Lately, Izzy’s been confused about why the dogs across the street bark nonstop — and I’m getting irritated by it. I have to turn up my TV to the point where I feel like one of those senior citizens who refuses to get hearing aids even though s/he’s going deaf. But what we’re going through on our little street in North Carolina is really silly compared to what the dogs in Thailand experience regularly.
In Southeast Asia, the dog trade is phenomenal. I’m not going to post photos here, but if you click here or Google “dog trade Thailand,” you’ll get your fill of some of the most disgusting photos you’ve ever seen. And they’ll break your heart. People shove dogs into tiny crates, so many dogs that their faces are smashed against the wires, and most of them never make it alive to their final destination.
Let me say this: I respect other cultures and really don’t like listening to others who feel the need to diss others simply because their traditions aren’t the same. However, when it comes to saving animals, I’m not going to shut my mouth — especially when I look at the happy and loving dog who lives with me and think about the thousands of other dogs who never get a chance to live like Izzy does.
One of the clinics that works nonstop to save Thailand’s dogs is the Soi Dog Foundation. Their volunteers have worked tirelessly to bring the Thai dog trade to a screeching halt, but when you work to end a horrible business, you rarely realize what it’s going to cost to change that practice. The clinic’s volunteers have given of themselves — mentally, physically and economically, and I salute them as dog heroes. Hell, simply as heroes.
If you have a dog that lives in a healthy and safe environment, like Izzy does, think about either giving your voice or your assistance to foundations like Soi Dog so that others will learn to respect the best friends humans have.
If you can’t tell by the title of this post, I just returned from vacation (visited Thailand, and yes, it was the vacation of a lifetime. Adventurous! Slept in a hut in the jungle — okay, it was a resort — off the River Kwai, swam with elephants — yes, I did!, and saw more temples than I thought could exist in one ten-square-mile area). Izzy spent almost two weeks with my next door neighbor and my friend around the corner. When I got home, he stared at me for a moment, then jumped into puppy frenzy to welcome me home.
What I noticed about being gone:
I missed him more than he missed me. My friend Deb said that he didn’t want to be alone in the house, but once he was with her and her husband, Izzy made himself perfectly at home, climbed onto their bed, basically moved in.
Leaving him home is less traumatic than taking him in the car to the boarding kennel. As I have said before, he’s a bit panicked whenever he thinks he’s going into the car, so I thought that being in his own home would be better. It definitely was.
He “forgot” some of what we were used to doing. I always say “wait” before we cross the street so he’ll know not to just dash. When I first came home and started walking him again, he had to be reminded of that command.
He needs to be with other canines on a regular basis, but he truly needs people more. He can spend five minutes, an hour, an overnight with other dogs, but eventually he becomes bored with them and will ultimately go to the human in the room to get some cuddle time.
Just out of curiosity, I did a bit of research to see whether my own suppositions were correct, and here’s what Psychology Today said about dogs missing humans. One test put dogs into an MRI and tested their brain function when they were given the scent of their human vs. one of a fellow canine. Though tests are not conclusive, they have stated that dogs definitely miss humans more than other dogs. The other aspect the tests looked at was whether dogs could tell time or days. They can tell the difference between 30 minutes and 4 hours, but it’s not clear whether they can tell how many days someone has been gone. Here’s the link to the whole article, if you’re interested: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/plus2sd/201309/do-dogs-miss-us-when-we-re-gone
My conclusion is that Izzy did miss me, though he had no clue that I was gone for two weeks, and had I left him with my neighbors longer, he probably would have been fine.
I, on the other hand, would have been heartbroken.