Travel guide: Top-rated Phuket attraction any animal lover must go

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As we drove beneath enormous trees to the front gate of something I longed to see, my anticipation heightened. I didn’t know what to expect and was simply excited about the prospect of meeting hundreds of dogs rescued from the notorious Yulin dog meat festival. The gate opened up a stream of hopes, vast and luminous.

“It’s huge!” I exclaimed silently to myself as I stood and waited for a 2-hour guided tour to begin at a visitor’s centre of Soi Dog Foundation, a charity based in Thailand, dedicated to end animal cruelty and dog meat trade, ultimately create a society without homeless animals in Asia.

Phuket, synonymous to sunshine, sandy beaches and luxurious resorts, is among our top travel destinations all year round. Our itinerary usually fills with basking under the sun, exciting water sports and massages, what you might miss out on but definitely worth going is a meaningful 2-hour guided tour to Soi Dog shelter, available in every Monday to Friday, for free.

This is where you can look into those innocent eyes of beautiful dogs who have otherwise been served as food in Yulin dog meat festival, who now blossom and learn to trust humans.

It has good reasons why the tour remains one of the top rated attractions on TripAdvisor. I was greeted with enthusiasm by a friendly tour guide who talked us through the work of Soi Dog, showing us senior dogs, puppies, active adult dogs and those who are weak and small, all of whom were segregated to keep them safe. That I’ve got to also see an animal hospital on site where sick dogs were healing in the company of music. That I learnt Soi Dog performed about 1,800 cases of sterilisation a month, 21,600 a year on average, humanely reducing the population of stray animals by approximately 80% in Phuket. That I couldn’t help compare how Hong Kong, a rich developed city, was far behind in keeping stray animals in control in a humane way. How sadly “catch and kill” approach is in effect in Hong Kong. How it took us 7 years of lobbying to have a “Trap-Neuter-Return” 3-year trial program approved in a couple of areas. How the trial program might easily come to an end.

Here you would see volunteers from all over the world walking dogs, helping dogs to regain trust on humans and getting them ready for adoption. You would play with energetic puppies and calm senior dogs. You would also get a glimpse of cat adoption centre and feel amazed by how well organised and hygienic the whole place is.

A visit to Soi Dog is nothing short of amazement and cuteness. You would leave the place knowing that you’ve made the right decision going there.


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