time of this writing.
(6) Help by offering to be a flight volunteer for a dog meat trade victim, or otherwise needy, adopted dog.
If you, or anyone you know, has future travel plans that include Thailand, please sign up to be a flight volunteer, which allows an adopted dog to accompany you in the cargo hold on its journey to a forever home. All arrangements are handled in advance by rescuers and all expenses paid. The dog is checked in at the airport by the rescue group and received by its new owners. No work or expense is required on your part, other than alerting your airline.
The Magic 10 Club, the Soi Dog Foundation, and many other Thai dog rescue groups are always actively seeking flight volunteers, as the cost of transporting a dog is massively reduced when it flies as “accompanied cargo”. Lower costs equals more adoptions. Flight volunteers are dog rescue heroes.
Consider contacting one of these organizations and playing a direct part in the final, and happiest, chapter of a wonderful forever after.
(7) Help by adopting a dog meat trade victim, or otherwise needy, Thai dog.
The most direct way to offer help – and the most rewarding. Unfortunately, in-country adoptions are few, as the nation is severely overrun with dogs (being a Buddhist country, spaying and neutering is rare, although Soi Dog Foundation is working hard to sterilize as many street dogs as possible, nearly 50,000 to date – you can support their efforts here). And the risks to Thai dogs are so many – so foreign adoption is the preferred route to ensure these lucky few do not end up suffering the same fate twice.
There are many lovely dogs awaiting forever homes at all of the groups mentioned in this post, and they cover the entire spectrum of age, size, and background: dog meat trade victims, street dogs who can no longer safely roam their old environs, stray dogs who were victims of abuse, litters of orphaned puppies…
There is no love like that of a rescued Thai dog’s!
Miracles do happen, as a glance at any of the above links will prove. Sadly, it costs a lot of money to make miracles happen, and help is always needed – and in these difficult times, help is too often in short supply. Though hundreds of us watch and wonder and cry tears of joy as each happy ending is written, fewer of us dig deeper and support these dogs financially. As a single mom on a very limited budget, who already donates as much as possible to causes I care deeply about, I understand this as much as anyone. I wish for all the world that I was not Bailey, of the Magic 10 Club’s, sole sponsor – or that if I had to be his only supporter, that I had the ability to sponsor him twice, three times, ten times as much – to cover his entire cost, if I could.
I cannot – but I can do my part. I can sacrifice a few of my indulgences – like my love of overpriced Starbucks hot cocoa on cold days – and use it instead towards a desperately-deserving dog. And I can write these words in the hope that someone out there reading them will feel they can do the same. As I type, I am thinking not only of the dogs who need help today, but of those whose stories have not yet even begun. In the past week alone, over 700 dogs were rescued from the dog meat trade and sent to government facilities, which – already full – are now bursting at the seams. And clearly, more are coming. Great news for those supporting the end of this terrible trade, and our commendation to the Thai government for finally stepping up and doing the right thing. But for the dogs, it means they are often rescued, only to ultimately perish shortly afterwards. Very few on-site people in Thailand are involved with removing, vetting, fostering, and re-homing these dogs – and those who are, are being overwhelmed. If we tax our on-the-ground helpers beyond their abilities, and shoulder them with out-of-pocket financial responsibilities they cannot afford, we have done both them, and the dogs of today and tomorrow, a great disservice. So many are saved from slaughter, but are still not safe yet.
Thank you for reading this, and for wanting to help the chosen few successfully complete their incredible journey. The more there are of us, the more there will be of them. Thanks, from the bottom of our (and their!) hearts.