Week 8…Chiang Mai

This is probably going to be quite a short post as I've had a rather quiet week! I am staying in the middle of nowhere, in order to be close to the dog shelter, so there's not much in terms of rocking night life or nearby attractions!

Actually, having said that, I might just tell you a bit about where I'm staying because it is….interesting to say the least! I'm in a guesthouse called Nugent Waterside, which is recommended by Care For Dogs in their welcome email. I assume that this is due to how close it is to the shelter. I borrow a bike every morning and cycle the 10 minute journey so it's easy-peasy for access. It's also very beautiful, with a lovely man-made fishing lake and wooden floors throughout the buildings. Lovely. The room I have is perfectly adequate; the bed is comfy, the air con works, what more could I ask? Well, it'd be nice to have the room cleaned more than once in the 10 days I've been here so far (including bedding changes!), or to be able to order food after 5pm (there's nowhere in the vicinity I could go to instead, either), or be notified if there'll be no restaurant for 24 hours at all, or to see evidence of ANY other guests….or to be able to find anyone who can help order a taxi into the town (half an hour away) instead of the man the deputy left in charge who had the phone number, and a phone….but refused to call for me. See? Just a little bit bizarre.

Having said all that, it's served me perfectly well. I can come back after a tiring time with the dogs and chill out in my room without being in anyone's way, or being interrupted. I will, though, be moving into the town after I am finished at Care For Dogs. If I want to head into the shelter again, I'll just have to fork out the 200baht (£4) each way.

Now, Chiang Mai (the town) is great! Morgan (who I mentioned last week) and I spent Sunday afternoon together and she showed me around. We went to the walking street market which happens each week and it was fantastic! Most Asian markets we've seen so far appear to have the same items on sale, no matter which country you're in! However, this Sunday walking street market has a multitude of hand crafted knick-knacks which I am sorely tempted to splash out on! I am really looking forward to heading back this Sunday!

I also headed into town on my own on Tuesday and took a leisurely stroll around. I had previously felt I was saturated by temples and had no real desire to spend my time seeking more out. Luckily, I didn't do much seeking but stumbled across two of the prettiest temples I have seen on our travels so far! There was one beautiful wooden temple which I thought was lovely, and then a HUGE religious compound with numerous temples and “monk chat”. “Monk chat” is a chance to go and converse with Buddhist monks about whatever takes your fancy. I didn't have the nerve to pop in then but I am intending to go next week, once I think of some worthwhile questions. I wandered around the compound and was lucky enough to watch a monk graduation ceremony (I think!).

The dogs are still taking up most of my time and, although its incredibly hard work, I am really enjoying it. I particularly like sitting with the more timid dogs and acclimatising them to human contact. I was asked to “make friends” with a new arrival called Buddy. He is a miniature poodle with a terrible skin complaint who cries and runs away from people. I coaxed him over and picked him up…it turned out all he really wanted was a bit of a cuddle! He was good as gold as soon as he was in my arms; even though, when I gave him a medical bath, he hated it and cried throughout. Next I took him out on a short walk to see how he faired on the lead and he was like a different dog! He was bouncing around, happy as anything! The only downside of getting him out of his shell is that now, when he sees me across the compound (he's in a separate area, with the other dogs with skin complaints), he howls at full volume, wanting to be picked up!

We've also had 2 deliveries of puppies this week. One litter came in with their mum and are boisterous, healthy and happy. The other litter came in yesterday after having been dumped on the side of the highway. The puppies in this new litter are motherless, terrified and in terrible shape. They range in sizes, with evident runts who look pretty shakey. Again, I was asked to sit with them to see if I could get them used to human contact or, at least, human presence. They were all cowering in the corner but I managed to gently stroke one until he let me pick him up. He's still not overly keen and would never approach me of his own volition, but at least he isn't shaking in fear anymore.

The sweet thing with these two litters is that the older, healthy puppies are desperate to get into the new puppies' pen to play. Their mother growled a few times through the wiring at the newcomers but, when I came back an hour or so later, she'd prized open the panels to squeeze through and sit with the motherless pups. Whether she did it to comfort them or just I have a break from her own brood, it was still sweet to see.

Also, I have another favourite. His name is Lern and he's one of the troublemakers (only because he is incredibly intelligent and has a lot of enters…but, as with all the dogs in the shelter, doesn't get enough exercise). He's a lovely and affectionate dog, as well as being very beautiful, and has taken to following me around the compound and sitting with me wherever I am. I took him out for a long walk just before lunch and I think he was a bit hot….this is what i saw after I'd hung up his lead on our return:

I fear I'm becoming a crazy dog lady.

Milly x



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