On February 27, Caroline’s boyfriend, Christian, and a friend of his went to the island of Koh Samui, Thailand for a five-week vacation. Three weeks later, Caroline joined them.
Christian had only been on vacation a few days when he befriended a stray dog. The pooch was standing on the street looking through some garbage when Christian saw him. He gave the dog some water and then went to Family Mart and bought him a hot dog.
At that moment, the dog decided to follow Christian and be his friend. And so he did. From then on, the dog, now named Dingo, began to follow Christian wherever he went.
Three weeks later, Caroline arrived on Koh Samui and immediately noticed that there was something special about Dingo.
“He radiated a tremendous amount of joy and love. The idea that he was a street dog that could have all sorts of diseases was the last thing you’d think of. He played, he gave little love bites, and he behaved like a puppy. We guessed that he could be anywhere from one to three years old,” Caroline told Newsner.
Although they liked Dingo’s company, having him constantly by their side sometimes proved problematic because he wanted to follow them truly everywhere. Thus, Christian and Caroline were sometimes forced to take detours and temporarily “lose” him, because he wasn’t allowed in restaurants and the like.
“Evenings were the most troublesome. He’d follow us into all the bars we went to, which wasn’t popular with the staff who worked there. Some people would let him stay when they realized it was impossible to get him to leave and the only way to get him out was if we left.”
Every morning and evening, Dingo sat with them on their patio, and at night, he slept outside their room.
“Wherever we went in town, we could shout ‘Dingo’ and he’d show up shortly after. He must’ve stuck around even if we didn’t see him.”
Caroline and Christian soon realized that Dingo had adopted them. And then just like that, it was time to return home and say goodbye to Dingo. Caroline left a day before Christian and emerged from the hotel just after 6 a.m. with her suitcase.
“And there stood Dingo. He’d never been there at six o’clock, when he’d usually be out on an adventure elsewhere. But that day, he followed me and he began to howl mournfully. It’s something he’d never done before. I had to move on, but he just sat there and howled. it was incredibly difficult to leave him right then.”
The same thing happened the next day when Christian left. Although he left at a time of day when Dingo was usually somewhere else, Christian was also bid farewell by Dingo outside of the hotel.
On March 5, Christian returned home and he and Caroline talked more about Dingo and how much they missed him. They didn’t want him to be left there on the street.
“It was then that we decided to get Dingo home to Sweden.”
Neither of them had any intention of getting a dog before, but that didn’t matter, since Dingo had already adopted them.
But to bring Dingo home from Thailand would prove to be a difficult project.
“Given that Dingo was a street dog, he was much more difficult to bring home than a dog that was already ready for adoption, since there are already an incredible number of them in Thailand. We were of course on our own and had to get him from the street to a safer place, but we weren’t even in Thailand.”
Christian’s friend and his family were still in the same hotel where Christian and Caroline had been staying and they reported that Dingo was still there, so Christian and Caroline told them of their plan to bring Dingo home.
“I began to post on a lot of forums, and I don’t know how many people were involved in helping get him off the street. The stress at the time was huge. The only thing I did was sit at the computer. I couldn’t think of anything else other than try to find someone who could get him off of the street.
In the end, they received help from Michael J. Baines, the man who feeds 80 street dogs in Thailand every day that we’ve previously reported on. He linked Caroline with Tamara Johnston from Thailand Street Paw Rescue. Tamara is from Australia and has spent much of her life helping street dogs. She agreed to take care of Dingo until he was ready for the trip to Sweden.
“The problem was that she lived far from Koh Samui, so we first had to find someone who could help with Dingo until he got to Tamara, who lives in Songkhla. After a few days of intensive searching, we found Angelina Astor, who spent her entire holiday on Koh Samui devoting her time to helping dogs and cats. She also wanted to help us with Dingo.”
On March 12, Dingo finally left his life on the streets and went to the safety of Angelina’s home. There he was given a checkup and was vaccinated for various diseases. The vet was even able to determine that Dingo was about nine months old.
Then, after two weeks with Angelina, Dingo was ready to make the eight-hour trip to Tamara.
“To try and solve everything from Sweden when you yourself don’t have any idea how things are done is frustrating and probably frustrating for many of the people involved. Many times we’ve had a guilty conscience when we’ve asked others for help. And everyone has really done everything they can,” says Caroline.
In the afternoon, Dingo finally arrived at Tamara’s. He is currently in Thai Street Paw Rescue’s foster care for dogs. Every day, Tamara visits and checks in on Dingo. Beyond that, she has 12 dogs who also lives with her.
“To keep up with everything is incredibly stressful for Tamara because she lost the dog attendant that she previously had at her home who helped with the dogs while she was at the foster care. And some days Tamara also works as a teacher.”
Right now, Caroline and Christian are waiting on Dingo’s blood samples to be sent to measure his anti-rabies antibodies.
“If he passes the test, we have to wait at least three months before we can bring him home. If he doesn’t pass, we have to go through the whole process again, says Caroline. “Our process is a little more complicated and costly because we adopted a dog off the street. There are many dogs that are already ready for adoption, that already have all their papers ready and are just waiting for a new home.”
Even if it takes a long time, Caroline and Christian are prepared to wait so they can bring their Dingo home and give him a safe home far from the streets of Thailand.
“What awaits him here in Sweden is a loving family consisting of two kids, two cats, and a hamster. Many people both with and without dogs who follow Dingo on Facebook and Instagram would love to meet him when he arrives home. So he already has a lot of friends although he hasn’t even arrived yet. He’ll also experience real cold and snow for the first time. But the most important thing is that he’ll have a loving forever home!”
Caroline and Christian hope that Dingo arrives in Sweden sometime in August or September.
“If not, it will be later, but he should be in Sweden not matter how much it costs and how long it takes to bring him here.”
Caroline is extremely grateful for the help of Tamara and everyone else who’s helped Christian and her with Dingo.
“Before, we didn’t know much about these wonderful people who devote their lives to helping animals and to finding homes for them. We’ve received so much help from so many people—people who’ve adopted dogs from the street and have gone through the same process have helped us with a lot of tips and information. Friends have helped with donations so we could start this as soon as possible, and many new friendships have also been established.”
Caroline says that they’ve also met a little resistance from people who don’t want dogs from other countries to immigrate to Sweden because they fear that they will bring in diseases. But Caroline says that it requires a lot of documentation to prove a dog is completely healthy to bring it to Sweden.
“The most important thing for me is to make people aware that there are people who dig into their own pockets to help these wonderful animals. They pay themselves, and in some cases, receive the help of donations. I want people to know that there are an incredible number of dogs and cats who need help and who are waiting for new homes—animals that are already ready to fly to their new destination.”
Want to help? Read about Tamara’s work for street dogs in Thailand and learn how you can help. She works on a voluntary basis and has helped people from as far away as America and Australia adopt dogs.
We’ve got our fingers crossed so that everything goes as expected and Dingo joins as soon as possible!
If you also want to see Dingo arrive in Sweden soon, share his story with your friends on Facebook!
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