Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Long Journey Home

This story begins in the northeast of Thailand in a place called Nakhon Phanom. On August 13, 2011 Thai police infiltrated a group of dog smugglers carrying over a thousand dogs-some stolen, some strays, some taken in trade for cheap goods. The dogs had been crammed into small wire crates which were then stacked and loaded onto four trucks. Many of the dogs died during the transport and of those that survived the suffocating journey thus far, some of the unluckiest would die only moments before safety arrived as the smugglers desperately tossed crates from the truck bed in an effort to gain speed and avoid being captured.


While better off now than with the smugglers, the danger was not yet over. The remaining dogs, many unhealthy to begin with, now faced fast-spreading illnesses in the overcrowded conditions.

August 13, 2011
Excerpt from the Soi Dogs- Facebook :

"But although they have been saved from dog-trader gangs, no one can guarantee they will be safe and survive in their crowded cages while a shortage of food threatens their lives.
Some of the animals were reported dead or injured. The rest are at Nakhon Phanom Animal Quarantine Station.
They looked exhausted after they were moved from the small cages to be put in the station's only big cage. But that cage, which has a maximum capacity of 500 dogs, now has to house 1,800. They have inadequate food and water, as the station does not have the budget to feed such a huge crowd of dogs.
"Police believe all the dogs would have been transferred to a ship waiting in Ban Phaeng district of Nakhon Phanom before going across the Mekong River to be sold in Vietnam"

September 18, 2011
Soi Dogs-Facebook

John Dalley, Bee and others visited Nakon Pathom this weekend where the dogs seized from the dog meat smugglers are being held.
The dogs in this photo album are up for urgent adoption. There are around 800+ dogs there and it is critical that the most needing cases are adopted as soon as possible.
If you have ever considered adopting a dog the time is now to step up.
Logistics re: export etc. will be handled by Soi Dog Foundation as required.
Contact Bee her on Facebook at:
September 18, 2011
From: Jenn-Soi Dogs Volunteer
To: Chris Waggoner
Would the one sitting on the right be of interest?”

To: Jenn—Soi Dogs Volunteer
From: Chris Waggoner

To: Cindy-Soi Dogs
From: Chris Waggoner
Hi Guys,
Just wondering where things stand with the little pup. He was one of the dogs from up north.
Subject: Re: Dog
From: John-Soi Dogs
Date: Tue, October 18, 2011 10:12 pm
Doing well and desexed on Monday. Lovely dog.

The planning to get him to the US begins...
Date: Wed, October 19, 2011 7:59 pm
Subject: Re: Dog
From: Cindy-Soi Dogs
Hi Chris,
Are you definitely interested in adopting his little guy? Can you let me know, J-- is on his way to the UK at present. Whereabouts are you?
On 20 October 2011 10:41, <> wrote:
YES.  I am in Bend, Oregon. 900 miles from Los Angeles.
Subject: Re: Dog
From: Cindy-Soi Dogs
Date: Wed, October 19, 2011 10:28 pm
Hi again Chris
Have heard back from shelter. The little dog's name is Benji (male), he was sterilised on Tuesday.At this stage they think it may be too soon to transport him next week s he's still on treatment. However we will double check with our  vets this afternoon. I will let you know.
On 20 October 2011 11:43, Cindy-Soi Dogs wrote:
Chris-Flight volunteer has confirmed is wiling to take. Have just heard back.
Am still checking with shelter whether it will be possible. Cheers
On 21 October 2011 11:31, Cindy-Soi Dogs wrote:
It looks like we can get Benji on the same flight with our flight volunteer (Jacqui) who departs on October 26th. Her flight arrives in LAX at 6.55pm on 26th.
And yet another journey begins...this time home

HKT Airport, Thailand
Phuket, Thailand-loading into plane

Staying at the Sheraton-nice!
Jacqui (my flight volunteer angel) after a VERY long flight. Sophie is not sure what to make of Benji!

The final leg of Benji's journey is less than two hours away. At that time I will pick him up at the airport near my home and will give him his brand new name.

He will live with me, forever.

I hope you will follow his story as I continue to write about our days together. After all, we are all on a never ending journey. Who knows where life will take us next?

Happy Training,


For more information about Soi Dogs, please watch this documentary Soi Dogs, The Movie
To read about the rescue of Arlo and the other thousand dogs, click this link. Warning-graphic content.


  1. THANK YOU! wishing you and benji a happy and loooong time together! many greetings from thailand from three other rescued dogs from nakon phanom - chance, ginger and myrthe!

  2. THANK YOU! wishing you and benji a happy long time together! many greetings from three other rescued dogs from nakon phanom - chance, ginger and myrthe!

  3. Thank you so much for giving him a chance for a new life! I'm very glad to see these photos ^_^ Pimpakharn P.

  4. Wonderful story, Chris! Benji looks so much like a Jack Russell mix I have been working with, she is also a rescue, and has been a miracle unfolding!

  5. Wonderful story Chris! Benji looks like he could be a twin to a Jack Russell/terrier mix I have been working with. "Clara" is also a rescue, and has been an unfolding miracle to behold! Benji is so lucky to have found you :)

  6. awwww! This totally made me leak water from my eyes (cause I'm too tough to cry, and all). He's an absolute doll!! Please keep us updated on his progress in his new (forever) home! :)

  7. Thank you so much for giving this dog a home! Looking forward to updates on his progress.
    Claudia - Soi Dog Volunteer Switzerland and Joya (former Soi Dog)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.