Unexpected Company

I left Sangkhla with a vet volunteer who popped in the sanctuary during the last few weeks I was there.  Bettina, from Denmark is seriously a star vet and reminded me quite a bit of Nyzil, the vet who worked at the sanctuary when I first arrived.  She was amazing with the animals, the other volunteers and had a ridiculous amount of knowledge in her craft.  Her calming aura during times of stress was unbelievable and inspirational!

I recall one particular time when we insisted she take the day off (she had been working without rest for quite some time and needed it).  Only a few hours after she left to enjoy her day, a cat was brought in that had been bitten by a dog.  At first glance I couldn’t see any immediate damage.  But when I lifted the cat out of its carrier and a line of blood spurt out from its side, I knew this was more serious than it looked like.  Now I’m not queasy about blood or guts or animal bodily functions, and I tend to stay calm where others panic… But when I saw that, I got a little panicked.  It was evident that poor Bettina’s day off would be cut short.

I hopped on the motorbike and started into town in search of her, luckily finding her only about 10 minutes later.  As I pulled up, I could feel my sense of urgency creeping up.  I almost ran her over with the bike trying to get to her and immediately started rattling away that there was a cat bitten by a dog, blood spurting, will need stitches, fluid building up in the belly, yada, yada.  Her reaction?  “Ok, not a problem.  Let me just pay for this real quick and we will get going.”  Her confidence immediately soothed me.  Snapped me back into a state of calm that I had let go of before.  We headed back, she took care of business and the cat is doing very well.

In any event, Bettina had planned to go to a horse facility in Nepal and had plans to do so around the time I was planning to leave.  Since our plans coincided nicely, we thought it would be great to leave together and spend a couple of days in Kanchanaburi before parting ways.  Those few days spent with her were among some of the most relaxing I’d had in a long while.  We walked to the Death Railway at night, which is beautifully lit up by changing colored lights (though unfortunately my camera takes crap photos at night!!), visited probably every coffee shop in town and dined on delicious food.  Oddly, time seemed to just absolutely dissipate anytime we started talking.  We would arrive at a coffee shop at 10am and the next thing we knew it was 3pm!  We stayed up until 2am one night just talking, sharing experiences, things we want for ourselves, discussing politics and ideas, etc.  I think in the 48 hours that we spent in Kanchanaburi, probably about 36 of them were spent talking, lol!! (555!!)

Funnily enough, the last night we were there, two volunteers from the sanctuary surprised us while we were hanging out for some dinner.  They had two dogs that required more medical attention than they were able to give at the sanctuary (X-ray and major surgery for a dog hit by a car) so they brought them down to the vet in Kanchanaburi.  Needless to say that night turned into a late one, at least for me!  Bettina sadly was still feeling under the weather so didn’t join in drinks till 5, but as I thought it would be the last time seeing the other two volunteers (Jo & Oli) I couldn’t resist a few drinks.

The next day Bettina and I said our goodbyes and as she headed out I opted to stay in Kanchanaburi a couple more days so I could actually plan where and how I Was getting to my next destination.  It was about a couple of days later that I got an email from Jo (who at this point was back in Sangkhla) saying she too was leaving the sanctuary and wondered if we could travel together for a couple weeks.  Though I have traveled a lot, I’ve never really traveled with people.  I’ve met people along the way and we’ve kept each others company for several days or just shy of a week, but I’ve never really traveled with people.  I’ve always enjoyed traveling alone because of the fact that I never have to answer to anyone else: what do you want to do?  I don’t know, what do you want to do??… I hate those conversations!!  But seeing as she and I got along well at the sanctuary, I thought why not?  It would be nice to have some company for a couple of weeks.  So a few days later we met at the bus station in Kanchanaburi and headed South to Hua Hin on the Thai bay coast.

Oh and I should probably state, the images in this section are kinda random- just several I found that I’ve taken from the Sangkhla area and didn’t fit in other posts:)

On to Arriving in Hua Hin

Back to Thailand

Leaving Sangkhla

The time had finally come to say goodbye to Sangkhlaburi and the animal shelter.  I say ‘had’ because I’ve now been away from there for the past 10 days (how time flies!!).  The hardest part was leaving all the animals behind.  Worrying whether the disabled dogs were getting their night-time blankets, whether dogs were getting their proper daily meds, whether laundry had been done and dogs had been walked occupied my mind for several days after having left.  But as we all know, the world doesn’t stop turning because one has moved on to something else.  Volunteers will always be there to care for the dogs.

I left for a couple of reasons, the first being that I had been in Thailand at that point for almost four months and yet still had only seen a tiny fraction of the Country.  Second, as it was early on during my time at the sanctuary, personality clashes arose again.  High School cliques started forming again creating a huge divide between people who cared for the sanctuary dogs and those who cared for the clinic dogs.  Personally I think that the two would go hand in hand, but alas it wasn’t the reality.

Thankfully though my last two weeks there, just as the first week or so of first arriving, were my absolute favorite.  Not because it was the beginning and end of my stay, but again because of the organic nature and vibe of the workers during those times.  That ridiculous line between shelter and clinic was erased.  No cliques, no favoritism, no inclusion of only certain people and not others.  No more bull essentially.  Just everyone working together, learning and aiding where needed.  It’s amazing how some people can naturally lead others in working together as a team while others create divides so they can pump up their egos where necessary.

I still think of the faces of each animal daily.  I will never forget them and though I wish I could take each one with me, I know the chilling reality is that there are animals all over the world that need equal love, care and shelter.  For now I’m simply traveling and just as I organically happened to find the sanctuary in Sangkhlaburi, I’m keeping my ears and eyes peeled for the next opportunity.  But until then, I’ve headed South to check out the mystery and beauty of the Thai Islands.

On to Unexpected Company

Back to Thailand