by Wendy Pike
cha yen (Thai iced tea)
She isn’t the least bit friendly, barely tolerates her family and tends to bite when stressed. On top of that she’s a poorly, elderly lady, potentially on her last legs. And quite the prima donna. Plus she only responds when spoken to in Thai. In fact, Foxy hasn’t got much going for her in terms of pet pooch appeal apart from her vixen-like looks and vulnerability. Yet she is one hell of a lucky bitch.
Right about now (early August) she’ll be boarding a plane with my cousin in Bangkok to start the first leg of a six thousand mile journey to her new, forever kennel in Essex.
Exercising her massively kind heart and ever championing the underdog, my little cuz adopted the stray after it beat a path to her door to ravenously devour the food she regularly left out for a pack of local soi (street) dogs. Initially, hunger helped the malnourished mutt to bond with my cousin’s family. In time and on the dog’s terms, despite remaining wild at heart and understandably standoffish, the somewhat ungracious Foxy lived with them, allowing herself to eventually become their cherished family pet.
Sadly, at the beginning of the year Foxy fell ill and had to undergo a (costly) life-prolonging operation. Consensus was there were only a few months’ life left in the old dog.
‘We honestly thought Foxy was knocking on heaven’s door. We were expecting her to cark it at any moment,’ my cousin said. But every dog has its day and much to Little Cuz’s surprise, Foxy outfoxed that notion, recovering well. So, this spring the family was dogged by an enormous dilemma. Due to leave Thailand at the end of their work contracts in the summer, what was to become of Foxy?
Cruelly return her to the dog eat dog world of the capital’s streets, overrun by hundreds of thousands of unwanted soi dogs, fending for themselves?
‘Drop her off outside a temple along with a few tins of Pedigree Chum,’ suggested one anonymous friend. It would have been the cheapest alternative. But there was never a dog’s chance such a heartbreaking solution would ever be a viable option.
At much expense and after: microchipping, a rabies jab followed by an antibody test, worming and all the necessary veterinary certificates, dog passport, export licence, buying an approved flying crate and travel tickets, Foxy is emigrating to England.
While the rest of the family flew ahead on a direct flight to London, to comply with pet vaccination regulations, my cousin had to stay on in Thailand until Foxy was allowed to fly.
A flight straight to Heathrow, at £3k or more for the dog’s fare and handling fees, was out of the question. Instead she is taking a more cost effective route. Flying, with my cousin, to the Netherlands, Foxy’s globe-trotting journey starts as checked in, excess baggage! From there the pair will take a ferry to Harwich and taxi ride home, where they’ll have to quarantine. It’ll be my cousin not Foxy who must isolate for 10 days because of Covid travel rules, Thailand being on the Amber List.
I’m counting down the days until I can see my cousin and family again. We’ve not seen each other for a few years. Although I am getting increasingly nervous about making Foxy’s acquaintance. I can only hope she’ll be all bark and no bite. Alas her reputation for nipping travels before her.
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