To Apple

A Tragic End And I Miss Her.

Just over a year ago, somewhere in the province of Prachuab Khiri Khan, more puppies were born. As happens in so many cases, the litter was dumped at a temple without the mother. This time it was Wat Wang Pong in Pranburi, where I happen to help look after the dogs. I found them near the cemetery on a pile of rubble in a neglected shed. There were four of them, all females. Too soon they all fell ill and one after another just died from being malnourished and weakened after having been taken away from the mother too soon.

The last one remaining was sick with a bloated tummy and in general bad condition. But one starts fighting with the puppy to keep it alive. She was so determined and with special care from the vet and recuperation at my own home, she survived. I called her Apple and took her back to the temple, where she was delighted to reunite with another mother and her pups, who took her in. Apple was always sweet to other dogs, but needed looking after as she was never strong as a puppy. Soon she started feeling more at home in the temple compound and explored the whole new area with great care and suspicion, I must add. But when I visited, which I do almost on a daily basis, she would run up to me and roll onto her back in total submission. I would tickle her tummy and feed her and the many others. I know she would have loved to go home with someone and I put posters up at the golfclub, in town, at the vet's, but never a response to the request for adoption of Apple. I could never have taken her home, as my 5 dogs don't tolerate new company and I could not have put her in a cage for life.

She was happy in the temple though and had many playmates. I still see her running after cattle in the temple grounds, together with some 20 friends. I see her playing with Rainbow and Ta Fai and Pippa and all her other friends. She was sometimes bullied by the bigger dogs, but wise enough to stay away from them when in danger. She was ill twice more during the first six months, but every time she got better. When she was old enough I had her neutered and she was fully vaccinated. She became healthier and stronger and naughtier. She looked so cute with her red collar. She would run after motorbikes and bark and do the same to people and even children she didn't know. In the market area they did not like that at all and one woman even threatened to kill her while madly waving a huge piece of wood around, because Apple had run up to her kids and barked. I explained that she was in fact a friendly dog and had never bitten anyone. Nevertheless, I was extremely worried and wrote to the Bangkok Post. Three times we put an advertisement with a little story and a photograph in the Sunday paper, but nobody ever came forward to adopt her. I kept an eye on her when visiting and did not see any worsening in her behaviour.

What a terrible shock it was when last week wednesday, I heard that some dogs had been poisoned. I still thought they had eaten something that had gone off, on the rubbish dump, like Chow Koey, another one of my special friends who died after suffering for 7 days. But the next day I found out that an evil man had poisoned 4 dogs, two of which died and of course one of them was Apple. I knew straight away it had to be her when she went missing for two days. The other one was Kwietiew, whom I had had vaccinated like many others. Kow Pat and Bo both survived through the prompt care of two lovely people who are also doglovers. Oh, if only I had been there for Apple and her friend.

A female called Fudge has now got a limp like her sister Podge, which is odd as they were not born that way, but i assumed they had been hit by a car on market day as no-one even tries to slow down when they drive in there. But again I was wrong. This evil man admitted to me that he had personally broken their legs with a stick and I think he did it to another lovely dog, Scruffy, as well. And why? Because they had got hold of his chickens which he keeps running loose and he believes that that is his right, even though he should realize that any streetdog will be tempted by that. I know that chickens are very important to the people of Thailand, but I also know that it is a great sin to poison dogs. They call it 'baab'. I realize that the only way to stop this is to help this evil person by teaching him not to hate dogs. I have talked to him and told him that other people love these dogs and feed them and look after them. I have embarrassed him by giving him fencing material to build a pen in which he can keep his chickens and ducks.

But in the meantime I miss my Apple. And the others as well. Who knows how many he killed. A few dogs have been missing. I always believe in the positive and hope they were adopted, until I find out otherwise. Apple was to me the symbol of temple dogs. She was The Temple Dog. She truly was the Apple of my eye at Wat Wang Pong.

Josette Fisher

P.s. Since I wrote this story I have heard that Rainbow was another one of the dogs poisoned by this guy and possibly also my original 'market mum' who lived outside the grounds.

(written in 2008)