So far, the non-profit houses around 600 dogs at the facility and continue to feed them, offers therapy, and gives them a haven to life happily.
As much as people love dogs, it's disheartening to realize that more than 80% of the dogs in the world are strays that are orphaned with no homes or caring humans to look after them. Although there are countries that treat their strays better and offer them a relatively safe place to survive, there are others that are absolutely barbaric, like Thailand. The country's culture is not known for sympathizing with stray dogs since they are synonymized with carrying diseases and causing conflict between humans. To say, the country has light years to go with regards to treating strays with compassion wouldn't be wrong in any sense. Thankfully, there are a few people, even in this brutal nation, who take matters into their own hands to care for them and to give them a fighting chance.
Michael J Baines, a Swedish chef, moved to Thailand for a change of scenery and was shocked at the sheer number of strays he encountered on the streets. To rescue them, he opened "The Man That Rescues Dogs", a rescue shelter with 30 staff members including his assistant Chris Chidichimo. Over the last 10 years, the group has rescued over 2,000 dogs and cats that were left to fend for themselves. Recently, Bored Panda, got in touch with Chidichimo to understand what it takes to run one of the largest animal rescue shelters in the world, and the challenges the center faces. "The biggest challenge is facing different situations that come up unexpectedly," he said. The organization has a routine that involves feeding walking, cleaning, physio, and hydrotherapy for all the dogs in the facility, but the toughest part of the job is dealing with the emergency cases that are brought to their attention on a daily basis.
When asked how they deal with the situation, he said: "...we have to remain flexible, but it is definitely a challenge."At the moment, the facility has over 600 dogs that are regular at the center which means Chidichimo and the team need to have an efficient system in place to care for the dogs. Elaborating on what a typical day feels like, he added: "Up at 5 am cleaning and preparing for the day. The wheelchair gang and the others go for a walk at 6 am. Then the nearly 600 dogs at our shelter are fed breakfast. Our truck heads out at 7 am to feed 350 street dogs in our community. Then more cleaning. 600 dogs poop a lot! At 10 am we do hydro and physiotherapy, giving our disabled dogs additional exercise. Dogs are walked again at 2 pm, then fed again, then more cleaning."
The team also operates a free-of-charge clinic because profit isn't their bottom line. "We have two veterinarians and one assistant working full-time. We don’t charge for our service as long as we can spay or neuter their pet. It’s more important for us to have healthy, vaccinated, and sterilized animals in our community than it is to turn a profit," he continued. Caring for a few dogs is a hard task as it is, but when you are tasked with taking care of 600 sickly and injured dogs, there's bound to be a heavy physical and mental toll, but the good souls at the rescue center take it on the chin because it's all for a good cause. Instead, Chidichimo and the team choose to focus on the silver lining - the satisfaction of offering a new life to the dogs. "Without a doubt, it’s giving the sick, neglected, abused street dogs of Thailand the second chance that they deserve. When you see a paralyzed dog in their wheelchair for the first time, running free and smiling, that’s right up there as one of the best parts of the process.”
However, with the pandemic, caring for the doggos has become a little harder as the center is entirely run on donations, and it requires about $1,350 a day to keep providing adequate care for all of them. But, they soldier on. To catch the work they do, you can track the non-profit on Facebook, Instagram, and the official website.