But there is on difference: You rarely see dogs suffering in Western countries. If someone sees a sick dog, they try to help. In Laos, still only a few people really care about the dogs health. Although the number of patients at Dr. Khamdengs clinic is increasing, it is just not enough. Many people claim the lack of money as a reason, but that is just an typical excuse: they have enough money for other less important things, even if they are poor. (and yes, I am aware I am talking mainly about city people. In rural areas it is a different story).
I observed people in my Lao peer group how they handle dogs. One neighbour cares, but no cation, not even a tick collar. They really love the dog and even try to keep it away form the street. But no way they get him to the vet.
Other neighbours care a lot: They took their Cocker Spaniel to the vet for a surgery when she lost a lot of blood. They are not rich at all, not even middle class.
A quite wealthy family loves their dogs as well, but you always see them disappearing after a while. They get hit by a car or die by untreated diseases. Same goes for a poor family - sometimes I even think they eat the dogs since they mainly disappear when they are 1.5 - 2 years old.
One wealthy family has a dog who has distemper. He shows all the signs, he looks really sick. The family just extended the big house, they have 4 cars, one of them with a government plate. When I asked the daughter if they ever took the dog to a vet, she said no. She did not even understand why.
We spend some money to get neighbours dogs spayed and neutered and vaccinated. The owners appreciated the help, but would never ever do it themselves. Maybe they are spoiled by foreigners who pay for it. Paws4Thoughts is doing good work with vaccinations, but I have doubts about the return rate for the follow ups as longs as it is not free.
Is it faith, that people here give up so easily?
So some advice for the few Lao people reading this and caring:
- Get you dog vaccinated, no matter how old he or she is.
- Get the dog neutered/spayed - there are still enough dogs in Laos, no need to get more.
- Keep the dogs in your yard, and walk them on a leash so they can't get hit by a car - and can't get infected by other dogs that easy.