Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saigon Dogs Part III



oday it's the story about a dog that is kept usually in the yard, but mostly on a chain. The owners "take" him out 10 meters, then tie the dog on a tree. They want him to poo and pee there. UPDATE: After I shot the video the owner actually walked with the dog for the first time, around the block, but better then nothing. I told the son again that he should better walk with the dog, and it's seems they start at least thinking about it.

10 comments:

Tommy said...

rThomas,
Here are my comments to the Saigon Dog Story III. Keep in mind that your neighbourhood is an upscale residential location in Saigon and therefore whatever you see there seems as good as it gets in the whole country. The reason that Local Natives never walk their dogs, is that they are embarrassed about walking dogs. The local culture in general is that if you are seen walking your dog, you are a slave to the dog. Westerners are always the exception. Nothing in this world is 100% pure, but in 99% of cases, this is what it is. I have more local experience and human intelligence, because can listen in Vietnamese and understand what the locals said. I think this is one of the culture shocks to Westerners. You can slowly investigate it yourself if you are interested, to see if this is true and hopefully you can find someone to give you a candid conversation without any reservation. Things are not quite as it seems especially you live in an upscale neighbourhood. When I walk my dog at night in the ordinary streets of Saigon, he is a celebrity.

Here are more comments to the Saigon Dog Story II, about dogs being treated in VN. The dog being let out freely with or without the leash is normal in VN. My “human intelligence” found that the Local Natives are mostly carefree when it comes to raising dogs, because their general attitude is if the dog is lost, we will just find another one. Mostly dogs in VN only gets left over food at home (sometimes ants come to share the food because the dog couldn't eat stale overnight leftover food, so there are times when the dogs don’t like to eat leftover and have to look for their own food outside of the house like cafes and restaurants with no doors or outdoor food stalls on the streets. Because of this environment, most local dogs get very aggressive with any other dogs around them. They get stressed out and therefore are not as friendly as dogs being care for by Westerns. There is a trend on the streets that dog snatchers patrolling the streets to (kidnap) catch dogs for resale if it’s a toy dog type, and for dog meat sale at the Pham Van Hai Market or “Cay TO” restaurants if the dog is bigger. This is pure madness. I personally witnessed in 2007 a small dog being BBQ in broad day light right in front of an alley off the Tay Thanh Street (This street is the main road of the Tan Binh Industrial Park in Tan Phu District of HCMC. This is a low budget type of BBQ because they just used broken branches off a tree and a few broken bricks and burnt the whole dog with furs on right in front of this dirt alley. I had a head rush over this and I could not do anything about it. I watched a lower budget movie with different clips at a film festival in the SOHO section of New York City 15 years ago. One of the clips was about how people in North VN kill dogs for food. They simply toss the live dog down a concrete enclosure on the dirt ground, then they pour a big pot of boiling water into a live dog. The rest of what happened was not shown. What is total sickness in the head in one country can be perfectly fine in another.

Tommy said...

Here is a link at the end of this comment, to a rare video footage of a 54 year old homeless woman name Nguyen Thi Bich Van in District 5 of Saigon who has incredible compassion for dogs and she currently cares for over 20 homeless dogs each with various sickness. These dogs were not wanted by their owners due to having sick. This woman's only possession is a bicycle and a little tricycle which she shares with her dogs as shelter. She relies on picking recycle materials on the streets and washing dishes for street food stalls for survival while feeding and taking care of her 2 dozen dogs. She takes lots of time to care for her dogs including bring them to the Vet at the animal clinic in the city if needed. She lives off the East West High Way by190 Ham Tu Ward 1 District 5 of Saigon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh8G23meExM

T said...

Wow Tommy!! Thanks for the youtube link and video about this amazing woman!! I love dogs and I've been missing my dog Penny who is currently being looked after by my mom in the U.S.

I am going to seek out this woman this week and see what I can do to help her...whether it is buying dog food or donation money or just helping her bathe them.

Selfless people like her are so rare in the world. Lot of people that are so well off will do absolutely nothing even when confronted with so much misery...while someone like this who has so little is willing to work so hard to take care of the helpless. It's so hard being a dog in Vietnam and it's great to see someone look after them.

And thanks Thomas for the enlightening perspective on Dogs in Vietnam.

I'm going to talk to this woman and take pictures and post a story as soon as I can on my blog (Saigon in a cup).

T said...

Well with the help of my Aunt, I managed to find Ms. Bich Van today. She is no longer at the address listed in the Youtube video, however her phone number is still the same.

She's living in Q.8 now....but I am not going to publish her address. She seems extremely paranoid that the local police will find out where she is and kick her out (for reasons I couldn't understand...health, safety?...she didn't elaborate).

She is renting a small place for $100 a month and she has around 25-30 dogs with her right now. I gave her some money and asked her if it would be ok if I stopped by every now and then to help her out. She said yes, but seems reluctant to meet people. It took a lot of phone calls from a friend and my Aunt over the last 3 days before we could get her to agree to meet us.

I was going to post a story about her on my blog, but since she doesn't seem to want people to know about her....I will respect her wish for privacy.

Hopefully she will be more comfortable with me over time and I can build a bit a trust. I will continue to visit her and help out while I am VN....I still think that she's a remarkable woman for helping out all these helpless animals.

Thomas Wanhoff said...

Thanks T and Tommy for sharing us this story. If there is anything we can do to help this lady let me know.

Phuong Phuong said...

Hi Thomas, I am Sophia. I have read the story about Mrs. Bich Van in Saigon on your blog. Could you help me to contact with T? Because we have an organization in the US that is going to do something to help homeless pets in Vietnam. We would like to invite him to join us. Please check out our profile on FB
http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_186954424655186&ap=1. Thanks a lot

Thomas Wanhoff said...

Phoung I am sorry but I only have the information above mentioned in the comments.

Phuong Phuong said...

Thanks! No problem. By the way, I like your blog :-).

Tommy said...

Hello Phuong Phuong,
I think T is getting an email on your comment and when he gets to it, I am sure he will write to you.

Tommy said...

Thomas, I now have to walk my dog after 10:00 PM so there not many people around to give me negative reactions. The locals tend to be bothered when seeing me walking my dog. Their comments seem common that there are people not having enough food to live on and it's a sin to take good care of the dog instead of people in need. This is the culture they are in for now until . . . Well I can not impose anything on anyone so it helps a bit for me to walk my dog late at night when most people are asleep and most of the other dogs are kept in the house. I am referring to areas outside of the upscale Phu My Hung neighbourhood. During the day most of the dogs get to roam around freely without leashes to find food on their own and therefore these dogs get very aggressive against their fellow dogs due to competition for territory and publicly available food.