My Four legged Travelling Companion
Its Mother’s Day this August.and in Thailand Mother’s Day is celebrated on the Queen’s birthday. Now we all have mothers but we are not all mothers and some of us are mothers to four legged babies. I know that some of you think us mothers of fur babies are a little crazy and we are but that doesn’t take anything away from the love we have for our pets.
Let me tell you how I came to be the mother of my four legged trouble maker. I was housesitting/dogsitting for a deployed military family. While I was looking after their two big dogs, my friend asked me, since I was already dog sitting in a huge house, if I could take his little dogs as well. Being a sucker for animals I of course agreed.
The dynamic was crazy. I had three young male dogs all tearing up the house and then there was Chibby. She was still fat from being severely over fed by her original owner (22 pounds -when she was rescued, she now weighs 10) and she was the oldest of all the dogs. The other dogs were good sports and allowed her to believe she was the alpha dog. They would lay on their backs and let her chew on their jowls. It was pretty darn cute. She used to get worn out though as the boy dogs liked to wrestle all night long. Chibby on the other hand liked to cuddle. I used to let her up in the bed with me and she would get under the covers and cuddle up for warmth. A month of that was all it took. When my friend returned he stayed with me for a while but Chibby no longer listened to him. When he gave her a command, no matter what it was she would look to me for confirmation. If I told her ok, she would, if I told her no she would not. Poor Jose, he looked at me and said, “What have you done to my dog?”
I just laughed and said I hadn’t done anything, other than cuddle with her. Then the day came and we parted ways. I went to a new home and left Chibby behind with her owner. This lasted all of three days. At the end of the third day I was contemplating going to bed again and already in tears. I had cried myself to sleep the two previous nights and this night I just couldn’t do it. Instead I picked up the phone and called Jose. He was immediately concerned at the distress in my voice. I told him that I missed Chibby so severely that I couldn’t sleep, he said that she missed me too and he knew it was bad because his little piggy dog named Chibby which means “Chubby One”, would not eat. Within the hour he brought her to me, with her food, her bed and all her toys and wished us luck. That was five years ago this month.
Moving is a pain no matter what, now add to the move the fact that the largest ocean in the world has to be crossed and that the new destination is a foreign country. In addition to the new location being a foreign country my starting point was Hawaii. For those who do not know, Hawaii is certified worldwide as a rabies free state. There are strict conditions for quarantining animals coming into the island even from the best of countries - returning with my pet to Hawaii from a third world nation with a reputation for having rabies would be near impossible, so the decision to bring my pet to Thailand was a very serious one.
It was March 2012 and I was planning my exodus to Thailand. When I say planning what I mean is that I was frantically selling everything I owned and trying to get copies of my birth certificate so that I could get a hold of my very first passport. Like most Americans I had done virtually no international travel. The occasional weekend in Mexico prior to 9/11 doesn’t really count. In the madness I began researching what one has to do to import an animal to Thailand. It is not terribly difficult, however bringing an animal back to Hawaii from Thailand could present an issue.
The decision I made was near impossible but I decided I had to leave Chibby behind in America while I moved to Thailand. I had a TEFL course booked, a month of accommodations, and not a clue as to how things were going to go once I hit the Land of Smiles. With heavy heart I left my little one behind with a friend and embarked on my international journey.
After six months in the Kingdom I found I had settled in wonderfully. I had rented a house in the country with a huge yard and set about saving money for the journey home to pick up Chibby. I was working as a teacher and during the break between school years my plan was to travel back to Hawaii for a month to visit friends and family, and most importantly bring my fur baby back to Thailand with me.
I returned to Thailand with Chibby in May of 2013. It was so good to have my little one back . It turned out there were just too many fleas and ticks near the river though and our time there was short lived. Now it is 2015, Chibby is 10 years old, she has been in Thailand for a little over 2 years and now we reside in Pattaya.
Pattaya as a whole is pretty pet friendly. There are many programs in place to help keep the soi dogs under control. With such a large percentage of the population in Pattaya being farang for so many decades there are no shortage of things to take care of your pet. You will find many hotels that are dog friendly, dog hotels for your pet if you don’t find a pet friendly option, dog food stores, 24 hour emergency care hospitals, numerous vets and clinics, and even a designer clothing store for dogs in Central Festival.
Travelling with my dog in Thailand is not impossible but some modes of transport are more difficult than others. Taking her on the bus is hit or miss, I always have to tip the driver and not even that works every time. She is able to ride the train, although only in the cars that have fans, live animals are not allowed in the air conditioning. She gets issued her own train ticket though which is pretty adorable. Taxi cabs are no issue, and she loves to ride on my motorbike with me.
For those times that I just can not take her with me I use Border Jack Dog Resort in Pattaya. The hotel is extremely reasonably priced , I can take her bed, select air conditioned room or fan, which changes depending on the time of year. My little one gets cold easily so I really only opt for the AC room in April or May. The staff at Border Jack are obvious animal lovers. They offer obedience classes and have two parks for different size dogs, plus a swimming pool for exercise. After using swimming to help Chibby shed over half her body weight the pool alone is worth a visit for your pet.