A shelter, run by a foundation called The Man That Rescues Dogs in Chonburi Thailand that helps disabled and stray dogs is facing desperate times due to the pandemic, which has caused more than a 40% decline in donations.
With tails wagging to a chorus of barks and yelps, more than two dozen disabled dogs attached to wheels that support their disabled hind legs scramble along a rocky path, taking their daily exercise.
Mostly victims of accidents, the 27 dogs are being nursed back to health at a shelter in Chonburi Thailand southeast of the capital, Bangkok.
“It’s almost like they have no idea that they have a disability and once you put them in the wheelchair for the first time, it’s like there’s no learning curve,” said shelter official Christopher Chidichimo.
But its future is now in doubt, after the coronavirus pandemic led to a 40 per cent drop in donations and slashed the number of foreign visitors.
“The donations are very important, and the volunteers and visitors are equally important. Above all because they come and spread our message,” said Chidichimo, who is a sponsorship coordinator at the shelter.
The shelter spends more than US$1,300 each day to care for more than 600 dogs. The foundation also feeds 350 more stray dogs that live on the streets.
The Man That Rescues Dogs volunteers also look after paralyzed and disabled dogs. This includes physiotherapy sessions. However scarce funds have forced it to suspend a monthly campaign to spay and neuter strays.
Thailand, estimated to have more than 800,000 stray cats and dogs in 2017, could see their number reach 2 million by 2027 and 5 million in 20 years unless it takes some steps to control numbers, livestock authorities says.
For now, the disabled dogs in Chonburi enjoy their daily rambles.
“They are eager for us to strap them up,” said dog handler Phanuphong Borphuak, referring to the canine mobility aids. “They run very fast, we humans can’t keep up with them.”
Phanuphong said that the pandemic has hurt everyone but it has been especially hard on Thailand’s stray dog community. To help The Man That Rescues Dogs foundation you can donate by clicking here