The year of the dog only comes once every twelve years, so it makes sense that I create a post to celebrate this occasion. That, and I am a big-time dog lover, in case you didn’t know.
Read on for some funny photos and touching stories about the dogs that I encountered while travelling in Asia for most of my yearlong travels.
While we saw many stray dogs in Asia, we were surprised at the number of pet owners who treated their dogs like humans
I saw many pet stores around Asia too, which was a bit of a surprise.
Many dogs also came to work with their owners, like this golden who would sleep while her owner sold food at the night market near Chiang Mai’s south gate.
Here’s a video of the dog in Hanoi people watching and looking a bit anxious about all the noise that was happening:
We came across many adorable puppies during our trip
It wasn’t until we met this litter of puppies that we started to feel our heartbreak.
It was so hard for me to leave these puppies and not be able to give them any food. They were so happy to see us at first and started to cry really loud when we had to leave them.
The Stray dogs in Asia
I could not help but notice that most stray dogs were feeding off scraps, fending for themselves, with rib bones protruding from their bodies.
There were quite a few dogs who would limp across the street on just three of its legs. It likely got hit by a motorbike, which happens frequently. You’ll hear a loud thud before a dog starts yelping in pain.
I was in Bagan when I saw something that broke my heart. It was a stray dog trying to eat leaves from a tree because he was hungry. He was very scrawny and was more of a skeleton of a dog than anything. I had some bread with me, so I fed some to the dog.
He inhaled the food in one bite. Seriously. Never in my life have I seen a dog this hungry.
Being born as a stray dog in Asia
I couldn’t help but think about stray dogs and how they were born into the lives that they live, fighting for survival. They didn’t choose to be born under these conditions; it wasn’t their choice. But because of their circumstances, they live the life they now live. Eating scraps of food on the street, finding ways to avoid getting hit by cars, and sleeping where they can. All because of where they were born.
I kept thinking about my dogs and how lucky they are to be born in Canada. My dogs would never have to beg for food out of starvation.
Like my dogs, I too am lucky to be born Canadian. That’s something I think about quite often, especially while in Asia.
Yes, many animals survive without humans, but it doesn’t change the fact that anyone born in a developed country is considered very lucky. As Warren Buffet says, we’ve won the Ovarian Lottery.
But regardless of their circumstances, dogs still live for the moment
There are many lessons you can learn from dogs if you spend enough time with them.
Like, how to be happy and enjoy each moment.
Or how they don’t discriminate against other dogs, regardless of their circumstances.
Or to never forget to be curious.
Some dogs have learned to take a nap while waiting for food
And to not forget the simple pleasures in life.
This post was inspired by my aunt and dedicated to my first puppy, who recently passed away less than two weeks ago. Losing my pet has not been easy; if you’ve been through this process, I would love to hear from you.
PIN FOR LATER
You must have been tempted to adopt all the strays!
A great pictorial story.
You’re right, I was very tempted to adopt them all!
I spent 2 months this year in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam. I loved my solo tour staying in 3 towns in each country. I was always saddened by the many stray dogs. Many appeared healthy, while others clearly suffering. It did amaze me how adept many were at navigating crossing busy streets. I was never fearful of the dogs, they did not approach other than to quietly watch while I ate street food and “accidentally” dropped leftovers close to them.
I very much enjoyed seeing your pics and reading captions. I will return.
Thanks for sharing your experience with your encounters, I love meeting other dog lovers 🙂 Do you have a dog too? I agree with you how they can cross the street with so much ease, and yet here we are in North America putting our dogs on leashes because they’d instead chase after a squirrel than pay attention to staying alive.
I wasn’t afraid of dogs in Asia until I got chased (twice now!) by dogs in Chiang Mai! One was a pet dog while the other was a temple dog just being territorial of the temple since it was getting dark. I find the strays in Asia are either very chill or are intimidated by people. The chill ones probably have positive interactions with humans (i.e. like the one in Sukhothai who was often fed by a kind-hearted human!) while the latter seemed to lack self-confidence – they’d walk with shrunken shoulders 🙁